What Does Ceylon Cinnamon Do For Your Body?

Written by: Pard Bharaj



Time to read 14 min

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Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. 

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially if you have existing health conditions.


Ceylon cinnamon, often referred to as "true cinnamon," has been coveted for centuries not only for its flavour but also for its impressive array of health benefits. Unlike Cassia cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon boasts a lower coumarin content, making it a safer choice for regular consumption.

In this article, I will discuss “what does ceylon cinnamon do for your body”, drawing on scientific studies and expert quotes to provide a comprehensive overview. From its potential to regulate blood sugar levels and support heart health, to its antioxidant properties and neuroprotective effects, Ceylon cinnamon can have a significant impact on health.

Ceylon Cinnamon - Interesting Facts:

  • Historical Value: Originating from Sri Lanka, Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) was once considered a gift for monarchs and gods due to its high value.

  • Trade Secret: The source of Ceylon cinnamon was a closely guarded secret by ancient spice traders to maintain their lucrative monopoly.

  • Safety Profile: It has low coumarin levels, making it safer for regular use compared to Cassia cinnamon, which contains higher amounts of this potentially harmful compound.

  • Comprehensive Health Benefits: Known for improving insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, reducing cholesterol, providing antioxidants, and offering potential neuroprotective effects against diseases like Alzheimer's.

  • Cultural and Mythical Significance: Used in ancient Egypt for embalming and mentioned in the Bible, for being used as an anointing oil.

Difference between Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon:

Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon are the two most common types of cinnamon, but they differ in several aspects, including their origin, flavour, appearance, and health implications.

  • Origin: Ceylon cinnamon, also known as Cinnamomum verum or "true cinnamon," is native to Sri Lanka and southern parts of India. Cassia cinnamon, or Cinnamomum cassia, commonly referred to as "regular" or "Chinese" cinnamon, originates from China and is also cultivated in Indonesia and Vietnam.
  • Flavour and Aroma: Ceylon cinnamon, or "true" cinnamon, has a mild, sweet flavor ideal for desserts and sweet dishes. In contrast, Cassia cinnamon has a stronger, spicier flavor, making it suitable for savory dishes like curries.
  • Coumarin Content: One of the most significant differences is the coumarin content. Ceylon cinnamon contains very low levels of coumarin, a natural compound that can be toxic to the liver and kidneys in high amounts. Cassia cinnamon has much higher levels of coumarin, which can pose health risks if consumed in large quantities over long periods.
  • Health Benefits: Both types of cinnamon offer health benefits, such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. However, due to its lower coumarin content, Ceylon cinnamon is generally considered safer for regular and high-quantity consumption, making it a better choice for individuals seeking the medicinal benefits of cinnamon.
  • Cost: Ceylon cinnamon is often more expensive than Cassia cinnamon. This is due to its superior quality, more labor-intensive harvesting process, and the fact that it is less widely cultivated.

What Does Ceylon Cinnamon Do For Your Body?

1. Blood Sugar Control:

Ceylon cinnamon can influence blood sugar control primarily through its potential to enhance insulin sensitivity. Insulin is the hormone responsible for regulating blood glucose levels, and improving its action can help lower blood sugar levels more efficiently. This is particularly beneficial for individuals managing type 2 diabetes. The active components in Ceylon cinnamon, including cinnamaldehyde and polyphenolic polymers, are thought to mimic the activity of insulin, thereby facilitating glucose uptake by cells.

This not only helps in reducing the circulating blood glucose but may also help to manage the long-term management of glucose levels. Regular consumption of Ceylon cinnamon, might improve glycaemic control, although dosage and long-term effects should be monitored in line with medical advice.

2. Heart Health: 

Ceylon cinnamon can support cardiovascular health through its ability to reagulate several key risk factors. Firstly, it helps reduce levels of total cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and triglycerides. This is primarily attributed to the presence of active compounds such as cinnamaldehyde, which possess antioxidant properties that prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol—a crucial process in the development of atherosclerosis.

Additionally, Ceylon cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that can mitigate chronic inflammation, a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease. By reducing inflammation, cinnamon may lower the risk of heart conditions.

Lastly, cinnamon may aid in managing blood pressure. It is thought to do this by dilating blood vessels; the compounds in cinnamon can interact with the vascular system to relax blood vessel walls, potentially lowering blood pressure.

