Cinnamon and Cholesterol
There have been only a couple of studies in the last 15 years that looked at cinnamon and cholesterol, and they involved specific types of people. While a study published in 2003 showed that cinnamon lowered cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes, a more recent study showed no effect for postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes.
Too much cholesterol in the blood, or high cholesterol, can be serious, increasing a person's chances for developing heart disease. Because this risk is well known and so many people have high cholesterol, people are always looking for ways to lower it. One of the latest possibilities to surface is using cinnamon to lower cholesterol.
In 2003, a study published in Diabetes Care conducted by researchers in Pakistan showed that for people with type 2 diabetes, large amounts (up to 6 grams/day) of cinnamon decreased LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) and total cholesterol. HDL ("good" cholesterol) was not affected. In this study, LDL was decreased by 7 percent to 27 percent and total cholesterol by 12 percent to 26 percent.
On the other hand, a study conducted by Dutch researchers and published in the April 2006 Journal of Nutrition showed no effect of cinnamon on cholesterol for postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes.
Before you run out and buy large quantities of cinnamon, there are a couple of things to consider. Cinnamon and its effects have not been widely studied. In fact, there have been only a couple of studies in the last 15 years that have looked at cholesterol and cinnamon. These studies involved very specific types of people. Until larger scientific studies are done, it is not recommended that people rely on this as a treatment for cholesterol.
Also, there are already a number of lifestyle changes that allow people to lower their cholesterol naturally. And if these lifestyle changes are not effective, medications are quite effective in decreasing cholesterol. Both lifestyle changes and cholesterol-lowering drugs have been studied extensively, and their effects and side effects are well known.
Because the verdict on cinnamon and cholesterol is still out, stick with lifestyle changes and (if necessary) medications that have been shown to reduce cholesterol and its effects.