Cinnamon has been valued throughout history for its delicious flavor and medicinal properties. It can help manage blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and protect against heart disease by supporting healthy cholesterol levels.
Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree, which is native to Southeast Asia. It has been used since Egyptian times and was considered extremely valuable and expensive due to its rarity. Today, cinnamon is reasonably priced and can be found in the spice section of almost every supermarket.
Below, you’ll find the best cinnamon supplements and their benefits, ranked and reviewed by our expert health panel.
1. Nature’s Bounty Cinnamon
Cinnamon capsules don’t get more affordable or more effective than Nature’s Bounty Cinnamon. With 20oomg per serving and added chromium, you can be certain to reap all the blood sugar benefits and more.
Third-party lab tested and manufactured in a GMP certified facility, it’s no surprise this is BodyNutrition’s #1 pick.
2. Nature’s Nutrition Ceylon Cinnamon
Nature’s Nutrition organic cinnamon supplements come in concentrations of 1800 mg. They are manufactured in the USA to ensure potency and quality.
They’re also pretty affordable, and each capsule is certified organic and vegan-friendly, making them a perfect supplement choice for those who are picky about purity.
3. NatureBell Organic Ceylon Cinnamon
NatureBell Ceylon Cinnamon supplements are incredibly affordable and useful for boosting metabolic health and heart function.
You get 180 capsules with 1800 mg per serving, and every batch is certified organic to ensure purity.
4. Sundown Cinnamon Capsules
Sundown cinnamon capsules are made with only non-GMO ingredients and are completely free of artificial flavors.
You get 200 capsules per bottle at a moderate dose of 1000 mg, making it a good choice if you want a less potent cinnamon supplement for your daily routine.
5. NOW Foods Cinnamon Bark Supplements
Now Foods Cinnamon supplements are created from cinnamon bark and come in concentrations of 600 mg to boost your metabolism.
You get 240 capsules for the very affordable asking price, so it’s arguably the best bulk cinnamon supplement you can find on the market.
6. Vimerson Health Ceylon Cinnamon
Vimerson Health Ceylon Cinnamon supplements are ideal for supporting your joints while improving blood sugar levels.
Each capsule is made with only 100% natural and organic ingredients.
7. Herbtonics Ceylon Cinnamon Capsules
Herbtonics cinnamon supplements are a high-quality option, featuring 120 capsules per bottle that each contain 1500 mg.
The powder comes directly from Sri Lanka, so you know you’re only getting the best ingredients.
8. Purely Holistic Ceylon Cinnamon Capsules
Purely Holistic Ceylon Cinnamon capsules come concentrated in 1500 mg dosages. The asking price is fairly affordable, and each capsule comes with an all-vegan cinnamon formula.
Purely Holistic’s cinnamon is extracted straight from the bark of evergreen Sri Lankan trees.
9. Natural Choice Botanicals Organic Ceylon Cinnamon
Natural Choice Botanicals organic cinnamon supplements come in dosages of 500 mg per capsule.
Each capsule is made with non-GMO ingredients and is manufactured in America to ensure the utmost quality and care.
10. New Chapter Cinnamon Supplement
New Chapter cinnamon supplements are formulated with two types of cinnamon to ensure you get the full range of potential health benefits from this superfood.
You’ll find no GMOs, additives, or fillers here either.
Who Should Buy Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is one of the best health-boosting superfoods you can take. It’s been used as a spice throughout the world for literally thousands of years to support a variety of issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and systemic inflammation. Because of its proven safety record, it’s very safe to use with most people, especially those with other common allergens.
However, cinnamon can be a little dangerous for those who already have blood sugar issues. This is because it naturally lowers blood sugar naturally. As such, diabetics should avoid cinnamon supplements unless they speak with their doctor. People currently taking prescription medication should also speak to a doctor as cinnamon may interfere with the metabolism and absorption of the drug.
Pregnant and nursing women should be careful with cinnamon as the effects on their babies are not well studied. Children should be safe taking cinnamon. However, it should be taken in much smaller doses than those recommended for adults.
How We Ranked
The first thing we looked at when ranking the best cinnamon was the sourcing quality. Cinnamon is mainly sourced from China, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, specifically from types of trees found in those areas. Such cinnamon is harvested “from the source”, so it’s typically of good quality and doesn’t have a lot of preservatives or pesticides.
