CDC Director Resigns Following Public Exposure of Tobacco Investments

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

In 2016, evidence emerged showing Barbara Bowman, Ph.D., then-director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, assisted a Coca-Cola representative in efforts to influence World Health Organization officials to relax recommendations on sugar limits.1 Just two days after her betrayal of the public trust was exposed, Bowman vacated her post.2

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald took her place, but it didn’t take long before we learned the newly instated CDC director also had a long history of collaborating with Coca-Cola. 3,4 During her six-year stint as commissioner of Georgia’s department of public health, Fitzgerald received $1 million5 in funding from the company to combat childhood obesity.

At the time of her appointment to CDC director, Jim O’Hara, director of health promotion policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest stated,6 “We hope Dr. Fitzgerald, as head of CDC, avoids partnering with Coke on obesity for the same reason she would avoid partnering with the tobacco industry on lung cancer prevention.”

In a twist of irony, Politico7 recently exposed Fitzgerald’s tobacco investments, which led to her handing in her resignation a day later. Spokesman Matt Lloyd issued a public statement saying, “Fitzgerald owns certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all of her duties as the CDC director.”

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, commented on the situation, saying, “It is unacceptable that the person responsible for leading our nation’s public health efforts has, for months, been unable to fully engage in the critical work she was appointed to do.”

Flagrant Conflicts of Interest at the CDC

Are there truly no qualified individuals who do not have deep ties to industry available to fill the highest posts within the CDC? Is seems rather remarkable that two CDC directors in a row have been caught maintaining such obvious conflicts of interest.

The discovery of Fitzgerald’s investments in a Japanese tobacco company was made possible by the 2012 law introduced by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York, which prohibits insider trading by government employees. The law requires full disclosure of financial trades made by government employees, including Congressional members, and this is how Politico discovered Fitzgerald’s purchase of tobacco stocks.

In a statement, Slaughter said, “This episode is exactly why I wrote this law … The American people deserve to know whether federal officials are upholding the public trust and adhering to the highest ethical standards, or using their powerful positions to enrich themselves.” In this case, Fitzgerald reportedly owned stocks in no less than five different tobacco companies, plus drug companies, when she was appointed CDC director. As part of her ethics agreement, she sold those stocks when accepting her new position.

But then, mere months into the job, she went and bought stocks in Japan Tobacco International (JTI), one of the largest tobacco companies in the world. She also bought stocks in a dozen other health-related companies, including Merck, Bayer, Humana and U.S. Foods Holding Corp.

She’s also been criticized for being slow to sell off other, earlier investments that were preventing her from fulfilling her professional duties. As reported by Politico, she was unable to provide Congressional testimony on at least three separate occasions due to financial conflicts of interest.8 Two of those hearings involved cancer detection and the opioid epidemic.

It’s really hard to imagine someone can reach this level of power and be so clueless about ethics. Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., so clearly, investing in a tobacco company is going to be at odds with your professional duty as the leader of the CDC. Just last November Fitzpatrick issued a CDC statement reinforcing the agency’s determination to “continue to use proven strategies to help smokers quit and to prevent children from using any tobacco products.”9

Vaping Technology — Hardly a Viable Smoking Cessation Tool

Interestingly, JTI’s emerging product line is primarily focused on vaping products,10,11 which are increasingly being marketed as tools to quit smoking regular cigarettes. One wonders whether this might have influenced Fitzpatrick’s decision to invest in this company. Such ponderings are entirely speculative of course, but the fact remains that while marketed as a smoking cessation tool, emerging evidence suggests vaping and electronic cigarettes are just as harmful, if not more harmful, than regular cigarettes.

Just last year, the CDC warned that e-cigarette use among children is a growing health concern. At present, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco by American youth and young adults. A significant draw for youngsters is the fact that vaping pens and e-cigarettes can be used to smoke all sorts of flavored concoctions, from bubble gum and watermelon to chocolate.

So, for Fitzgerald to state a public oath to fight use of tobacco products among children, and then purchase stocks in a company whose chief new product line is focused on kid-friendly vaping technology seems insincere at best.

At worst, her connection with JTI might eventually have led to her downplaying harms of vaping, or worse, endorsing its use as a smoking cessation tool based on flawed or biased science by the industry. Again, this is all speculation, and since Fitzpatrick has stepped down, the point is moot anyway. I’m speculating merely to draw attention to the very real dangers these kinds of conflicts of interest can create.

