Tel Aviv University scientists have discovered that a cinnamon extract inhibits the development of the neurodegenerative illness – and may even combat it.
Alzheimer’s affects some 70,000 Israelis and nearly 18 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organizaiton. The illness is characterized by gradual memory loss caused by an accumulation of beta amyloid proteins outside the brain’s neurons.
In the new study, which was headed by Prof. Michael Ovadia of the zoology department in the life sciences faculty, scientists at TAU isolated the substance, CEppt, from the cinnamon plant. They then used it in a series of tests conducted on mice that were raised with five aggressive strains of Alzheimer’s-inducing genes. The researchers found that the disease’s development was delayed, with additional trials showing that existing amyloids had been dissolved.
“The discovery is exciting,” Ovadia told the Ha’aretz newspaper. He added that CEppt is a “natural and safe” material with no side effects.
“The finding points at the possibility that the material found may not only prevent Alzheimer’s but may also contain therapeutic qualities,” Ovadia said.
The experiment’s results were recently published in the PLoS ONE scientific journal.
Despite the optimistic news, Ovadia warned against excessive consumption of cinnamon as too much can lead to liver damage. The TAU research team is now considering trying out the recent discovery on other animals.