Researchers had previously observed that an essential oil, cinnamaldehyde, which gives cinnamon its flavor, appeared to protect mice from obesity and hyperglycemia by affecting metabolism. Researchers in the lab of Jun Wu, assistant research professor at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, found that cinnamaldehyde improves metabolic health by acting directly on fat cells, adipocytes, inducing them to start burning energy through a process called thermogenesis. Wu and her colleagues tested various human adipocytes, when treated with cinnamaldehyde they noticed increased expression of several genes and enzymes that enhance lipid metabolism, observing an increase in Ucp1 and Fgf21 regulatory proteins involved in thermogenesis. Cinnamon has been enjoyed by people for thousands of years, so this could potentially offer patients an easier to adhere to approach for metabolic health. Further studies are needed to determine how to attain the best metabolic benefits from cinnamaldehyde without causing adverse side effects.
How often do you consume cinnamon? Would you consider incorporating cinnamon more often in your diet now? Do you know of any other spices that also boost metabolism?