Research update: More evidence support cinnamon might help lose fat.

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Potential mechanism of fat loss found for cinnamon.  

Organic Raw Brown Cinnamon

Organic Raw Brown Cinnamon

I recently published a post in August of 2017 discussing the results of another study that showed that cinnamon helps weight loss.  The researchers found that there is a link between cinnamon consumption and fat loss but it was not causative and no mechanism could be elucidated by the researchers to explain the results.  It now appears that there is evidence to show a mechanism and the link is a little closer to causation.  

A research study published in December of 2017 by the University of Michigan[1],[2].  The study looked cinnamaldehyde exposure in mice and the effect that it might have on fat loss.  Cinnamaldehyde is the compound that found in cinnamon and gives this spice its flavor.   Cinnamon had been reported in the bast as being protective against obesity and hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar) in mouse models.  In this study, The researchers aimed to determine the mechanisms behind this protective effect by assessing the response of adipocytes (fat cells) to cinnamaldehyde treatment.  Adipocytes are the cells that store fats or lipids for use later as energy sources.  To test their hypothesis, the researchers treated murine adipocytes with cinnamaldehyde and assessed thermogenic (energy usage) and metabolic responses after both acute and chronic treatments.  The researchers also treated human adipose stem cells with cinnamaldehyde to assess whether the cinnamaldehyde-mediated signaling occurs in humans as well.  The researchers found that cinnamaldehyde resulted in increased expression levels of thermogenic genes through induced phosphorylation in both murine primary adipocytes. This effect occurred both acutely and chronically in both mice and human adipocytes.  

The bottom line: Cinnamaldehyde appears to activate metabolism and thermogenesis in mouse and human primary subcutaneous adipocytes.  This finding appears to give a mechanistic explanation for the anti-obesity effects of cinnamon observed previously and further supporting its potential metabolic benefits on humans.  One problem with the study is that fat cells outside the human body can act differently.  Still, these results are promising and could ultimately lead to therapeutic strategies against obesity that are much better adhered to by participants, but more research is needed.      

For more on cinnamon, read Research: A spoonful of cinnamon may help make you thin or Weight Loss Tip: Add a little cinnamon to your diet.

[1]Jiang et al., “Cinnamaldehyde Induces Fat Cell-Autonomous Thermogenesis and Metabolic Reprogramming.”
[2]Kagey, “Cinnamon Turns up the Heat on Fat Cells.”
Jiang, Juan, Margo P. Emont, Heejin Jun, Xiaona Qiao, Jiling Liao, Dong-il Kim, and Jun Wu. “Cinnamaldehyde Induces Fat Cell-Autonomous Thermogenesis and Metabolic Reprogramming.” Metabolism 77 (December 2017): 58–64.
Kagey, Emily. “Cinnamon Turns up the Heat on Fat Cells.” University of Michigan, November 21, 2017.
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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