A recent study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition by Mahnaz Rezaeyan Safar and a number of her colleagues has found some startling new evidence to suggest that a common household spice could help ease symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). While the study has shown some promising results, experts are urging RA sufferers to temper their expectations of symptom relief.

Multiple studies performed on lab rats have given some indication of the anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon, leaving researchers wondering whether the positive effects observed in rats would translate to RA sufferers. In a study of 36 women suffering from RA, researches gave half the group four capsules of cinnamon daily and the other half four placebo pills.

After an eight-week period, participants were measured for:

  • Fasting blood sugar
  • Lipid profile
  • Liver enzymes
  • Serum levels of C-reactive protein
  • Blood pressure
  • Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (a pro-inflammatory)

Dr. Safar and her colleagues obtained some intriguing results, with the patients who received the cinnamon capsules showing a significant reduction in serum levels of C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and diastolic blood pressure. Despite a seemingly positive result, pharmacists are still dubious, claiming that the results are not evidence of a direct reduction link.

“The study group and placebo group were both very small in number, making generalizations of the outcomes less meaningful, but a trend was certainly evident,” says Christine Gerbstadt, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet.

Laura Shane-McWhorter, Professor Emeritus from the Department of Pharmacotherapy at the University of Utah Health, also highlighted some issues with the study, suggesting that species type and the length of testing may also play a factor in the perceived benefits. “There are many species of cinnamon,” said Professor Shane-McWhorter. “One product is the one used in the study for RA… it is not known what the most appropriate form is to use.”

While experts are still not certain on the benefits of cinnamon for RA sufferers, introducing or increasing your cinnamon consumption can still be beneficial for your health in general. If you’re considering whether to introduce cinnamon capsules into your diet, consult your physician to monitor for bleeding, immunosuppression, or liver toxicity.

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