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Cinnamon: Overview of Health Benefits

Singletary, Keith PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.NT.0000342702.19798.fe
Food and Nutrition

Cinnamon is a spice that has been used for thousands of years both for its enhancement of taste and for its potential medicinal benefits. It has a history of use for medicinal purposes as far back as China in the third millennium BC, ancient Egypt, and medieval Europe. It is derived from the brown bark of the cinnamon tree and comes in 2 principal varieties, Chinese and Ceylon. The purported health benefits from cinnamon have been linked to a variety of constituents. The scientific literature provides emerging evidence that cinnamon may have health benefits, particularly in improving problematic blood glucose regulation that is a consequence of type 2 diabetes and obesity. A brief summary of potential health benefits, an evaluation of the quality of the scientific research, and suggestions for future research are presented in this article

The health benefits and risks of cinnamon explored

Keith Singletary, PhD, is professor emeritus of nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois. From 2001 to 2004, he was the director of the Functional Foods for Health Program, an interdisciplinary program between the Chicago and Urbana-Champaign campuses of the University of Illinois. He also has served as associate head for graduate programs and associate head for undergraduate programs of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Dr Singletary received bachelor's and master's degrees in microbiology from Michigan State University and the PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois. He joined the University of Illinois faculty in 1986. Dr Singletary's primary research interests focus on molecular carcinogenesis and cancer chemoprevention, specifically identifying and determining the mechanism of action of phytochemicals in fruits, vegetables, and spices as cancer protective agents. He also is recognized for his investigations into the biological basis behind the enhancing effect of alcohol intake on breast carcinogenesis.

Over the years, Dr Singletary has been awarded research grants from federal, private institute, and corporate sources and authored numerous journal publications on diet and cancer. In 2003, he was recognized with the Senior Faculty Award for Excellence in Research by the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. In 2006, he was recognized with the Outstanding Graduate Mentor/Advisor award from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Dr Singletary has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society and has chaired the Division's Cancer Prevention Committee. He currently serves on various committees of the American Cancer Society, Florida Division, and is a consultant on issues related to diet and health.

Funding for this article was provided by the McCormick Science Institute.

Correspondence: Keith Singletary, PhD, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, 905 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana, IL 61801 (kws@illinois.edu).

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.