What is Ceylon Cinnamon
Modern-day history tells the story that Portuguese traders discovered Ceylon cinnamon in Sri Lanka around 1518 AD. They went on to control the world-wide cinnamon trade for over one hundred years.
However, cinnamon is one of the oldest spices traded in the ancient world, with references appearing in the Bible and ancient Chinese writings.
Cinnamon is derived from the bark of various cinnamon species. Not only is cinnamon used as a spice, but it is commonly added to oils and medicines for circulation, tissue regeneration, blood sugar support, inflammation, and anti-cancer properties.
Saigon Cinnamon vs Ceylon
There are two types of cinnamon: “true” Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon. Most of the cinnamon you find at the grocery store is cassia cinnamon.
Saigon cinnamon (sometimes called Vietnamese cinnamon) is a type of cassia cinnamon.
While both cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon have beneficial health effects, Ceylon cinnamon has lower toxicity and is the recommended form of supplemental cinnamon.
The toxicity of cassia cinnamon comes from higher levels of coumarin. Coumarin is an agent that can have negative effects on the liver if taken in too high doses. The tolerable daily intake of coumarin is 01.mg/kg body weight.
Benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon
Diabetes Type 2 is a condition in which the body experiences reduced sensitivity to insulin and, as a result, high blood sugar and HbA1c levels. Factors contributing to type 2 diabetes include genetics, obesity, and hormone imbalances. Lack of exercise is believed to be associated with Type 2 Diabetes.
In a study on patients with diabetes type 2, 3g of cinnamon powder was administered daily for four months. Fasting plasma glucose levels in the cinnamon group decreased by 10.3% compared to a minor reduction of only 3.4% in the placebo group.
In another study, researchers investigated the effectiveness of cinnamon on HbA1c. A randomized group of 109 type 2 diabetics was split into one group taking cinnamon and another taking a placebo. One gram of cinnamon was given to participants every day for 90 days. HbA1c was reduced by twice as much (0.46-1.2) in the group using Cinnamon compared to the group getting usual care alone (0.15-0.59).
A bioactive component of cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde exerts anti-cancerous properties by reducing the volume of tumors and decreasing the blood supply to tumors. Cinnamon administration also suppressed the expression of HIF-alpha and VEGF in cancerous cells. In another study, cinnamaldehyde in conjunction with other chemotherapeutic substances exerted a synergistic effect in killing cancerous cells.
The body produces free radicals as a waste product of exercise. Free radicals can cause “oxidative stress” which can induce cell damage and lead to different types of cancer and disease.
Antioxidants absorb free radicals in the body and counteract the oxidative stress.
Cinnamon is a natural source of antioxidants. Cinnamon is one of the highest antioxidant spices found throughout the world.
In a study on pure Ceylon cinnamon extract, scientists placed 21 bacteria and 4 candida in a petri dish and tested the antimicrobial activity. Cinnamon was effective at destroying and limiting the growth of all microorganisms. The study concluded that cinnamon could be an effective natural remedy for topical infections. This is a big step forward for cinnamon based wound healing therapies.
According to the CDC, about half of all adults in the United States have high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke and contributes to nearly half a million deaths in the United States each year.
Researchers at the University of Toronto administered cinnamon to a group of patients with prediabetes and diabetes type 2 to test the effectiveness of blood pressure regulation. After the study, the group using cinnamon significantly decreased systolic blood pressure by 5.39 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.6 mm Hg.
Where to Buy Ceylon Cinnamon
Ceylon cinnamon can be in specialty health and wellness supply stores, grocery stores, and online. The most reliable source of Ceylon cinnamon is from a trusted manufacturer that can describe the ingredients and purity. Most cinnamon products found in grocery stores are cassia cinnamon derivatives, meaning they have a higher level of toxicity than Ceylon cinnamon and should not be used for supplemental cinnamon.
Forms and Doses
Not only does the source of Ceylon cinnamon matter, but the form of cinnamon also contributes to the effectiveness of the treatment. Ceylon cinnamon products can be found in pill form, oils, sticks, and teas. For the author, pills or teas are the best forms of supplemental cinnamon due to the high absorption rate.
For Ceylon cinnamon, a typical daily recommended dose is between 600mg-1200mg. Some studies incorporate a dose as high as 5 grams a day, but these doses are under careful observation and are not recommended unless the individual has consulted their healthcare professional.
That being said, there are very few if any side effects with taking cinnamon on a daily basis as most metabolites are removed through the urine.
Some risk factors to take into account are interactions with other medications or allergies. It is not recommended to take a cinnamon supplement if it interferes with other medications. Always consult your physician before taking a supplement that can interfere with your current treatment plan.