Cinnamon users with prediabetes have a better fasting working memory: A cross-sectional function study

Mark L. Wahlqvist, Meei-Shyuan Lee, Jiunn-Tay Lee, Chih-Cheng Hsu, Yu-Ching Chou, Wen-Hui Fang, Hsiao-Yu Liu, Lili Xiu, Zane B. Andrews

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Working memory (WM) is impaired in prediabetes. We hypothesized that culinary herbs and spices may decrease insulin resistance (IR) and improve WM in prediabetes. Healthy people aged ≥60 years with prediabetes (fasting blood glucose 100-125 mg/dL) (47 men and 46 women) whose food and culinary herb intakes were established with a food frequency questionnaire had body composition assessed and fasting glucose and insulin measured. Working memory and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) were assessed on the same occasion. The contributions to associations between WM and diet, body fat, and IR were estimated by linear regression. Compared with nonusers, cinnamon users had significantly less frequent physical activity (2.9 vs 4.4 times per week) and more often used fresh ginger (93.3% vs 64.1%) and ginger in cooking (60.0% vs 32.1%). Cinnamon users also had a better WM (2.9 vs 2.5, P < .001). Cinnamon had a significant effect (users were 0.446 higher), but not ginger or curry usage, in predicting WM. For sociodemographic variables, only education (years) was significant in predicting WM (β = 0.065). Other significant determinants of WM were total fat mass (kilograms) (β = −0.024) and MMSE (β = 0.075). After adjustment for age and sex, cinnamon use, education, and MMSE remained significant individual predictors. In the final model, in which all variables listed were adjusted simultaneously, cinnamon users still had a significantly higher WM than nonusers. Cinnamon usage is associated with a better WM, not accounted for by dietary quality or IR, in untreated prediabetes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-310
Number of pages6
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Body fatness
  • Cinnamon
  • Cognition
  • Ginger
  • Insulin resistance
  • Turmeric

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