Cinnamon Supplements Prove Risky

By: Shane Ellison, MS
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The dietary supplement industry should be regulated. While the Chicken Little’s of “alternative medicine” are warning that regulation would cause the supplement “sky to fall,” I say they’re wrong.

Regulation, based on scientific findings, would only help the natural medicine biz, because it has gone awry with wild claims thanks to a circus of hustlers, preachers and wanna-be guru’s who study sleazy marketing more than medicine. Promoters of cinnamon supplements laced with chromium picolinate are proof of this.

$15,000 Helps Find Supplement that Defies Diabetes and Obesity

In my book, Over-The-Counter Natural Cures, I showed how modern day chemistry methods discovered the unique ability of cinnamon to control blood sugar, and subsequently defy Type II diabetes and obesity in place of commonly used drugs like Avandia™. Scouring the shelves of Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, GNC and Walgreens, I spent over $15,000 testing various supplements to find “the right” cinnamon product (all readers get free access to this testing). Spring Valley Cinnamon from Wal-Mart proved to be among the best choices. But not all Spring Valley Cinnamon is the same; a nasty adulterant has been added.

Nasty Adulterant Added to Cinnamon

In the name of controlling blood sugar, a pharmaceutical lab creation known as chromium picolinate has been stuffed into select cinnamon supplements. The rational is that your body needs it to lower the fat storing hormone insulin. But that hypothesis has failed scientific scrutiny.

Researchers at Harvard University found that supplementing with chromium picolinate failed to elicit any significant weight loss. The big fat failure of chromium picolinate to induce weight loss probably results from the fact that the obese are not deficient in this metal.

Biologically active chromium (vastly different than its pharmaceutical counterpart) is readily available in common foods such as whole grains, processed meats, coffee, nuts, brewer’s yeast and even wine and beer. And because it is a “co-factor,” the body requires very little of it to use insulin. Thus, every one of these sources can provide the required amount. But if you take synthetic chromium, ineffectiveness is the least of your worries.

[RELATED: Target Belly Fat and High Blood Sugar with this Ultra-Potent Cinnamon]

The Nutritional Supplement that Slices DNA

Early in my career as a medicinal chemist, I had the honor of working with some of the brightest minds in the field. One of those was professor Diane Stearns who studied chromium picolinate and how it behaved when exposed to the genetic map, DNA. Using state-of-the-art imaging, she looked at chromosomes before and after exposure to the Franken-chemical. I got to see the photography first-hand, and it wasn’t pretty.

Looking at the snapshots of exposed DNA, it looked like a grenade went off in a lumber factory. Tiny pieces of DNA floated aimlessly in the Petri-dish. If this happens in the body, cancer can develop and spread like fire on a windy day.

The doses used in her study were similar to what a nutritional supplement would provide. But even so, people who supplement with the pharmaceutical chromium compound may be getting a lot more. Talking to the New York Times, Dr. Stearns said that, “Chromium accumulates in the body and you can get much higher levels in the tissues. Once inside a cell, it is very slow to leave.” Others have had similar findings.

Chemistry Professor Stephen Woski published his chromium picolinate research in the chemistry journal Polyhedron. Looking at its ability to slice DNA, he wrote, “The compound [chromium picolinate] was found to significantly increase lipid peroxidation in vivo. Thus, oxidative DNA damage (and lipid damage) from [chromium picolinate] in whole animals has been observed for the first time.”

Don’t Let Cinnamon Accidently Poison You

These findings show that cinnamon supplements should not be adulterated with chromium picolinate. If regulations existed, consumers could rest easy knowing that natural, meant “natural,” and that their products weren’t going to accidentally poison them.

[RELATED: Target Belly Fat and High Blood Sugar with this Ultra-Potent Cinnamon]

About the Author

Shane "The People's Chemist" Ellison holds master's degree in organic chemistry and is the author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures (SourceBooks). He's been quoted by USA Today, Shape, Woman's World, US News and World Report, as well as Women's Health and appeared on Fox and NBC as a medicine and health expert. Start living young by signing up for his FREE Natural Cures Watchdog below.

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