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Cinnamon: Good for Your Pastry, Bad for Your Liver

Cinnamon: Good for Your Pastry, Bad for Your Liver

You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of cinnamon. Regular consumption of cinnamon may promote by good health in several ways including lowering blood sugar, improving digestion, and staving off Alzheimer’s. Then there’s the cinnamon challenge, the stunt where people try to eat an entire tablespoon of dry cinnamon and end up spewing cinnamon while coughing and wheezing. The challenge may or may not be dangerous to your health.

Scientists have recently discovered that consuming too much cinnamon (in other ways besides the cinnamon challenge) may cause liver damage, and now pastry is being regulated in Denmark. You read that right. The amount of cinnamon in cinnamon swirl pastry, a staple at Denmark bakeries, has come under government control.

The most commonly used variety of cinnamon is cassia which contains coumarin, a natural substance found in many plants. High levels of coumarin can cause liver damage. A new recommendation for the consumption of coumarin has been made, 1mg of coumarin per kg of body weight per day. To protect public health, the Danish food authority has limited the amount of cinnamon that can be used in pastry.

You’re probably asking, “So what?” So they use less cinnamon? Well, the people of Denmark aren’t very happy that their traditional swirls are going to taste less cinnamon-y and that the government is sticking its hands in their pastries.

More importantly, the information about the possibility of cinnamon being damaging to the liver is something you probably want to know. Because the health benefits of cinnamon are well-known, some people may be adding large amounts of cinnamon to their diets daily. The U.S. National Library of Medicine warns that too much cassia cinnamon taken along with medications that could cause possible liver damage might increase the chance of liver damage.

It’s smart to try to manage health with natural methods, but it’s also smart to understand that natural methods, when overused or used in certain combinations, can be harmful.

Cinnamon has many health benefits, but if you’re using it specifically for its health benefits, make sure you don’t overuse it. How much is too much? The U.S. National Library of Medicine says it depends on your age, health and other conditions and there “isn’t enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cassia cinnamon.” If you want to take doses of cinnamon daily for health purposes, they recommend you “follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.”

 

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180 comments

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7:47AM PST on Feb 2, 2014

I like a bit of cinnamon in my coffee mostly every day. I'll continue to do this because apparently NOBODY knows how much is bad for you! I've never seen Information on any bottles or packages of cinnamon referring to the "safe" use of it....Fluoride is poison, yet we let them put it in our kids toothpaste....and they are warning us about the dangers of cinnamon? Yikes!

10:11AM PST on Jan 23, 2014

Many great comments. I'm in the 'everything in moderation' camp.
I love cinnamon and will continue to enjoy it.
Thanks for sharing.

12:45AM PST on Jan 17, 2014

The clean air is going ... are we all going to fit on top of the highest mountain peaks and how long will that clean air last ... not very long. Almost every food you eat can be bad for you if you eat too much of it. Now our desserts are under attack. Someday soon they will tell us not to be born because we WILL die if we DO enter this world. Give people the information ... warn them ... then let them eat what they want. Some people eat dirt because they need to stop the pain in their bellies ... they know it will make them sick and maybe kill them ... but they HAVE to eat something! Yes we should feed them ... and much money is spent helping to do just that. But my point is ... from the original saccharine warnings to the most recent available ... know what you are eating, adjust if need when new info comes to you, but realize that most everything at one point or another is going to be bad for you. And take eggs ... not so long ago eggs were big no-no's .... yesterday my internist told me to eat as many eggs as I wanted ... they're good for me. I say EAT cinnamon ... just don't try to eat cups of it!

1:44PM PST on Jan 14, 2014

Good to know.

6:14PM PST on Jan 13, 2014

It would make sense to just use true cinnamon instead of Cassia.

10:19AM PST on Jan 13, 2014

I only have cinnamon in Cinnabon.

8:52AM PST on Jan 13, 2014

Proof that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Thanks for posting.

5:21PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

tyvm...

12:12PM PST on Jan 12, 2014

Interesting.

1:54AM PST on Jan 12, 2014

Hi Denise R and Debbee G.
Thank you for telling us the name of the original cinnamon Cylon cinnamon.
Jamie Oliver spoke about this for ages ago, but I forgot how to find the real genuine stuff.

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