Cinnamon has shown promise in helping diabetes patients with blood glucose control and in treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and now the spice could one day benefit patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are viewed as an important regulator of immune response and play important roles in MS and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), although the exact mechanism of protection by Tregs is unknown.
In a study published in PLOS ONE, cinnamon powder was mixed in 0.5% methylcellulose (MC) and fed to EAE mice once daily; control mice received MC only. Mice receiving the cinnamon treatment showed an increase in expression of Foxp3 and enriched Tregs via suppression of nitric oxide production, compared to the control mice receiving MC only. The authors hypothesize that cinnamon treatment could enrich Tregs via regulating nitric oxide production and may protect against EAE (and potentially MS) via Tregs. However, the safety and efficacy of cinnamon for treatment of MS in humans has yet to be assessed and plans for trials involving human patients have not been announced.