Published: Sun, November 26, 2017
Medical | By Alyssa Little

Cinnamon may help attack fat, fight obesity, study finds

Cinnamon may help attack fat, fight obesity, study finds

Many people struggle to lose weight even with diet and exercise because of a slow metabolism, and scientists have been trying to understand this mysterious process.

The new study comes from the University of Michigan (UM) Life Sciences Institute (LSI) in Ann Arbor, and the research was led by Jun Wu, a research assistant professor at the LSI and an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the UM Medical School.

Researchers at the University of MI in the United States wanted to better understand cinnamaldehyde's action and determine whether it might be protective in humans too.

But researchers say more studies are needed to get a full perspective of its benefits.

Once more valuable than gold, cinnamon - a popular ingredient in pumpkin spice lattes, mulled wine and egg-nog over the festive season - has been linked to reducing the risk of diabetes, lowering cholesterol, relieving symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and staving off heart disease and cancer.

But, don't count on a Cinnabon diet in the near future!

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'Scientists were finding that this compound affected metabolism, ' he says.

Additionally, they found a higher level of Ucp1 and Fgf21, which are regulatory proteins that help to induce thermogenesis.

In order to test if cinnamon facilitates weight loss in people, the researchers took fat cells from a number of subjects with varying age groups, ethnicities, and body mass indexes.

In the study, appearing in the journal Metabolism, when human cells were treated with cinnamaldehyde, there was a spike in expression of several genes and enzymes that enhance lipid metabolism.

"It's only been relatively recently that energy surplus has become a problem", Wu said.

Humans normally store energy in the form of lipids. "So any energy-consuming process usually turns off the moment the body doesn't need it". Our distant ancestors benefited from this long-term storage since there was a greater need to store fat at the time when high-fat foods were scarce.

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However, with the rising obesity epidemic, researchers have been looking for ways to prompt fat cells to activate thermogenesis, turning those fat-burning processes back on.

Cinnamon has a long history of use in traditional medicine.

Wu believes that cinnamaldehyde could mark a big step forward in controlling our metabolism and therefore better getting a handle on our weight.

The study found out that cinnamon oil assists in burning out the fat cells.

Cinnamon is made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree and from this cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder are made. However, as part of a balanced lifestyle, cinnamon might also help.

The team found that this essential oil in cinnamon can activate thermogenesis.

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It's no miracle food, but cinnamon might someday be used to fight obesity. Scientists said in 2014 that the spice is the source of a chemical that can protect the brain.

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