Cinnamon is full of antioxidants and has been shown to assist in inflammation in the body, cuts the risk of heart disease, fights bacterial and fungal infections, treats digestion and can even lower blood sugar.
In 2013, scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara reported the results of studies on the possible use of cinnamon to prevent Alzheimer's disease. The researchers concluded that the two compounds found in cinnamon — cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin — have shown some promising results in preventing the development of the filamentous "tangles" found in the brain cells that characterize the disease.
In Alzheimer's disease, a protein made up of twisted fibers (tangles) called tau form inside dying cells.
In healthy brain areas, tau assists in keeping the cell-to-cell transport on course, but in the areas of the brain where tangles form, the twisted strands break up this transport system. Nutrients and other essential supplies can no longer move through the cells, which eventually die, leading to Alzheimer's.
Brain tissue in people with Alzheimer's disease is exposed to oxidative stress. Scientists studied the compounds found in cinnamon and found that they prevented the tau knots from forming by protecting tau from oxidative stress.
The compounds in cinnamon tended to protect the tau protein by binding cysteine (amino acids) residues, which can ensure proper functioning of the protein.
Cinnamon also hindered the tau protein's accumulation in the brain.
In other words, cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant which helps neutralize cellular processes and prevents oxidation in the brain.
More research needs to be done regarding the use of cinnamon and Alzheimer's disease risk and prevention. Most experiments conducted have been on cells grown in the lab, so it is unclear if the same effects will be seen in animals or people or if there will be any impact on the function of brain cells.
Additionally, the levels of cinnamon someone would have to ingest to replicate the results of many of the experiments would be toxic.
But, it doesn't hurt to incorporate cinnamon in an overall diet plan for its numerous health benefits. Adding cinnamon to your coffee or tea or sprinkling it on toast, cereal or oatmeal and shaking it on baked or raw fruit are just some examples to include in your daily nutrition plan. Cinnamon can also be taken as a supplement, in capsule form (two 500 mg daily are recommended).