What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body

What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body – Medically reviewed by Atli Arnarson BSc, PhD – by Ryan Raman, MS, RD – Updated February 7, 2023

They are very popular and have been linked to health benefits such as improved blood sugar control and lowering some risk factors for heart disease (1,

What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body

What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body

While Cassia cinnamon is safe to eat in small to moderate amounts, eating too much of it may cause health problems because it contains high amounts of a compound called coumarin.

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Research has found that eating too much coumarin may harm the liver and increase the risk of cancer (

The coumarin content in ground Cassia cinnamon may range from 7 to 18 milligrams per teaspoon (2.6 grams), while Ceylon cinnamon contains only trace amounts of coumarin (6).

The tolerable daily intake of coumarin is about 0.05 mg/lb (0.1 mg/kg) body weight, or 5 mg per day for a 130-pound (59 kg) person. This means that just one teaspoon of cassia cinnamon can put you over your daily limit (

For example, a 73-year-old woman developed a sudden liver infection that caused liver damage after taking cinnamon supplements for just one week (

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). However, this case involved supplements that provide a higher dose than you would get from diet alone.

Summary: Regular cinnamon contains high amounts of coumarin. Studies have shown that consuming too much coumarin may increase the risk of liver toxicity and damage.

Animal studies have shown that eating too much coumarin, which is abundant in Cassia cinnamon, may increase the risk of some types of cancer (

What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body

For example, studies in rodents have found that eating too much coumarin can cause cancerous tumors to develop in the lungs, liver, and kidneys (8, 9, 10).

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Most research on the carcinogenic effects of coumarin has been done in animals. More human research is needed to see if the same relationship between cancer and coumarin applies to humans.

Summary Animal studies have found that coumarin may increase the risk of some types of cancer. However, more research is needed to determine if this also applies to humans.

Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that may cause an allergic reaction when consumed in large quantities. Small amounts of spices do not appear to cause this reaction, because saliva prevents the chemicals from remaining in contact with the mouth for too long.

However, it is important to note that cinnamaldehyde will not cause mouth ulcers unless you are allergic to it. You can test for this type of allergy with a skin patch test (

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Also, mouth ulcers seem to mostly affect those who use a lot of cinnamon oil and cinnamon-flavored gum, as these products can contain more cinnamaldehyde.

Summary: Some people are allergic to a compound found in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde, which can cause mouth ulcers. However, this seems to mostly affect people who use a lot of cinnamon oil or chewing gum, as these products contain more cinnamaldehyde.

Chronically high blood sugar is a health problem. If left untreated, it can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and many other health problems (16).

What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body

Cinnamon is known for its ability to lower blood sugar. Studies have found that the spice can mimic the effects of insulin, a hormone that helps remove sugar from the blood (

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While eating a little cinnamon may help lower blood sugar, eating too much may lead to severe low blood sugar. This is called hypoglycemia. It can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and possibly fainting (

People most at risk of developing low blood sugar are those who take medications for diabetes. This is because cinnamon may enhance the effects of these medications and cause blood sugar to drop too low.

Summary: While eating cinnamon may help lower your blood sugar, eating too much of it may cause it to drop too low, especially if you take medication for diabetes. Common symptoms of low blood sugar are fatigue, dizziness, and fainting.

This is because the spice has a smooth texture that is easy to inhale. Accidentally inhaling it can cause:

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People with asthma or other medical conditions that affect breathing should be especially careful about accidentally inhaling cinnamon, as they are more likely to have breathing problems.

Summary: Eating too much ground cinnamon in one sitting may cause breathing problems. The smooth texture of the spice makes it easy to inhale and irritate the throat, which can cause coughing, vomiting, and difficulty catching your breath.

However, eating too much may be a problem if you take medications for diabetes, heart disease, or liver disease. This is because cinnamon may interact with these medications, either enhancing their effects or worsening their side effects.

