Cinnamon-flavoured foods, beverages may cause liver damage

Updated: May 09, 2013, 12:58 PM IST

Washington: Scientists have found that many kinds of cinnamon, cinnamon-flavoured foods, beverages and food supplements in the United States use a form of the spice that contains high levels of a natural substance that may cause liver damage in some sensitive people.

Ikhlas Khan and colleagues explain that cinnamon, which comes from the bark of certain trees, is one of the most important flavouring agents used in foods and beverages.

"True," or Ceylon, cinnamon is expensive, so most breads, sticky buns and other products in the United States use dried cassia bark, or cassia cinnamon.

Ceylon cinnamon contains very little coumarin, a naturally occurring substance that has been linked to liver damage in people sensitive to the substance.

However, cassia cinnamon can contain larger amounts. Khan`s team decided to check on the coumarin content of a wide variety of food products.

"As found in this study, coumarin was present, sometimes in substantial amounts, in cinnamon-based food supplements and cinnamon-flavoured foods," they say.

Their study was published in ACS`Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.