Among the oldest and most widely used of herbs and spices is cinnamon. It is a delicious spice and has been also been prized for its medicinal properties, and not to mention, aroma. The spice has been linked to an array of health benefits. A recent study indicates it may also help you lose weight.
Researchers from the University of Michigan tested the effects of cinnamaldehyde – an essential oil that gives cinnamon its aroma and flavor – on fat cells taken from mice as well as humans.
Scientists had previously found that cinnamaldehyde appeared to protect mice against obesity and hyperglycemia (excess sugar in the bloodstream). However, little was understood about the mechanisms underlying these effects. The researchers wanted to better understand cinnamaldehyde’s fat burning effects on mice and whether similar effects would happen in humans.
Their findings, published the journal Metabolism, suggest that cinnamaldehyde boosts metabolic rate by triggering cells to start burning calories to produce heat, a process known as thermogenesis. The process can help kickstart fat burning, resulting in weight loss.
Using adipocytes (fat cells) from volunteers, the researchers treated the cells with cinnamaldehyde. The volunteers were of various ages as well as ethnicities, and body mass indices. When the cells were treated with cinnamaldehyde, the researchers noticed an increased expression of genes and enzymes that enhance lipid metabolism.
This led the researchers to believe that cinnamaldehyde, and therefore cinnamon, could activate thermogenesis and therefore help fight obesity. The researchers held off on endorsing cinnamon for weight loss until further research is done.
This is not the first study to show the potential benefits of cinnamon on metabolism. Previous studies have shown it may help reduce insulin resistance and even help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Like other foods and health products, ensure that you’re getting a good quality cinnamon, so you can get the benefits. Most cinnamon powders sold in grocery stores are industry-processed, which tends to dilute the process and may have additives.
Unless you want to grind cinnamon sticks yourself, you will most likely buy cinnamon in powder form. Look for a quality product, such as organic Ceylon cinnamon (Amazon).
Extract of a premium form of Ceylon cinnamon – known as Cinnamomum cassia – is a key ingredient in this carb-blocking, weight loss supplement. This is the type of cinnamon used in clinical research.
See also: The Brain Boosting Power of Cinnamon.