Cinnamon Supplements

Cinnamon Supplement BenefitsCinnamon is more than a culinary spice. For centuries, people have used cinnamon as a natural therapy for its antibacterial, fungicidal and anti-inflammatory actions.

Modern science has since demonstrated that active constituents within cinnamon can also modulate blood glucose levels, lower lipids, and act as an antioxidant.

Feeling ill? The cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil of cinnamon, has been shown to destroy Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria and their biofilms.

So yes, Cinnamon is as healthful as it is delicious. But not all types of cinnamon are the same…

Scroll down to our “How To Take Cinnamon” section and learn the differences between commonly sold cinnamon types.


Top 5 Use Cases – Harness the Power of Cinnamon!

Cinnamon for Diabetes

Cinnamon has been prescribed for diabetes and blood sugar control by traditional herbalists for hundreds of years. As well as lending a naturally sugar-free sweet taste to foods, the active constituents within cinnamon are able to block alanines, enzymes that allow glucose to be absorbed into the blood from the digestive system. This means that a meal with cinnamon in it may be less likely to cause a blood sugar spike than a meal without cinnamon.

Cinnamon extracts and supplements have been shown to improve blood glucose levels in diabetics, and may help to control the other branches of metabolic disease, such as body fat and cholesterol:

  • A recent 2018 triple-blind randomised controlled clinical trial on 140 patients with type 2 diabetes looked at the effects of cinnamon on insulin resistance, body fat, and cholesterol levels. They found that participants who took 500mg of cinnamon bark powder (Cinnamomum verum) twice daily for 3 months experienced a huge improvement in all measurements including insulin and glucose levels, BMI, body fat, visceral fat, LDL, HDL and total cholesterol. All beneficial changes were more significant in patients with a higher baseline BMI [1]
  • In 2012, a dose-dependent double-blinded randomised control clinical trial showed that cinnamon supplements could improve blood glucose control. In this study, 66 Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes were divided into 3 groups; one taking low dose 120mg/day cinnamon, one taking high dose 360mg/day and the other taking placebo for 3 months. After the 3 months, fasting blood glucose levels were significantly reduced in both low-dose and high-dose groups and unchanged in placebo group. Interestingly, blood triglycerides were also reduced in low-dose group. [2]

Not all cinnamon is made equal though.

  • A 2006 study on 25 postmenopausal women with type-2 diabetes demonstrated that Cinnamomum cassia does NOT have the same effects on insulin and blood sugar as Cinnamomum verum. In this study, participants took 1.5g of Cinnamomum cassia for 6 weeks. The results showed no improvement to insulin sensitivity, oral glucose tolerance or blood lipid profiles [3].

See below for more details about the differences between verum and cassia cinnamons, and always check the ingredients before buying cinnamon supplements!


Cinnamon for PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is characterised by weight gain, a high waist-to-hip ratio, hormonal imbalances, and dysfunction to blood glucose control with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It appears that cinnamon may help to manage these risks:

  • A 2018 randomised controlled trial looked at the impact of cinnamon on 175 women with PCOS. The participants were overweight or obese, and suffered from type-2 diabetes or insulin resistance. A supplement containing 112mg of Cinnamomum verum was taken three times a day with meals, along with metformin medication and increased physical activity.

The study showed that this combination successfully controlled symptoms of PCOS and led to a reduction in BMI, improved waist-to-hip ratio and greater blood sugar control. The results were significantly better than those in the study groups who took metformin only, or a placebo [4].

  • A 2018 double-blinded randomized controlled clinical trial on 84 overweight or obese PCOS patients found that supplementation of 1500mg cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) taken for 8 weeks increased serum total antioxidant capacity and significantly improved total serum cholesterol, as well as LDL and HDL cholesterol levels [7].

While cinnamon may not be a cure for polycystic ovary syndrome, it certainly can be a useful aide for reducing the harmful effects of high sugar foods.


