Cinnamon oil boosts fat cells to burn energy


Cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil that gives cinnamon its flavor, can improve metabolic health, the researchers report.

The ingredient induces fat cells, or adipocytes, to start burning energy through a process called thermogenesis, according to the research. [19659002] Scientists had previously observed that cinnamaldehyde appeared to protect mice against obesity and hyperglycemia. But the mechanisms underlying the effect were not well understood.

Researchers in the laboratory of Jun Wu, an badistant professor of research at the Institute of Life Sciences at the University of Michigan, wanted to better understand the action of cinnamaldehyde and determine if it could be protective in humans. as well.

"Scientists discovered that this compound affected metabolism," says Wu, who is also an badistant professor of molecular physiology and integrator at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. "So we wanted to discover how, what path could be involved, what it looked like in mice and how it looked in human cells."

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

Adipocytes normally store energy in the form of lipids. This long-term storage was beneficial to our distant ancestors, who had much less access to high-fat foods and, therefore, had a much greater need to store fat. That fat could be used by the body in times of scarcity or in cold temperatures, which induce adipocytes to convert stored energy into heat.

"It's relatively recently that surplus energy has become a problem," says Wu. "Throughout evolution, the opposite energy deficiency has been the problem, so any process that consumes a lot of energy normally disappears when the body does not need it."

With the growing epidemic of obesity, researchers like Wu have been looking for ways to cause fat cells to activate thermogenesis, turning them into fat burning. processes again.

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Wu believes that cinnamaldehyde can offer one of those activation methods. And because it is already widely used in the food industry, it may be easier to convince patients to stick to a cinnamon treatment than to a traditional medication regimen.

"Cinnamon has been part of our diet for thousands of years, and people in general enjoy it," says Wu. "So, if it can also help protect against obesity, it can offer an easier metabolic health approach for patients."

Wu cautions that more studies are needed to determine the best way to take advantage of the metabolic benefits of cinnamaldehyde without causing adverse side effects.

Researchers report their findings in the journal Metabolism .

The Human Frontier Science Program, the Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Heart Association supported the research.

Source: University of Michigan

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