Tobacco Industry Invented Fake News

As noted in a recent STAT news article, product defense reporting is an old “fake news” tactic perfected by the tobacco industry decades ago, and while the tobacco industry no longer tries to defend cigarette smoking, you can see the same whitewash tactics being used to promote vaping as a safe alternative. Writer and former investigator for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Paul D. Thacker, describes how the tobacco industry invented and mastered the use of fake news to postpone the industry’s ultimate demise:12

“I fell into this world back in 2005, while working as an editor for the news section of Environmental Science & Technology … After … digging through the tobacco archive, I wrote a story about Steven J. Milloy, a columnist for who ran a website called and headed a shady organization called The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC).

In a 1993 letter, the public relations firm APCO explained how it launched TASSC ‘to expand and assist Philip Morris in its efforts with issues in targeted states in 1994’ …

My reporting led me to a fleet of industry-friendly scientists and writers who had the habit of pooh-poohing the potential dangers of products, dismissing studies finding possible harm, and attacking the FDA … Financial ties between tobacco and pharmaceutical companies weakened smoking cessation efforts, and the tobacco companies often sought to obscure their role in media campaigns by partnering with other industries to attack government regulation and independent research …

In a tobacco company’s budget, a line item for Steven J. Milloy showed that he was on the tobacco payroll while also writing columns that disparaged the science of secondhand smoke … As a way to defend industry from government regulation, corporate advocates routinely referred to studies published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology … On the journal’s website, I was somehow admitted to the society’s member’s only section.

While scanning the minutes of its meetings, I noted that they were held in the offices of a law firm that defended companies from scrutiny by the FDA. Many members of the journal’s board had strong ties to the tobacco, pharmaceutical, and agrochemical industry. Indeed, a recent study of the journal called into question the many dubious papers it has published on tobacco.”

Newsweek Publishes Industry Propaganda Without Disclosing Conflicts of Interest

Disturbingly, popular news sources such as Newsweek and USA Today still choose to peddle this kind of industry propaganda. In a recent post, U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) asks, “Why are Newsweek and USA Today so willing to let special interests mislead their readers?”13

Last year, Henry Miller was fired by Forbes magazine when it was revealed an article published in his name had been written almost entirely by Monsanto. Fast-forward just a few months, and on January 19, 2018, Newsweek ran an article by Miller with the headline “The Campaign for Organic Food Is a Deceitful, Expensive Scam.”14,15

In this obvious hit piece aimed at invalidating the organic industry to protect chemical technology giants like Monsanto, Miller attacks New York Times reporter Danny Hakim’s writings, saying Hakim failed to do his homework before writing about genetic engineering. However, what people don’t realize — because Miller doesn’t reveal it, and Newsweek editors didn’t add it — is that Miller has a very personal gripe against Hakim.

Hakim was the reporter who revealed Monsanto wrote Miller’s Forbes article. Miller mentions none of that, nor does he disclose his collaborations with Monsanto. The fact that Newsweek let this lack of disclosure slide is disconcerting. The fact that they published anything by Miller at all is astounding, considering his reputation as an independent expert on GMOs has been soundly demolished. It’s now a well-known fact that Miller speaks for the chemical technology industry. As noted by USRTK:16

“Monsanto’s fingerprints were all over Miller’s Newsweek article … Miller used pesticide industry sources to make false claims about organic farming and attacked people who were named on a target list that had been developed by Monsanto and Jay Byrne, Monsanto’s former director of corporate communications, who was quoted in Miller’s piece with no mention of the Monsanto affiliation. None of this appears to bother Newsweek Opinion Editor Nicholas Wapshott, according to an on-the-record email exchange.”

That email exchange is too extensive for me to copy here, but I recommend you read it. It’s rather remarkable. In a nutshell, Wapshott chooses to print Miller’s propaganda because he’s met the man and “he seems genuine.”

USA Today Provides Platform for Industry Front Group

In a similar vein, USA Today recently published information furnished by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) — a well-known front group (among those in the know) for several of the most harmful industries on the planet, including fracking, tobacco and agrichemicals — without disclosing any of these ties to readers. As noted by USRTK:17

“In February 2017, two dozen health, environmental, labor and public interest groups wrote to the editors of USA Today asking the paper to stop publishing science columns by the ACSH, or at least provide full disclosures about who funds the group …

ACSH spins science on fracking, e-cigarettes, toxic cosmetics and agrichemical … products, and solicits funding from those industries in exchange. Recent reporting establishes that ACSH works with Monsanto on messaging campaigns.”

