Research: A spoonful of cinnamon may help make you thin

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Cinnamon works!  Give it a try but consider using Ceylon cinnamon because it is safer at higher doses.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon

You have heard me say a million times that there is no quick fix when it comes to weight loss.  Because being overweight or obese is so prevalent, the epidemic and potential cures are a favorite of the nightly news anchors.  You can’t escape it.  Although there is not a miracle pill or cure, there are many things that can help you and one of them might just be a common spice out of your kitchen cabinets.  

First and foremost, let me make sure you do not miss this key point, so let me speak a little louder.  This tip does not absolve you from the need to watch what you eat or allow you not to exercise.  Louder: YOU WILL STILL NEED TO EXERCISE AND WATCH WHAT YOU EAT.  

Is cinnamon safe?  Yes.  Generally speaking, cinnamon is safe for you.  You should still consult a medical provider to ensure that it will not interact with your medication.  Cassia cinnamon or —— can be hard on you liver so naturally, you should not take more than 2 grams and you should limit other medication that may be hard on your liver.  An excellent resource on cinnamon is from the NIH.

Caution: Use caution when adding cinnamon to you diet when you are on medications that are metabolized in the liver.  Medications that can harm the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol), carbamazepine (Tegretol), isoniazid (INH), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), methyldopa (Aldomet), fluconazole (Diflucan), erythromycin, phenytoin (Dilantin), pravastatin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor).  This list is not complete by any means.  These are just a few of the common medications that came to mind for me; there are hundreds of others.  Discuss taking cinnamon with your medical provider.  

You must also be careful with medications that alter your blood pressure or sugar.  Both of these can result in an even lower value or make you bottom out your blood pressure or sugar.  

Cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder in wooden scoop

Cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder in wooden scoop

How does cinnamon effect your body weight?  Well, it does not necessarily change weight but body fat stores.  This change is what you really want anyway.  

Mechanism of cinnamon in reducing body weight?

  1. Cinnamon appears to affect insulin levels and resistance.  
    1. Some studies show that cinnamon imitates a form of the activity of insulin and lowers blood sugar[1],[2],[3].  If true, this should reduce insulin spikes and body fat storage.
    2. Other studies show that insulin reduces insulin resistance [4],[5],[6].  A reduction in insulin spikes would make insulin better able to slowly lower blood sugar and would also reduce fat deposition.
  2. Cinnamon slows carbohydrate absorption.  Studies indicate that cinnamon added to your food will reduce the glycemic index of your food by up to 18-29%[7].  This would reduce insulin spikes and body fat storage.
  3. Cinnamon may reduce belly fat.  Not much research out there but if insulin resistance is reduced and insulin resistance increases belly fat, then reducing insulin resistance should reduce belly fat[8].  
  4. Organic Raw Brown Cinnamon

    Organic Raw Brown Cinnamon

    Cinnamon lowers your LDL.  Cinnamon reduces LDL[9],[10].   

  5. Cinnamon suppresses your appetite[11].  

Suggestions on how to add it to your diet:

  1. Supplements – This should be a last resort because who knows what is really in these pills.
  2. Add it to a smoothie in the morning.
  3. Add it to your protein shake.  
  4. Add it to your chili.  
  5. Sprinkle it over fruit.  
  6. Add it to coffee or tea.  
  7. Add it to cereal or oatmeal.  

The bottom line: Cinnamon works!  I started using it about two weeks ago and feel it works.  Give it a try but consider using Ceylon cinnamon because it is safer at higher doses.

