Q. I am concerned about using cinnamon to stabilize blood sugar because I’ve never seen a reference as to which type of cinnamon works. There are several different types of cinnamon that come from different plants.
If you were buying cinnamon in a store, how would you know which type you were getting? Please tell me genus, species and how to find it in the market.

A. Cinnamomum cassia, the cheap kind commonly found in the supermarket, was used in the initial study that showed it lowered blood sugar after a meal (Diabetes Care, Dec. 2003). True cinnamon, known as Cinnamomum verum, has very little effect (Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sept., 2007).
We’d discourage you from taking high doses of supermarket cinnamon on a daily basis because it may contain variable levels of coumarin. This compound can be toxic to the liver.
A water-based extract (Cinnulin PF) reduces blood sugar although it does not contain coumarin (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Feb., 2009). You can create your own water-based solution by pouring boiling water over cinnamon in a coffee filter, either with or without coffee grounds.

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  1. Marie
    Reply

    I ordered cinnamon capsules online they are 1000 mg taken 2-3 times a day would this be too much on the liver? They had other brands with the same dosage, a higher dosage, and one or two with a 500 mg dosage but they were more expensive.

  2. Anonymous
    Reply

    My question is that how does it lower blood sugar when it have carbohydrates? Can someone answer for me please?
    People’s Pharmacy response: Cinnamon itself actually has very little carbohydrate and almost no calories. The active compounds are proanthocyanidins. Do keep it mind that cassia cinnamon from the supermarket probably contains coumarin that could damage the liver if taken on a regular basis.

  3. Erin
    Reply

    Jean is it a liquid? put a few drops in your water. if they are gel pills take with a meal.

  4. Jean
    Reply

    I just bought cinnamon extract from a health food store to help control my prediabetic blood sugar levels. It was very inexpensive. I do not know how to use it though. Please help.
    Thank you.

  5. Karen
    Reply

    I read an article in Prevention magazine featuring a report from the USDA Beltville
    Human Nutrition Research Center regarding a study they had completed. They suggested using about 1/6 of a teaspoon at breakfast, lunch and dinner for a daily total of about a 1/2 teaspoon a day. They said to tell your Dr if you are on statins or
    diabetes medication to be sure this doesn’t decrease your numbers too much. People who were in the study had reductions of blood sugar and blood fats 12 to 30% in 40 days.
    They didn’t encourage using more than 1/2 a teaspoon a day.

  6. GB
    Reply

    I am not diabetic but struggle with hypoglycemia. I have been using extra cinnamon on my cereal in the morning. Since it sounds like it lowers blood sugar should I stop using extra cinnamon. Does it only lower blood sugar or does it also help regulate blood sugar?
    People’s Pharmacy response: The research has focused on preventing blood sugar spikes after meals. We don’t have good research on whether it helps moderate blood sugar swings.

  7. Susan E.
    Reply

    Cinnamon is used commonly in our cuisine, especially in cooking meats and also in rice dishes such as Bisi Bele Bath.
    Our cinnamon is fragrant and sweet to taste.
    Bought a bottle of powdered Saigon Cinnamon recently on a visit to USA. Will try it in lemon tea. I understand that the harmful chemicals are not water soluble and if you throw out the residue after steeping the powder, you get the benefits without the ill effects.

  8. jay d.
    Reply

    I have read that cinnamon can be a help for high cholesterol sufferers as well but can’t find anything “official” which agrees or disagrees. Anyone know a good resource that can confirm this?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: SOME RESEARCH INDICATES THAT THIS IS TRUE, BUT IT WOULD BE GOOD TO HAVE MORE.

  9. mbr
    Reply

    I started using 1 tsp of cinnamon on my cereal after a “manage your cholesterol” class. After eating the cereal, I would feel tired and kind of sick, like I ate too much. I stopped for about 1 year and recently tried this again and have the same problem. Is the cinnamon lowering my blood sugar too much? I’ve eaten the same cereal without the cinnamon and experience no ill affects.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE ARE ADVOCATES OF LISTENING TO YOUR BODY. IF IT MAKES YOU FEEL ILL, DON’T CONTINUE WITH THE CINNAMON.

