Could Cinnamon May Improve Memory and Learning Ability? Interview with:

Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D Floyd A. Davis, M.D., Endowed Chair of Neurology Professor, Departments of Neurological Sciences, Biochemistry and Pharmacology Rush University Medical Center VA Scientist Jesse Brown VA Medical Center Chicago, IL 60612

Dr. Kalipada Pahan

Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D
Floyd A. Davis, M.D., Endowed Chair of Neurology
Professor, Departments of Neurological Sciences, Biochemistry and Pharmacology
Rush University Medical Center
VA Scientist, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
Chicago, IL 60612 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Individual difference in learning and educational performance is a global issue. In many cases between two students of the same background studying in the same class, one turns out to be a poor learner and does worse than the other academically. Little is known on what changes occur in the brain of poor learners and how to improve performance in poor learners. Here, we have demonstrated that cinnamon, a common food spice and flavoring material, converts poor learning mice to good learners. Results of the study were recently published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Understanding brain mechanisms that lead to poor learning is important to developing effective strategies to improve memory and learning in poor learners. Hippocampus is a small part in the brain that generates, organizes and stores memory. We have found that the hippocampus of poor learners have less CREB (a protein involved in memory and learning) and more GABRA5 (a protein involved in synaptic inhibition) than good learners. We have successfully used cinnamon to reverse biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with poor learning. After oral feeding of poor learning mice, ground cinnamon is metabolized into sodium benzoate, which then enters into the brain, increases CREB, decreases GABRA5, stimulates plasticity of hippocampal neurons, and improves memory and learning in poor learners to a level that found in untreated good learners. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Although some people are inborn good learners and some become so in association to appropriate environments, some find it hard in learning new tasks. Therefore, improvement in memory and learning is of great value in human life. Now it is important to test this natural approach in poor learners. If these results are replicated in poor learning students, it would be a remarkable advance in handling this global issue. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Cinnamon has been widely used as flavoring material and spice throughout the world for centuries. This would be one of the safest and the easiest approaches to convert poor learners to good learners. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Khushbu K. Modi, Suresh B. Rangasamy, Sridevi Dasarathi, Avik Roy, Kalipada Pahan. Cinnamon Converts Poor Learning Mice to Good Learners: Implications for Memory Improvement. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 2016; DOI: 10.1007/s11481-016-9693-6

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on July 15, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD