Cinnamon's Boost to Anti-Inflammatory Treatment Effects

Jenn Hoskins
25th March, 2024

Cinnamon's Boost to Anti-Inflammatory Treatment Effects

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study from Lovely Professional University found cinnamon can boost the effectiveness of the anti-inflammatory drug infliximab
  • Cinnamon extract, especially from Cinnamomum cassia, worked better with infliximab than either alone
  • The combination influenced genes linked to inflammation and cell death, suggesting potential benefits for patients resistant to standard treatments
In the ongoing battle against chronic inflammatory diseases, scientists from Lovely Professional University have made a significant stride forward. Their research[1] suggests a potential new ally in the fight against immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID): cinnamon. This common spice, long cherished for its flavor, may hold the key to enhancing the effectiveness of a widely used anti-inflammatory medication, infliximab, which is utilized to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Infliximab works by targeting a protein called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), which plays a central role in inflammation. While infliximab has been a game-changer for many patients, not everyone responds to it. Some patients never experience the benefits (primary non-responders), while others find that its effectiveness wanes over time (secondary non-responders). This is where cinnamon comes in. The study investigated whether cinnamon could boost infliximab's efficacy, particularly for those who have stopped responding to the treatment. The researchers' approach was twofold. First, they tested whether cinnamon and infliximab could work together more effectively than either alone. They used aqueous cinnamon extract (aCE) from different species of cinnamon and identified bioactive compounds, such as trans-cinnamaldehyde (TCA) and cinnamic acid (CA), to test for synergy with infliximab in cell lines. Second, they examined how this combination affects the expression of genes that contribute to the non-response to infliximab. Their findings were promising. Cinnamon extract from Cinnamomum cassia, in particular, showed a strong synergistic effect with infliximab, meaning the combination was more effective than the sum of its parts. This was reflected in the expression of genes related to inflammation, apoptosis (programmed cell death), and tissue remodeling. Interestingly, these results resonate with earlier studies highlighting the therapeutic potential of dietary polyphenols, including cinnamon, in chronic inflammatory conditions like RA[2]. Polyphenols are natural compounds found in plants that have been shown to improve inflammation markers and reduce oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. The current study builds on this knowledge by demonstrating that cinnamon can not only act alone to manage inflammation but can also enhance the performance of existing medical therapies. Moreover, the research supports previous findings on the benefits of cinnamon in managing irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D)[3]. Cinnamon's ability to reduce excessive serotonin in the gut, a factor in IBS, hints at its broad regulatory impact on inflammation and its potential as a complementary therapy. The implications of this study extend beyond just a new use for cinnamon. It opens up a new avenue for integrating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with conventional drug therapies. This synergy could lead to improved outcomes for patients who have hit a wall with current treatments, offering them new hope and a better quality of life. The research also touches on the intricate balance of the BCL-2 protein family, which plays a crucial role in controlling cell death[4]. By affecting the expression of genes like BcL-xL and Bax, cinnamon could influence the delicate dance between cell survival and death, which is especially relevant in the context of diseases like cancer. In conclusion, the research from Lovely Professional University suggests that a sprinkle of cinnamon might someday be part of the prescription for those with chronic inflammatory conditions, particularly for patients who have become resistant to standard treatments. While further clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings and establish the appropriate use of cinnamon in medical practice, the spice's potential to enhance the effects of infliximab offers a taste of what could be a new frontier in integrative medicine.



Main Study

1) An in vitro study elucidating the synergistic effects of aqueous cinnamon extract and an anti-TNF-α biotherapeutic: implications for a complementary and alternative therapy for non-responders.

Published 23rd March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Efficacy and safety of dietary polyphenols in rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 47 randomized controlled trials.

3) Aqueous cinnamon extract ameliorates bowel dysfunction and enteric 5-HT synthesis in IBS rats.

4) BCL-2 protein family: attractive targets for cancer therapy.

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