Cinnamon has a long history of use as a spice and medicine and is revered for its many health benefits. Recently, cinnamon has received a lot of positive press for its ability to help with blood sugar control. Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood glucose levels in prediabetics and individuals with type 2 diabetes. However, concerns about cinnamon’s safety have also been raised.
Safety concerns stem from the source of the cinnamon and chemical content. Most cinnamon sold in supermarkets is Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum aromaticaum, and Cinnamomum burmannii), which are not true cinnamon. Only Ceylon cinnamon, from the Cinnamomum zylanicum plant is considered true cinnamon, “Cinnamomum verum.”
While there are many similarities between Cassia and true cinnamon, Cassia has a higher coumarin content. Coumarins are naturally occurring plant components that have been shown to be hepatotoxic (toxic to the liver). Even small amounts (like that found in sprinkling over oatmeal or drinking cinnamon-based tea) can exceed the tolerable daily intake for children and adults. Therefore, it is recommended that when buying cinnamon to use as a spice, seek out the Ceylon powder/sticks over Cassia to ensure your safety. Click here to watch a great educational video on cinnamon.
Because the research supports Cassia over Ceylon for supporting blood sugar levels, it is best to take a supplement that has had the coumarins removed. Sold as Cinnulin PF, this water soluble extract of Cinnamomum burmannii (Cassia), is processed to filter out any toxins that are normally found in the whole cinnamon, thus ensuring its safety. You can find Cinnulin PF in our Pathway line of supplements. The recommended dosage is 250 mg, taken twice daily prior to meals.
If you are interested in the other health benefits of cinnamon, including its high antioxidant value, the safe thing to do is to stick with Ceylon cinnamon.