Scientists testing the spice, cinnamon as an anti-microbial agent found that cinnamon may play a role in reversing or preventing Alzheimer’s disease. See the January 7, 2009 PDF article on the study, “Cinnamon extract inhibits tau aggregation associated with Alzheimer’s Disease In Vitro.” The scientists testing the spice came from the University of California, Davis and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The study showed that compounds native to cinnamon may be beneficial to Alzheimer’s Disease patients or may guide the discovery of other potential therapeutics if cinnamon’s mechanisms of action can be understood more deeply. The Journal of Alzheimers Disease published the study in 2009.
According to that 2009 University of California, Santa Barbara study, conclusions of the study reported that “an aqueous extract of Ceylon cinnamon (C. zeylanicum) is found to inhibit tau aggregation and filament formation, hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).” You don’t want “tau tangles” forming in your brain. Also check out the UC Davis article, The Function of Green Foods.
Locally scientists study the effects of spices such as turmeric and cinnamon on the brain to see whether spices can help prevent dementia and possible other diseases. Studies on cinnamon around the world continue to see what health benefits they may have at specific dose levels or on certain diseases or the immune system.
More recently, in further studies, scientists at another university are finding that an extract from cinnamon bark called CEppt, helps to reverse and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, at least in preliminary research with mice and fruit flies.See the study at PLoS ONE, or view an article published June 27, 2011 on the research study, “Alzheimer’s prevention in your pantry. See the article,Alzheimer’s Prevention in Your Pantry, Could Cinnamon Extract CEppt Stop Alzheimer’s?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in eight Americans over the age of 65 suffers from the disease. Now Tel Aviv University has discovered that an everyday spice in your kitchen cupboard could hold the key to Alzheimer’s prevention. The catch is that the studies have been done on mice and fruit flies at this time.
Also see the abstract of the study in PLoS ONE published January 28, 2011, “Orally Administrated Cinnamon Extract Reduces β-Amyloid Oligomerization and Corrects Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease Animal Models.” Check out the site, “Cinnamon can delay development of Alzheimer’s, according to study.” Also see, “Health Information and News for the Public: Orally Administrated Cinnamon Extract Reduces β– Amyloid Oliogomerization and Corrects Cognitive Impairement in Alzheimer’s Disease.” The issue with most of these studies is that they were done on animals.
What does cinnamon extract do?
The anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties of cinnamon inspired Prof. Michael Ovadia of the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University to investigate the healing properties of cinnamon. What also inspired the scientist to investigate cinnamon as anti-microbial is a passage in the Bible. It describes high priests in ancient Israel and throughout the Levant using the spice in a holy ointment, he explains in the news release, presumably meant to protect them from infectious diseases during sacrifices, even though the ancients didn’t know about microbes at the time.
After discovering that the cinnamon extract had antiviral properties, Prof. Ovadia empirically tested these properties in both laboratory and animal Alzheimer’s models. A substance found in cinnamon bark called CEppt inhibited the development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice and fruit flies in the study.
An extract found in cinnamon bark, called CEppt, contains properties that can inhibit the development of the disease, according to Prof. Michael Ovadia of the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University, as explained in the university’s press release. His research, conducted in collaboration with Prof. Ehud Gazit, Prof. Daniel Segal and Dr. Dan Frenkel, has recently been published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Don’t rush to your spice cabinet just yet, however. It would take far more than a toxic level of the spice — more than 10 grams of raw cinnamon a day — to reap the therapeutic benefits. The solution to this medical catch-22, Prof. Ovadia says, would be to extract the active substance from cinnamon, separating it from the toxic elements.
Some people buying cinnamon extract from some online supplement distributors or buy it in any given health food store may suffer a fast heart beat as a reaction to certain doses of cinnamon extract, if these people are sensitive to the extract you find currently in stores. Others don’t have adverse reactions. But cinnamon extract is not the same as the CEppt substance the researchers are talking about.
Cinnamon is toxic if you eat a large amount of it. You don’t want to put more than 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in your food. What needs to be done is to have the substance from the cinnamon and not eat the toxic parts of cinnamon bark. Commercial cinnamon you buy in a supermarket is the ground up, powdered form of the bark. What has to be done by scientists is to extract the CEppt, and then see how that works without any other toxins that normally is found in cinnamon bark as you get it from the store or in the wild.
The ancient world leaves anti-microbial clues in spices such as cinnamon bark
What ‘sacred’ properties were attributed in ancient times to cinnamon bark and other spices? The answer is an ability to heal because the spices such as cinnamon reduced inflammation and destroyed certain viruses and bacteria.
The researchers isolated CEppt by grinding cinnamon and extracting the substance into an aqueous buffer solution. They then introduced this solution into the drinking water of mice that had been genetically altered to develop an aggressive form of Alzheimer’s disease, and fruit flies that had been mutated with a human gene that also stimulated Alzheimer’s disease and shortened their lifespan.
