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Does some cinnamon each day keep the cardiologist away?

A bit of this spice can keep blood pressure nice… but not as nice as exercise or pharmaceuticals can.

Study under review: Anti-hypertensive Effects of Cinnamon Supplementation in Adults: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Introduction

Elevated blood pressure, known as hypertension, is one of the most prevalent conditions in the developed world, with almost 30% of the entire population having hypertension. Elevated blood pressure is one of the most important modifiable risk factors[1] for cardiovascular disease, making it one of the primary candidates for therapies.

While pharmaceutical approaches to lowering blood pressure have proven to be effective, there are potential side effects and harm that may arise from chronic use of anti-hypertensive medications. For example, the side effects[2] may be as minor as a cough, varying levels of fatigue, or potentially fatal hyperkalemia (high blood potassium levels). For this reason, there is an incentive to seek therapies with fewer negative side effects, potentially including dietary supplements.

Cinnamon contains several bioactive compounds that may exert anti-hypertensive effects, including cinnamaldehyde, coumarin, and cinnamic acid. For example, one randomized controlled trial[3] among individuals with diabetes and hypertension found that these compounds, alone or in combination, were efficacious in reducing blood pressure. However, not all randomized controlled trials have shown cinnamon to be effective[4]. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis examining the effect of cinnamon on blood pressure.

Hypertension affects almost one-third of the entire adult population of the U.S. Pharmacological approaches can lower blood pressure, but they often have side effects from chronic use. Cinnamon is a potential non-pharmaceutical ingredient that has shown some efficacy in reducing blood pressure in previous randomized trials. The present study was a meta-analysis designed to examine the effect of cinnamon on blood pressure.

What was studied?

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Other Articles in Issue #63 (January 2020)