PHYSICAL HEALTH

6 Side Effects of Too Much Cinnamon

Written by Ryan Raman, MS, RD on September 26, 2019

Cinnamon is a spice made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree.

It’s widely popular and has been linked to some impressive health benefits, including a lower risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (12Trusted Source).

The two main types of cinnamon are:

  • Cassia: Also called “regular” cinnamon, this is the most commonly used type.
  • Ceylon: Known as “true” cinnamon, Ceylon has a lighter and less bitter taste.

Cassia cinnamon is more commonly found in supermarkets, given that it’s much cheaper than Ceylon cinnamon.

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

Research has found that eating too much coumarin may harm your liver and increase the risk of cancer (3Trusted Source45Trusted Source).

Furthermore, eating too much Cassia cinnamon has been linked to many other side effects.

Here are 6 possible side effects of eating too much Cassia cinnamon.

1. May Cause Liver Damage

Scoop of Cinnamon

Cassia (or regular) cinnamon is a rich source of coumarin.

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

The tolerable daily intake of coumarin is approximately 0.05 mg/pound (0.1 mg/kg) of body weight, or 5 mg per day for a 130-pound (59-kg) person. This means that just 1 teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon could put you over the daily limit (3Trusted Source).

Unfortunately, several studies have found that eating too much coumarin may cause liver toxicity and damage (45Trusted Source).

For example, a 73-year-old woman developed a sudden liver infection causing liver damage after taking cinnamon supplements for only 1 week (7Trusted Source). However, this case involved supplements that provided a higher dose than you would get from diet alone.

SUMMARYRegular cinnamon contains high amounts of coumarin. Studies have shown that eating too much coumarin may increase the risk of liver toxicity and damage.

2. May Increase the Risk of Cancer

Animal studies have shown that eating too much coumarin, which is abundant in Cassia cinnamon, may increase the risk of certain cancers (3Trusted Source).

For example, studies in rodents have found that eating too much coumarin can cause cancerous tumors to develop in the lungs, liver, and kidneys (8910Trusted Source).

The way in which coumarin may cause tumors is unclear.

However, some scientists believe that coumarin causes DNA damage over time, increasing the risk of cancer (11).

Most research on the cancerous effects of coumarin has been performed on animals. More human-based research is needed to see if the same link between cancer and coumarin applies to humans.

SUMMARYAnimal studies have found that coumarin may increase the risk of certain cancers. However, more research is needed to determine whether this also applies to humans.

3. May Cause Mouth Sores

Some people have experienced mouth sores from eating products that contain cinnamon flavoring agents (1213Trusted Source14Trusted Source).

Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that may trigger an allergic reaction when consumed in large amounts. Small amounts of the spice don’t seem to cause this reaction, as saliva prevents chemicals from staying in contact with the mouth for too long.

In addition to mouth sores, other symptoms of a cinnamaldehyde allergy include:

  • tongue or gum swelling
  • a burning or itching sensation
  • white patches in the mouth

While these symptoms aren’t necessarily serious, they can cause discomfort (14Trusted Source).

However, it’s important to note that cinnamaldehyde will only cause mouth sores if you’re allergic to it. You can get tested for this type of allergy with a skin patch test (15Trusted Source).

Also, mouth sores seem to mostly affect those who use too much cinnamon oil and cinnamon-flavored chewing gums, as these products can contain more cinnamaldehyde.

SUMMARYSome people are allergic to a compound in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde, which can cause mouth sores. However, this seems to mostly affect people who use too much cinnamon oil or chewing gum, as these products contain more cinnamaldehyde.

4. May Cause Low Blood Sugar

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

Cinnamon is well-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 (17Trusted Source18Trusted Source19Trusted Source).

While eating a bit of cinnamon may help lower your blood sugar, eating too much may cause it to fall too low. This is called hypoglycemia. It can lead to tiredness, dizziness, and possibly fainting (20Trusted Source).

