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Cinnamon spice of life for Parkinson’s patients?

New study suggests that eating cinnamon may help halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease – at least in rodents.

The same thing we use to flavor snickerdoodles and oatmeal may have the power to halt a neurological disease stealing the lives of millions.

New research from Rush University Medical Center suggests that cinnamon can reverse the biomechanical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The results of the study were recently published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology and noted on

“This could potentially be one of the safest approaches to halt disease progression in Parkinson’s patients,” the study's lead researcher, Kalipada Pahan, PhD, said in a university release.

More than one million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. The chronic and progressive movement disorder stems from the malfunction and death of neurons in the brain. The new research suggests cinnamon produces a compound that protects the neurons – at least in rodents.

The study found that after being fed to mice with Parkinson’s disease, ground cinnamon is metabolized into sodium benzoate, which then enters into the brain, stops the loss of Parkin and DJ-1 (important proteins), protects neurons, normalizes neurotransmitter levels and improves motor functions.

“Now we need to translate this finding to the clinic and test ground cinnamon in patients with PD,” said Pahan. “If these results are replicated in PD patients, it would be a remarkable advance in the treatment of this devastating neurodegenerative disease.”

New information about how vitamin D affects people with Parkinson's disease has scientists hoping for a new strategy for early intervention that may delay or prevent the onset of cognitive impairment and depression among people with the neurodegenerative disease.

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