Cinnamon is a spice acquired from the inner bark of the CInnamomum tree, widely used as an aromatic condiment and flavoring additive in different cuisines, sweet and savory dishes, breakfast cereals, snackfoods and traditional foods.
Cinnamon is well known by its extraordinary health benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
While cinnamon consumption is safe in moderate amounts, excessive use of cinnamon can lead to various health issues due to its compound known as coumarin contained in high amounts.
According to researchers, eating too much coumarin increases the risk of liver damage and the risk of cancer.
Additionally, eating too much Cassia cinnamon, one of the two main types of cinnamon, can contribute to occurrence of many other side effects.
Here are 6 possible side effects of eating too much Cassia cinnamon:
1. May Cause Liver Damage
Studies have shown that excessive consumption of cinnamon can cause liver toxicity and damage due to its high amounts of coumarin, fragrant organic substance.
2. May Increase the Risk of Cancer
Animal studies have discovered that coumarin may increase the risk of certain cancers by damaging the healthy cells which soon convert to tumor cells likely to become cancerous. However, more research is required to be done in order to determine whether this also applies to humans.
3. May Cause Mouth Sores
People who are allergic to a compound in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde, are likely to experience mouth sores. However, this mainly affects people using too much cinnamon oil or chewing gum, as these products contain more cinnamaldehyde.
4. May Cause Low Blood Sugar
Eating cinnamon is helpful for lowering your blood sugar, but on the other hand, eating too much may cause it to fall too low, especially if you’re taking diabetes medicines. Low blood sugar cause symptoms of tiredness, dizziness and fainting.
5. May Cause Breathing Problems
If eaten in large amounts cinnamon can contribute to breathing problems. The spice is easy to inhale due to its fine texture, but it also irritates the throat, which may cause coughing, gagging and trouble catching your breath.
6. May Interact With Certain Medications
Excessive consumption of cinnamon may interact with medications for diabetes, heart disease and liver disease. It may either improve their effects or cause side effects.
Risks of Eating Dry Cinnamon
Since the “cinnamon challenge” has gain extreme popularity, many have tried to eat large amounts of dry cinnamon.
This challenge involves eating a tablespoon of dry, ground cinnamon in under a minute without drinking water. Though it sounds harmless, this challenge is quite risky.
Eating dry cinnamon can irritate your throat and lungs, can make you, choke or cause permanent damage to your lungs.
These symptoms occur since the lungs cannot break down the fibers in the spice, which means it can accumulate in the lungs and cause lung inflammation known as aspiration pneumonia.
If aspiration pneumonia is not being treated for long years, the lungs may become permanently scarred and possibly collapse.
How Much Is Too Much?
The tolerable daily intake for coumarin is 0.5 mg per pound (0.1 mg per kg) of body weight. This is how much coumarin you are allowed to eat daily without the risk of side effects.
This equates up to one teaspoon (0.5 to 2 grams) of Cassia cinnamon per day. However, you can eat up to 2.5 teaspoons (5 grams) of Ceylon per day.
Remember that these amounts are for adults and children can tolerate less.
You are safe to eat up to one teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon or up to 2.5 teaspoons of Ceylon cinnamon per day. Eating more than this is not allowed since it may contain too much coumarin.