USA Today editorial page editor Bill Sternberg responded saying that Alex Berezow, who wrote the piece in question, is considered “a credible voice on scientific issues,” citing the fact that Berezow has been on the paper’s board of contributors since 2011, holds a Ph.D. in microbiology, founded RealClearScience and is a contributor to many mainstream news outlets. The problem is, Berezow is also a senior fellow at ACSH, yet readers are not informed of this or the conflicts of interest inherent in this connection.  

It’s truly unfortunate, but as noted by investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, author of “Stonewalled,” investigative journalism has taken a backseat to corporate propaganda and news skewed to favor a particular corporate viewpoint. Another book that takes you on a deep dive into the murky waters of corporate-based influence is “Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science,” written by lifelong journalist and former Reuters reporter Carey Gillam.

As noted by both Attkisson and Gillam, the main problem we face today is the fact that corporate interests have been allowed to trump public safety. Publishing articles by industry mouthpieces like Miller and ACSH without disclosing readily apparent conflicts of interest keeps this dangerous status quo in place.

Revolving Door Between Big Pharma and Federal Agencies Keep Spinning

In related news, Kaiser Health notes that hundreds of individuals have “glided through the ‘revolving door’ that connects the drug industry to Capitol Hill and the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS].”18 One of the latest is Alex Azar, former president of Eli Lilly and Company, who stepped into the position of HHS Secretary on January 24. As noted by NPR:19

“In that role, he’ll oversee the Food and Drug Administration [FDA], which regulates prescription drugs including those produced by his former employer. He’ll also oversee Medicare and Medicaid, which together spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year on prescription medications.”

According to Kaiser Health News’ investigation, nearly 340 former congressional staffers are now employed either by drug companies or their lobbying firms, and more than a dozen former drug company employees are now sitting on Capitol Hill and in various health care policy committees. Some of the most recent examples, aside from Azar, include:

  • Scott Gottlieb, former venture capitalist “with deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry,” now FDA Commissioner
  • Keagan Lenihan, former lobbyist for the drug distributor McKesson, now senior counselor to Azar
  • John O’Brien, former PhRMA lobbyist, now deputy assistant secretary of health policy for HHS Planning and Evaluation
  • Mary-Sumpter Lapinski, former lobbyist for Bristol-Myers Squibb, now counselor for the HHS secretary’s office

As noted by Jock Friedly, founder and president of LegiStorm20 (a congressional directory app that provides real-time data and alerts on congressional hearings, town hall gatherings and more): “Who do they really work for? Are they working for the person who is paying their bills at that moment or are they essentially working on behalf of the interests who have funded them in the past and may fund them in the future?”

While there may be rare exceptions, more often than not, professional relationships are not easily severed, and favors large and small tend to be expected from, and granted by, old colleagues. Add in the hope or promise of a financial reward, and it’s easy to see how public interests end up being sacrificed. There are no easy answers to these problems, but exposing the truth is a crucial step in the corrective process.

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‘Primal Fitness’ Tips That Can Transform Your Health

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

The secret to lifelong health and peak performance is modeling the lifestyle behaviors of our hunter gatherer ancestors — the so-called Paleolithic approach. Mark Sisson, founder of the popular website Mark’s Daily Apple and a leader in the paleo movement, was one of the first to help me understand the importance of burning fat for fuel. This is also the topic of his book, “The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever.”

Mark is an accomplished elite athlete, and has been featured on the cover of Runner’s World Magazine three times. In the past, it was widely believed that the more aerobic activity (such as long-distance running) you did, the better it was for your heart. The aerobic trend — which captured both Mark and me — was largely catalyzed by Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s book “Aerobics,” published in 1968.

In more recent years, fitness researchers have largely demolished this idea, showing this kind of exercise may actually do more harm than good, especially to your heart, and that intense but short, intermittent bursts of exercise are not only safer but actually far more effective.  

Fit as a Fiddle, Yet Falling Apart

Mark became an accomplished runner early in life, placing fifth in the U.S. National Championships in 1980. He also qualified for the Olympic trials marathon that same year. When overtraining led to injury, he transitioned over to triathlons, and for a couple of years was one of the top triathletes in the U.S., placing fourth at Iron Man in Hawaii in 1982. At that point, his body had taken a significant beating, not just from overtraining but also from excess carbohydrate consumption.