Footnotes
[1]Qin, Panickar, and Anderson, “Cinnamon: Potential Role in the Prevention of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes.”
[2]Anderson, “Chromium and Polyphenols from Cinnamon Improve Insulin Sensitivity.”
[3]Sartorius et al., “Cinnamon Extract Improves Insulin Sensitivity in the Brain and Lowers Liver Fat in Mouse Models of Obesity.”
[4]Sheng et al., “Improved Insulin Resistance and Lipid Metabolism by Cinnamon Extract through Activation of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors.”
[5]Qin, Panickar, and Anderson, “Cinnamon: Potential Role in the Prevention of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes.”
[6]Solomon and Blannin, “Changes in Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Sensitivity Following 2 Weeks of Daily Cinnamon Ingestion in Healthy Humans.”
[7]Kirkham et al., “The Potential of Cinnamon to Reduce Blood Glucose Levels in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance.”
[8]Akilen et al., “Glycated Haemoglobin and Blood Pressure-Lowering Effect of Cinnamon in Multi-Ethnic Type 2 Diabetic Patients in the UK: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial.”
[9]Sheng et al., “Improved Insulin Resistance and Lipid Metabolism by Cinnamon Extract through Activation of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors.”
[10]Khan et al., “Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes.”
[11]Markey et al., “Effect of Cinnamon on Gastric Emptying, Arterial Stiffness, Postprandial Lipemia, Glycemia, and Appetite Responses to High-Fat Breakfast.”
Akilen, R., A. Tsiami, D. Devendra, and N. Robinson. “Glycated Haemoglobin and Blood Pressure-Lowering Effect of Cinnamon in Multi-Ethnic Type 2 Diabetic Patients in the UK: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial.” Diabetic Medicine 27, no. 10 (July 5, 2010): 1159–67. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2010.03079.x
Anderson, Richard A. “Chromium and Polyphenols from Cinnamon Improve Insulin Sensitivity.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 67, no. 01 (January 30, 2008): 48–53. doi: 10.1017/s0029665108006010
Khan, A., M. Safdar, M. M. Ali Khan, K. N. Khattak, and R. A. Anderson. “Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care 26, no. 12 (November 21, 2003): 3215–18. doi: 10.2337/diacare.26.12.3215
Kirkham, S., R. Akilen, S. Sharma, and A. Tsiami. “The Potential of Cinnamon to Reduce Blood Glucose Levels in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance.” Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism 11, no. 12 (December 2009): 1100–1113. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2009.01094.x
Markey, Oonagh, Conor M McClean, Paul Medlow, Gareth W Davison, Tom R Trinick, Ellie Duly, and Amir Shafat. “Effect of Cinnamon on Gastric Emptying, Arterial Stiffness, Postprandial Lipemia, Glycemia, and Appetite Responses to High-Fat Breakfast.” Cardiovascular Diabetology 10, no. 1 (2011): 78. doi: 10.1186/1475-2840-10-78
Qin, Bolin, Kiran S. Panickar, and Richard A. Anderson. “Cinnamon: Potential Role in the Prevention of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes.” Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology 4, no. 3 (May 2010): 685–93. doi: 10.1177/193229681000400324
Sartorius, Tina, Andreas Peter, Nadja Schulz, Andrea Drescher, Ina Bergheim, Jürgen Machann, Fritz Schick, et al. “Cinnamon Extract Improves Insulin Sensitivity in the Brain and Lowers Liver Fat in Mouse Models of Obesity.” Edited by Kathrin Maedler. PLoS ONE 9, no. 3 (March 18, 2014): e92358. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092358
Sheng, Xiaoyan, Yuebo Zhang, Zhenwei Gong, Cheng Huang, and Ying Qin Zang. “Improved Insulin Resistance and Lipid Metabolism by Cinnamon Extract through Activation of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors.” PPAR Research 2008 (2008): 1–9. doi: 10.1155/2008/581348
Solomon, Thomas P. J., and Andrew K. Blannin. “Changes in Glucose Tolerance and Insulin Sensitivity Following 2 Weeks of Daily Cinnamon Ingestion in Healthy Humans.” European Journal of Applied Physiology 105, no. 6 (January 22, 2009): 969–76. doi: 10.1007/s00421-009-0986-9
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About the Author

ChuckH

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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