Cinnamon helps burn energy: study

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/23 8:07:18

Cinnamon, a common holiday spice, might be enlisted in the fight against obesity, a study of the University of Michigan (UM) found.

The study is scheduled to be published in the December issue of journal Metabolism.

UM researchers found that cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil that gives cinnamon its flavor, improves metabolic health by acting directly on fat cells, or adipocytes, inducing them to start burning energy through a process called thermogenesis.

The researchers tested human adipocytes from volunteers representing a range of ages, ethnicities and body mass indices. When the cells were treated with cinnamaldehyde, the researchers noticed increased expression of several genes and enzymes that enhance lipid metabolism. They also observed an increase in Ucp1 and Fgf21, which are important metabolic regulatory proteins involved in thermogenesis.

Adipocytes normally store energy in the form of lipids.

"Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it," said Jun Wu, an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the U-M Medical School. "So if it can help protect against obesity, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to."

As obesity epidemic rises, researchers have been looking for ways to prompt fat cells to activate thermogenesis, turning those fat-burning processes back on.

Posted in: BIOLOGY

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