Tuesday, July 26, 2016

In The News: Cinnamon Can Help Improve Learning Ability?

Cinnamon is a well loved and popular spice, who doesn't love a sprinkle on apples or mixing in our baked good recipes? !  But now recent research suggests that consuming cinnamon may improve learning capacity too!! A study published in Neuroimmune Pharmacology noted that mice that were considered poor learners that consumed cinnamon experienced improvements in their learning ability. 

Previous research has shown that poor learners have less of CREB protein (one that plays a role in learning and memory function) in their hippocampus and have more of the alpha5 subunit of GABAA receptor or GABRA5 proteins - those that inhibit conductance in the brain.

In this particular study, feeding the mice cinnamon actually altered the proteins that are associated with poor learning thereby improving learning and memory. After consuming cinnamon, the mice metabolized it into sodium benzoate, which can be used as a treatment for brain damage. The sodium benzoate actually helped the mice by increasing the beneficial CREB in the brain and decreasing inhibitory GABRA5 which increased the ability of the hippocampal neurons to change. These changes that resulted improved memory and learning. After 1 month of cinnamon consumption, those mice originally considered poor learners improved in memory and learning, but the good learners were unchanged.  The lead researcher, Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D., Floyd A. Davis Prof. of Neurology at Rush University Medical Center,  notes: "We have successfully used cinnamon to reverse biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with poor learning."   I'd say this is encouraging preliminary research!

Check out the study HERE.


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