Spice of Life: Cinnamon Helps Boost Learning and Memory

Summary: Adding a dash of cinnamon to your diet, or chewing on a stick of cinnamon gum can help boost memory and learning, and stave off some symptoms of anxiety, a new study finds.

Source: Neuroscience News

Cinnamon, the popular aromatic spice used in baking and cooking could do more than just wake up your taste buds. A new study reveals eating products with cinnamon can help improve memory and learning, and may also reduce some symptoms of anxiety.

Previous research reported cinnamon has a positive effect on health. Studies have revealed cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. The spice can also help boost immune system function. 

Now, a team of researchers from Birjand University of Medical Sciences has completed a meta-analysis of prior research papers, reporting cinnamon consumption could help reduce or prevent memory loss and improve learning.

Reviewing a body of literature from PubMed, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus, researchers identified 40 studies that focused on the benefits of cinnamon consumption for learning and memory. Of those 40, 33 were conducted in-vivo, and 5 were conducting in-vitro. The final two were clinical studies. Most of the selected studies reported a positive effect of cinnamon consumption on learning and memory.

The researchers found, in-vivo, cinnamon and its components including cinnamic acid, eugenol, and cinnamaldehyde had a positive effect on cognitive function. From the in-vitro studies, the researchers discovered adding cinnamaldehyde or cinnamon to the cell medium increased cell viability while reducing Alzheimer’s associated Tau aggregation and amyloid-beta. 

This shows cinnamon sticks and powder
A new study reveals eating products with cinnamon can help improve memory and learning, and may also reduce some symptoms of anxiety. Image is in the public domain

The two clinical studies focused on cinnamon consumption in young adults and prediabetic adults below the age of 60. Young adults were instructed to chew sticks of cinnamon gum, while the prediabetic adults consumed 2g of white bread laced with cinnamon.

Young adults who chewed cinnamon gum reported improved cognitive and memory function, and a reduction in anxiety symptoms. However, the pre-diabetic participants had little-to-no change in cognitive function after consuming the cinnamon bread.

While researchers found cinnamon and its compounds appear to have a beneficial effect on cognition and learning, they state more research needs to be done. They hope future studies will focus on the impact of cinnamon on the brain with an aim to investigate its potential to slow cognitive impairment and improve overall brain health.

About this cinnamon, memory, and learning research news

Author: Press Office
Source: Neuroscience News
Contact: Press Office – Neuroscience News
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original Research: Closed access.
Cinnamon and cognitive function: a systematic review of preclinical and clinical studies” by Samaneh Nakhaee et al. Nutritional Neuroscience


Cinnamon and cognitive function: a systematic review of preclinical and clinical studies

Cinnamon is the inner bark of trees named Cinnamomum. Studies have shown that cinnamon and its bioactive compounds can influence brain function and affect behavioral characteristics. This study aimed to systematically review studies about the relationship between cinnamon and its key components in memory and learning.

Two thousand six hundred five studies were collected from different databases (PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Web of Science) in September 2021 and went under investigation for eligibility.

As a result, 40 studies met our criteria and were included in this systematic review. Among the included studies, 33 were In vivo studies, five were In vitro, and two clinical studies were also accomplished.

The main outcome of most studies (n = 40) proved that cinnamon significantly improves cognitive function (memory and learning). In vivo studies showed that using cinnamon or its components, such as eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, and cinnamic acid, could positively alter cognitive function.

In vitro studies also showed that adding cinnamon or cinnamaldehyde to a cell medium can reduce tau aggregation, Amyloid β and increase cell viability. For clinical studies, one study showed positive effects, and another reported no changes in cognitive function.

Most studies reported that cinnamon might be useful for preventing and reducing cognitive function impairment. It can be used as an adjuvant in the treatment of related diseases. However, more studies need to be done on this subject.

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