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1 out of 3 Americans suffer from high blood pressure, a precursor to many forms of cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe cinnamon may be a novel and therapeutic approach to the management of high blood pressure
Cinnamon has been used for centuries for its fragrant and flavoring properties, in addition to medicinal benefits.[i] Cinnamon's reported health benefits include cognition enhancement, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory effects and the prevention of diabetic complications.[ii]
There are four main types of cinnamon, including Ceylon cinnamon (also called true cinnamon), Indonesian cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon and cassia cinnamon, with various compounds available from each type and derived from the leaves, bark, fruit and flowers of each plant.[iii],[iv]
Cinnamon's ability to regulate glucose levels in the body has been one of the main sources of interest for many researchers, but many scientists are also interested in cinnamon's ability to reduce both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.[v],[vi]
Cinnamon Reduces Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure
A study found a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults with high blood pressure after the use of oral cinnamon supplementation.[vii]
It's not the first study to find cinnamon useful in the control of blood pressure -- several studies have produced similar findings in both rats with high blood pressure and subjects with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, and researchers have now determined that cinnamon supplements are a possible hypotensive supplement.[viii],[ix],[x],[xi]
Cinnamon's capability to lower blood pressure seems to stem from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Metabolic syndrome, in particular, is often caused by free radicals and oxidative stress, and oxidative stress can also lead to insulin resistance, a precursor of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.[xii]
Cinnamon has strong free-radical-scavenging capabilities, as well as 65.3% antioxidant activity thanks to the phenolic compounds found in almost every part of the cinnamon plant.[xiii],[xiv] Additionally, both local inflammation and a rise in pro-inflammatory cytokines are common characteristics of high blood pressure.[xv]
Compounds in cinnamon called trans-cinnamaldehyde and p-cymene produce anti-inflammatory effects by blocking the production of inflammatory biomarkers, effectively stopping inflammation before it occurs and possibly playing a preventative role in the development of high blood pressure.[xvi],[xvii] Given these benefits, it's no wonder that researchers believe cinnamon may be one natural solution to treating high blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Management Costs US Citizens Billions Each Year
Because reducing elevated blood pressure can reduce the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke, researchers are eager to find novel and affordable approaches for controlling high blood pressure, and many scientists are looking to natural substances.[xx]
In 2009, the approximate cost of U.S. expenditure on high blood pressure drugs was $15 billion, roughly 10% of the total amount spent on drugs that year.[xxi] However, this drug expenditure doesn't seem to be leading to any real progress in the reduction of adult blood pressure levels.
Additionally, many of the current drug therapies, while effective, come with adverse side effects and a second medication is often needed to control these side effects. Further, many patients may need two or more high blood pressure drugs to adequately control blood pressure levels.[xxii] It's no surprise that many patients and physicians alike are eager to find a more affordable and natural solution.
Additional Health Benefits of Cinnamon Supplementation
- Lowers cholesterol. In addition to lowering blood pressure and insulin levels, cinnamon shows significant cholesterol-lowering activity in adults with elevated blood glucose.[xxv]
- Antimicrobial properties. The antibacterial properties of cinnamon oil are so strong that it has been deemed a safe alternative cleaning agent in hospital environments.[xxvi]
Additional studies have shown that cinnamon oil may be effective against multi-drug resistant bacteria and could be useful in reducing the minimum effective dosage of those drugs, reducing cost of care and adverse side effects of conventional drug therapies.[xxvii]
- Antitumor properties. Cinnamon has profound antitumor and anticarcinogenic effects, as determined by cinnamon's ability to induce tumor death by enhancing pro-apoptotic activity and by modifying multiple oncogenic targets.[xxviii],[xxix]
- Neuroprotective properties. Cinnamon exhibits neuroprotective properties by suppressing inflammation and oxidative stress, may play a therapeutic role in the development of dementia, and may help to prevent diseases such as Alzheimer's.[xxx],[xxxi]
Cinnamon's therapeutic potential is vast. For more information about the research being done to study its health benefits, please visit the GreenMedInfo.com research pages on cinnamon and cinnamaldehyde, the primary compound in cinnamon that gives it its flavor and color and boasts numerous health properties.