“I was so beat up from the diet that was required to fuel all those miles,” he says. [W]hen Robert Haas’s book ‘Eat to Win’ came out … it was all about the carbohydrates. There wasn’t a carbohydrate I did not love and slam down, from pizza and pasta to beer and cakes. I was falling apart.

I was a picture of fitness on the outside … but on the inside, I had arthritis, I had tendonitis throughout my body, I had overuse injuries, I had irritable bowel syndrome that ran my life. I had upper respiratory tract infections six or eight times a year. It was like, ‘Wait a minute. Cooper said I was going to be healthy doing all this stuff, and now I’m literally falling apart.’

I retired … I was over all the pain and suffering I was putting myself through, just to be able to say I won a medal at a race, and ‘Oh by the way, I’m still not very healthy,’ and dedicated the rest of my life to researching ways in which to be strong and lean and fit and healthy with the least amount of pain, suffering, sacrifice, discipline, calorie counting, portion control, and all that other stuff that we talk about.”

What Does It Take to Get Fit?

All of that research and experimentation eventually resulted in the creation of Mark’s Daily Apple, along with eight books on fitness and diet, starting with “The Primal Blueprint.” Today, Mark favors fitness routines that mimic ancestral movement patterns, such as high-intensity interval training. Ultimate Frisbee is a favorite pastime, as is paddle boarding. Mark also stresses the importance of exercise recovery, saying:

“If you’re into this for the performance, then you must of necessity recognize that the less time you spend injured, the better … You must recognize that it is the rest period where all the gains come. The tendency is to … over train in endurance activities …

I put in over 100 miles a week for seven years … [T]he endorphin rush — that true runner’s high that people get — it exists. It is a morphine-like substance your body produces. Unfortunately, it’s because your body thinks you’re killing yourself that it produces this.

[So] be very specific about what it is you’re trying to accomplish. If you want to build aerobic capacity, you don’t do that by running your heart rate at 80 to 85 percent of your max every single day … If you want to build aerobic capacity, you have to be good at burning fat, which means lower level aerobic activity …

A heart rate of 180 minus your age would be your maximum heart rate for training in the aerobic zone, which is much lower than people assumed even 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 30 years ago when I was running …

[T]hat’s the [heart] rate at which you burn the most amount of fat and tap into your glycogen the least. To develop that scale of burning fat aerobically, you have to keep a limit on it for a while, while the body increases the mitochondria, increases the capillary profusion to feed the mitochondria. That’s one of the things that I would really [advise you to] pay attention to …

[Y]ou wouldn’t go to the gym and do 300 sets of 50 pound curls every single day just because you wanted bigger biceps. You recognize you have to give your arms rest [and recovery].

That same principle applies to the cardiac muscle … I wrote a book called ‘Primal Endurance,’ which is about how to train for endurance activities; understanding the physiology of the cardiac muscle and mitochondria and so on, and taking advantage of the methods that are optimal for achieving an increase in performance.”

The Importance of Strength Training

At 65 years of age, Mark is formidably fit with a physique far younger men would envy. He’s a living testament to the fact that his strategies work, and they do not include long-distance running. In fact, he stopped running altogether 15 years ago.

“I weigh 28 pounds more now than when I was a runner,” he says. “I have the same body fat level; I just have more muscle mass, because I only lift [weights] and I only sprint.” In other words, he converted from being a predominantly endurance athlete to a predominantly strength and speed athlete, and his physique reflects this.

“The issue for people as they age isn’t a loss of aerobic capacity, it’s a loss of metabolic capacity and metabolic flexibility that comes with lean muscle mass. The best thing that somebody over 45 can do is start lifting weights rather than choosing to run. Ideally, you do both, but the standard incremental loss of aerobic capacity on a year to year basis after the age of 35 is 1 percent a year.

The standard loss of strength is 2 percent a year if you don’t do anything about it. You have much more to lose if you don’t work out in terms of losing vital capacity … People don’t really die of old age. They die of organ failure …

When you build muscle … the fact that you’re doing the work causes your heart to pump harder, causes your lungs to breathe in more fully … causes your liver to create more substrate and clear more toxins, causes all of these other organs to have to function to keep up with the demands of having this metabolically challenging tissue that is burning calories.