Cinnamon for Cardiovascular Health

Cinnamon is a traditional blood and heart tonic. Its warming, spicy taste is a clue that it can help to boost circulation and support the cardiovascular system. By helping to manage blood glucose and insulin levels, cinnamon can help protect arteries against damage from high blood sugar levels, and keep LDL cholesterol low.

  • A 2016 double-blinded randomised placebo-controlled study looked at the impact of cinnamon on blood glucose and LDL cholesterol in 137 participants. The researchers showed that a 250mg water-extract of cinnamon, taken twice a day for two months, outperformed a placebo to reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels, and fasting glucose and insulin [5].
  • In 2017, a systematic review and meta-analysis of 13 randomised control trials with 750 patients found that cinnamon had a statistically significant impact on reducing blood triglyceride levels and total cholesterol concentration compared to placebo. However, this review found that cinnamon did not have a statistically significant effect on LDL- or HDL-cholesterol reduction [6].
  • A meta-analysis of 3 randomised controlled trials between 2000-2012 found that short-term administration of 500mg-2.4g/day of cinnamon for 12 weeks was associated with a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes [8]. While this is promising, the researchers noted that longer studies should be conducted to confirm these findings.

Bottom line – cinnamon protects your blood vessels from the clogging and scraping effects of high blood sugar. This benefits the veins, heart, and blood itself.


Cinnamon for Brain Health and Cognition

By improving blood pressure, protecting vascular tissue and holistically warming the body, cinnamon may help to improve brain function and protect cognitive function.

Research has shown that cinnamon:

  • Protects dopamine neurons against the degenerative effects associated with Parkinson’s disease [9].
  • Prevents oxidative stress occurring in the hippocampus and protects memory and learning in Alzheimer’s Disease [10].
  • Improves working memory in healthy adults over the age of 60 years [11].

Here at Supplement HQ we love brain supplements and anything that promotes brain health and performance. With that, we know that sugar is the mind killer. Cinnamon may be one of the most effective methods to moderate a standard diet, in effort to maximize brain power.


Fight Allergies with Cinnamon

Seasonal and food allergies occur as a result of immune over-reaction, and the eruption of histamine from white blood cells called mast cells.

The body responds to histamine by creating allergy symptoms – watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, sneezing and coughing.

Cinnamon may help to strengthen the immune system against allergens, and prevent excessive histamine release – cinnamaldehyde has the ability to inhibit mast-cell production [12].

  • In 2014, a double-blind placebo-controlled pilot gave 40 patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis a standardised extract of Cinnamonum verum as a nasal spray. The participants took 100μg of spray in each nostril twice a day for 4 weeks. The results were very positive – the study found that the nasal spray improved overall symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis compared to placebo, without any adverse effects [13].

Cinnamon for Infections

Cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil found in cinnamon, has been shown to have active antimicrobial activity against:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Streptococcus iniae
  • Salmonella typhi
  • Salmonella paratyphi
  • Escherichia coli
  • Pseudomonas fluorescens
  • Bacillus licheniformis

A 2013 study found that cinnamon was active against these bacterial strains, even when the strains had developed antibiotic resistance [14].

It can also prevent the transmission of bacterial infection by destroying biofilm.

Biofilms provide bacteria a way to adhere to solid surfaces and transmit between carriers – cinnamon and cinnamaldehyde have been shown to significantly reduce biofilm formation of Staphylococcus aureus on polystyrene and stainless steel surfaces [15].


How to Take Cinnamon Supplements

Good news – cinnamon is delicious and adding it to your diet is easy. However, for the major benefits described in the studies mentioned, you will need to use a higher dose than you can get from a shake into your morning smoothie.

Dosage: A therapeutic dose of cinnamon is between 1,000mg – 2,000g per day. Supplements are best taken on an empty stomach between meals unless this causes gastrointestinal disturbances.

Possible Side Effects:

  • Oral inflammation
  • Gingivitis
  • Airway constriction
  • Rashes
  • Dermatitis

Use caution when taking cinnamon supplements if you have:

  • Hormone imbalances
  • Medications for blood sugar or diabetes.

