We all know the grave effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a person. The serious and fatal forgetfulness, along with the dissociation from the outside world and family, makes the disease the “6th leading cause of death in the United States.” Although these patients are often living at senior homes with caregivers, a place to live and someone to take care of you is not enough to combat the severity of the disease. A more innovative and common solution is in many people’s households: cinnamon. Although the research regarding the effects of cinnamon on patients with Alzheimer’s is not yet fully developed, there have been insights into what cinnamon can truly do.
For some background information, patients with Alzheimer’s have certain proteins known as tau proteins that have mutated to form into clumps and tangles, which has been noted to be the cause of AD (Sauer). In cinnamon, there are two main compounds, cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, which can potentially help stop the aggregation of tau proteins.
According to a research paper conducted by the University of California Irvine, “ cinnamon extract has been reported to have positive effects in fruit fly and mouse models for Alzheimer’s disease” (Pham et al.). The experiment was conducted with 16 to 400 mM of cinnamaldehyde maintained at 25°C and 55% humidity and first generation offspring in a type of fruit flies called Drosophila melanogaster. Not only was overall memory tested, but in addition a RING assay (Rapid Iterative Negative Geotaxis assay) was “conducted to evaluate the impact of cinnamaldehyde on fly directionality and climbing ability” (Pham et al.).
The results were as followed:
The 16nM dose of cinnamaldehyde had “no significant effect on the lifespan of AD flies overexpressing Aβ42” (Pham et al.). For reference, Aβ42 is an amyloid beta peptide that is involved with Alzheimer’s disease. The 400 mM dosage “had toxic effects on the lifespans of both male and female AD flies expressing Aβ42” (Pham et al.). The sweet spot was cinnamaldehyde at 80 mM which “increased the lifespan of Alzheimer’s disease fly models that overexpress the Tau protein by 11% in males (P < 0.0001) and by 20.7% in females (P < 0.0001)” (Pham et al.). With the control tau flies, there was no reported improvement. These results prove that certain concentrations of compounds found in cinnamon have the potential to increase the lifespan of those with Alziemer’s. Although this experiment was conducted on fruit flies, this data can be further used to incorporate correct concentrations of cinnamaldehyde for humans.
With the RING assay, “cinnamaldehyde significantly improved the climbing ability of male AD flies overexpressing Tau protein” (Tau et al.) In addition, “the compound also improved short-term memory of male AD flies overexpressing the Tau protein” (Tau et al.).
It is also worth noting that diabetes and Alzheimer’s have a strong connection (Sauer). Almost “70% of people with type II diabetes ultimately [develop] Alzheimer’s” (Sauer). In one study conducted by researchers, the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients decreased by 24% with daily cinnamon intake of ½ to 2 teaspoons for 40 days. This research shows how cinnamon has the possibility to help with Alzheimer’s, as it can also help with diabetes since these two are closely related. Through these research examples, it is without a doubt certain that cinnamon is beneficial for patients with AD. However, some scientists do speculate that “the complex neurodegenerative Alzheimer’s disease is still far from being clear” (Pham et al.). Although it is known that abnormal levels of amyloid beta causes the buildup of plaque between neurons and tangled Tau proteins causing AD, more research needs to be conducted to further prospect this novel method of solving the problems of Alzheimer’s.
Starting young, one can easily incorporate cinnamon in his/her daily diet. Here are some ways according to Alissa Sauer of Alzheimers.net: “put cinnamon in your morning coffee or tea; take cinnamon in a capsule (two 500 mg capsules are recommended); put cinnamon on your toast, cereal, or oatmeal; add cinnamon to baked or raw fruit”. If these methods are incorporated into the daily routine of people with Alziemer’s, the effects of AD can be lessened.
Pham, Hanh, et al. “Cinnamaldehyde Improves Lifespan and Healthspan in
Drosophila melanogaster Models for Alzheimer’s Disease.” Hindawi,
www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/3570830/. Accessed 27 June 2020.
Sauer, Alissa. “Why Cinnamon May Hold Secrets to Alzheimer’s Prevention.”
Alzheimers.net, 2 July 2014, http://www.alzheimers.net/
cinnamon-prevents-alzheimers/. Accessed 27 June 2020.