There are four common types of cinnamon: Vietnamese, Chinese (cassia), Indonesian, and Ceylon (true) cinnamon. Which is safest in terms of the level of coumarin, which may damage the liver at toxic doses?
Second in spice popularity only to black pepper, cinnamon is the powdered inner bark of four different species of cinnamomum trees. There’s Vietnamese cinnamom, Chinese cinnamon, Indonesian, and Ceylon. A recent review raised concerns about one of them because of a compound called coumarin, which new human data suggests may be toxic to the liver. It’s been banned as a food additive, but still can be found naturally in, Chinese cinnamon, also known as cassia cinnamon. It is not found in significant amounts in so-called true cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, and we don’t have enough data on the other two.
Now these traffic lights are not for recreational users; these are only for people going out of their way to add like a teaspoon or more to their daily diet, which ideally should be everyone, since it appears so amazingly health promoting— anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antitumor, cardiovascular, cholesterol-lowering, and immunomodulatory effects. Especially useful for those with diabetes… or prediabeties.
So if you are eating cinnamon every day, great— just make sure it’s the right kind. In the UK, if it says cinnamon then it’s Ceylon cinnamon—Chinese cinnamon is labeled cassia. In the U.S., though, they’re both just labeled cinnamon, and since Chinese is cheaper that’s what most cinnamon is on our shelves so make sure it specifically says Ceylon.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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Why would one want to go out of their way to add cinnamon to their diet? It's on my 5 Superfood Bargains and a component of The Healthiest Beverage. As with the Indian gooseberry video Amla Versus Diabetes, though, one should concentrate on reversing prediabetes and diabetes with a plant-based diet in the first place (see How To Treat Diabetes). See my 13 other videos on spices, including another cautionary one on overdoing turmeric (Oxalates in Cinnamon) and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.
Make sure to check out Update on Cinnamon for Blood Sugar Control for the latest.
For more context, check out my associated blog post: Cinnamon for Diabetes