To the extent that you maintain that muscle mass and maintain some mobility, your bones stay stronger, your heart stays stronger, your lungs stay stronger. Conversely, if you stop, atrophy sets in.”

Mark’s Fitness Regimen

As for his own fitness regimen, Mark:

Goes to the gym twice a week, where he does bodyweight exercises such as pullups, pushups, dips, squats and lunges.

Rides on a stationary bike once a week for 30 to 40 minutes, maintaining his max heart rate of 115 (180 minus 65).

Plays Ultimate Frisbee once a week for two hours, which he calls “the highlight” of his week. He’s been doing it for 14 years. “It’s the greatest game ever invented,” he says. “Any school that lost their funding for PE, if they could invest $10 in a Frisbee and have a grassy place, it’s the perfect game and learning experience for any kid in terms of camaraderie, sportsmanship and … hand-eye coordination.”

You’re also moving and reaching your body in all directions, which only becomes more important with age. If you’re interested in giving this a go, do an online search for “Ultimate Frisbee groups” in your local area, or start your own group. “It’s just running and catching. It’s easy to learn, and it’s fun to play at all levels,” Mark says.

Does cold thermogenesis on a nightly basis. After soaking in his Jacuzzi, he’ll spend about two minutes in his pool where the water temperature is in the high 40s to low 50s. He does this just before bedtime, which helps him “sleep like a baby.”

Maintaining Mobility Is Key for Healthy Aging

Maintaining your mobility is of paramount importance as you age. When you lose your ability to move around unaided, it’s all downhill from there. Tai Chi and Qigong can be particularly helpful if you’re elderly and cannot run around catching Frisbees. Mark also recommends collagen supplementation to keep your tendons, ligaments, cartilage and joints strong and supple. “It’s all the stuff that doesn’t have a blood supply that we don’t necessarily feed well,” he says.

“We don’t give the body the raw materials to rebuild from a stressful event. I’ve become the world’s biggest fan of collagen supplementation. I do 20 to 30 grams a day.” Bear in mind that many collagen supplements are sourced from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations, which raises the likelihood of it containing unwanted contaminants, so make sure the product you’re buying is certified organic and grass fed.

Like me, he’s also a proponent of exercising in a fasted state, but on days when he’s doing a strenuous weight-bearing workout, he will take a collagen supplement beforehand.

“What we’re trying to do when we’re fasted is to go into that workout promoting fat burning. The main thing we’re trying to do, especially if we’re doing a hard workout in the gym, is to increase human growth hormone and testosterone … That is what gets blunted by drinking a post-workout carbohydrate replenishment drink.

I do like to go into my workouts [fasted], and most of [the time] I don’t take the supplement beforehand. If I’m going to do a bike ride, I don’t need to do the supplement beforehand. If it’s a lifting workout or … a paddling workout where I’m really going to dig hard and stress my shoulders, I want to have those peptides there for reconstruction — not for energy.”

Healthy Lifestyle Basics

Oftentimes, some of the easiest, most basic lifestyle strategies are the most powerful. Two of Mark’s top tips include optimizing your vitamin D and intermittently fasting. Aside from drinking a cup of black coffee in the morning, Mark eats just two meals a day, between 1 and 7 p.m. “It’s uncanny how little food it takes to keep me thriving,” he says. “That’s been my biggest epiphany over the past five years.”

Indeed, most people simply eat too much, and too often, and an overriding reason for this is because they’ve lost the metabolic flexibility to efficiently burn fat for fuel, and are running on carbs all the time. Since carbohydrates burn much faster than fat, you have to continuously keep eating. As noted by Mark:

When you achieve this metabolic flexibility [of being able to burn fat for fuel], which is the end goal of any true beneficial eating strategy … you can extract energy from any substrate that’s available. It could be fat on your plate, it could be fat on your body. Could be carbohydrates on your plate, could by glycogen in your muscles. Could be glucose in your bloodstream. Could be ketones produced by your liver.

As a last resort, it could be amino acids because there’s nothing left, but you can combust those as well. When you become truly metabolically flexible, then your body has this increased ability to draw on, and never really run out of energy, and never really send a signal to the brain that says, ‘We must eat.’

The end result of this metabolic flexibility — which comes largely from restricting carbohydrates and training your body to become really good at burning fat — you get more energy throughout the day and you don’t get hungry … If I do get a little bit hungry, my snack would be handful of macadamia nuts, or 2 tablespoons of coconut butter. It takes the edge off and I’m ready to go, no problem.”

