Jul 282011
 

Plants have a long history as a rich source of new compounds for drug discovery. Cinnamon is widely used by humans, both as a spice and as a traditional medicine. It is, perhaps, one of the oldest herbal medicines, having been mentioned in the Bible and in Chinese texts as long as 4,000 years ago.

Previous studies have already demonstrated the potential for herbal extracts to interact with beta-amyloid, and perhaps slow down or even prevent AD. As we move towards earlier identification of Alzheimer’s disease pathology in minimally symptomatic individuals, such therapies will undoubtedly become areas of intense research. Examples for extensively studied naturally occurring compounds are the (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) from green tea and Curcumin, which is derived from the natural turmeric.

Now, a research team headed by Michael Ovadia from Tel Aviv University, has isolated one of the ingredients in cinnamon, CEppt, and used it in a series of tests conducted on two-month-old lab mice that were raised with five aggressive strains of Alzheimer’s-inducing genes. The experiment’s results, recently published in the PLoS ONE scientific journal, were impressive. Laboratory rodents, genetically altered to develop dementia, received either the cinnamon extract or an inert treatment for four months. The extract improved the rats’ performance on learning and memory tasks. It also reduced the amount of plaque formed in the brain. The animals were fed drinking water containing a CEppt solution over four months, and researchers found that the disease’s development was delayed, with additional trials showing that existing amyloids had been dissolved. The results show the ability of CEppt to inhibit the progress of beta-amyloid aggregation. CEppt is actually comprised of several molecules, and it remains to be found which molecule is exerting this effect.

Supplements such as Curcumin, EGCG, DHA and CEppt will likely be evaluated in clinical trials in patients who have minimal symptoms, but are on the path towards developing AD. That is, patients with amyloid building up in the brain, but not yet showing symptoms as assessed by Amyloid scans (for example. From studies such as ADNI, we believe that there is a 15 year window during which amyloid is building up in the brain, while there are minimal symptoms, such as memory loss present. This window may be the best time to initiate anti-amyloid therapy.)

Anat Frydman-Marom, et al, Orally Administrated Cinnamon Extract Reduces ß-Amyloid Oligomerization and Corrects Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease Animal Models; PLoS One Jan. 28, 2011

Michael S. Rafii, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Memory Disorders Clinic
Associate Medical Core Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study
University of California San Diego

This post originally appeared in Alzheimer’s Insights, an ADCS Blog.

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  11 Responses to “Cinnamon and Alzheimer’s Disease”

  1. Alzheimer's disease can be delayed and treated using phenolic compounds because these compounds impede the formation of peroxynitrites (the chemical responsible for dementia), because they scavenge peroxynitrites (convert them into a less dangerous form) and because they reverse peroxynitrite oxidation of transport systems, enzymes, and receptors involved in short-term memory, mood and sleep, alertness, and smell. Phenolic peroxynitrite scavengers such as rosmarinic acid, grape seed extract, cinnamon extract, eugenol in Cinnamomum zeylanicum essential oil, and carvacrol and thymol in Zataria multiflora Boiss. essential oil, etc. have all corrected cognitive deficits in animal models of the disease. Clinical trials using essential oils delivered via aromatherapy or tinctures (see Jimbo, et al. and Akhondzadeh et al.) have led to significant improvement in cognitive function among individuals with dementia, especially those with Alzheimer's disease.
    The prevention and treatment of this disease may be one well-designed clinical trial away.

    • Thank you for the info. I want to start a regime of these compounds. Can you recommend how I would go about starting a regime. What brands, etc., when do I get them, etc. I'm 64. My mother just died – 83 years old. Alzheimers, Parkinson's, high cholesterol. I'm worried I have the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. I believe my mother had Alzheimer's for at least twenty years. She was only diagnnosed 5 years ago. I need to find a MD who specializes in this awful disease. I live in the Boston area. Any recommendations. Thank you.

  2. Very informative, I didn't know that cinnamon has potential herb extracts to interact with beta-amyloid, and perhaps slow down or even prevent AD. Education is truly a good way to prevent from getting sick. I hope to read more about food that could help prevent from having AD. It's a great information for me as a caregiver from Rock Hill.

  3. Very informative article. My grandma has this disease , and doctors here in Romania do not know much about it. thanks for the info.

  4. Very helpful article. I didnt know about the effects of cinnamon. Thank you!

  5. Cinnamon seems to be a pretty powerful spice. It's rated one of the healthiest foods for diabetics. This study just reiterates how valuables cinnamon actually is.

  6. I’ve also heard that there was a research in Europe that showed cinnamon helped patient with Arthritis, Alzheimer and Parkinson.

  7. I just received an article on the effects of honey and cinnamon in combination for the health prevention or healing of many ailments. It is not documented. Honey and cinnamon taste good so why not incorporate it into the diet? I have arthritis and high cholesterol both of which it claims to reduce. If it helps AD, that is great since my Dad and brother both suffer from it as did my mother in law and brother in law .

  8. It is so great to hear that researchers are able to find ways to slow down the process of AD. Although I am not personally affected by this disease, I am helping to raise money at Temple University in Philadelphia for AD. I think that spreading this article and its importance around campus can help raise awareness and allow others to pass along the information. I think that with the unfortunate growing numbers of those affected by AD, it is important to reach a younger community as well. Is there any suggestions or more information that could be passed along to college students?

  9. Thanks for the info. My mother died a couple of months ago. She had Allzheimer's. I also believe she had mild Parkinson's. She was 83. (I'm 64). I believe she may have had it for 20 years, but was only diagnosed 5 years ago, when he symptoms were very noticeable. I'm worried I may have it also. I've had other medical problems that have needed attention the past two years. I also have high cholesterol, arthritis. I don't like cinnamon, taste or smell, but I am going to get the extract. Can anyone recommend a brand that has been tested for purity, etc. I'd don't want to waste any time – I want to start with the best possible product. Thanks

    • There is a nice paper (Soscia et al, 2010 PloS ONE) showing that aolimyd-beta has similarities with antimicrobial peptides family, and also, it has antimicrobial proprieties. Could be aolimyd-beta a friend of innate imune response which is helping to eliminate some unknown infection in AD brain? I think this paradigm shifting really interesting, lets see what happens Bye from Portugal.

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