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Scientific Review Uncovers Possible Effects of Cinnamon on Memory and Learning

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Known as a popular flavoring for cake baking and savory dishes, cinnamon comes from the inside of the bark of cinnamon trees.

These evergreen trees are found in the Himalayas and other mountainous regions, as well as in the rainforests and other forests of southern China, India, and Southeast Asia.

In addition to its unique taste, cinnamon may have beneficial properties for humans. For example, studies show that cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties, and may also boost the immune system.

Some work has also shown that its biologically active compounds can improve brain function, especially memory and learning. However, the validity of these results has not yet been proven with certainty.

A group of researchers from the Birjand University of Medical Sciences in Iran recently reviewed several previous studies to explore the effects of cinnamon on cognitive function.

Their analysis, described in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, highlights the potential value of cinnamon in preventing or reducing memory or learning disabilities.

“This study aimed to systematically review research on the relationship between cinnamon and its main components in memory and learning,” wrote Samana Nahaye, Alireza Kushki, and colleagues in their article. “In September 2021, 2,605 studies were collected from different databases. 40 studies were eligible and 2605 studies were collected from the various databases included in this systematic review.

The researchers reviewed hundreds of studies held in several online research databases, including PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar and Web of Science. They then narrowed their analysis down to 40 such studies that were most relevant to their topic of interest.

Of these 40 studies, 33 were conducted in vivo (that is, with the study of real living organisms, such as humans, rodents or other animals). Five were conducted in vitro (i.e., ex vivo, for example, by analyzing post-mortem cells or tissues), and two were conducted in clinical trials.

The researchers extracted data relevant to all of these studies, including the type of cinnamon and its compounds used, the study population and sample sizes, the doses of cinnamon or its bioactive components used, and the sex and age of the participants. They then assessed the quality and reliability of the studies based on their design, sample size, inclusion criteria, and other methodological aspects.

Finally, they analyzed and compared the results of 40 relevant selected articles. Overall, most of the studies they reviewed showed that cinnamon can positively impact both memory and cognition.

In their paper, Nikki, Koshki, and colleagues wrote: “In vivo studies have shown that supplementation with cinnamon or its components such as eugenol, cinnamic aldehyde, and cinnamic acid may positively influence cognitive function. In vitro studies have also shown that supplementation with cinnamon or cinnamic aldehyde into the cell environment can reduce the accumulation of tau protein, amyloid beta and increase cell viability.

The researchers wrote: “Most studies report that cinnamon may be helpful in preventing cognitive impairment and decline. It can be used as an aid in the treatment of related diseases. However, more research needs to be done on this topic.”

Overall, the systematic review shows that cinnamon and some of its active ingredients can have a positive effect on the functioning of the human brain, improving memory and learning ability. In the future, this review may inspire other research groups to further study the effects of cinnamon on the brain, which may improve its use to support brain function and slow cognitive decline.

Source: Medical Express

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