Cinnamon and Parkinson's

Apparently at the Rush University  Medical Centre in Chicago, a study on mice found that cinnamon is turned by the liver into sodium benzoate, which apparently can enter the brain  and stop the loss of protein, thus protecting neurons and improving motor functions.

Are Research aware of this? Shall we all start adding cinnamon to our food just in case it helps? It surely would do no harm....

Just been to the shops and bought some!

What is there to lose?

Will add it my husband's cereal, mix with sugar and sprinkle on toast and on his yoghurt!



Does sodium benzoate exist, or can it be made in tablet form? If so, why bother with the cinnamon and not just take the sodium benzoate, if it is true that it has such a protective effect on the brain?

In the meantime, we shall have to add cinnamon to our food, hoping for the best.

You are welcome, Golden Girl. Regards

Hi. Redpoppy,

Sesame seeds -  Pumpkin seeds - Blueberries - Almonds - Wholemeal bread - Broadbeans - Bran - prunes - Liquorice.

Now I can add Cinnamon to my fight against Parkinsons list.

Like you say, what harm can it do ?

Thanks for sharing your info.


The problem is always the same. How much is required in other to be beneficial? I had the same problem with quinine as an aid to relieving night cramps. Look forward to following this thread.



Found some capsules on amazon. But how much do you take? Anything that can help. Are there any other similar things that can help?

Hi, everyone,

I have to correct my original statement, as I should have written " stops the loss of proteins that help protect cells ".

How much cinnamon do we take? No idea.

The lead researcher, Professor Kalipada Pahan said" This could be potentially one of the safest approaches to halt disease progression on Parkinson's patients". He is calling for tests of ground cinnamon in patients with the disease.

Let's wait and see what Research has to say on this.


Sodium Benzoate is a common food preservative (E211 in Europe).

Of course there's a whole bunch of people who claim it is causing untold harm to the human race! So,much so that Coca Cola are in the process of removing it from all their drinks. So, stock up on your Diet Coke while it still contains sodium benzoate.

I guess "you pays your money and takes your choice" as the saying goes.

All manner of things can be shown to work in laboratory studies, now, if someone had carried out a proper double blind study in humans and got a positive result then I'd be getting excited.

That's not to say this might not lead to something beneficial, but on the data so far, I have to remain sceptical.



Hi, Andrew John,

Thank you for your input. Although there is actually some oral medication containing sodium benzoate combined with another chemical, I agree with you that perhaps it is not a substance that is the beneficial to humans.

I personally think there must be an error in the article and perhaps cinnamon is not converted into sodium benzoate at all, but some other chemical with a similar name. We all know how inaccurate stories in newspapers can be !

So, we won't be drinking lots of coca cola, but surely there is no harm in sprinkling cinnamon on our food and hope for the best.





There are two types of Cinnamon in the market. It is only safe to consume Ceylon Cinnamon as it contains 1250 times less coumarin than Cassia.

When the powder is ground it is impossible to know whether it is Ceylon Cinnamon or Cassia. The safest option is to always buy the sticks and grind them in a coffee or spice grinder.

The below Website will assist you to visually identify Ceylon Cinnamon from Cassia at your local store

How to identify Ceylon Cinnamon from Cassia

Hope this information helps

Hi, PatC,

Thank you for giving us this very important piece of information !

I had assumed , like some other members here, that cinnamon is a food item and therefore it must be safe.

I was of course wrong to make such an assumption, because you have explained that one of the two types of cinnamon contains too much coumarin, a toxic substance.



Hi redpoppy,

The research published by Rush University is at a very early stage and we don’t yet know if cinnamon could be useful for people with Parkinson’s. The scientists showed that cinnamon may be able to halt the progression of Parkinson’s in a mouse model of the condition.

When eaten, cinnamon is turned into a compound called sodium benzoate – this has also been shown by other researchers. The team at Rush University found that sodium benzoate was able to stop the loss of two proteins – Parkin and DJ-1 – that are often decreased in the brains of people with Parkinson’s. The team believe that this may be due to the compound having anti-inflammatory properties that could protect brain cells.

Some of the research was done by injecting mice with sodium benzoate or cinnamon dissolved in another compound, but the researchers also looked at what happened when the mice were fed ground cinnamon.

They found that ground cinnamon helped protect cells in the basal ganglia – the area of the brain affected by Parkinson’s – and improved movement. But the paper doesn’t say how much cinnamon they had to feed the mice to see this effect.

A previous paper from the same group shows that sodium benzoate could be detected in the brain when mice were given 200mg per kilogram body weight per day – for a person that would be around 5 teaspoons of cinnamon a day. But as this paper doesn’t give an exact amount we can’t be certain how much was used.

We currently have no evidence that cinnamon can protect brain cells in people with Parkinson’s. Because of this we would not advise people to take cinnamon (or sodium benzoate) for their condition. However, we don’t know of any reason why you should not enjoy a sprinkle of cinnamon as part of a healthy diet.

All the best,

The Research Team

Thank you, Research.


Maybe gradually adding Ceylon Cinnamon to your diet is the way to go. If results are positive patients could continue consumption. If not they could stop the intake.

If the ground Ceylon Cinnamon is difficult to ingest then patients could try Ceylon Cinnamon Supplements.

After all there is nothing to lose and much to gain



hi Lily

at your request, my 1/2p worth: very interesting and possibly very useful... but a) we are not mice, b) we havent been poisoned with MPTP. c) the actual article seems to describe adding NaB to cells in a  dish, not feeding cinnamon to mice. ie mice were dead by this point. I may be wrong on this as its a very technical article.


Its a long leap to helping people with pd but you never know. 

point c is wrong  - that was an earlier article.


i am now officially resigning from commenting on research. i have more interesting interests.  Its impossible to keep with all the diverse strands. the picture as a whole makes no sense to me. eventually the facts will emerge but I am at a stage when i prefer to concentrate on non-pd things and wait until the pd news is in the headlines. In the mean time madopar and dbs should suffice for the next 12 years. 


I agree with turnip and try not to focus too much on my PD anymore.  Sinemet (virtually same as madopar) is still the best relief I can find. 

Bart assure me their fairtrade organic ground cinnamon is from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), whereas Sainsbury's (according to the label) comparable product is the inferior, cheaper cassia variety, grown in S India. The difference is really important as cassia contains high levels of coumarin, which can damage the liver and kidneys. I have spoken to Sainsbury's regarding my concerns about their labelling and will happily continue to sprinkle Bart's ground cinnamon liberally on my coffee and porridge!

PS. I have no vested interest in promoting Bart's products, nor have I stopped shopping at my local Sainsbury's store.  

I have been reading a lot about the effects of organic cinnamon not to be confused with the cheaper cassia variety which can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. I am off to Waitrose on Monday to buy Barts Fairtrade organic ground Cinnamon......personally i feel it is worth a try.