The Safer Cinnamon

The Safer Cinnamon
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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?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Second in spice popularity only to black pepper, cinnamon is the powdered inner bark of four different species of cinnamomum trees. There’s Vietnamese cinnamon, 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 health promoting, and anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antitumor, cardiovascular, cholesterol-lowering, and immunomodulatory effects. Especially useful for those with diabetes, or prediabetes.

So, if you’re eating cinnamon every day, great— just make sure it’s the right kind. In the U.K., if it says cinnamon, then it’s Ceylon cinnamon. Chinese cinnamon is labeled cassia. In the U.S., though, they can both just be labeled cinnamon, and since Chinese is cheaper, that’s what most cinnamon is on our shelves. So make sure it specifies Ceylon.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to photo8, Badagnani via flickr, and FotoosVanRobin via Wikimedia

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Second in spice popularity only to black pepper, cinnamon is the powdered inner bark of four different species of cinnamomum trees. There’s Vietnamese cinnamon, 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 health promoting, and anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antitumor, cardiovascular, cholesterol-lowering, and immunomodulatory effects. Especially useful for those with diabetes, or prediabetes.

So, if you’re eating cinnamon every day, great— just make sure it’s the right kind. In the U.K., if it says cinnamon, then it’s Ceylon cinnamon. Chinese cinnamon is labeled cassia. In the U.S., though, they can both just be labeled cinnamon, and since Chinese is cheaper, that’s what most cinnamon is on our shelves. So make sure it specifies Ceylon.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to photo8, Badagnani via flickr, and FotoosVanRobin via Wikimedia

Doctor's Note

Why would one want to go out of their way to add cinnamon to their diet? It’s one of my five Superfood Bargains, and a component of The Healthiest Beverage. As I indicated in 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).

Also check out my other videos on spices, including another cautionary one on overdoing turmeric (Oxalates in Cinnamon).

And be sure to check out my video Update on Cinnamon for Blood Sugar Control for the latest.

For more context, check out my associated blog post: Cinnamon for Diabetes.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

 

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