After four months, the researchers discovered that development of the disease had slowed remarkably and the animals’ activity levels and longevity were comparable to that of their healthy counterparts. The extract, explains Prof. Ovadia, inhibited the formation of toxic amyloid polypeptide oligomers and fibrils, which compose deposits of plaque found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Cinnamon can break up those amyloid fibers you don’t want growing in your brain
In the test-tube model, the substance was also found to break up amyloid fibers, similar to those collected in the brain to kill neurons. According to Prof. Ovadia, this finding indicates that CEppt may not just fight against the development of the disease, but may help to cure it after Alzheimer’s molecules have already formed. In the future, he says, the team of researchers should work towards achieving the same result in animal models, according to the news release.
“The discovery is extremely exciting. While there are companies developing synthetic AD inhibiting substances, our extract would not be a drug with side effects, but a safe, natural substance that human beings have been consuming for millennia,” says Prof. Ovadia in the June 27, 2011 Tel Aviv University press release.
Though it can’t yet be used to fight Alzheimer’s, cinnamon still has its therapeutic benefits — it can also prevent viral infections when sprinkled into your morning tea. For further information about Alzheimer’s disease research from Tel Aviv University, click here. Or check out more AFTAU news on Twitter.
What Really Builds Up in The Brain To Cause Alzheimer’s Disease?
According to the study’s abstract, “An increasing body of evidence indicates that accumulation of soluble oligomeric assemblies of β-amyloid polypeptide (Aβ) play a key role in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. Specifically, 56 kDa oligomeric species were shown to be correlated with impaired cognitive function in AD model mice.” See, “Orally Administrated Cinnamon Extract Reduces β-Amyloid Oligomerization and Corrects Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease Animal Models.”
In plain words, it’s plaque that builds up in the brain. The study’s abstract notes, “Several reports have documented the inhibition of Aβ plaque formation by compounds from natural sources. Yet, evidence for the ability of common edible elements to modulate Aβ oligomerization remains an unmet challenge.”
What the scientists did in the study first focused on identifying a natural substance, based on cinnamon extract (CEppt). The researchers found tht CEppt, a substance extracted from cinnamon markedly inhibits the formation of toxic Aβ oligomers and prevents the toxicity of Aβ on neuronal PC12 cells.
First the scientists administrered the extract to an AD fly model. What happened next revealed that “CEppt rectified their reduced longevity, fully recovered their locomotion defects and totally abolished tetrameric species of Aβ in their brain,” according to the study’s abstract.
Next, the scientists gave the CEppt extracted from cinnamon bark to mice–orally. The mice ate the extract. And, according to the study’s abstract, “oral administration of CEppt to an aggressive AD transgenic mice model led to marked decrease in 56 kDa Aβ oligomers, reduction of plaques and improvement in cognitive behavior.” A point to remember is that the mice weren’t normal mice. Those mice were transgenic. That means they had been made to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease first before being given substance extracted from cinnamon bark, CEppt.
Can cinnamon inhibit some environmental toxin effects?
The scientists found that their “results present a novel prophylactic approach for inhibition of toxic oligomeric Aβ species formation in AD through the utilization of a compound that is currently in use in human diet.” Now, the question is, will it work as well on humans? That remains to be seen by further research.
Most people as they age want to know how to balance declining stomach acid with the intake of acidic and alkaline foods. Locally, the University of California studies the medical effects that green foods have on the body. Also, in the Sacramento and Davis regional area, the UC Davis studies in depth how nutrition affects the body. See the article, MRG — Studies of Food and the Body: Proposal.
What happens as you age and suddenly lose most of the digestive enzymes in your stomach? Do you need a food or food extract to cut inflammation as food rots in your stomach because you don’t have enough digestive enzymes being manufactured as you age? This scenario may happen with some people as they age, but not with all individuals, of course.
Did you ever wonder what happens to the food when it rots, is not totally digested, and causes inflammation in other parts of your body? It’s a problem that scientists and physicians are researching. Nutrition that may help declining stomach acid refers to a balance of acidic and alkaline foods.
Explaining Metabolic Nutrition
Have you heard of the term, metabolic nutrition? As you age, your stomach acid production may decline. Your food becomes difficult to digest, and may rot while still in the stomach due to lack of digestive enzymes. Also sometimes exercise “is medicine.”
Locally, the University of California studies the medical effects that green foods have on the body. What shoppers also would enjoy finding is a physician with an M.D. or D.O. degree who also is trained in nutrition. How many physicians in Sacramento read articles written by other physicians who have been trained and write about nutrition as a vital part of optimizing health?