He also agrees with multiple day water fasting, which I now believe is one of the most profound metabolic interventions you can do to radically improve your health, as it allows your body to upregulate autophagy and mitophagy to remove damaged senescent cells in your body, including premalignant cells. It’s also an extremely effective way to shed excess weight and extend your life span.

More Information

To learn more, check out Mark’s blog on There you can also find his books, which include “The Primal Blueprint,” “The Primal Connection,” Primal Endurance” and “The 21-Day Total Body Transformation.” If you subscribe to his newsletter you get a free copy if his fitness e-book. His latest book, “The Keto Reset Diet,” is available on Amazon and

Mark also sells mayonnaise and salad dressings made with avocado oil, available on Amazon and “We’re the best-selling mayonnaise on Amazon,” he says. “It’s been a fun project, because our mission is to make healthy eating fun and exciting again. I feel like we’re achieving that.”

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Keep Your Health in Check With Cinnamon

Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

There are some scents that remind us of the comforts of home and can soothe our bodies in the process. Case in point: the sweet and warm smell of cinnamon. This spice is derived from the stems of the cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted, and the woody parts are removed and left to dry. This results in the formation of strips that eventually curl into the cinnamon sticks known today.

These strips can also then be ground to form cinnamon powder.1 The spice is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia.2 There are two known types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon. Also known as Cinnamomum verum, Ceylon cinnamon is considered to be “true cinnamon,”3 and is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean.

Cassia cinnamon or Cinnamomum aromaticum, on the other hand, is the variety that’s more commonly used nowadays4 because it is less expensive compared to the former.5 This type of cinnamon is grown in China, Vietnam and Indonesia. The first recorded use of cinnamon dates back to circa 2800 B.C. by Emperor Shen Nung, known as the Father of Chinese Medicine.6 Cinnamon was also utilized in ancient Egyptian society to mummify the dead.

This spice became highly prized,7 and since cinnamon was rare and valuable, it was regarded as a gift fit for kings.8 In medieval times, doctors used cinnamon to treat ailments such as coughs, sore throat and arthritis. Nowadays, cinnamon is ranked as the second most popular spice in the U.S. next to black pepper.9 Even more important, recent research has proven that cinnamon is loaded with nutrients that your body will greatly benefit from.

Choose Cinnamon for Its Amazing Health Benefits

There is more to this spice than its comforting smell. Cinnamon has high amounts of calcium, fiber and manganese, as well as antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties. It’s highly useful for:

Enhancing antioxidant defenses: Polyphenols in cinnamon10 can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Exhibiting anti-inflammatory properties: Cinnamaldehyde, an oily compound responsible for cinnamon’s aroma and flavor,11 can help alleviate inflammation.12

A study revealed that cinnamon can target inflammatory pathways and assist in preventing neurodegenerative illnesses.13

Enhancing cognitive function: One study proved that the smell of cinnamon worked better than peppermint and jasmine in boosting cognitive function.

Study participants reported better scores on tasks that involved attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory and visual-motor response speed after they smelled cinnamon or chewed cinnamon-flavored gum.14

Improving brain health: Two compounds in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, were shown to inhibit the aggregation of a protein called tau.

Tau plays a big role in the structure and function of neurons.

Although this protein is normal in cell structures, if tau accumulates, it can develop “neurofibrillary tangles,” a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.15

Cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin were proven to protect tau from oxidative damage that can lead to dysfunction.16

Supporting weight loss: Cinnamon was proven to be effective in regulating postprandial glucose response, or the amount of blood sugar found in your blood after a meal.17

Helping soothe sore throat and/or coughs: A water-soluble fiber called mucilage is created when you soak cinnamon sticks in water.

Mucilage then coats and soothes the throat when you drink this infusion. The antibacterial properties of the spice also help treat these ailments.

Increased blood flow and blood oxygen levels (that can assist in fighting infections) could also occur because of cinnamon’s warming properties.

Keeping cancer at bay: Cinnamaldehyde was proven to thwart colon cancer cells18 and may be effective versus human liver cancer cells.19

Preventing heart disease:20 Not only does cinnamon help stabilize HDL cholesterol levels, but it can reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well.