However, many of the supplements listed above, like NatureBell, were also chosen due to their organic and non-GMO focus. This guarantees that harmful preservatives weren’t used in the transportation or creation of their cinnamon capsules.
Potency was also important to consider. Cinnamon capsules usually come between about 1-2 grams in total, allowing you to easily take one or two per day without accidentally going over the daily limit. However, people just starting out might favor cinnamon capsules with lesser concentrations as opposed to more potent capsules. To this end, we included capsules that have as low as 500mg and as high as 2000mg.
Lastly, we looked for added ingredients. Most cinnamon capsules contain just cinnamon, which is great for the purists reading this. However, there are a few that contain complementary ingredients like chromium. Chromium is a key nutrient that provides ancillary health benefits like appetite reduction and blood sugar management. When combined with cinnamon, the resulting supplement is a very potent blood sugar-lowering agent. This was a main reason why Nature’s Bounty took the top spot.
Other cinnamon supplements, like New Chapter, contain more than one variety of cinnamon. This can be helpful to some extent, as some types of cinnamon have different metabolic and antioxidant benefits. However, this is unproven which is why it wasn’t a major factor in our ranking process.
Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. Antioxidants help the body protect itself from damage caused by free radicals. Cinnamon in the diet adds an assortment of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in certain plants (1, 2).
When researchers compared the antioxidant effects of 26 different spices, cinnamon ranked even higher than oregano and garlic, both of which are known as superfoods (3).
Cinnamon’s antioxidant performance also makes it an excellent natural choice for food preservation (4).
Cinnamon can help reduce system inflammation. Taming inflammation is another area where cinnamon shines. While inflammatory activity is one of the body’s defenses against infection and also works to repair tissue damage, ongoing chronic inflammation is one marker indicating a higher risk for developing chronic diseases.
Inflammation can also be very destructive when its target is the body’s own tissues, such as with autoimmune diseases like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and multiple sclerosis. Studies show the powerful antioxidants found in cinnamon can help reduce inflammation.
Cinnamon can help improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin is integral to the transport of blood glucose to cells, and when people develop insulin resistance, the next step can be a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. The compounds in cinnamon can reduce insulin resistance dramatically, which makes it easier for insulin to perform its vital role in delivering necessary energy for cell function (5, 6).
Cinnamon can support healthy blood sugar management. Cinnamon also helps regulate blood sugar levels after meals, decreasing the amount of glucose entering the bloodstream. As such, the process happens more gradually rather than all at once. One of the mechanisms affecting blood glucose levels is associated with the inhibition of digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates (7).
Other anti-diabetic qualities of cinnamon have been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels by 10% to 29% (10, 11). It takes only a little cinnamon to produce these effects; trials used amounts varying between half a teaspoon and two teaspoons daily.
Cinnamon can help reduce the risk of various chronic diseases. More people die prematurely each year worldwide from heart disease than any other cause, and the use of cinnamon has been linked with reducing the risk of this deadly disease.
People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes taking a gram of cinnamon daily experience a reduction in total cholesterol, along with lower levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and blood triglycerides. Levels of HDL cholesterol (the good kind) stay the same. (12).
A review of multiple studies indicated as little as 120 milligrams of cinnamon daily can exert the same positive effects as a larger dose, and can even raise HDL cholesterol levels (13). Animal studies suggest cinnamon may also be effective in dropping blood pressure (14).
The combination of these positive effects could make cinnamon extremely promising for preventing heart disease. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are becoming more common in modern times, compromising the structure and function of brain cells in a progressive manner.
Animal studies indicate cinnamon can be helpful in normalizing neurotransmitter levels and improving motor function in mice with Parkinson’s disease (17). Further research may establish whether the same effect can be achieved with humans.
A host of laboratory studies using test tubes experiments and animals have focused on how cinnamon affects the uncontrolled growth of cells in cancer. It appears that extracts of cinnamon can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and even cause cell death. Blood vessels in tumors form at slower rates as well, offering the potential of protection against this devastating disease (18, 19, 20).
Research conducted on mice with colon cancer also showed promising results. Cinnamon discouraged further growth of cancer cells through activating detoxifying enzymes in the colon (21).
Laboratory experiments using cinnamon with human colon cancer cells in test tubes show similar conclusions (22).
