What is Cinnamon and How Can You Take Benefits From It?

What is Cinnamon? 

Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices in the world. It is sourced from inner bark of the evergreen cinnamon tree; and is usually grown in warmer, tropical climates. Most often associated with cooking or pleasant-smelling candles and potpourri, cinnamon has a warm, spicy smell and taste. The uses for cinnamon seem almost endless. Historically, cinnamon has been used since Biblical times as a perfume, an ointment in rituals, and even as a pesticide. In ancient Egypt in particular, cinnamon was prized and highly valued for its health benefits.

Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the most clinically studied and proven natural supplements known to man. It is widely known for and used as a supplement to help regulate blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure, and even improve overall body composition. When ingested, cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar levels by decreasing the rate at which your stomach digests your food. Slowed digestion results in a decreased or slowed release of sugars and carbohydrates into your bloodstream, and subsequently lower-than-normal blood glucose levels.

Cinnamon’s benefits aren’t limited to metabolic and cardiovascular conditions. Aromatically and internally, cinnamon may also improve brain and cognitive functions, and shows promise as a treatment for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Cinnamon also displays some of the highest antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory effects of any spice known to man. Used daily, cinnamon may provide a subtle boost to your immune system and can lessen the symptoms of a cold or flu. It is also reported to provide relief for moderate pain, such as menstrual cramps or joint pain.

Supplementation with cinnamon is often recommended for those with, or at risk for, the following conditions:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Cardiovascular disease

Clinical studies on the effects of cinnamon supplementation consistently display improvements in all of the following:

  • Lower/more stable blood glucose levels both fasting and after meals
  • Decreased diastolic and systolic blood pressure
  • Decreased HgbA1C levels (the primary measurement for diabetes mellitus)
  • Lowered blood triglyceride levels
  • Decreased LDL cholesterol levels

Using a cinnamon supplement in combination with established medications for the health conditions mentioned above increases the desired effects in clinical trials.  It is important to remember that cinnamon is a supplement and not meant to replace prescribed medications, though its use may result in needing a decreased dosage.

Where Can I Get Cinnamon?

There are over 100 varieties of cinnamon, but the two most common are Chinese (cassia) cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon. Either of these will provide health benefits. Cinnamon supplements are available in a few different forms: rolled quills (cinnamon sticks), loose powder (often used for cooking), capsules, or cinnamon oil. Cinnamon sticks and powder can be found at any grocery store. Cinnamon capsules can be found at most natural food stores, supplement stores, drug stores, and online retailers. Cinnamon bark oil can also be found in most of these locations, but it is advised to research the brand or company of the oil to ensure purity and safety since oils are not regulated by the FDA.

Do I Need A Cinnamon Supplement?

Cinnamon is not a vitamin or mineral the body needs to survive. So, while you may not require a cinnamon supplement, it is likely that cinnamon will be able to benefit your health and wellness.  If you have a metabolic disorder (such as type 2 diabetes), a cardiovascular disease (like hypertension), or are at risk for them, cinnamon supplements are highly recommended.

Cinnamon capsules side effects

How Much Cinnamon Do I Need?

Using cinnamon powder or cinnamon oil in any amount will provide benefits to the user. However, clinical studies suggest between 1-6 grams of cinnamon per day. Most studies used between 2-3 grams of cinnamon daily for therapeutic effects.  You may consider using more or less based on your individual tolerance and goals.

What are the side effects of Cinnamon?

Side effects associated with cinnamon are extremely rare. One reported negative effect of cinnamon supplementation is an increased chance of liver damage for individuals with pre-existing liver conditions; but this has only been reported in instances where the individuals consumed unusually large doses of cinnamon. Should you experience any side effects, simply decrease the amount of cinnamon you ingest daily.

Are There Any Medications or Supplements I Shouldn’t Take With Cinnamon?

Cinnamon may increase the risk of hypoglycemia in individuals taking hypoglycemic medications or supplements. In laboratory studies, cinnamon may lower blood sugar levels. For some, these are desired effects, but it is possible to overdo it. Hypoglycemic medications include, but are not limited to: glyburide, glipizide, glimepiride, tolbutamide, chlopropamide, and other medications used to treat diabetes. Supplements and herbs with hypoglycemic effects include, but are not limited to: alpha-lipoic acid, bitter melon, chromium, devil’s claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others.

Cinnamon contains a compound called safrole, which may cause toxicity if it builds up in your body. There is a possibility for safrole toxicity if large amounts of cinnamon are ingested with other safrole-containing herbs.  Other herbs that contain safrole include basil, camphor, nutmeg/mace, and others.

Should You Supplement With Cinnamon?

Individuals with high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, or any risk factor for type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease will benefit from cinnamon supplementation. Those with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes benefit the most from cinnamon, as demonstrated in clinical trials. Due to cinnamon’s natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal effects cinnamon is a strong option to consider for anyone simply wanting to give their immune system an extra boost and stay healthy.  

Interested in learning whether cinnamon supplementation is right for you? Take the Vitality DNA test today to find out exactly which nutrients your body needs.

 

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