Most people experience this decline in the stomach’s ability to produce enough acid to digest food as they age. So to optimize metabolism, nutritionists look at what foods may help. Vinegar (apple cider vinegar, not white vinegar), cayenne pepper, and even coffee have shown health benefits. These foods have acidifying effects on the stomach, but once in the bloodstream do the opposite and have alkalizing effects in the blood.
What happens when these foods are consumed, The science is called metabolic nutrition. And graduate training programs exist to qualify dietitians interested in metabolic nutrition to become “genetic and metabolic dietitians.”
As people age, some individuals have a problem absorbing enough vitamin B-12
The problem is that sometimes stomach acid blockers may interfere in some people with their absorption of vitamin B-12. Also other individuals may take the drug metformin, which was meant for diabetics, and metformin may reduce vitamin B-12 levels.
What you don’t want to end up with is an irritable bowel and a problem absorbing your minerals. Your brain needs specific, essential minerals. True, some minerals are toxic, but other minerals are necessary to keep your memory functioning as you age.
Nutritionists also point out you need to have enough amino acids, but are you able to absorb the amino acids? What proteins are you eating and how much? You don’t want too many or too little proteins in your diet. Since each person is different in the way the body reacts, due to genetic variations, how do you know whether you have a balanced mineral intake? How is your body going to repair itself?
Low levels of digestive enzymes may come with age
If you’re low in digestive enzymes due to aging, chances are that you’re not able to digest proteins fully. And what happens is that the undigested proteins end up in your small intestine. Once there for long periods of time, you begin to suffer from inflammation, which may lead to allergies.
Protective minerals in trace amounts can reduce the absorption of toxic metals such as mercury. But where are the minerals you take ending up? Your goal as you age is to find the best way to keep your stomach digesting your food. That’s where the designer foods, the smart foods kick in.
You need the plant nutrients, but you also need herbs and spices such as herbal tea, a small amount of unsweetened chocolate/cocoa, oregano, cinnamon, and pepper in tiny amounts. You also may need plant nutrients such as resveratrol, lutein, lycopene, and carotene which are found in fresh vegetables and some fruits.
Can decaf green tea also help? Or can hibiscus tea help those with certain types of high blood pressure?
Do you need a small about of hibiscus tea for your kidneys? These are areas of research scientists continue to study, how the vibrant foods become designer foods or “smart foods.” That’s why so many nutritionists tell you to eat a balanced amount of green, leafy vegetables.
If someone tells you not to eat a half cup of spinach because the oxalate in the spinach forms kidney stones, you can tell them that studies are being done to see whether excess urine oxalate in people who are genetically prone to form stones might just happen because they don’t have enough oxalate-digesting bacteria in their gut.
What helps? Foods that are alkaline and colorful
Look into prebiotics and probiotics. Do you have a healthy colony of eubacteria in your stomach or intestines? Try alkalizing plant foods, for example, vegetables and fruits that have rich color to them–the red, purple, green, yellow, orange vegetables and fruits, for example.
Find out how much fiber you really need for your individual health. Men and women have different fiber needs, and it’s also an individual body response to fiber. What did you eat last that got rid of your constipation in a way that wasn’t painful or dangerous? For further information, an excellent article, “Optimizing Metabolism,” by Ingrid Kohlstadt, MD, MPH, appears on page 88 in the Townsend Letter, May, 2011.
Check out that article and the magazine. The point is that you need to know when and how to use alkaline foods and when and how to use acidic foods to balance your health. Also see the book, Food and Nutrients in Disease Management – CRC Press Book. January 2009. Kohlstadt, I. editor.
This book presents nutritional information, recommendations, and support for specific conditions and diseases. And it includes research on nutrient-drug interactions, nutrient-gene interactions, and disease-specific interventions. The book consists of 59 disease-specific chapters covering pathophysiology, clinical information, and nutritional intervention
Information in the book emphasizes scientific evidence for whole foods and dietary patterns over isolated, supplemental nutrients. Did you know that nutritional counseling is taking on a larger and larger role in healthcare, especially with the management of chronic conditions and diseases?
Many medical practitioners still lack sufficient disease-specific nutrition information and the in-depth understanding that allows them to integrate nutrition into specific treatment plans. That’s why it’s beneficial to look at publications that include research on nutrient-drug interactions, nutrient-gene interactions, and disease-specific interactions.
If you see Dr. Kohlstadt’s book and articles, you’ll find that these valuable resources incorporate nutritional medicine into clinical practice, emphasizing scientific evidence for whole foods and dietary patterns.
For example, in the book, each chapter details how food and nutrition influence pathophysiology, presents relevant clinical information, and offers nutritional interventions and recommendations. If you want to listen to an audio presentation, click here to listen to Dr. Kohlstadt’s Audio Digest Interview for Food and Nutrients in Disease Management.