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  • A compound found in cinnamon could be used as a tool to reduce obesity

    Author: AAP

Researchers at the University of Michigan believe a compound found in cinnamon could be used as a tool to reduce obesity.

Cinnamon may protect against obesity because it causes fat cells to burn energy rather than store fat, US scientists have demonstrated.

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Previous research has shown compound cinnamaldehyde - an essential oil that gives cinnamon its flavour - prevented mice from becoming obese, however the reasons for this were not clear.

Researchers at the University of Michigan say they may have now uncovered the mechanism underlying cinnamon's metabolism-boosting affect.

"Scientists were finding that this compound affected metabolism," said lead investigator Dr Jun 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, said Dr Wu.

For the study, researchers tested the affect of cinnamaldehyde (CA) on adipocytes collected from human volunteers.

After the cells were treated with CA they started expressing increased amounts of genes and enzymes that enhance lipid (fats) metabolism. This means that it induced a process called thermogenesis - the burning of energy.

"Importantly, both acute and chronic effects of CA were observed in human adipose stem cells isolated from multiple donors of different ethnicities and ages and with a variety of body mass indexes (BMI)," the authors wrote.

Dr Wu believes cinnamaldehyde may offer a convenient intervention to help reduce obesity.

However the researcher cautioned that further study is needed to determine how best to harness it's metabolic benefits without causing adverse side effects and that people should not rush out to consume copious amounts of the spice.


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