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

SUMMARYWhile eating cinnamon may help lower your blood sugar, eating too much may cause it to fall too low, especially if you’re on medication for diabetes. Common symptoms of low blood sugar are tiredness, dizziness, and fainting.

5. May Cause Breathing Problems

Eating too much ground cinnamon in a single sitting may cause breathing problems.

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

  • coughing
  • gagging
  • difficulty when trying to catch your breath

Also, the cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon is a throat irritant. It may cause further breathing problems (21).

People with asthma or other medical conditions that affect breathing need to be especially careful of accidentally inhaling cinnamon, as they are more likely to experience trouble breathing.

SUMMARYEating too much ground cinnamon in a single sitting may cause breathing problems. The fine texture of the spice makes it easy to inhale and irritate the throat, which may cause coughing, gagging, and trouble catching your breath.

6. May Interact with Certain Medications

Cinnamon is safe to eat in small to moderate amounts with most medications.

However, taking too much may be an issue if you’re taking medication for diabetes, heart disease, or liver disease. This is because cinnamon may interact with those medications, either enhancing their effects or intensifying their side effects.

For example, Cassia cinnamon contains high amounts of coumarin, which can cause liver toxicity and damage if consumed in high amounts (3Trusted Source45Trusted Source).

If you’re taking medications that may affect your liver, such as paracetamol, acetaminophen, and statins, excessive intake of cinnamon may increase the chance of liver damage (7Trusted Source).

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

SUMMARYIf eaten in large amounts, cinnamon may interact with medications for diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. It may either enhance their effects or increase their side effects.

Risks of Eating Dry Cinnamon

Since the “cinnamon challenge” has become wildly popular, many have attempted to eat large amounts of dry cinnamon.

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

While it may sound harmless, the challenge can be very dangerous.

Eating dry cinnamon can irritate your throat and lungs, as well as make you gag or choke. It can also permanently damage your lungs.

This is because the lungs cannot break down the fibers in the spice. It may accumulate in the lungs and cause lung inflammation known as aspiration pneumonia (2324Trusted Source).

If aspiration pneumonia is left untreated, the lungs may become permanently scarred and possibly collapse (24Trusted Source).

SUMMARYWhile eating large amounts of dry cinnamon might seem harmless, it can be very dangerous. If cinnamon reaches your lungs, it can’t be broken down and may cause an infection and permanent lung damage.

How Much Is Too Much?

Cinnamon is generally safe to use in small amounts as a spice. It’s linked to many impressive health benefits.

However, eating too much may cause potentially dangerous side effects.

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

The tolerable daily intake for coumarin is 0.05 mg per pound (0.1 mg per kg) of body weight. This is how much coumarin you can eat in a day without the risk of side effects (3Trusted Source).

This equates up to 8 mg of coumarin per day for an adult weighing 178 pounds (81 kilograms). For reference, the amount of coumarin in 1 teaspoon (2.5 grams) of ground Cassia cinnamon ranges from 7 to 18 mg (6). Keep in mind that children may tolerate even less.

Although Ceylon cinnamon contains only trace amounts of coumarin, excessive intake should be avoided. Cinnamon contains numerous other plant compounds that may have adverse effects when consumed in high amounts. Use all cinnamon sparingly as a spice.

SUMMARYAdults should avoid eating more than 1 teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon per day. Children may tolerate even less.

The Bottom Line

Cinnamon is a delicious spice, linked to many health benefits.

While eating small to moderate amounts is safe, eating too much may cause side effects. This mostly applies to Cassia or “regular” cinnamon because it contains high amounts of coumarin, which has been linked to conditions like liver damage and cancer.

On the other hand, Ceylon or “true” cinnamon only contains trace amounts of coumarin.

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

Article source


Paid Link

US Organic 100% Pure Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil – USDA Certified Organic, Steam Distilled – W/Euro Dropper (More Size Variations Available) (15 ml / .5 fl oz) by US Organic Group Corp


Categories: PHYSICAL HEALTH

Tagged as: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.