Speak to a qualified nutritionist or naturopath before taking cinnamon supplements.

*Cinnamon Verum versus Cinnamon Cassia*

A number of species of barks are sold as “cinnamon”, all belonging to the same family of tree but with very different medicinal potencies.

Cinnamon verum is the most potent medicinal variety, and is also known as:

  • Cinnamon ceylon
  • True cinnamon
  • Sri Lankan cinnamon
  • Ceylon cinnamon
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum

This true cinnamon is less common than the cassia variety.

It is only found in Sri Lanka, and far more expensive. While cinnamon cassia appears to have some medicinal value, the majority of research shows that verum is the most potent and medicinally active cinnamon available.

Cassia cinnamon contains large amounts of coumarin, a toxic compound when taken in supplemental dosages. Use cassia cinnamon for baking and stick to verum for supplements!


The 5 Best Cinnamon Supplements

#5 Zhou Ceylon Cinnamon (600mg, 60 capsules)

Cinnamon SupplementZhou pack a hefty 600mg of organic Ceylon cinnamon in each capsule, along with low-allergy rice flour as a flow agent. With easy-to-open capsules, it’s possible to crack these open and sprinkle a measured dose onto food or beverages – an easy way to guarantee you’re getting fresh, potent Ceylon cinnamon at a therapeutic dose in your smoothie. This product is free from common allergens such as eggs, gluten, shellfish, fish, soy, milk, tree nuts, peanuts and preservatives. It’s totally vegan and non-GMO.


#4 Herbera Organic Cinnamon Alcohol-Free Herbal Extract (4 fl oz)

Liquid Cinnamon TinctureLiquid extracts deliver highly concentrated constituents found in true cinnamon. Herbera offer a vegetable glycerine extract of Cinnamomum verum at a powerful 1:3 ratio. About 30 drops, taken 2 – 3 times per day in water or juice, should be an equivalent therapeutic dose. Herbera use wildcrafted, certified organic cinnamon to create this convenient, potent supplement. This is a great choice if you have difficulty swallowing pills or find them inconvenient.


#3 Frontier Co-Op Organic Ceylon Cinnamon Powder (1lb)

Bulk Ceylon CinnamonPure, powerful cinnamon – Frontier Co-Op offer certified organic, loose Ceylon cinnamon powder in 1lb bags. Their cinnamon is fair trade certified, Sri Lankan grown, Kosher and non-irradiated – plus, Frontier is a member-own co-op, so rest assured this is an ethically-sound choice. This is a great choice if you’re looking to use potent cinnamon for cooking, or if you want to measure out your own doses. About ½ a teaspoon a day will deliver a generally recommended therapeutic dose.


#2 Natrogix Ceylon Cinnamon (700mg, 200 capsules)

Natrogix Cinnamon CapsulesIf you’re looking for a high dose supplement of true cinnamon grown in Sri Lanka, you’ve found it! Natrogix have encapsulated 700mg of ground Cinnamon verum bark with low excipients and fillers. They use cellulose veggie capsules, creating a vegan-friendly product that is easy to digest. For a standard dose, 2 capsules per day would provide a therapeutic 1,400mg dose.


#1 Ceylon Cinnamon Shop Premium Ceylon Cinnamon (500mg, 180 capsules)

Best Cinnamon SupplementFor certified organic verum cinnamon, you can trust the Ceylon Cinnamon Shop. They manage their Ceylon cinnamon at every stage of production, from purchasing, importing, processing, and manufacturing. Their cinnamon is grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, is non-GMO certified, non-irradiated and gluten free. They are so confident in the high quality of their true cinnamon that they offer a money-back guarantee!