  10. KG
    Reply

    Spouse has elevated (pre-diabetic) sugar levels but is not overweight. Disease is prevalent in his immediate family. Other comments on this website indicate that you should use the liquid (cinnulin) instead of the powdered. PF, can you please confirm if we can use the powdered version safely?

  11. D M
    Reply

    You have mentioned taking high dozes of cinnamon (the supermarket kind) is harmful. What is high dosage? Is 1 teaspoon daily a high dosage?

  12. Janie
    Reply

    A friend of mine told me that cinnamon capsules are good for lowering blood sugar. She told me that you can find it almost anywhere, but, she mentioned getting it at Wal-Mart and that her sister lost 50 lbs while on it for her type 2 Diabetes.

  13. Jayhawke
    Reply

    Been taken Cinnamon 500mg twice daily for years- am a type2 – research found online from INDIA and NEW ZEALAND (real independent studies) have found that cinnamon INCREASES the action of your bodies own insulin.

  14. Peggy
    Reply

    I am still using the Kirkland brand Saigon Cinnamon and after my last check up 2 months ago I am in the best of health. Liver, kidneys, etc. I am also diabetic which is under control by diet. I use 2 heaping tsp. on a double portion of oatmeal, (which I eat only a small amount each AM) and have for a year. I also put 2 tsp. in a 10 cup pot of coffee, with the grounds. Every once in awhile I put a half tsp. of cinnamon in a small glass of water and drink. This is when I feel I overdid the sugars.

  15. jw
    Reply

    I eat cinnamon toast each morning along with oatmeal (which I also sprinkle with varied amounts of cinnamon. Is this too much store bought cinnamon to consume???

  16. Kim
    Reply

    I had read about taking Cinnamon a few years ago and I put about 1/2 teasp in my coffee each morning. I thought buying the REAL thing at health food store would be the best, so this article was very helpful, letting me to know to buy the cheap grocery store brand.
    Having high blood pressure, thought this would be better than taking an aspirin a day.

  17. cpmty
    Reply

    I THINK (but I am not sure) Ceylon or Asian cinnamon is the cassia which is the one used in India to lower sugar. the problem is that in the stores don’t tell you which/what kind they are selling.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: CASSIA CINNAMON IS THE ONE. IT IS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN “TRUE” CINNAMON, SO IT IS OFTEN WHAT YOU FIND IN THE GROCERY STORE.

  18. D.R.
    Reply

    How do the cinnamon supplements (500mg) fit into this? I have been taking them in the hope that they would keep the blood sugar numbers down.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: HAVE THEY HELPED?

  19. Paul43
    Reply

    I also use Powdered cinnamon on my cereal–what should I look for?

  20. jogger4ever
    Reply

    I am a diabetic but considered diet controlled for the past 4 years. I do not take medication, watch my blood sugar each am and see an endocronologist every 6 months for tests. I take a teaspoon of cinnamon with my oatmeal each am but it does not indicate Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum verum.
    It’s relatively cheap and sells under the Kirkland brand at Costco as Ground Saigon Cinnamon. My doctor is aware that I take cinnamon daily, among other things, but how do I know this is the right kind of cinnamon??

  21. cm
    Reply

    What about cinnamon from Ceylon? I heard it doesn’t have coumarin, but does it lower blood sugar?

  22. Reg
    Reply

    Hello. I’ve been taking the supermarket variety for a few years. Can you tell me what you mean by “high doses”? Thanks!
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: MORE THAN A COUPLE OF TEASPOONS A DAY FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD–A FEW YEARS WOULD QUALIFY. HAVE YOUR LIVER ENZYMES BEEN TESTED?

  23. RobLL
    Reply

    From what I have read the likely action of cinnamon is delaying stomach emptying. Some might find this helpful. It in effect lengthens the time of the conversion of carbs in diet to glucose in the blood stream. Other vulnerable to GERD may not find it helpful. Delayed stomach emptying can complicate calculating insulin doses and timing.

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