3. Brain Health:

Ceylon cinnamon shows promise in protecting the brain, particularly in the context of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. The spice's potential benefits stem from its ability to inhibit the accumulation of tau protein in the brain—a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Tau proteins stabilise microtubules when properly functioning, but in Alzheimer's, these proteins become defective and clump together to form neurofibrillary tangles, which is one of the features of the disease.

The active compounds in Ceylon cinnamon, including cinnamaldehyde and various polyphenols, are believed to interfere with the pathways that lead to tau protein misfolding. This interference could help prevent or slow the progression of damage and loss associated with Alzheimer’s.

While this area of cinnamon’s health benefits is still under early research, the existing findings suggest a potentially significant role for Ceylon cinnamon in supporting brain health and mitigating the impacts of neurodegenerative diseases. 

4. Antioxidant Properties: 

Ceylon cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, which play a crucial role in protecting the body from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, leading to cellular damage and inflammation. The high antioxidant content in Ceylon cinnamon, particularly compounds like polyphenols, flavonoids, and cinnamaldehyde, helps neutralise free radicals, which can reduce oxidative stress.

By mitigating oxidative stress, these antioxidants also help lower inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation is a known contributor to various chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders. 

The anti-inflammatory effects of Ceylon cinnamon, helped by antioxidant properties, can contribute to the prevention and management of these chronic conditions.

5. Antimicrobial Activity:

Ceylon cinnamon exhibits significant antimicrobial properties, effectively acting against a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The main compounds responsible for this activity are cinnamaldehyde and eugenol, which are found in the essential oils of cinnamon.

These compounds work by disrupting the cell membranes of microorganisms, inhibiting their growth and preventing their proliferation. This antimicrobial action is particularly useful in food preservation, as adding Ceylon cinnamon can help extend the shelf life of perishable products by preventing spoilage.

Additionally, the antimicrobial properties of Ceylon cinnamon can aid in preventing infections in the body. By combating harmful pathogens, cinnamon can support the immune system and reduce the risk of infections. 

6. Cancer Prevention: 

Some laboratory studies suggest that Ceylon cinnamon may possess anti-cancer properties, primarily through its active compounds like cinnamaldehyde and polyphenols. These compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cancer cells. By promoting apoptosis, Ceylon cinnamon helps eliminate cancerous cells and prevent their proliferation.

Additionally, Ceylon cinnamon extracts have demonstrated the ability to inhibit tumour growth. This is achieved through various mechanisms, including the disruption of cancer cell metabolic processes and the inhibition of angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels that supply nutrients to tumours.

However, while the preliminary results are promising, further research, including clinical trials, is needed to confirm these effects and determine the appropriate usage in cancer treatment and prevention.

7. Hormonal Health:

Ceylon cinnamon may have beneficial effects on hormonal health. Animal studies suggest that cinnamon can help increase testosterone levels in men by reducing oxidative stress in the testes, and improving the function of Leydig cells responsible for testosterone production. However, it is important to note that these findings are preliminary and primarily based on animal models. There is insufficient evidence from human studies to conclusively support this effect.

For women, Ceylon cinnamon has shown potential benefits for conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) by improving insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances.

More human studies are needed to confirm the effects of Ceylon cinnamon on testosterone levels and overall hormonal health in both men and women.

Side Effects and Precautions:

Ceylon cinnamon is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts as part of a regular diet. However, there are certain side effects and precautions to be aware of, particularly when it comes to high doses or long-term use.

