September 19, 2019

The Latest Findings on the Effect of Cinnamon on Adipocytes (Fat Cells) ‎

Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it. (1)


Cinnamaldehyde (CA) is an essential oil within cinnamon that gives it its flavor. (2) CA is a food compound that has previously been observed to be protective against obesity and hyperglycemia in mouse models. (3) 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. (1) Cinnamon may help fat cells burn lipids, according to new research from the University of Michigan. (2) This research has determined how a common holiday spice –cinnamon- might be enlisted in the fight against obesity. Researchers wanted to better understand cinnamaldehyde's action and determine whether it might be protective in humans, too. So, in 2017 a research was conducted to figure out how-what pathway might be involved, what it looked like in mice and what it looked like in human cells. The results were published in Metabolism - Clinical and Experimental.


Their findings indicated that CA improves metabolic health by acting directly on fat cells, or adipocytes, inducing them to start burning energy through a process called thermogenesis. (1)

In this study, primary murine adipocytes were treated with CA and thermogenic and metabolic responses were assessed after both acute and chronic treatments. Human adipose stem cells were differentiated and treated with CA. (3)


Adipocytes normally store energy in the form of lipids. This long-term storage was beneficial to our distant ancestors, who had much less access to high-fat foods and thus a much greater need to store fat. That fat could then be used by the body in cold temperatures, which induce adipocytes to convert stored energy into heat.


When the cells were treated with CA, the researchers noticed increased expression of several genes and enzymes that enhance lipid metabolism. They also observed an increase in metabolic regulatory proteins involved in thermogenesis. (1) Therefore, CA activates thermogenic and metabolic responses in mouse and human primary subcutaneous adipocytes in a cell-autonomous manner, giving a mechanistic explanation for the anti-obesity effects of CA observed previously and further supporting its potential metabolic benefits on humans.

Given the wide usage of cinnamon in the food industry, the notion that this popular food additive, instead of a drug, may activate thermogenesis, could ultimately lead to therapeutic strategies against obesity. (4)







1- (2017, November 21). Cinnamon turns up the heat on fat cells. Medical Xpress. Retrieved from


2- Hugo, K. (11/21/17 ). CINNAMON: HOW THIS COMMON SPICE HELPS YOU BURN FAT AND LOSE WEIGHT. Newsweek. Retrieved from

3- Jiang, J., P. Emont, M., Jun, H., Qiao, X., Liao, J., Kim, D., & Wu, J. (2017). Cinnamaldehyde Induces Fat Cell-Autonomous Thermogenesis and Metabolic Reprogramming. Metabolism - Clinical and Experimental, 77, 58-64. Retrieved from

4- Signal transduction_PKA signaling. Pathway maps. Retrieved from



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