What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body

For example, Cassia cinnamon contains high amounts of coumarin, which can cause liver toxicity and damage if consumed in large quantities (

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If you take medicines that may affect the liver, such as paracetamol, acetaminophen and statins, excessive intake of cinnamon may increase the chance of liver damage (

Also, cinnamon may help lower blood sugar, so if you take medications for diabetes, the spice may enhance their effects and cause your blood sugar to drop too low.

Summary: If cinnamon is taken in large amounts, it may interact with medications for diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. It may either enhance their effects or increase their side effects.

Since the “cinnamon challenge” became widely popular, many have tried eating large amounts of dried cinnamon.

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This challenge involves eating a tablespoon of dry, ground cinnamon in less than a minute without drinking water (22).

Eating dry cinnamon can irritate the throat and lungs, and may make you vomit or choke. It can also permanently damage your lungs.

This is because the lungs cannot break down the fiber found in the spice. It may accumulate in the lungs and cause lung inflammation known as aspiration pneumonia (23,

What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body

Summary: While consuming large amounts of dried cinnamon may seem harmless, it can be very dangerous. If cinnamon gets into your lungs, it cannot be broken down and may cause infection and permanent lung damage.

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Cinnamon is generally safe to use in small amounts as a spice. It is associated with many impressive health benefits.

This mostly applies to Cassia cinnamon as it is a rich source of coumarin. Conversely, Ceylon cinnamon contains only trace amounts of coumarin.

The recommended daily dose of coumarin is 0.05 mg per pound (0.1 mg per kg) of body weight. This is the amount of coumarin you can take per day without the risk of side effects (

This equates to up to 8 mg of coumarin per day for an adult weighing 178 pounds (81 kg). For reference, the amount of coumarin in a teaspoon (2.5 grams) of ground Cassia cinnamon ranges from 7 to 18 mg (6). Keep in mind that children may tolerate less than this.

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Although Ceylon cinnamon contains only trace amounts of coumarin, excessive intake should be avoided. Cinnamon contains many other plant compounds that may have harmful effects when consumed in large quantities. Use all cinnamon in moderation as a spice.

Summary: Adults should avoid consuming more than one teaspoon of cassia cinnamon per day. Children may tolerate less than that.

While eating small to moderate amounts is safe, eating too much may cause side effects. This is mostly true of cassia or “regular” cinnamon because they contain high amounts of coumarin, which has been linked to conditions such as liver damage and cancer.

What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body

While eating too much cinnamon may have some drawbacks, it is a healthy spice and safe to eat in small to moderate amounts. Eating less than the recommended daily intake is more than enough to provide you with its health benefits.

Benefits Of Cinnamon

Our experts are constantly monitoring the health and wellness industry, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. Medically Reviewed by Amy Richter, RD, Nutrition – by Joe Leech, MS – Updated October 24, 2023

Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. Some research suggests that it may help you manage blood sugar, protect against heart disease, and reduce inflammation.

In recent years, modern science has begun to confirm many of the potential health benefits associated with cinnamon.

It has been used as an ingredient throughout history, dating back to ancient Egypt. It was rare and valuable and considered a suitable gift for kings.

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These days, cinnamon is affordable and widely available in most supermarkets. It is also found as an ingredient in various foods and recipes.

Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of cinnamon trees. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed.

When it dries, it forms strips that roll into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. These sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder.

What Does Cinnamon Do In Your Body

The distinctive aroma and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part, which contains a very high percentage of cinnamaldehyde (2).

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Scientists believe that this compound is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism (

Summary Cinnamon is a popular spice. It is high in cinnamaldehyde, which is believed to be responsible for most of cinnamon’s health benefits.

One study found that cinnamon supplements can significantly increase blood antioxidant levels while reducing levels of markers used to measure inflammation, such as C-reactive protein.

In fact, cinnamon’s antioxidant effects are so powerful that it can be used as a natural food preservative (

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It might be cinnamon

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