A tasty new hope for Alzheimer’s

There’s a lot of talk in the media about Alzheimer’s disease, but what is it and why should we care?  Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that typically begins with memory impairment and progressively worsens over time.  It affects more women than men and the average person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will live 5-10 years after they’re diagnosed.  Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s not only affects the individual diagnosed, but their family as well, since their condition worsens over time which puts a strain on family to help manage their care.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as of 2011, Alzheimer’s affects approximately 5.4 million people in the United States.  That number is estimated to increase 2-3x by 2050, with the cumulative cost of care for these individuals amounting to over $20 trillion!

*Cinnamon straw
Cinnamon may help prevent Alzheimer’s diseaseDarwin Bell / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

The bad news…We still do not know what causes Alzheimer’s so that makes it difficult to treat.  The good news…new research is showing that cinnamon may help prevent Alzheimer’s.

If you saw the intrigue on my face while I read this research, you may be wondering to yourself, “Why does Ashley find this so interesting?”  Well, let me tell you 🙂

Naturopathic doctors (ND’s) and herbalists have known for years that cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is a useful herb when it comes to diabetes by lowering blood sugar.  However, what I just learned (after some investigation) is that diabetes is more common in people with Alzheimer’s disease than in people that don’t have dementia.  And research even suggests that they may have a similar disease process involving insulin receptors.

While we still have a long way to go, it looks like the puzzle pieces of Alzheimer’s disease are coming together.  And any research that supports the effectiveness and usefulness of herbs in different diseases, leaves me feeling encouraged that naturopathic medicine, which I love so dearly (why else would I dedicate massive student loans and the rest of my life to it), is one tiny step closer to being recognized as a widely accepted medicine among the conventional science community.  So even though adding cinnamon to my coffee makes it just plain delicious, I can smile while I sip, knowing that my taste buds and brain are happy.

 

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