A study from the University of Michigan (UM) Life Sciences Institute (LSI) has found an essential oil in cinnamon stimulates fat burning. The discovery means the compound might be used in the future as a weight-loss treatment.
Earlier research has shown that the compound called cinnamaldehyde, which is the essential oil that imparts the distinctive flavor in the spice, can protect mice from obesity and high blood sugar levels. Because the mechanisms by which the compound works are poorly understood, researchers in the LSI lab undertook the investigation to learn more about its properties.
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“Scientists were finding that this compound affected metabolism,” said Jun Wu, who is an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the UM Medical School. “So we wanted to figure out how — what pathway might be involved, what it looked like in mice and what it looked like in human cells.”
Cinnamaldehyde Stimulates Thermogenesis in Fat Cells
Wu and her team examined fat cells from a group of volunteers who varied in ethnicity, age and weight. When the cells were exposed to cinnamaldehyde, the researchers observed a heightened expression of several enzymes and genes that improve lipid metabolism. They also noticed higher levels of Ucp1 and Fgf21, which are metabolic proteins that play a key role in thermogenesis, the body process that burns calories to produce energy. The findings indicate cinnamaldehyde can boost your metabolism by activating thermogenesis in fat cells.
With the extremely high incidence of obesity, Wu and other scientists are looking for methods to activate fat burning. Wu believes that since cinnamon is widely used in the food industry, patients might comply better with a treatment based on the spice rather than on a medication regimen.
“Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it,” Wu said. “So if it can help protect against obesity, too, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to.”
Further Research Should Clarify How to Use Cinnamon
As thermogenesis can aid in weight loss, the authors concluded that cinnamaldehye has an array of metabolic benefits. Further study is needed to ascertain how to make use of the positive effects of the compound without causing side effects.
“How much cinnamaldehyde is needed to produce the benefits and which route of consumption, i.e., food or supplements, is preferable are among the questions that need to be studied,” Physician Nutrition Specialist, Adrienne Youdim M.D., told Live in the Now. “In the meantime, it adds to the growing body of evidence that spices have a beneficial role in health. The use of cinnamon in addition to other spices in place of harmful food additives, such as salt or sugar, is likely of value.”
Consume Cinnamon to Enhance Weight Loss Efforts
In addition to stimulating fat burning, cinnamon may aid weight loss in other ways. Earlier studies have shown it can reduce blood sugar levels, an effect that reduces fat storage in the body. The spice also decreases appetite, which leads to eating less.
At this point, the authors aren’t suggesting that the dietary use of cinnamon alone can result in weight loss. However, if cinnamon is part of a healthy lifestyle that includes engaging in exercise on a regular basis and eating a diet plentiful in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, it should enhance weight management.
The study was published in the journal Metabolism.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.