Lead researcher, Professor Michael Ovadia, from the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University said the research was inspired by a bible passage describing the herb’s use by high priests in holy ointments during sacrificial rituals
He said the results were, “extremely exciting” but warned spice rack versions of the herb would not provide benefits as the amount required to gain an efficacious level of CEppt would be toxic in most people.
"The discovery is extremely exciting. While there are companies developing synthetic AD inhibiting substances, our extract would not be a drug with side effects, but a safe, natural substance that human beings have been consuming for millennia," the professor said.
Professor Ovadia and his fellow researchers wrote in the paper: "In contrast to the raw cinnamon bark, which is considered to have hepatotoxic effects, our method of preparation results in a highly potent non-toxic compound which is easily manufactured at low cost."
The research, published in the journal PLoS ONE, gave a solution containing CEppt fed to mice genetically modified to develop Alzheimer’s and fruit flies mutated to simulate the ailment.
The four month study found the disease slowed in both sets of animals. Professor Ovadia said CEppt inhibited the formation of toxic amyloid polypeptide oligomers and fibrils in the brain – something akin to brain plaque.
Further in vitro testing showed it altered amyloid fibres, which are known to kill neurons in the brain. These results needed animal model verification, Professor Ovadia said.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, one in eight Americans over the age of 65 suffers from the disease.
Cinnamon and diabetes
Cinnamon has featured in many studies highlighting its ability to benefit blood glucose levels and therefore diabetes.
However, a 2008 meta-analysis questioned the potential benefits of cinnamon for type-2 diabetes. The analysis considered only five randomized placebo-controlled trials involving 282 subjects, and found no significant benefits of cinnamon supplement on glycated hemoglobin (A1C), fasting blood glucose (FBG), or other lipid parameters (Diabetes Care, 2008, Vol. 31, pp. 41-43).
‘Orally Administrated Cinnamon Extract Reduces β-Amyloid Oligomerization and Corrects Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer's Disease Animal Models’
Authors: Anat Frydman-Marom, Aviad Levin, Dorit Farfara, Tali Benromano, Roni Scherzer-Attali, Sivan Peled, Robert Vassar, Daniel Segal, Ehud Gazit, Dan Frenkel, Michael Ovadia