Posted on Jun 19, 2013, 6 a.m.
Scientists warn that many kinds of cinnamon-flavored foods contain a cheaper form of the spice that contains a substance that may cause liver damage.
Researchers at the American Chemical Society have issued a safety warning concerning many kinds of cinnamon, cinnamon-flavored foods and beverages, and food supplements. Ikhlas Khan and colleagues found that many cinnamon-containing foods, beverages and supplements do not contain “true” Ceylon cinnamon, which is derived from the dried inner bark of Cinnamomum verum. Analysis revealed that most contained a much cheaper type of cinnamon called cassia cinnamon, which can contain high levels of coumarin, a substance that has been linked to liver damage. The authors concluded: "As found in this study, coumarin was present, sometimes in substantial amounts, in cinnamon-based food supplements and cinnamon-flavored foods."
Yan-Hong Wang, Bharathi Avula, NP Dhammika Nanayakkara, Jianping Zhao, Ikhlas A Khan. Cassia Cinnamon as a Source of Coumarin in Cinnamon-Flavored Food and Food Supplements in the United States. J Agric Food Chem. 2003;61:4470–4476.