Is Cinnamon a Medical Powerhouse?


It’s a question many have asked at one point or another: is cinnamon a medical powerhouse? In fact, there’s so much already out there on the super-spice (and so little that has actually been peer-reviewed). It seems like it’s well on its way of gaining the legendary “superfood” status, reserved for foods in the health blog circuit like kale, broccoli and salmon.

But before you go and add bulk amounts of cinnamon to your grocery list and start sprinkling it on everything you eat and drink, there are a few things to know.

So, rather than taking the rest of the internet’s word for it, Banner Health registered dietitian and nutritionist Nicole Hahn with Banner Boswell Medical Center provided her expertise on the matter.

Cinnamon: benefits

First off, the chemical attributes that allegedly make cinnamon effective for things like reducing the risk of heart disease and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure are still very much up in the air.

“Per the National Institutes of Health, studies done in people do not support using cinnamon for any health condition,” said Hahn, who added that it’s even unproven with regard to lowering blood sugar, one of the more prominent benefits touted elsewhere online.

“Results are mixed at this time with no definitive recommendations,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still an upside to cinnamon.

“Cinnamon may increase phosphorylation, which may include insulin sensitivity which helps with glucose control and lipid levels,” said Hahn. “This may also activate glycogen synthase, which increases glucose uptake—but there’s still limited evidence to this.”

Cinnamon: side effects

Taking all of this in stride, it seems like you should consider cinnamon more an underdog for taking a shot at the “superfood” title. However, there are some key takeaways. While it would be pretty hard to have a cinnamon “overdose,” that doesn’t mean that you can’t over-do it.

“Cinnamon supplementation appears safe in the short term. However, larger doses for longer term use may cause or worsen liver disease as it contains coumarin,” she said, elaborating that coumarin is a chemical compound known for its hepatoxicity (or liver-damaging properties).

So what’s the biggest takeaway from using cinnamon for its alleged health benefits?

“Everyone is different and will respond differently,” Hahn says. “Always keep your provider informed of any supplements you’re using.”


On top of this, don’t think you can dodge the negative effects of that daily pumpkin spice latte just by hitting it with the cinnamon shaker the next time you go to Starbucks. People tend to use cinnamon to bring out or add to the flavor in a lot of confections like pies, cobblers and the like—many of which are inherently bad for you in high quantities.

So is the word out on the benefits of Cinnamon?

Well, perhaps as more research is put together and examined, it’ll get there. But for now, know that there seem to be some unclear benefits, along with some risks to be mindful of when supplementing with cinnamon (especially cinnamon capsules, which should only be done after speaking with your doctor).

Tags from the story
Written By
More from Banner Health Read More


  • Richard Nolan says:
    All this article did was urge you to see your primary physician about the value of taking cinnamon as a supplement. There were no suggestions as to general supplement quantities, either as minimum or maximum; no symptoms of negative side effects; or no mention of negative interactions with drugs or other supplements. Basically, the article is a space filler with virtually no value to the average reader.
  • Greg says:
    A few years back I began taking cinnamin for glucose control.  I was taking 500mg at breakfast and supper.  My blood sugar came very much under control.   What I was not paying attention to was my weight.  I began losing it and presently weigh of 132 lbs with clothing.  I was directed to go on a high fat/protein diet and take my blood sugar once a day.    I am presently up to 138 lbs.  I eat little sauturated fat, primarily fish, low fat red meat, nuts, greens, and 1.5 avocados a day.
  • john coapman says:
    So why bother with report if there is no definite results
  • Phil. says:
    Isn't celon cinnamon better than regular cinnamon?
  • Margie says:
    Perhaps you should mention the growing number of people that have cinnamon allergy. I know three others besides myself with allergic reactions to cinnamon. It is in so many prepared products, it takes lots of label reading.
  • Linda E Allmond says:
    I believe that further research into the two types of cinnamon is in order here. There is Saigon and Ceylon cinnamon. The Ceylon cinnamon has a much lower amount of Coumadin, thus much safer, than the popular Saigon cinnamon.  That is a great place to start the investigation.
  • Janet Christiansen says:
    Very good to know. Thanks for this article.
  • Pete Young says:
    Cinnamomum cassia, and Cinnamomum verum are two vastly different biochemical substances.  Before making a blanket statement that Cinnamon is good or bad, you should do some REAL research and find out what you are talking about. It has been my experience (70 plus years worth), that people tend to jump to conclusions on the recommendation of someone whom they hold to be an expert, rather than going through the painstaking process of making a proof by their own research.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *