A 2012 article published in “Diabetic Medicine” uncovered beneficial effects on diabetic complications, with no toxicity to the liver and kidneys when using cinnamon. However, there may be an issue with toxicity when using Cassia. Cinnamon has been extensively studied for its health benefits, and in another 2012, a study was published in the “International Journal of Preventive Medicine”, where diabetic patients were given a small dose (3 grams) of an unspecified cinnamon supplement per week or a placebo. At the end of the trial, the subjects who were receiving cinnamon supplements experienced improvements in their blood sugar and triglycerides, and they had lost weight when compared to the placebo group.
An important distinction of Ceylon cinnamon is due to a chemical called coumarin, a natural plant chemical that acts to thin blood. There are much higher concentrations of this chemical in Cassia than any other cinnamon. People who are currently prescribed blood thinners are not recommended to use cinnamon as it is toxic to the liver and kidneys. Due to Ceylon having a sweeter, more delicate flavor than Cassia, it makes it preferable when flavoring desserts and light dishes.
What Is Coumarin?
Coumarin is a colorless crystalline solid with a sweet odor, which resembles vanilla, and it has a bitter taste. It is found in many plants, where it serves as a chemical defense against predators.
Coumarin grows in very small quantities, and a synthetic process has been achieved to obtain coumarin. If it is consumed in large doses, coumarin may cause liver and kidney problems, but it has relatively low toxicity compared to other compounds. True cinnamon only contains a trace of coumarin. In contrast, other types of cinnamon may have up to 18 – 400 times more, according to the May 2013 issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry”.
Although cinnamon coumarin is not currently regulated in the United States, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, however, reported that a person weighing 132 pounds would consume the maximum intake of coumarin recommended by the European Union when only eating 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of cassia cinnamon daily.
Ceylon cinnamon also contains antioxidant compounds called proanthocyanins. Much research is being done to look at the health benefits of these compounds, although it is known that having a diet with a lot of vegetables and fruits helps to reduce the risk for many types of cancer. It can also lower the risk of other age-related problems.
Opt For Ceylon Over Cassia
If you want to use cinnamon daily, then it is better to use Ceylon instead of Cassia. When choosing the Ceylon variety, remember, more is not necessarily better. It can be used in moderation for culinary and medicinal purposes, although you should monitor any health conditions with your physician. Typically, Ceylon will be labeled, and other powered cinnamon will not be. To recognize between whole cinnamon sticks — which is the plant bark — Ceylon cinnamon will be thinner and multilayered when compared to the thicker bark of Cassia.