Alleviating ADHD symptoms:21,22 Research has shown that cinnamon was able to help enhance motivation and performance and reduce anxiety and frustration while driving.23

Further, the spice assists in counteracting oxidative stress’ effects that typically manifest in kids with ADHD.24

Helping diabetes patients: Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels, boost insulin sensitivity and slow down the emptying of the stomach to reduce sharp blood sugar rises after a meal.

Cinnamon was also proven to improve glycemic status, especially in the levels of fasting blood glucose among type 2 diabetes patients.25

The body’s glucose metabolism is also increased by about 20 times, helping enhance the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.

Lastly, cinnamon exhibited potential in becoming an insulin substitute for Type 2 diabetes patients because of the presence of a bioactive component with insulin-like effects.26

How Is Cinnamon Typically Used?

Most people know cinnamon because it’s a popular ingredient in pastry.27 Did you know, however, that cinnamon can be utilized for medicinal purposes as well? This spice is known to help in treating muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, infections, appetite loss, erectile dysfunctions and colds,28 as well as help prevent ailments such as urinary tract infections, tooth decay and gum disease. Here are other brilliant ways to use cinnamon:

Athlete’s foot solution: Soaking your feet in cinnamon tea aids in killing athlete’s foot-causing fungus. Mother Earth Living suggests boiling water first and then adding a few cinnamon sticks after.

Once the mixture is ready, soak your feet in the warm water for a few minutes per night.29

Nausea relief: When ingested, cinnamon tea works well in helping relieve nausea because of the catechins in the spice. Boil 1 teaspoon of cinnamon bark in a cup of water for about 10 minutes, strain the liquid and drink.

However, if you’re pregnant, do not drink this mixture.30

Hair mask: If you want to help avoid hair loss and promote hair growth, a hair mask mixed with cinnamon can lessen your worries.

Start by warming half a cup of olive oil in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of both cinnamon powder and honey, and stir. Work this mixture onto your scalp, leave on for 15 minutes and wash hair.

Make sure to consult your physician first before applying this hair mask, especially if you’re already treating this problem.31

Natural bronzer: Ditch the typical bronzers that are loaded with harsh chemicals — you can make your own with three ingredients only.

Combine cinnamon powder, cocoa powder and cornstarch until the color suits your skin. Simply add more cocoa powder if you want a darker hue or more cornstarch if you want a lighter shade.

Once you get the color you wanted, mix it with plain and unscented lotion and store in a clean jar with a lid.32

Massage or baths: Combine one-half teaspoon of ground cinnamon, one-half cup of almond or sesame oil and one-half teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Before using, shake the oil gently.33

Ant repellent: If ants have become a recurring problem in your home, sprinkle powdered cinnamon along the windowsills to help prevent these insects from coming in, as they have an aversion to cinnamon. Just be sure to replace the powder when it gets wet.34

Holiday home décor: Should you feel like your home needs extra decorating, especially during the holidays, you can use cinnamon sticks to make a wreath.

You will need about 80 to 120 cinnamon sticks and a wooden wreath ring from a local craft store. Using a hot glue gun, stick the cinnamon sticks onto the frame.

Finish off the wreath by attaching a seasonal ribbon or other embellishments.35

Grow Cinnamon in Your Garden

While cinnamon isn’t typically grown in home settings, it can be easy to grow. Cinnamon typically blooms during spring to summer. It grows best when the soil is kept slightly dry, since it allows the plant to thrive for years in a pot without special care. A well-drained and acidic potting mix works best. Cinnamon plants need full to partial sun, a minimum indoor temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and adequate protection from frost.36

Last but not the least, you will need cinnamon seeds. According to Laurelynn and Byron Martin, authors of the book “Growing Tasty Tropical Plants in Any Home, Anywhere,” Ceylon cinnamon can be grown from either seeds, vegetative cuttings or grafts, but it’s more difficult to propagate vegetatively than Cassia cinnamon.

Cinnamon plants, on some occasions, also produce seeds that can be picked and planted. Just make sure to get seeds when they’re ripe and black in color and plant them as soon as possible.37

To ensure proper growth, fertilize the plants either weekly or biweekly only during active growth in the late winter until fall. These plants stay as small as 3 feet if you prune them regularly, but you can allow them to reach up to 8 feet tall when you repot the plant over time into a 12- to 14-inch pot.38

To know when the plant has developed, check the leaves. Matured leaves often appear green or light green (when kept in high light). The cinnamon plant also allows the development of small white flowers, as well as purplish and black berries, although they are inedible.39

Delicious Cinnamon Recipes

Although the two cinnamon types look and smell almost the same, this does not guarantee that both will give you the full health benefits the spice has to offer.

