Cinnamon is a spice made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, and is widely popular and has been linked to some impressive health benefits, including a lower risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. But there are some side effects of cassia cinnamon as well.
The two main types of cinnamon are:
Cassia: Also called “regular” cinnamon, this is the most commonly used type.
Ceylon: Known as the “real” cinnamon, Ceylon has a lighter and less bitter taste.
Cassia Cinnamon is popularly found in supermarkets, since it is much cheaper than Ceylon cinnamon.
Although eating Cassia Cinnamon is safe in small to moderate amounts, eating too much can cause health problems. This is because Cassia Cinnamon contains high amounts of a compound called coumarin.
Research has found that eating too much coumarin can damage the liver and increase the risk of cancer. Lets discuss cinnamon side effects.
- 1 What are the Side Effects of Cassia Cinnamon? [Cassia Cinnamon Side Effects]
- 1.1 How Cassia Cinnamon Cause Liver Damage?
- 1.2 Does Cassia Cinnamon Increase the Risk of Cancer?
- 1.3 Can Cassia Cinnamon Cause Canker Sores?
- 1.4 Can Cassia Cinnamon Cause Low Blood Sugar?
- 1.5 It Can Cause Respiratory Problems
- 1.6 Can Interact with Certain Medications
- 1.7 What are the Risks of Eating Dry Cinnamon?
- 2 How Much Cassia Cinnamon Is Too Much?
What are the Side Effects of Cassia Cinnamon? [Cassia Cinnamon Side Effects]
How Cassia Cinnamon Cause Liver Damage?
Cassia Cinnamon or “regular” cinnamon is a very rich source of coumarin.
It contains approximately 5 mg of coumarin per teaspoon (2 grams), while Ceylon cinnamon contains only small amounts of this compound.
The recommended daily limit of coumarin is approximately 0.05 mg / lb (0.1 mg / kg) of body weight, or 5 mg per day for a 130 lb (60 kg) person. This means that only one to one and a half teaspoons of Cassia Cinnamon could exceed the daily limit.
For example, a 73-year-old woman developed a sudden liver infection that caused liver damage after taking cinnamon supplements for only a week. However, this case involved supplements that provided a higher dose than would be obtained only through diet.
Does Cassia Cinnamon Increase the Risk of Cancer?
Studies in animals have shown that eating too much coumarin, which translates to enough Cassia Cinnamon, may increase the risk of certain cancers.
Unfortunately, the way in which coumarin can cause tumors is not yet clear.
However, some scientists believe that coumarin can damage certain organs repeatedly. Over time, the damage can cause healthy cells to be replaced by tumor cells, which can become cancerous.
Can Cassia Cinnamon Cause Canker Sores?
Some people have had sores in their mouth from eating too much cinnamon.
Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that can trigger an allergic reaction when consumed in large quantities. Small amount of the spice do not seem to cause this reaction, since saliva prevents chemicals from remaining in contact with the mouth for a long time.
Other symptoms of an allergy to cinnamaldehyde, apart from sores in the mouth, usually have swelling of the gum or tongue, burning or itching and white spots in the mouth. While these symptoms are not necessarily serious, they can cause discomfort.
However, it is important to keep in mind that cinnamaldehyde will only cause mouth sores if you are allergic to this compound. You can take a test to find out if this is your case, for example, an epicutaneous test (patch test).
In addition, sores in the mouth seem to mainly affect those who use too much cinnamon oil and cinnamon-flavored gum, since these products may contain more cinnamaldehyde.
Can Cassia Cinnamon Cause Low Blood Sugar?
Having high levels of chronic blood sugar is a health problem. If left untreated, it can lead to diabetes, heart disease and many other health problems.
Consume this spice in regulated portions, cinnamon can reduce blood sugar. Studies have found that the spice can mimic the effects of insulin, a hormone that helps eliminate sugar from the blood.
While eating a little cinnamon can help lower blood sugar, eating it too much can make it go down too much. This is called hypoglycemia and can cause fatigue, dizziness and possibly fainting.
People who are at higher risk of having low blood sugar levels from consuming cinnamon are those who take medications for diabetes. This is because cinnamon can potentiate the effects of these medications and cause the blood sugar level to drop drastically.
It Can Cause Respiratory Problems
Eating too much ground cinnamon in a single session can cause respiratory problems.
This is because the spice has a fine texture that can facilitate inhalation. Inhaling it accidentally can cause coughing, retching (violent movement of the stomach, anterior or simultaneous to vomiting) and difficulty in breathing.
In addition, cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon tends to irritate the throat and can cause more respiratory problems.
People with asthma or other medical conditions related to breathing, should take special care to accidentally inhale cinnamon, as they tend to have a higher risk of respiratory problems.
Can Interact with Certain Medications
Cinnamon is safe to eat in small to moderate amounts along with most medications.
However, taking too much cinnamon can be a problem if you are taking medications for diabetes, heart disease or liver disease. This is because cinnamon can interact with these medications, either by enhancing the effects of these medications or by intensifying the spice’s side effects.
For example, Cassia Cinnamon contains high amounts of coumarin, which can cause toxicity and liver damage if consumed in large quantities.
If you are taking medicines that can affect your liver, such as paracetamol, acetaminophen or statins, consuming too much cinnamon can increase the risk of aggravating liver damage.
In addition, cinnamon can help lower blood sugar, so if you take it along with diabetes medications, the spice can increase its effects and make your blood sugar level go down too much.
What are the Risks of Eating Dry Cinnamon?
Since the “cinnamon challenge” has become tremendously popular, many have tried eating large amounts of dried cinnamon.
Eating dried cinnamon can irritate the throat and lungs. It can also cause gagging, strangulation or permanent damage to the lungs.
This is because the lungs cannot break down the fibers in the spice. Which means it can accumulate in the lungs and cause lung inflammation known as aspiration pneumonia.
If aspiration pneumonia is not treated early, the lungs may be permanently marked and possibly collapse.
How Much Cassia Cinnamon Is Too Much?
Cinnamon is generally safe to eat and is linked to many impressive health benefits.
However, eating too much can cause potentially dangerous side effects.
This applies mainly to Cassia Cinnamon because it is a rich source of coumarin. In contrast, Ceylon cinnamon contains only small amounts of coumarin.
In fact, research has found that Cassia Cinnamon, on average, contains 63 times more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon.
The tolerable daily intake of coumarin is 0.5 mg per pound (0.1 mg per kg) of body weight. This is the amount of coumarin you can eat per day without the risk of side effects.
This equals one teaspoon (0.5 to 2 grams) of Cassia cinnamon per day. However, you can eat up to 2.5 teaspoons (5 grams) of Ceylon cinnamon per day. It is important to keep in mind that these amounts are for adults, since children can tolerate less quantities.
After all discussions, we still say that cinnamon is a great spice with enormous benefits. But we have to keep in mind that there is no unmixed blessings on earth. So cassia cinnamon side effects should be kept in mind and cinnamon should be taken properly.