Health and Nutrition Articles

Cinnamon

The Story of Cinnamon's Benefits

There's much more to cinnamon than what you put on your breakfast toast or sprinkle on top of your latte.

Cinnamon has been a treasured spice for thousands of years. It's mentioned in the Bible and was found in Egyptian tombs where it was used as an embalming agent. At one point in time, it was a spice considered to be even more valuable than gold.

It has also been used as a medicine throughout history.

There are actually around 100 different cinnamon varieties, but the type that seems to have the greatest health benefits is called Cassia Cinnamon. The kind you would find in a grocery store is usually a mix of Cassia cinnamon and other forms of the spice.

Its potential to heal comes from three components: cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol.

Cinnamon for Blood Sugar Support

While studies have been mixed, it is believed that cinnamon could enhance insulin production and lower blood sugar levels.

A 2010 study involving the effects of cinnamon on Type 2 diabetics indicated the spice can be beneficial for blood sugar control.

Specifically, the study found that components of cinnamon can impact almost all of the symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome. That includes issues like insulin sensitivity and resistance, inflammation, blood pressure and body weight.

Cinnamon seems to help people who are creating what would be an adequate amount of insulin, but that insulin is inefficient because of their body's resistance or lack of sensitivity. Research shows aqueous cinnamon extract may be able to increase insulin activity.

Cinnamon's Effects on Digestion and Weight

One of the reasons cinnamon may help with blood sugar levels is that it can slow the rate at which the stomach empties. That can reduce blood sugar spikes after eating, and also cause you to feel fuller longer.

Cinnamon appears to promote the thinning of blood, which in turn leads to enhanced blood circulation. Better blood flow can increase your metabolism, and that could be helpful with weight management.

Since cinnamon can also reduce inflammation, it provides helpful results for people with digestive issues. For instance, cinnamon may be able to dramatically reduce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It could also help with common problems like flatulence.

Cinnamon's anti-bacterial properties are another reason it is helpful for digestion support. Some even call this spice the perfect remedy for a bad stomach bug.

It should be noted that cinnamon has the potential to eliminate both good and bad bacteria from your GI tract. For that reason, if you are supplementing with cinnamon, it would be wise to take a high-quality probiotic as well.

Other Possible Benefits

The impact of cinnamon on your health could be even further reaching.

Additional Uses Include:

  • Possible Reduction of Cancerous Tumors
  • Candida Yeast Infections Support
  • Relief from PMS symptoms
  • Support of Healthy Cholesterol Levels
  • Reduction of Common Cold Symptoms
  • Neutralization of Food-borne Bacteria

One of the most impressive possibilities is how cinnamon might slow the progression of cancer.

While more research is needed, early studies have shown positive results in patients with leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. Experts believe the cinnamon essentially starves cancer cells by preventing them from getting the sugar they need to survive.

Essential oil of cinnamon seems to be effective at targeting strains of Candida that cause yeast infections.

Because it has high levels of manganese, cinnamon can provide relief from pre-menstrual cramping while supporting optimal bone health. That also makes it a good choice for women who are pre-menopausal or going through menopause.

Cinnamon may have an indirect impact on healthy cholesterol levels, since it could help regulate the way our bodies process sugars and fats.

Common cold symptoms could be knocked out by cinnamon if you catch them early enough. Try Cinnamon Tea as soon as you start getting the sniffles or a tickle in your throat. The anti-bacterial properties of the spice as well as its potential to increase blood flow could help your body stop sickness before it gets out of hand.

You can even use it as an ingredient in a homemade cleaner, because its bacteria-fighting ability makes it a powerful disinfectant. Mixing cinnamon with hydrogen peroxide is said to be a good way to neutralize food-borne bacteria like E-coli and salmonella.

Dosage and Side Effects

While there is no recommended dosage of cinnamon, a typical serving size would be around one teaspoon.

When taken as a supplement, the individual's age and health should be considered as there is not enough scientific data to accurately explain a range of doses for cinnamon.

When taking in abnormally large amounts, cinnamon could be toxic and cause liver damage - especially in those diagnosed with liver disease. People who are already taking diabetes medication should be aware of its potential to lower blood sugar, and should adjust and monitor their glucose levels accordingly.

Cassia cinnamon is considered to be Likely Safe when taken in amounts commonly found in food and supplements.

Quick Facts

  • Common spice made from the bark of cinnamon trees
  • Natural food preservative
  • Used in Ayurvedic medicine to support diabetes and digestion
  • Used in traditional Chinese medicine for colds, digestion issues and PMS symptoms
  • May inhibit cancer growth
  • High ORAC Value - One of the Top 7 Antioxidants in the World
  • Cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory
  • Cinnamon also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-clotting properties
  • Can be toxic to the liver - but only if taken in large doses
  • The scent of cinnamon may boost brain function
  • Contains the minerals manganese, calcium, iron and zinc as well as dietary fiber