Cinnamon is one of the most consumed spices in the world. It has been prized for its warming, sweet taste and medicinal properties for thousands of years. As found by researchers your learning skills might be enhanced by consuming this tasty household spice.
How cinnamon affects the brain
A neurology professor at Rush University Medical Center, Kalipada Pahan as lead researcher and his team for one study zoomed in on two key proteins, CREB and GABRA5. These proteins CREB and GABRA5 are located in the hippocampus region of the brain. It is a small part of the brain that organizes, stores, and generates memory. Previous research has shown that higher levels of GABRA5 and lower levels of CREB appear in the brain of poor learners.
The researchers took a group of mice and they placed them in a maze with 20 holes to see if they can improve the memory of slow learners with ground cinnamon. The main focus of the experiment was to watch the mice how they learn to locate their target hole.
After one month of feeding with this spice, the researchers tested the mice again, and they found that the mice that were determined to be bad learners had notably increased their learning skills and memory. They could find their target hole twice as fast.
Pahan and his team explained that when ingested in the body cinnamon converts into sodium benzoate, a chemical compound used to treat brain damage. Also, they discovered that when benzoate entered the mice’s brains, it decreased GABRA5, increased CREB, and stimulated hippocampal neurons, which led to increased learning skills and improved memory.
Pahan said that they have successfully used cinnamon to reverse anatomical, cellular and biochemical changes that appear in the brains of mice with poor learning.
But, there were no significant improvements in the mice that were determined as good learners. Pahan also added that if these results could be applied in slow learning students, cinnamon could become one of the easiest and safest approaches to convert them to good learners.
Cinnamon may stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease
When cinnamon converts into sodium benzoate, it works to improve communication within the brain, protect the neurons, and normalize brain cells, which slows down the progression of the disease.
Before you start to add this spice to all your dishes, you must know that not all cinnamon is created equal. There are two major types of cinnamon available: Ceylon cinnamon and Chinese or cassia cinnamon. These both metabolize into sodium benzoate, but Ceylon cinnamon is much healthier than Chinese cinnamon.
Chinese cinnamon contains coumarin, a molecule that can damage the liver.