Cinnamon can help fight off infections. Cinnamaldehyde is the most powerful active compound in cinnamon and has been found to have properties that help fight infection. Respiratory tract infections resulting from exposure to fungi have responded well to treatment with cinnamon oil, and the growth of certain bacteria, such as salmonella and listeria, are also inhibited by cinnamon (23, 24).
Compounds found in cinnamon may also lead to the development of new approaches for treating the HIV-1 virus, which is the most common strain infecting humans. When researchers tested 69 medicinal plants for their effects on the HIV-1 virus, cinnamon outperformed all others (27).
These experiments were done in the laboratory with Cassia cinnamon, so trials with human subjects will be needed to determine real-life results (28).
Some cinnamon strains can be dangerous at high doses. If you’re considering using cinnamon to improve existing health conditions, the strain can make a difference. Commonly found in supermarkets, Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin, which can be harmful in large quantities. Ceylon cinnamon has much lower amounts of coumarin and is considered the safer choice for medicinal use (29).
While cinnamon supplements can provide a whole host of excellent health benefits, there’s also the risk of minor to moderate side effects depending on how much you take. You need to pay attention to your dosage levels so that you don’t eat too much cinnamon, specifically of the “Cassia” variety.
Cinnamon may cause organ damage. Cassia cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin, which has been linked to liver damage and may increase your risk of cancer (30). Your total tolerable daily intake of coumarin should only be around 0.05 mg per pound of bodyweight. A single teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon could be a little too much for your liver to bear.
Cinnamon can cause allergic and pseudo-allergic reactions. Some people have a rare pseudo-allergic response to cinnamon, which may also include least cinnamon-flavored agents. That’s because cinnamon contains something called cinnamaldehyde, which usually causes allergic reactions whenever you consume it in excessive amounts.
You can tell if you’re allergic to cinnamaldehyde if you get rapid tongue or gum swelling, white patches in your mouth, or a burning and itching sensation (31). You should seek immediate medial attention if this happens.
Cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels excessively. As mentioned earlier, cinnamon can help you lower your blood sugar, which may be a benefit depending on your ambient blood sugar levels. However, if you eat too much cinnamon, you might accidentally cause your blood sugar to fall too low, resulting in a condition called hypoglycemia. This can lead to several negative side effects like dizziness, fainting, and general tiredness (32).
Cinnamon may cause breathing issues. Eating too much cinnamon could cause several breathing problems, especially when people attempt the cinnamon challenge. This won’t likely be a big deal if you take cinnamon supplements pills, as the powder you consume is contained in veggie capsules in most cases.
Cinnamon may interact with certain medications. You should, like with all types of supplements, consult with your doctor before taking a cinnamon supplement. That’s because cinnamon can interfere with some diabetic medications, which may result in the hypoglycaemia issue mentioned above.
While there are no government-set dosages for cinnamon supplements or cinnamon powder, you’ll want to avoid taking too much because of the possible side effects. In general, it’s safe to take between 2 and 4 g of cinnamon powder per day, although some people can tolerate larger amounts of around 6 g of cinnamon every day.
We’d recommend keeping the dosage mild when first starting out to see if you have an allergic reaction to the powder or if it interacts with any other medications you might be taking.
Typical cinnamon capsule supplements will come in concentrations between 1000 and 2000 mg. This means most daily cinnamon supplements are pretty safe within the recommended daily intake amounts. For those just starting out, there are 500mg capsules available for your convenience.
How is cinnamon made? Most of the cinnamon you’ll find is “Cassia cinnamon,” while “Ceylon cinnamon” is considered true cinnamon (33). Cinnamon is made by harvesting stems from cinnamomum trees; the inner bark is then extracted and woody parts are removed. The drying process yields strips that curl up into rolls. Cinnamon is sold in stick form or ground into a powder.
The oily part of the powder or stick is rich in cinnamaldehyde, which is what gives cinnamon the intense flavor and smell. This compound is also responsible for the powerful effects of cinnamon on metabolism and health (34).
Can you get enough daily cinnamon from natural foods or your diet? It’s certainly possible to get enough daily cinnamon from natural foods. However, most people won’t reach the daily recommended limit since cinnamon is mostly used as a spicing agent for desserts and other treats. Thus, you’d have to eat lots of relatively unhealthy food to reach the same amount of cinnamon as you would get from a single supplement capsule.
