The powerful spice has been used in Asian and Ayurvedic medicines for thousands of years. Cinnamon is known for its protective antioxidants like polyphenols and its reported ability to reduce some of the most common heart disease risk factors, including high triglycerides, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. How does cinnamon lower blood pressure?
Cinnamon and blood pressure seem to go well together. The bark from cinnamon contains many unique compounds like cinnamate, cinnamic acid, and cinnamaldehyde, which are responsible for several of its health benefits.
Ground cinnamon also contains fiber, manganese, calcium, iron, and vitamin K.
There are many unique cinnamon varieties, and the most common include Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) and Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia).
How Does Cinnamon Lower Blood Pressure?
There are many unique heart health benefits of cinnamon. For instance, cinnamon has been found to be a helpful blood coagulant while also preventing bleeding and blood clots.
Cinnamon might also able to increase blood circulation and help repair damaged body tissue. This will include heart tissue needed to regenerate to help fight strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease.
The special compounds in cinnamon could also potentially decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides while the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol stays stable.
The benefits of cinnamon for high blood pressure will often focus on specific nutrients. Research on Ceylon cinnamon dates as far back as 1975.
When it comes to cinnamon and high blood pressure research, one study published in the Journal of International Scholars’ Conference in 2016 showed that one gram (g) of Ceylon cinnamon powder would significantly lower blood pressure for a one-week period.
The study included several female adults with hypertension between the ages of 26 and 45 years old.
Before the administration of cinnamon, the participants had an average blood pressure with a systolic reading of 145 mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 99 mmHg. After the cinnamon treatment, the average blood pressure dropped to a systolic reading of 130.67 mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 85.33 mmHg.
The researchers concluded that Ceylon cinnamon powder has a short-term effect on blood pressure.
Research also shows how the cinnamaldehyde compound in cinnamon can reduce blood pressure. The cinnamic acid in cinnamon has anti-inflammatory effects that could help with blood flow, which puts less strain on the heart.
Cinnamon May Reduce Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure in Diabetics
High blood pressure is common among type 2 diabetics and pre-diabetics. This is due to high blood glucose levels damaging the arteries, which creates oxidative radicals.
In turn, this artery damage leads the blood vessels to scar—also called atherosclerosis. It is during this scarring that plaque builds up, and this reduces the diameter of the blood vessel. The smaller diameter will lead to higher blood pressure.
Research further puts cinnamon’s mechanisms of action under the microscope, with studies showing that cinnamon decreases hemoglobin A1C levels, which relate to blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is reduced, this also lowers the damage to arteries.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis study published in the journal Nutrition in 2013, University of Toronto researchers found that short-term use of cinnamon could significantly lower blood pressure, especially among those with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
For the review, the researchers examined cinnamon studies between 2000 and 2012 and found that the short-term use of cinnamon had led to an average reduction in systolic blood pressure of more than 5.39 mmHg and an average diastolic blood pressure drop of 2.6 mmHg.
Another cinnamon and blood pressure study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2011 involved 59 type 2 diabetes patients who were randomized to receive either a placebo or 1,200 mg of cinnamon each day for 12 weeks.
After the study, the systolic blood pressure in the cinnamon group had decreased by an average of 3.4 mmHg.
There was another study published in the journal Diabetic Medicine in 2010, where 58 type 2 diabetics took two grams of cinnamon or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. The average systolic blood pressure in the cinnamon group had reduced by more than 3 mmHg while the diastolic blood pressure dropped by 5 mmHg.
Research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2013 also found that whole cinnamon would reduce systolic blood pressure in rats eating diets containing sucrose to the same levels as spontaneously hypertensive rats consuming non-sucrose diets.
The cinnamon would also reduce the systolic blood pressure in the spontaneously hypertensive rats on a non-sucrose diet. This suggests that cinnamon lowers more than just sucrose-induced high systolic blood pressure.
The researchers of this study concluded that blood pressure regulation may be positively influenced by dietary substances that benefit blood pressure and insulin function, such as cinnamon.
Furthermore, the calcium and antioxidants like polyphenols in cinnamon could also help to lower blood pressure.
Key Cinnamon Ingredients That Are Beneficial for Blood Pressure
1. Cinnamon and Calcium
Calcium in cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood pressure. One tablespoon of ground cinnamon contains 77.7 milligrams (mg) of calcium, or eight percent of the recommended daily requirement.
Calcium is considered a mediator that relaxes and contracts blood vessels. A calcium deficiency has been found to increase blood pressure.
2. Cinnamon and Polyphenols
What about cinnamon antioxidants? Many of the health benefits of cinnamon are associated with its antioxidants, especially cinnamon polyphenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acid.
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry in 2005 compared the antioxidant activity of 26 species, and cinnamon came out on top of the list—even outranking the likes of oregano and garlic.
The different cinnamon antioxidants help to decrease many forms of oxidative stress, such as the ability to limit nitric oxide build-up in fat and blood peroxidation, which can lead to heart problems like high blood pressure.
Polyphenols, in particular, have been shown to dilate blood vessels, improve blood vessel function, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system.
How Much Cinnamon to Take to Lower Blood Pressure: Dosage and Usage
A little bit goes a long way when it comes to cinnamon for high blood pressure. For instance, a half-teaspoon of cinnamon daily can positively improve blood pressure; however, often times, the stronger dose is better for improving heart disease risk.
Some studies have used one to six grams (a quarter teaspoon to two teaspoons) of cinnamon, although very high doses may have toxic effects. That is why it is a good idea to start small then gradually increase the amount of cinnamon in your diet.
There are about 250 cinnamon species grown throughout the world, but the ones you will likely come across include Chinese or Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon, which is sometimes called true cinnamon.
Both have a noticeable fragrance and spicy taste, though Ceylon cinnamon is thought to have more health benefits associated with it.
Cinnamon is also available in a variety of forms and products, including cinnamon capsules, powdered cinnamon, and cinnamon sticks.
Some people will boil cinnamon sticks in water, and drink it as a tea while also adding some lemon juice or honey to the mix.
Final Thoughts on Cinnamon for Blood Pressure
So, does cinnamon lower blood pressure? The advantages of cinnamon for high blood pressure center on many of its beneficial nutrients, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, calcium, and antioxidants like polyphenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acid.
Studies also show that cinnamon can reduce blood pressure in type 2 diabetics and pre-diabetics. This is likely because cinnamon reduces hemoglobin A1C levels, which relates to blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is lowered, this in turn reduces damage to arteries.
Are you interested in trying cinnamon for high blood pressure for yourself? The two most common cinnamon varieties include Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon is thought to have greater health effects, but if you are using Cassia, it is better to stick smaller doses. It is typically found in a powder, sticks, or capsules. However, if your blood pressure is high, it’s important to consult with your doctor before adding any whole cinnamon or cinnamon supplements to your health regimen.
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