  • Low Coumarin Content: One of the primary benefits of Ceylon cinnamon over Cassia cinnamon is its low coumarin content. Coumarin, found in higher levels in Cassia cinnamon, can cause liver and kidney damage if consumed in large quantities. While Ceylon cinnamon contains much less coumarin, it is still wise to consume it in moderation to avoid any potential risks.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic reactions to cinnamon, including skin irritation or gastrointestinal discomfort. Symptoms can include itching, rash, or stomach upset. If you experience any adverse reactions, discontinue use and consult a healthcare provider.
  • Blood Sugar Levels: While Ceylon cinnamon is known for its ability to lower blood sugar levels, this can be a double-edged sword. People with diabetes or those taking medications to manage blood sugar should monitor their levels closely to avoid hypoglycemia. Consult with a healthcare provider before significantly increasing cinnamon intake if you have any blood sugar concerns.
  • Interactions with Medications: Ceylon cinnamon can interact with certain medications. It may enhance the effects of blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants) and medications for diabetes, leading to an increased risk of bleeding or hypoglycemia, respectively. Always inform your healthcare provider about your cinnamon intake if you are on medication.
  • Digestive Issues: In some cases, consuming large amounts of cinnamon can lead to digestive issues such as nausea, stomach cramps, or diarrhoea. It is best to start with small amounts and gradually increase if needed, while observing how your body reacts.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: While moderate culinary use of Ceylon cinnamon is generally safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the effects of consuming it in large medicinal doses are not well-studied. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult with their healthcare provider before using cinnamon supplements or significantly increasing their intake.
  • General Precaution: As with any supplement or dietary change, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking other medications. This helps ensure that adding Ceylon cinnamon to your diet will not cause adverse interactions or side effects.

Dosage Recommendations:

Here's what Dr. Arsalan Aspires recommends:

"Most of the research has studied the effects of anywhere from 1–6 g per day, either as a supplement or powder added to foods. For the cassia. It’s probably best not to exceed 0.5–1 g of Cassia daily, but taking up to 1.2 tsp or roughly 6 grams daily of Ceylon cinnamon is likely safe". 

References and Further Reading:

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Do The Experts Say About What Ceylon Cinnamon Do For Your Body?

Here are some expert quotes and opinons about Ceylon Cinnamon.

Dr. Matt Angove says the following about the benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon.

"Some of the most promising benefits though from cinnamon come from its ability to regulate blood sugars"

"One study in particular from columbia university that showed that these women who consistently took the cinnamon the ceylon cinnamon in a supplemental form that they were able to normalise their mental cycles compared to the women who were just taking the placebo pill"

Dr Josh Axe, says the following about Ceylon Cinnamon.

"One of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest reason, why cinnamon has those health benefits is because it ranks so high on something called ORAC Score, which is really its antioxidant rating."

"In fact, a recent medical study, published from the university, UC Davis, found that supplementing with cinnamon was just as effective as taking a diabetes drug."

"Ceylon cinnamon is the actual cinnamon that you want to be using, and Ceylon cinnamon is better especially internally, and it doesn't have the side effects that cassia may have."

Dr Eric Berg says the following about Cinnamon.

"It is a very powerful spice, it actually has the power to potentiate insulin, which means makes insulin less resistive"

“This is a really good spice to start including in your diet”

"It has one of the highest ORAC values, which is the highest antioxidant values”

Dr. Arsalan Aspires says the following about the benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon. 

"Cinnamon has been shown to be whats called an insulin mimetic, meaning that interestingly, this spice right here, can mimic the effects of insulin. By stimulating the insulin tyrosine kinase receptor (IR), tyrosine auto-phosphorylation, and then, the insulin receptor substrate molecules. Which is great because it can help regulate the glycemia, which is referred to as the concentration of sugar in the blood induced by type 2 diabetes."

"Cinnamon was found in one study, that followed 80 people with PCOS, and noted that taking 1.5 g of cinnamon powder daily for 12 weeks caused a significant reduction in fasting insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity compared with a placebo."

"There are 2 types. You got: ceylon and cassia. And the difference matters. Cassia is going to be the most common cinnamon you find, coming from Indonesia and China. Its less expensive and is a sweeter flavor that people are used to. But the problem with cassia is: its high in coumarin, which may act as a natural blood thinner and too much of it can lead to liver damage. Ceylon, is usually sourced from Sri Lanka, Madagascar and the Seychelles and can be a lot more expensive, its lighter and is more on the spicier side, and you can see has a lot less coumarin, which means it is a safer version if you're thinking of supplementing it."

What else does Ceylon cinnamon do for the body?

  • Boosts Immune System: Its antimicrobial properties help combat infections.
  • Enhances Oral Health: Reduces bad breath and fights oral bacteria.
  • Supports Skin Health: Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects help with acne and skin conditions.
  • Aids in Weight Management: May help boost metabolism and reduce appetite.
  • Improves Joint Health: Anti-inflammatory properties can reduce pain and stiffness.

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