Are you up for the cinnamon challenge? No, I’m not talking about the YouTube Cinnamon Challenge (which is completely ridiculous and could cause you real harm).
I’m talking about using cinnamon to help suppress symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
In a paper published by PLoS One (a rigorously peer-reviewed Open Access journal) in January of 2015, researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago examined the effects of cinnamon on mice models of MS, in accordance with a grant they were awarded by the National Institutes of Health in 2011.
The researchers used Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamonum verum) because it is more pure than the commonly found Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamonum cassia) that is available at most grocery and drug stores. The mice were given experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), the same model of MS that is used in other MS medical trials involving mice.
While there was no decrease in disease incidence observed at a dose of 25 mg/kg body weight, the research showed that giving the mice cinnamon powder at a dose of 50 mg/kg body wt/d or higher significantly suppressed clinical symptoms of EAE. At 100 mg/kg, not only was there significant suppression of clinical symptoms, but a reduction of disease incidence. This suggests that not only could cinnamon help to suppress MS symptoms, but that it may help prevent the onset of multiple sclerosis in the first place.
Cinnamon also preserves the blood brain barrier (BBB) and blood spinal cord barrier (BSB). The researchers tracked the spread of infrared dye in the mice, and noted that the dye was strongly inhibited in mice who received the cinnamon treatment. They also noticed inhibited infiltration of mononuclear cells, inflammation, and demyelination in the spinal cord of the same mice.
Cinnamon’s medicinal history can be traced as far back as far as 2000 B.C. in Ancient Egypt. Today, modern science has shown that it can help reduce blood glucose levels, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in people suffering from Type 2 Diabetes, as well as help with HIV, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Typically, a dose between 1 and 4 grams, taken with food and water, has been shown to be well tolerated and free from side effects, though some people do have an allergic reaction. Some studies have used as many as 6 grams without ill effect. Cinnamon is considered safe enough that you can purchase capsules over-the-counter at most pharmacies.
But it is not without risk. Very high quantities of cassia cinnamon may be toxic, particularly in people with liver problems, because of its coumarin content. Ceylon cinnamon does not contain nearly as much coumarin (an anti-coagulant), and is therefore safer. As always, if you take any medication regularly, you should talk to your doctor before you start using supplements of any kind to avoid any potential interactions with medication.
Also, if you intend to use over-the-counter supplements of any kind, make sure that you look for a quality seal or third-party certification from the USP (United States Pharmacopeia), NSF International, or Consumer Lab to make sure their ingredients meet quality standards, since many supplement manufacturers have recently come under fire for fraud.
Will you now incorporate more cinnamon in your life?