Cinnamon Shows Antidiabetic Properties that Are Species-Specific: Effects on Enzyme Activity Inhibition and Starch Digestion

Nicholas J. Hayward, Gordon J. McDougall, Sara Farag, J. William Allwood, Ceri Austin, Fiona Campbell, Graham Horgan, Viren Ranawana* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Despite considerable research the evidence around the antidiabetic properties of cinnamon remains equivocal, and this may be due to varietal differences which is an aspect that is understudied. This study systematically compared the anti-hyperglycaemic properties of the four major commercial cinnamon types used around the world (Chinese; Cinnamomum cassia [CC], Indonesian; C. burmanii [IC], Vietnamese; C. loureirii [VC], and Ceylon; C. zeylanicum [SC]). LC-MS analysis showed distinct diffrences in the phytochemical profiles of cinnamon with SC showing the lowest coumarin concentration. CC and IC had the highest polyphenol levels and antioxidant potential, and all four types differed significantly in their content (P < 0.001). All cinnamon types showed potent species-specific effects on starch digestion enzyme activity inhibition (P < 0.001), CC was most effective against α-amylase and all four strongly inhibited α-glucosidase compared to acarbose. Cinnamon significantly reduced starch breakdown during oral (P = 0.006) and gastric (P = 0.029) phases of gastro-intestinal digestion with IC and SC showing consistent effects. No effects of cinnamon were seen in the intestinal phase. IC, VC and SC showed the greatest potential to inhibit formation of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) during digestion. In conclusion, cinnamon demonstrates anti-hyperglycaemic properties, however effects are species-specific with best overall properties seen for Ceylon cinnamon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-552
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Foods for Human Nutrition
Issue number4
Early online date1 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • cinnamon
  • species
  • anti-diabetic
  • enzyme inhibition
  • starch digestibility


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