[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 2 Issue 3, October 2011].
The Daily Express recently claimed that scientists may have discovered a possible “cake cure for dementia”, which could one day slow or eradicate dementia. This news was based on a laboratory animal study into the effect of an extract from cinnamon bark (called CEppt) in reducing the build-up of amyloid beta protein aggregates. These aggregates form into amyloid plaques and probably contribute to nerve cell death in Alzheimer’s Disease. Cinnamon extract was found to reduce the formation of aggregates and improved brain function in mice that had been genetically modified to develop a form of Alzheimer’s.
Further research is needed to discover how and why this effect works, and to determine which specific chemical in the extract is responsible.
Note: Research results from animal studies do not always apply to humans. The implications for human Alzheimer’s Disease is unclear as yet. Further, a cinnamon extract was studied, rather than cinnamon; so eating cinnamon may not have a similar effect. It is not known whether cinnamon (as a spice) would contain enough of the active ingredient(s) to have the required result.
Caution: Cinnamon bark may contain harmful toxins and should not be eaten in large quantities.
Further research is needed to establish whether this cinnamon bark extract is safe and works in humans.
Cinnamon treats Alzheimer’s … in mice. London: NHS Choices, June 29th 2011.
Frydman-Marom, A. Levin, A. [and] Farfara, D. [et al] (2011). Orally administrated cinnamon extract reduces β-amyloid oligomerization and corrects cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease animal models. PloS One, 2011, Vol.6(1), pp.e16564. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).