How long have people been using cinnamon? Cinnamon is actually one of the oldest spices in the entire world. The ancient Egyptians were known to use cinnamon as both a spice and a gift that was largely enjoyed by royalty instead of the common classes. It was thought to have been imported from China even as far back as 2000 BC.
Interestingly, many Egyptians used to use cinnamon to embalm their mummies. These days, you can find cinnamon in every supermarket (although the variety used for cooking isn’t the same type of cinnamon you normally get in supplements).
What do cinnamon trees normally look like? The regular cinnamon tree is an evergreen plant that features oval-shaped leaves with berry fruits, plus thick bark. The bark and leaves are the parts of the plant usually taken for cinnamon harvesting purposes. Trees typically grow for about two years before harvesting begins.
Why should you supplement with cinnamon? Ultimately, you can take regular cinnamon powder or capsule supplements if you enjoy the taste of the spice, or just want to experience the health benefits. This includes a stronger metabolism, improved antioxidant production, normalized blood sugar levels, better insulin sensitivity, improved heart performance, less joint pain, and better mobility.
Can cinnamon be used to lose weight? Although cinnamon provides a plethora of health benefits, weight loss is not one of them. However, you might be able to use cinnamon tactically to flavor certain healthy foods in an attempt to stay away from more sugary treats. This is especially true if you use Ceylon cinnamon.
What is the most popular way to use cinnamon? The most popular way to use cinnamon is to add a little bit to your daily tea or coffee. Alternatively, you can use the cinnamon powder supplements listed above if you want to ensure you get a daily amount of the superfood without having to alter your diet or drinking habits too much.
Is there a big difference between cinnamon plants? Yes, there is a big difference between the cinnamon plants. Traditional or common Cassia cinnamon forms curls that go inward from both ends, forming a type of scroll shape.
Additionally, Cassia ground cinnamon is a little coarser when it comes to texture, features a more pungent aroma and flavor, and is a more reddish-brown color. Ceylon cinnamon looks more like a telescope in its stick form. When you grind it down, it’s significantly sweeter and more delicate than its counterpart and features a tanner color as opposed to reddish-brown.
Where is the best place to store cinnamon? Cinnamon of both varieties should be stored in cool, dark places, and preferably in airtight containers to keep the cinnamon fresh over the long-term. Ground cinnamon, including many of the cinnamon powder capsules listed above, will stay good for about six months before staleness starts to set in. Meanwhile, quilled (or stick) cinnamon will stay good for about a year if it is stored properly.
Is regular cinnamon better than high-quality cinnamon in terms of value and health? The number of capsules contained in a given cinnamon supplement can directly impact the value of the product. Bottles that contain higher numbers of capsules are ideal since they require you to purchase fewer bottles over the long-term, especially if you like to take one or two capsules per day. We found many top cinnamon supplement bottles that have both high numbers of capsules and very affordable asking prices, making them great budget-friendly choices.
You can also find good cinnamon supplements that have fewer capsules, but these are usually not as worth your time and money. While cinnamon quality is important, the difference between high-quality cinnamon and “regular” cinnamon isn’t as wide as you might think.
Can cinnamon sticks be used as an essential oil? Yes, cinnamon sticks can be used to make essential oil. Cinnamaldehyde is the main chemical ingredient taken from the cinnamon bark oil. You can use this to form an essential oil ideal for infusing or for adding a nice fragrance to your space.
However, we’d recommend not breathing it in directly or in high amounts since as there is a lack of science proving its safety. You should always dilute it and ensure the essential oil diffuser is positioned in a large, open room with windows that have access to fresh air.
Who produces the most cinnamon in the world? At this time, despite many types of Ceylon cinnamon being sourced from Sri Lanka, China and Indonesia produce more than 75% of the cinnamon available on the planet. Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, and Vietnam combined produce 99% of the total world supply, and global production overall has more than 10x’d since 1970.
Cinnamon has been used for centuries and can help fight infections, reduce the risk of developing heart disease, and lower blood sugar levels. It can also help bring out the flavor in foods and help curb sugar cravings, which can indirectly support weight loss.
Side effects are fairly minimal and can be mostly avoided by starting with small doses and titrating up. If you are taking any blood sugar medication, it’s important to speak to your doctor before adding it to your diet.
For Bodynutrition’s #1 recommended cinnamon, click here.