Cinnamon spices improve the ability to learn and our memory
Cinnamon is usually an aromatic spice that is often added to foods to enhance the taste. Researchers now found that taking this spice can help with learning. Cinnamon is actually able to improve the ability to learn. So maybe some cinnamon could help a lot of students who have trouble learning at school.
Surely you know cinnamon as a spice that refines many dishes. But cinnamon can do much more. Researchers at Rush University have now stated in a press release that they found out during an investigation that taking cinnamon improves their ability to learn. The American physicians published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology".Do you have problems picking up new knowledge? Then maybe you could be helped by cinnamon. Researchers found that cinnamon intake improves mice's ability to learn. (Image: valery121283 / fotolia.com)
Feeding with cinnamon leads to improved learning in mice
In a study of laboratory mice, we found that cinnamon feeding improves learning, says lead researcher Professor Kalipada Pahan from Rush University. Maybe this knowledge can be used in the future to help people with learning difficulties better. Too much cinnamon can also have negative consequences for our body. For a while there was a trend among young people to eat as much cinnamon as possible. By so-called cinnamon spoons even a boy fell into a coma.
To understand mechanisms behind a poorer learning ability
For some people learning is not a problem. They seem to absorb the knowledge like a sponge. Other people already have bigger problems. They can hardly learn new knowledge and have difficulty remembering facts. So it's important to understand the mechanisms that lead to poorer learning, say the authors. Only then will it be possible to develop more effective strategies for improving memory and learning ability, adds Professor Pahan.
How does cinnamon affect the hippocampus??
The key to this understanding lies in the hippocampus. This small part of the brain generates, organizes and stores memories, explain the scientists. People with learning problems have lower levels of the CREB protein in the hippocampus. CREB supports our brain in learning new knowledge. But such people have more of the protein GABRA5. This inhibits the ability to learn in our brain, the researchers add.
Cinnamon is converted to sodium benzoate
The test mice in the study received oral feed with ground cinnamon. The body of the animals converted the cinnamon by metabolizing in so-called sodium benzoate, explain the researchers. This chemical is also used as a drug to treat brain damage. The sodium benzoate increased CREB in the animals' brain and GABBRA5 was decreased. In addition, the plasticity (ability to change) of neurons in the hippocampus was stimulated. These changes, in turn, led to improved memory and learning among the mice, explain the authors of the study.
Cinnamon can reverse various changes in the brain of mice
We were able to use cinnamon in our studies to reverse biochemical, cellular, and anatomical changes in the mouse's brain, says Professor Pahan. The researchers used a so-called "Barnes Labyrinth" to identify mice with good or poor learning ability. The mice were allowed to work two days in the labyrinth to find a specific target hole, the researchers say. The labyrinth had a total of twenty of these holes. After one month of continuous cinnamon feeding, the mice were retested. Taking cinnamon improved the learning and memory of animals that previously had problems with it. However, mice that previously had a good memory and could easily learn new knowledge did not benefit from any significant improvement in learning, the researchers add.
Cinnamon could eventually help people with Parkinson's disease
Some time ago, Professor Pahan and his team had already discovered that cinnamon can reverse changes in the brain of mice with Parkinson's disease. Cinnamon does not only seem to be a tasty spice, it also has some interesting medicinal properties. For example, cinnamon is conducive to the intestine through its antibacterial mode of action. (As)