Can a Little Cinnamon Really Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
Is it time to spice up your life to prevent Alzheimer’s disease? New research out of UC Santa Barbara indicates two compounds in the cinnamon on your spice rack may delay the onset of, and possibly even prevent, Alzheimer’s disease.
The study, which appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that two specific compounds in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, show promise in fighting this so far incurable neurodegenerative disease. Data from the Alzheimer’s Association indicate that this year alone, the disease will cost the U.S. $203 billion.
In the UC Santa Barbara study, cinnamaldehyde, the compound that makes cinnamon smell sweet, was effective in preventing Alzheimers’ trademark ‘tangles’ in brain cells from forming. The second compound, epicatechin which is also present in favorites like chocolate and wine, is a powerful antioxidant that sequesters dangerous byproducts while fighting oxidative stress.
Does this make cinnamon the new super food for fighting Alzheimer’s? While earlier studies have even found that cinnamon also helped break up brain plaque, researchers still are hesitant to claim this will work in human subjects. Many studies also show promise in other food based compounds, like vitamin D, that have the potential to help those with Alzheimer’s disease. For now it’s too early to tell if cinnamon is the answer to Alzheimer’s, but we do know it’s a smart, low calorie addition to your diet that you can start using today. Want to get inspired? We have six ways to add more cinnamon to your diet.
Carlene Thomas RD,LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and wellness. She provides nutrition guidance to the public in a variety of ways including corporate wellness, private clients and contributes an expert nutrition voice to a variety of media.
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Article updated on: August 7th, 2013