January 5, 2023
Cinnamon from the bark of Cinnamomum species is one of the most important spices used worldwide in food and as a traditional medicine for centuries. It has substantial benefits for human health including its protective role on cardiovascular diseases. The genus Cinnamomum is widely distributed in the world, with around 250 known species and the main species of commercially cultivated cinnamon are Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon Cinnamon), Cinnamomum burmannii (Korintje Cinnamon), Cinnamomum cassia (Saigon Cinnamon) and Cinnamomum loureiroi (Royal Cinnamon). Ethnobotanical reports state that the most consumed part of the plant is the bark. The main constituents of cinnamon are cinnamaldehyde and trans-cinnamaldehyde that are present in the essential oil. These compounds besides contributing to the cinnamon fragrance have biological properties.
Cinnamon bark is the source of other bioactive compounds like catechins and procyanidins. These compounds have been extensively studied and popularized by their presence in green tea and attributed antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-obesogenic properties. Cinnamon has been evaluated for its beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, mainly because of its cardiovascular protective properties.
Also, concurrent diseases like diabetes and other metabolic disorders increase the probability of cardiovascular pathologies. Insulin resistance promotes the formation of free radicals contributing to hypertension and endothelial dysfunction. Similarly, low insulin sensitivity is closely related to prevailing metabolic syndrome factors (MetS), such as visceral obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, increased pro-inflammatory cytokines, microalbuminuria,
The concurrent diseases related to type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) are mainly diseases of any large (macro) blood vessels in the body.
Polyphenols isolated from the bark of different species of cinnamon are responsible for lowering blood glucose levels and controlling blood pressure, as well as contributing to other coronary and cardiovascular diseases. In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, the possible mechanism of cinnamon is by improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing blood pressure in patients.
According to the recent studies, the effectiveness of cinnamon extracts on SBP and DBP levels, in doses less than or equal to 2 g for a period greater than 8 weeks, this with participants with a baseline body mass index (BMI) of ≥ 30 kg/m2. The same effect has been observed in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Also, the administration of cinnamon supplementation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome affects the absorption of glucose, improving its homeostasis, in the same way, it significantly reduces total cholesterol and LDL levels, as well as triglycerides; improving HDL cholesterol concentrations, compared to control groups.
The effects on SBP and DBP pressure are shown more clearly in low doses but with prolonged periods of administration (>12 weeks) and in people not older than 50 years. Furthermore, cinnamon supplementation can exert an anti-inflammatory effect since it significantly reduces serum C-reactive protein levels (-0.81 mg/dL), in doses of 1.5 g per day, for more than 12 weeks. This effect is associated with a reduction in the probability of suffering from the risk of heart disease. It is important to point out that the main complications of diabetes are cardiovascular diseases and disorders, so cinnamon could help mitigate the appearance or development of both diseases, even if the former is already present. Most clinical studies are on C. cassia, which in doses of 3 to 6 g per day could improve glucose metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Several studies have shown that supplementation with cinnamon significantly affect the BMI, the bodyweight and the waist-hip ratio (WHR), factors related to obesity, and this in turn is related with cardiovascular complications. These effects are manifested with doses of 2 to 3 g per day, and it is believed that the mechanisms involved have to do with the agonist effects of TRPA1, which acts as delayed stomach emptying, gastrointestinal motility, and release of serotonin from enterochromaffin cells.
There is sufficient evidence that cinnamon can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and might be used to treat cardiovascular ailments as it showed to reduce biomarkers in several cardiovascular and cardiovascular-related comorbidities like metabolic syndrome disorders. Cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid are the main cinnamon compounds with protective effects on cardiovascular diseases through different molecular mechanisms. It should be considered that several factors could influence the phytochemical composition of cinnamon. Among these factors are the presentations, modes, doses, and routes of consumption, as well as the species, environmental conditions of growth, conservation and storage methods, previous processing, type of extraction, solvents used, as well as other variables of the obtaining procedure of the extracts or supplements.