Cinnamon can cause liver damage: A study
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.