A study conducted by researchers in the US and China has found that a chemical compound in cinnamon activated thermogenesis (the process of heat production in organisms) and chronic metabolic remodeling, providing a promising therapeutic strategy in the fight against obesity.
Cinnamaldehyde actives fat burning
Cinnamaldehyde is an essential oil that gives the spice its distinctive flavour and has already been proven to protect against obesity in previous studies on mice. The oil activates a metabolic process which burns calories to product heat.
In this latest study the researchers wanted to assess if cinnamaldehyde works the same way in humans as it does in mice and it's effects on the body.
Lead author of the study Jun Wu and his team of scientists tested fat cells from both mice and humans. The human cells were obtained from donors who were undergoing elective surgery.
Potential for therapeutic strategies against obesity
The mice tissues were treated with cinnamaldehyde first and it was found that exposure to the compound caused an increase in thermogenesis which supported the chemical's anti-obesity properties.
In the human tissues the researchers also consistently saw that cinnamaldehyde activated thermogenesis through an increase in the expression of genes and enzymes that enhance fat metabolism.
These results give an explanation for the anti-obesity effects of cinnamaldehyde seen in previous studies and provide support for it's potential metabolic benefits in humans.
Wu and his research team are clear that further research is needed to confirm the benefits however believe the results of the study are promising in respect to the fight against the rising obesity epidemic we are facing.
"Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it. 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."