Cinnamon ---Top 10 Health Benefits

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March 5, 2013, last updated April 2, 2015

By Alison Turner, Featured Columnist



Cinnamon is an ancient spice that increasingly has become
something of a wonder among natural remedies.  
Cinnamon, is actually a number of spices also known by
technical names such as Cinnamomum zeylanicum,
Cinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum verum and  
Cinnamomum aromaticum.

Cinnamon types vary in terms of their place of origin,  
strength of their aroma, taste, sweetness and other
characteristics.

In fact, you can think of cinnamon the same way that wine
connoisseurs think of wine -- it comes in many varieties
which are suited for different purposes. Recently, scientists
have discovered that cinnamon has near-miraculous
properties in terms of healing various conditions. What
medical conditions are helped by cinnamon? Can you use
cinnamon really be used to heal diabetes and Alzheimer's ?

Cinnamon comes from the barks of trees that are native in
Southeast Asia, India, and China,   and is formed into
capsules, teas, liquid extracts, and the sprinkle-able powder
that so many of us enjoy in hot, wintry drinks, in pies, and
as part of the gloppy, heavenly cinnamon rolls too many of
us have fit into our mall rituals.  It turns out that we mall-
trolls were not the first to fall in love with the fragrant
spice: cinnamon bark has been used for thousands of
years, for purposes often more creative --- and important
--- than flavor.

Cinnamon --- the Ancient Spice of All Trades.

Cinnamon has been mentioned in the Christian Bible (at
one point Moses uses cinnamon in anointing oil), has been
used for embalming in Egypt, in perfumes and fragrances
during the Roman Empire, and as an appetite stimulator,
digestive, and aphrodisiac in cultures around the world:  oh
yeah, and it tastes really good.  While cinnamon adds spice
to so many parts of life, it also happens to be healthy for
our bodies.  

Know Your Cinnamon

There are two main varieties of cinnamon, Cinnamomum
zeylanicum (CZ) and Cinnamon cassia (CC). It's important
to know the difference.

Cinnamon Cassia

Cinnamon Cassia, unlike cinnamon zeylanicum,  has high
levels of coumarin. Coumarin is a blood thinner and a
carcenogenic.  A single teaspoon of CC cinnamon contains
between  5.8-12.1 mg of coumarin, more coumarin than is
considered the Tolerable Daily Intake by the European
Food Safety Authority. Adding cinnamon cassia to your diet
when you are already on heart medications can be
disastrous, in fact, since both the cassia and the
medications thin your blood.

Cinnamon Zeylanicum

On the other hand, Cinnamon zeylanicum, has none of the
potentially worrying levels of coumarin. In fact, cinnamon
zeylanicum is actually a coagulant --- it keeps you from
bleeding --- according to a 2014 study from Univerisity
Malaysia Keylantan, Faculty of Agro Based Industry.

So, word of caution as you read, for those studies where
cinnamon cassia is used, be aware that more than a
teaspoon a day is too much. Moderation is the key. Just a
pinch or a sprinkle goes a long way toward giving you the
intended health benefits.

Recent research from around the world shows that there
are several ways that the spice can help us out with our
health.  Check out the list below for the Top 10 reasons to
get cinnamon into your diet every day.




























1.
Just (Less Than a) Spoonful of Cinnamon Helps Your
Blood Sugar Go Down

Cinnamon has shown remarkably effective in lowering
blood sugar.  Blood sugar always increases after we eat. In
patients with type II diabetes, however, the body shows
an insulin resistance – that is, the body’s cells do not
respond to insulin as they need to – and blood sugar
remains in the blood instead of being stored for energy.  

This buildup of sugar in the blood is called hyperglycemia.  
While there are several ways for people living with type II
diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels, research from
Iran suggests that  cinnamon is an useful way to keep
blood sugar levels low.

Several studies have looked at the impact of taking
cinnamon on blood sugar. The type of cinnamon used in
these studies is cassia. Overall, it's fair to say that using
cinnamon at a dose of 1 to 6 grams a day works to lower
blood sugar. Studies conflict as to how much and whether
that difference is significant.

The "gold standard" for the study of cinnamon's use in
lowering blood sugar was conducted in 2009 by Dr. Paul
Crawford of the Mike O'Callaghan Federal Hospital in Las
Vegas.

Dr. Crawford examined 209 diabetics, separating them into
3 randomized groups. He gave the control group 1 gram
cinnamon capsules for 90 days. At the end of the 90 days,
he found that those diabetics who had taken the cinnamon
capsules had lowered their HbA1c blood sugar levels by .
83%, a little less than 1%.  

This drop of about 1% may not seem like much but it is.
Normal HbA1c levels for non-diabetics are 4 to 5.9%.
Diabetics typically have HbA1c levels of 6.5% and above.
Thus, a drop of 1% in your HbA1c level could actually
return you to normal blood sugar counts, depending on
how high your initial level is.

Other, more recent, studies concur with Dr. Crawford's
results. In 2012, a group of specialists at Tehran University
of Medical Sciences in Iran, including Dr. Mohammadreza
Vaga with the School of Public Health,  evaluated how
eating cinnamon could lower blood sugar in 44 patients
with type II diabetes.  Participants consumed three grams
of cinnamon a day – or placebo -- for eight weeks.  

