In 2013, researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara found a link between cinnamon and the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, found that two compounds in the spice help prevent the accumulation of the protein tau in the brain. As Lehigh Valley Alzheimer’s care experts note, high levels of tau are a red flag for Alzheimer’s.
Some experts think that the clumps and tangles that tau is known to form in the brain when it is not able to bind properly with the structure of brain cells may cause Alzheimer’s disease. The compounds cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin prevent these “clumps” from occurring. One researcher likens the effect of ingesting cinnamon to prevent Alzheimer’s to wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer.
Though more research is needed, the study found that cinnamaldehyde binds to an amino acid on tau, keeping the protein from aggregating. At the same time, epicatechin is activated when oxidation occurs, protecting the protein from damage caused by this activation.
What’s more, cinnamon has been shown to have a positive effect on high blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes–a disease that’s closely linked to Alzheimer’s, with more than 70 percent of people with diabetes eventually developing the latter condition.
As the baby boomer generation ages, Alzheimer’s–already an expensive problem for the health care industry–is projected to increase substantially, making the search for a cure more urgent now than ever before.
If you or a senior loved one is concerned about the risk for Alzheimer’s, consider adding cinnamon to your diet. You can add a small spoonful to your coffee or tea or sprinkle on cereal, fruit, or oatmeal. Cinnamon capsules are also available at your local health food store. However, because more research is still needed, avoid ingesting more than the recommended amount of this spice.
For more information on caring for a senior loved one with memory impairment, turn to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. We offer hourly and live-in home care in the Lehigh Valley, ensuring the seniors in our community have the help they need when they need it. Our caregivers can run errands, provide transportation, cook, clean, help with personal grooming and incontinence, and offer emotional support and companionship. To learn more, give us a call at 484-350-3874 and speak with a friendly Care Manager.