Can Taking Cinnamon Lower Your Cholesterol?

Cinnamon is a plant that has a variety of uses among many different cultures, from spicing up foods to deterring germs from growing. There are two forms of cinnamon that are commonly found in foods:

  • Cinnamomum verum: also known as “true” cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, or Ceylon cinnamon. This type of cinnamon is commonly used in sweet pastries.
  • Cinnamomum cassia: also known as cassia, Chinese cinnamon, or “bastard” cinnamon. This type of cinnamon is a stronger spice that is used in a variety of foods. In fact, it is cassia-based cinnamon that is often seen on the grocery shelves and is typically cheaper than true cinnamon.

There’s been a lot of talk about the health benefits of cinnamon, but can it lower cholesterol levels? Some scientists studying cinnamon say that it might have potential. Much of the information publicized about cinnamon mostly concerns its role in lowering blood sugar in diabetes. During some of these studies, scientists also found evidence that, along with lowering glucose levels, cinnamon may also lower lipid levels.

Cinnamon sticks
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What Have the Studies Proven?

Several studies have examined the effectiveness of cinnamon in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. A 2017 review of 13 studies was conducted to determine if cinnamon supplementation has a beneficial impact on lipid levels. The researchers concluded that, in these studies, cinnamon significantly lowered total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. HDL cholesterol levels, however, did not appear to be significantly lowered in any of these studies.

How Does Cinnamon Lower Cholesterol Levels?

It is not yet known how cinnamon can affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cinnamaldyhyde has also been identified as a potential component found in cinnamon that can help lower cholesterol levels, although how it lowers cholesterol has not been established.

The Bottom Line

The research conducted on cinnamon so far has not conclusively proven that it can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Therefore, more studies are needed to determine how effective cinnamon would be in reducing your lipids. You should speak to your healthcare provider first before adding cinnamon to your lipid-lowering regimen since it is not known if it can worsen certain medical conditions or interact with other medications you are taking.  

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Azimi P, Ghiasvand R, Feizi A, Hariri M, Abbasi B. Effects of cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, and ginger consumption on markers of glycemic control, lipid profile, oxidative stress, and inflammation in Type 2 diabetes patientsRev Diabet Stud. 2014;11(3-4):258–266. doi:10.1900/RDS.2014.11.258

  2. Vafa M, Mohammadi F, Shidfar F, et al. Effects of cinnamon consumption on glycemic status, lipid profile and body composition in type 2 diabetic patientsInt J Prev Med. 2012;3(8):531–536.

  3. Maierean SM, Serban MC, Sahebkar A, et al. The effects of cinnamon supplementation on blood lipid concentrations: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Lipidol. 2017;11(6):1393-1406. doi:10.1016/j.jacl.2017.08.004

  4. Nour OAA, Shehatou GSG, Rahim MA, El-awady MS, Suddek GM. Cinnamaldehyde exerts vasculoprotective effects in hypercholestrolemic rabbits. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2018;391(11):1203-1219. doi:10.1007/s00210-018-1547-8

By Jennifer Moll, PharmD
Jennifer Moll, MS, PharmD, is a pharmacist actively involved in educating patients about the importance of heart disease prevention.