Just in time for the cold months, new research shows that cinnamon can be effective in culling obesity. Previous studies had shown that cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil which gives cinnamon its flavor, was found to protect the mice in the study from obesity and hyperglycemia.  However, the previous studies had not demonstrated the mechanisms which allowed these processes to occur.

The findings of the study put forth by the University of Michigan – Life Sciences Institute, were published in the December issue of the “Metabolism” journal.  Jun Wu, professor at LSI sought to find the mechanics behind the previous study and to see if the same results would occur in people.

“Scientists were finding that this compound affected metabolism,” said Wu “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.”

Testing adipocyte (a type of fat cell) from the participants from a wide range of body types, ethnicities and ages, Wu and the other researchers treated the fat cells with cinnamaldehyde.  When the oil was applied to the cells expressions of several genes and enzymes which have been found to aid in lipid metabolism.  An increase in proteins Ucp1 and Fgf21, which are important regulators in the process of thermogenesis, or the process by which cells produce heat.

Adipocyte are the cells that store excess energy in the form of fat.  This process is useful to store energy in the body for long periods of time when food is scarce, or when the weather is cold. However, in modern times food scarcity is more scarce than food, so these cells continue to store excess energy which is rarely needed.  In the words of Wu:

“It’s only been relatively recently that energy surplus has become a problem,” Wu said. “Throughout evolution, the opposite – energy deficiency – has been the problem. So any energy-consuming process usually turns off the moment the body doesn’t need it.”

The process of thermogenesis uses energy, and can thusly be a good way to increase fat consumption in the body.  Utilizing cinnamaldeyde to activate thermogenesis in fat cells, can be a useful tool in the battle against obesity. Cinnamon’s current common use could make it an easy method for fat reduction which patients can easily be convinced to take.

“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.”

Cinnamon, an herb renowned for its delicious spicy flavor, can also be a useful tool in battling weight gain and even obesity.  The next time you are tempted to add extra cinnamon to your coffee or tea, remember that is not only great for flavor, it can help you keep in shape too.Just in time for Winter, Cinnamon Burns Fat Cells New Study Suggests

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