Nutrition and Labeling - Cinnamon- a health risk!?

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07-14-2012, 09:15 PM
Warning to cinnamon lovers and those taking cinnamon supplements:

My doctor recommended taking (or eating) cinnamon cassia for weight loss, blood sugar regulation, etc. However, I just learned that this type of cinnamon was banned in Germany! Apparently it has extremely high levels of coumarin, a substance which thins blood and damages the liver! Coumarin has been illegal in the US since 1954; however, since it's found naturally in this species of cinnamon, it has gotten through the cracks and is found widely throughout grocery stores.

This is the same type of cinnamon you find in most foods- cereals, oatmeal, and the powder you sprinkle on your food. One of the articles I read said that German researchers found that even eating a few breakfasts a week with sprinkled cinnamon can put you past the tolerable level of coumarin. Children can eat even less of it before they risk liver damage (one article said about the equivalent of just a few german cinnamon cookies consistently over as little as a month).

However, we still have the option of eating ceylon cinnamon, often called "true" cinnamon, which has all (some studies suggest more) of the health benefits with negligible amounts of coumarin. Looks like it might have to be purchased online or at health stores, unfortunately. Generally in the US cinnamon cassia is sold/used because it is cheaper (you can use less of it with the same amount of flavor).

Here's some more info fyi:

07-14-2012, 09:50 PM
That's really interesting! I don't take a cinnamon supplement, but I do use it occasionally in baking. May have to check out the local health food store.

07-15-2012, 02:22 AM
From what I am reading the particular german cookies were a problem and while sensitive individuals need to use caution when eating too much cinnamon (a gram/day-that is a lot of cinnamon) it could possibly cause issues. I highly doubt a normal consumption of cinnamon is a threat for the average person. Also, cinnamon supplements used long term in higher doses should be carefullly monitored by your doctor, as with any medication you must see if the benefits outweigh the risks.

07-15-2012, 06:19 PM
Tiff- you're right in that, I got the feeling it was only a serious concern for sensitive individuals as well (although they often use that term to mean the very young, the very old, and people with other health issues). However, I'm just warning anyone who, like me, doesn't want to take a supplement that's going to hurt them if they can avoid it.

The good news is that Whole foods sells true cinnamon relatively cheaply (I found it today). It's in the jarred spice aisle and is labeled as "Vietnamese Cinnamon."

07-16-2012, 10:58 PM
Hm, that is pretty interesting. Glad you found what you were looking for! Whole foods is awesome.

07-28-2012, 09:00 AM
I found this at Whole Foods last night: I think this is the correct one, the "true" cinnamon. I wanted to post a link because there are so many different varieties out there and can be confusing. I use cinnamon daily on my English Muffin.

07-28-2012, 09:21 AM
Diana- yes, that's the healthy one! The names Cinnamomum verum, true cinnamon, Asian cinnamon, and ceylon cinnamon are all used for this species (the good one). Glad you found it!

07-28-2012, 09:38 AM
Please be careful when reading studies like this. Who sponsored the studies? Is there a commercial product/pharmaceutical getting ready to be released? How does it relate to real life, dose vs weight? Also, was it studied as a whole product or it's component and was it study as a sole product or as we eat it with other foods.

08-07-2012, 09:28 AM
Diana- yes, that's the healthy one! The names Cinnamomum verum, true cinnamon, Asian cinnamon, and ceylon cinnamon are all used for this species (the good one). Glad you found it!

Kelly What are your thoughts on the flavor of Ceylon Cinnamon? When I compare the one I was using vs. Ceylon, Ceylon has a slight ginger flavor to me. Do you notice this?