Cinnamon has long been used to fight bacterial and fungal infections, as well as improve reproductive functions, treat indigestion, migraines and cramping, in addition to helping regulate insulin levels for diabetics. Recent studies suggest that it may also have anti-Alzheimer’s disease properties.
Here is a closer look at the claim and what it means for the future of Alzheimer’s treatment.
Alzheimer’s is growing at epidemic proportions. With diagnosis rates expected to triple in upcoming years and no cure in sight, researchers are focusing on finding ways to prevent the neurodegenerative disease. Recent studies have shown that the common spice, cinnamon, may be able to help prevent Alzheimer’s.
There are two compounds found in cinnamon that have an inhibitory effect on a protein in the brain called tau. These compounds, cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, can possibly prevent the aggregation of the tau protein, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. Tau proteins can form clumps or tangles in the brain which researchers think can be the cause of the disease. The compounds found in cinnamon have been shown to prevent these clumps from occurring, and thus, possibly preventing Alzheimer’s.
Roshni Graves, adjunct professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and researcher on a study of the effects of cinnamon on Alzheimer’s explains the relationship like this:
“Take, for example, sunburn, a form of oxidative damage. If you wore a hat, you could protect your face and head from the oxidation. In a sense, this cinnamaldehyde is like a cap.”
The strong connection between Alzheimer’s and diabetes is no secret. With almost 70% of people with type II diabetes ultimately developing Alzheimer’s, some researchers believe Alzheimer’s may be a type of diabetes. It is interesting to note that cinnamon has been shown to have positive effects on those with type II diabetes by lowering their blood sugar. One recent study found that participants who had diabetes lowered their blood sugar by up to 24% by consuming 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon for 40 days.
While researchers caution that more research needs to be done before using cinnamon for Alzheimer’s prevention, it can’t hurt to incorporate it into your diet. Here are a few ways you can add it into your daily routine:
Have you or a loved one taken a cinnamon supplement and experienced its health benefits? Share your story with us in the comments below.