View Ceylon Premium Ceylon Cinnamon on Amazon Here


REFERENCES:

  • [1] Zare, R., Nadjarzadeh, A., Zarshenas, M.M., Shams, M. & Heydari, M. (2018). Efficacy of cinnamon in patients with type II diabetes mellitus: A randomised controlled clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561418301146
  • [2] Lu, T., Sheng, H., Wu, J., Zhu, J. & Chen, Y. (2012). Cinnamon extract improves fasting blood glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin level in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutrition Research, 32(6), pp: 408-412. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2012.05.003
  • [3] Vanschoonbeek, K., Thomassen, B.J., Senden, J.M., Wodzig, W.K. & van Loon, L.J. (2006). Cinnamon supplementation does not improve glycaemic control in postmenopausal type 2 diabetes patients. The Journal of Nutrition, 136(4), pp: 997-980. doi: http://doi.org/10.1093/jn/136.4.977
  • [4] Talaat, B. & Ammar, I.S. (2018). The added value of cinnamon to metforming in controlling symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, a randomised controlled trial. Middle East Fertility Society Journal. doi: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.mefs.2018.03.005
  • [5] Anderson, R. A., et al. (2016). Cinnamon extract lowers glucose, insulin and cholesterol in people with elevated serum glucose. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine6(4), 332–336. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2015.03.005
  • [6] Maierean, S.M., Serban, M.C., Sahebkar, A., Ursoniu, S., Serban, A., Penson, P., Banach, M. & the Lipid and Blood Pressure Meta-analysis Collaboration (LBPMC) Group. (2017). The effects of cinnamon supplementation on blood lipid concentrations: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Lipidology, 11(6), pp: 1393-1406. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacl.2017.08.004
  • [7] Borzoei, A., et al. (2018). Effects of cinnamon supplementation on antioxidant status and serum lipids in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 8(1), pp: 128-133. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2017.04.008
  • [8] Akilen, R., Pimlott, Z., Tsiami, A. & Robinson, N. (2013). Effect of short-term administration of cinnamon on blood pressure in patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Nutrition, 29(10), pp: 1192-1196. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2013.03.007
  • [9] Khasnavis, S., & Pahan, K. (2014). Cinnamon treatment upregulates neuroprotective proteins Parkin and DJ-1 and protects dopaminergic neurons in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Journal Of Neuroimmune Pharmacology: The Official Journal Of The Society On Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 9(4), 569-581. doi: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11481-014-9552-2
  • [10] Modi, K. K., et al. (2015). Cinnamon and Its Metabolite Sodium Benzoate Attenuate the Activation of p21rac and Protect Memory and Learning in an Animal Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Plos ONE, 10(6), 1-22. doi: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130398
  • [11] Wahlqvist, M. L., et al. (2016). Cinnamon users with prediabetes have a better fasting working memory: a cross-sectional function study. Nutrition Research, 36(4), pp: 305-310. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2015.12.005
  • [12] Hagenlocher, Y., Kießling, K., Schäffer, M., Bischoff, S., & Lorentz, A. (2015). Cinnamaldehyde is the main mediator of cinnamon extract in mast cell inhibition. European Journal Of Nutrition, 54(8), 1297-1309. doi:10.1007/s00394-014-0810-0
  • [13] Walanj, S., et al. (2014). Efficacy and safety of the topical use of intranasal cinnamon bark extract ins easonal allergic rhinitis patients: A double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study. Journal of Herbal Medicine, 4(1), pp: 37-47. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hermed.2013.12.002
  • [14] Naveed, R., Hussain, I., Tawab, A., Tariq, M., Rahman, M., Hameed, S., & … Iqbal, M. (2013). Antimicrobial activity of the bioactive components of essential oils from Pakistani spices against Salmonella and other multi-drug resistant bacteria. BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 13265. doi: http://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-13-265
  • [15] Budri, P. E., et al. (2015). Effect of essential oils of Syzygium aromaticum and Cinnamomum zeylanicum and their major components on biofilm production in Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from milk of cows with mastitis. Journal Of Dairy Science, 98(9), 5899-5904. doi:10.3168/jds.2015-9442

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