At the end of the trial, blood glucose “decreased
significantly compared to baseline,” in those who
consumed cinnamon, “but not in placebo group.”  

If you or someone you know is struggling to manage their
blood sugar from type II diabetes, suggest a dash here and
there of cassia cinnamon  --- it may be the most appetizing
and useful advice they’ve heard in a long time. (Read more
about other
foods that help fight diabetes.)

2.  
Cinnamon Lowers High Blood Pressure.


High blood pressure, also called hypertension, raises your
risk for kidney disease, stroke, and heart attack.  
Unfortunately, hypertension seems to often join the
symptoms of type II diabetes: The American Diabetes
Association reports that 2 out of 3 adults with diabetes has
high blood pressure.   The good news is that blood
pressure can usually be controlled via lifestyle changes,
among which, according to research out of the UK, could
include the consumption of cinnamon.


In 2010, Dr. Rajadurai Akilen with the Faculty of Health and
Human Sciences at Thames Valley University in Brentford,
UK , led a research team in an investigation into how the
consumption of cinnamon influenced blood pressure in 58
type II diabetes patients.  

Patients consumed 2 grams of cinnamon—or placebo --
every day for 12 weeks.  After the 12 weeks, participants
found that both systolic and diastolic blood pressures were
“significantly reduced”  compared to those eating placebo.  

The study concluded that consuming cinnamon “
could be
considered as an additional dietary supplement option to
regulate […] blood pressure levels along with conventional
medications to treat type 2 diabetes.”  

Managing blood pressure usually requires important
lifestyle changes including  exercising and eating a
generally healthy diet.  You should of course think of
cinnamon as a supplement to these more fundamental and
necessary changes in your management of your type II
diabetes and blood pressure.

3.
Cinnamon: A Tasty Way to Lower Cholesterol.  

Cholesterol comes in two colors: good (HDL) and bad
(LDL).  While we need cholesterol to go on living, too much
of the stuff – or, more specifically, too much of the “bad”
shade and not enough of the “good” – could lead to
coronary heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.   

While we can try to control our cholesterol levels with
lifestyle changes in our diet and exercise, the easiest place
to begin could be found in the spice aisle ---in a big bottle
of cinnamon.  

In 2010, S.H. Kim and S.Y. Choung with the Department of
Hygienic Chemistry at Kyung Hee University in Seoul,
Korea,  looked into how cinnamon extract influenced lipid
levels in mice after a period of 12 weeks.  The mice treated
with cinnamon showed “improved” serum lipid levels, so
that cinnamon extract “significantly” reduces serum lipids
and “improves” hyperlipidemia.  

Adding cinnamon into your diet isn’t that hard to do once
you give it some thought: the spice goes quite nicely on top
of yogurt, in smoothies, and over fruit. (Read about
red
yeast and other foods that lower cholesterol.)

4.
Cinnamon: Combatting the Cognitive Symptoms of
Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia affecting memory,
thinking, perception, judgment, and behavior, and is most
common in the elderly.  Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s gets
worse over time, so that learning to manage its symptoms
as soon as possible would benefit you and your loved
ones.  One natural remedy for the cognitive symptoms of
Alzheimer’s, as suggested by research out of Israel, is the
festive, memorable spice, cinnamon.

One of the characteristics of Alzheimer's is that patients
develop areas with plaque in their brains. In 2010,
researchers in Tel Aviv, Israel and the United States,
including Sivan Peled with the Department of Molecular
Microbiology and Biotechnology at Tel Aviv University,  dug
into how cinnamon might lesson some of the cognitive
symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.  They targeted specific
elements that allow the buildup of toxicity in relevant cells
with a “natural substance, based on cinnamon extract.”  

When this cinnamon extract was administered orally to
mice it led to “reduction of plaques and improvement in
cognitive behavior.”  

If you’re helping a loved one adjust to the changes
occurring with
Alzheimer’s disease, do what you can to
help them remember to sprinkle cinnamon into their diet
every day.

5.
Cinnamon: A Warrior Against Cervical Cancer.

Cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer in
women, and begins in the lower part of the uterus.  The
cancer begins as a condition called dysplasia, which can be
detected by a Pap smear and is treatable.  Now,
researchers in India have found that cinnamon could be a
tasty complimentary treatment to help lower your odds of
developing cervical cancer.

In 2010, Ruchika Kaul-Chanekar with the Interactive
Research School for Health Affairs at Bharati Vidyapeeth
University Medical College Campus in Maharashtra, India,
along with a team of colleagues,  analyzed how cinnamon
might be able to block the development of cervical cancer.  

The team discovered something startling. They found that
“cinnamon alters the growth kinetics of [cervical cancer] in
a dose-dependent manner.”

Cells treated with cinnamon extract showed “reduced
number of colonies” and “reduced migration potential” of
cervical cancer cells.  The team concludes that “cinnamon
could be used as a potent chemopreventive drug in cervical
cancer.”

A word of caution is in order. Eating cinnamon is not a
replacement for Pap smears: rather, adding some of the
spice to your diet on a regular basis could help to ensure
that the results from those tests continue to be good news.

6.
Cinnamon Helps Prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
Disease.



Continue reading page 1 page 2


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