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Cinnamon protects short-term memory

Do you have trouble remembering the name of someone who just introduced themselves to you? Or do you forget a phone number almost immediately after they tell you? Maybe incorporating cinnamon into your diet will help.

Cinnamon, diabetes and memory
In people in pre-diabetes, memory often deteriorates, and spices such as cinnamon make cells more sensitive to insulin. If you take these two things into consideration, you might assume that pre-diabetics who regularly use cinnamon have better memory than pre-diabetics who don't. Taiwanese and Chinese researchers tried to find out in a small epidemiological study whether this theory holds water.

Cinnamon protects short-term memory

The researchers studied 93 people over 60 with a relatively high glucose level, who were otherwise healthy. 78 participants never used cinnamon, the remaining 15 study participants did. The cinnamon users did not differ significantly from the non-cinnamon users in terms of health parameters measured.

The researchers showed the study participants a series of 4 numbers 3 times in a row, and then asked the subjects to reproduce the numbers. If they did this well, they received one point per series. In total, the study participants could therefore score a maximum of 3 points.

The cinnamon users scored a 2.9, the non-users a 2.6.

The researchers then calculated the relationship between the memory scores and all measured variables. When they corrected their data for all possible measured factors, they found two factors that determined memory scores: education and cinnamon use.

Cinnamon protects short-term memory

It is not surprising that education has a positive effect on short-term memory. Highly educated people simply use their short-term memory more often. However, the positive effect of using cinnamon was significantly stronger.

Cinnamon contains eugenol and cinnamaldehyde. These substances inhibit the enzyme COX2 and thus also inhibit inflammatory processes. The same is true of two other cinnamon components, trans-cinnamaldehyde and 2-methoxy-cinnamaldehyde. These substances inhibit inflammation by inhibiting Nfk-B.

Cinnamon protects short-term memory

"There is considerable potential for regular cinnamon usage to reduce the global burden of disease attributable to cognitive impairment and dementia", sthe researchers write.

Nutr Res. 2016 Apr;36(4):305-10.

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