Parkinson's disease which affects around 1.2 million patients in the United States and Canada is regarded as one of the most dreadful health threats for older people. It occurs mostly after the age of 50 and is slightly more common in men than women.
Based on a new study involving mice, cinnamon may stop or reverse the continuous changes that happen in the brain of patients suffering from Parkinson's disease.
The striking result has remarkable potential to initiate a new direction as far as the treatment of this devastating neurodegenerative disorder is concerned.
"Cinnamon has been used widely as a spice throughout the world for centuries. The spice can reverse the biomechanical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with Parkinson's disease," said Kalipada Pahan from Rush University.
The result showed that after oral feeding, ground cinnamon gets metabolised in the liver into sodium benzoate which is a drug approved by FDA. It is widely used for treating hepatic metabolic defects.
Sodium benzoate after metabolisation in the liver enters the brain, prevents the loss of two important proteins named Parkin and DJ-1, protects neurons, and normalises neurotransmitter levels, thereby improving motor functions in mice with Parkinson’s disease.
The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, showed mice that were given cinnamon had better brain function and motor skills, which are mostly impaired in Parkinson's patients.
"Now we need to translate this finding to the clinic and test ground cinnamon in patients with PD," Pahan added.
Cinnamon is also known to be used as a food preservative due to its microbicidal effect.