As noted by Authority Nutrition, the commonly used Cassia cinnamon contains high amounts of a compound called coumarin. Large doses of coumarin could be harmful and may lead to a higher risk of liver damage,40 loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea or blurred vision, to name a few.41,42 You’re better off using Ceylon cinnamon. Studies have shown that this type of cinnamon has lower coumarin content.43 If you want to tell Ceylon cinnamon apart from Cassia cinnamon, take note of these pointers, especially if you want to buy the spice in stick form:44

Ceylon cinnamon Cassia cinnamon
More expensive, as the price may spike 10 times more than Cassia cinnamon Commonly available and very cheap
Tan brown color Reddish, dark brown color
Thin and paper-like textured bark that forms multiple layers when rolled up Uneven and thick bark that forms only a few layers when rolled up
Fragile and easily broken Tough, and difficult, if not impossible, to grind to a powder
Delicate and sweet scent with subtle notes of clove Pungent and full-bodied taste

To maintain the spice’s freshness and taste, store it in a glass container in a cool and dark place. Ground cinnamon will last about six months, while cinnamon sticks remain fresh for at least one year. You can also extend the shelf life by storing it in the refrigerator.45

You can use cinnamon to flavor sweet dishes such as this Healthy Carrot Cake Protein Ball Recipe and Dr. Mercola’s Breakfast Recipe. However, cinnamon can also enhance the taste of savory dishes. Examples include Almond Crusted Salmon with Steamed Broccoli and Sweet Potato Hash Brown Recipe, Flavorful Butternut Squash Breakfast Bowl Recipe and Healthy, Creamy Eggplant Moussaka Recipe. Feel free to sprinkle cinnamon on raw, grass-fed yogurt or kefir too, or add to hot water to make a potent but delicious tea.

Try Cinnamon Essential Oil Too

Apart from utilizing cinnamon in either stick or powdered form, you can also make use of cinnamon leaf oil or cinnamon essential oil. This is typically extracted from the leaves of the Ceylon cinnamon tree via steam distillation46 and can be used for the following purposes:47

Soap additive

Flavoring for seasonings

Ingredient in products such as creams, lotions or shampoos

Aromatherapy (try mixing 20 to 25 drops of this essential oil with one-fourth cup of almond or olive oil and place the finished blend in a glass container with a narrow opening)

Disinfectant to clean surfaces like kitchen counters, toilets and chopping boards, appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators and even sneakers

Odor eliminator by combining with a few drops of water

There are a variety of ways that you can benefit from cinnamon essential oil. If you’re feeling stressed or drowsy, or need an energy boost or pick-me-up, sniff this oil. You can also help soothe sore muscles and joints, or relieve pain from muscular aches, sprains, rheumatism and arthritis. The warm and antispasmodic capability of the oil is responsible for this feat.

This essential oil also has medicinal benefits. It aids in preventing viral infections such as coughs and colds from spreading and in fighting staph infection-causing bacteria and germs in the gallbladder. Respiratory conditions such as chest congestion and bronchitis can also be relieved using this essential oil, especially when diffused in a vaporizer or burner.

Lastly, cinnamon essential oil was found to help enhance your blood by helping remove impurities and improving blood circulation. This ensures that the body’s cells get enough oxygen,48 assists in promoting metabolic activity and helps lower risk for heart attacks.

Although food with ground cinnamon or cinnamon infusions can be consumed, the same cannot be said for cinnamon essential oil. Never take this oil internally. Instead, blend with a safe carrier oil, such as coconut, olive or almond oil, or other spice oils such as black pepper, cardamom clove and ginger oils and use topically only.

Before using this essential oil, consult your physician first and take a skin patch test to see if the oil triggers allergies. Generally, cinnamon essential oil is not advised for pregnant women, since it has emmenagogue effects that can cause menstruation. It is recommended that young children avoid using this essential oil too. Once you get the go signal to use cinnamon essential oil, always remember to properly dilute it and use in moderation. Convulsions may occur if you ingest high amounts of the oil. Cinnamon essential oil has also been linked to:

Skin irritation

Mouth sores




Irritation in the urinary tract, intestines and stomach lining (when taken internally)

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Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal
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