Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cinnamon may make you a better learner

Smart choice?
Kalipada Pahan, a researcher at Rush University, has high hopes for the spice cinnamon.  In mice, anyway, cinnamon turns slow learners into good ones.

In a study in the June 24 issue of the J of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, poor-learning mice took 150 seconds to find the right hole in a maze test, but after a month of cinnamon treatment, they found it within 60 seconds.

Pahan thinks this comes from an ingredient in cinnamon called sodium benzoate, which ironically is found in many processed foods.

This chemical can have some health concerns, but the amounts we are talking about is considered safe.

The substance is absorbed very slowly from cinnamon.

Although the exact mechanism for increasing learning is not known yet, cinnamon did seem to erase a brain protein gap between slow and good learners.

They also looked at the brain cells of the mice--the sodium benzoate had enhanced the structural integrity of the cells.

Still, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says high quality evidence on the efficacy of cinnamon is lacking. Most of the research has been on whether cinnamon regulated blood sugar.

Before you start throwing cinnamon into everything, note this:

--Most cinnamon in stores is Chinese, which contains a compound called courmarin, which is toxic to the liver in large amounts (tons). Pahan says to look for Ceylon or Sri Lanka on the container.

Still, Prahan takes some cinnamon in honey each evening as a supplement.

You have to do your research and decide for yourself. Cinnabons are good...wait, did I type that out loud?

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