Cinnamon can cause liver damage: A study
– Reported, May 10, 2013
Taking part in the Cinnamon Craze or eating a lot of the spice could cause liver damage, according to a new study. The study, published in journal ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, discovered that a compound found in the cinnamon could inflict damage of those with sensitive livers. High levels of the substance, called coumarin, is found in certain types of cinnamon and has shown to be toxic in small quantities. The Cinnamon Challenge involves swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon without drinking any liquids.
It is incredibly difficult as the spice dries the mouth out too quickly. The challenge went viral on social networking sites last year and developed a celebrity following after Big Brother featured it as a ‘house’ task in 2011. Doctors have already warned that the prank is hazardous as it could result in particles of the spice being inhaled through the windpipe and into the lungs, which could cause inflammation – and even choking.
Earlier this year a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration told the Wall Street Journal: ‘It is an obvious choking hazard and there is a risk of inhaling the dust. This certainly is not advisable.’ But now people who play the game could be risking their liver health too. Ikhlas Khan of the University of Mississippi said that cinnamon, which comes from the bark of trees, is one of the most important flavourings used in foods and beverages. ‘True’ or Ceylon, cinnamon is expensive, so most breads, cereals and other products in the United States use dried cassia bark, or cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon contains very little coumarin, a naturally occurring substance.
However, cassia cinnamon can contain larger amounts. Khan’s team checked on the coumarin content of a wide variety of food products. They found coumarin was present, sometimes in substantial amounts, in cinnamon-based foods. This was less than the amount ingested in just one game of the Cinnamon Challenge. Norwegian research carried out last years also showed that people should consume no more than 0.07 mg per kg of bodyweight per day. These researchers said that by using cinnamon on oatmeal or other cereals just a few times a week, children and adults could could easily go over this limit. Researchers stated that even a few weeks of ingesting high amounts of coumarin can be dangerous to health.