A daily dose of cinnamon may sharpen the mind and improve learning ability, a study in the journal Neuroimmune Pharmacology has found.
In the study, researchers found that cinnamon can alter proteins in the hippocampus – the section of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
In their mouse model, the researchers trained mice for 48 hours in a maze with 20 holes to see if the mice could learn to find their target hole, and noted which ones were poor learners and which ones were strong learners. When cinnamon was consumed by the poor learners the mice metabolized the cinnamon into sodium benzoate. Sodium benzoate can be used as a treatment for brain damage, they say. Mice that were poor learners had less CREB protein in the brain. Sodium benzoate increased the CREB protein.
After 30 days of consuming cinnamon they noted improved memory and learning in the poor learners, and no changes in the strong learners.
The researchers found that cinnamon successfully reversed biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes in the mice with poor learning skills.
“This would be one of the safest and the easiest approaches to convert poor learners to good learners,” says Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D., lead researcher of the study and the Floyd A. Davis Prof. of Neurology at Rush.