Alpha Cedrene


The sesquiterpene α‐Cedrene is a major volatile component of the essential oil of cedar, with protective effects in skeletal-muscle and metabolic effects in adipose tissue (1,2,3). It has also been demonstrated to reduce fat accumulation in liver tissue with high bioavailability (4,5).

α‐Cedrene has been demonstrated to bind to and activate MOR23 in mice and OR10J5 in humans (orthologs which play similar roles), which are typically known as olfactory or smell receptors. However, recent research has demonstrated that these receptors also play a substantially significant role in the repair and metabolic activities of various tissues, particularly skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. Activation of MOR23 (or OR10J5) encourages linear, non-branching repair of skeletal muscle, resulting in more efficient and resiliant muscle tissue (6,7,8). Activation by α‐Cedrene in turn results in increased muscle strength and mass via hypertrophy (1), particularly in response to training of muscle groups, encouraging repair via established mechanisms.

In adipose tissues, α‐Cedrene encourages 'metabolic reprogramming' whereby the fatty tissue increases oxygen consumption, shuts down adipogenesis (production of new fat) and enters a state where lipid content is decreased via the upregulation of lipid-oxidation linked genes (2), mediated by the transduction molecule adenylyl cyclase 3 (3). This same effect has been demonstrated to occur in liver cells with high-fat storage (4).

 Key references:

  • Skeletal-muscle protective (1)

  • Increased metabolism in adipose/fatty tissue (2,3)

  • Reduces fat accumulation in liver tissue (4)

  • Extensively absorbed by fatty tissues with no gender bias (5)


1 - Tong, T., Kim, M., & Park, T. (2018). α‐Cedrene, a Newly Identified Ligand of MOR23, Increases Skeletal Muscle Mass and Strength. Molecular nutrition & food research, 62(15), 1800173.

2 - Tong, T., Park, J., Moon, C., & Park, T. (2018). Regulation of Adipogenesis and Thermogenesis through Mouse Olfactory Receptor 23 Stimulated by α-Cedrene in 3T3-L1 Cells. Nutrients, 10(11), 1781.

3 - Tong, T., Yu, R., & Park, T. (2019). α-Cedrene protects rodents from high-fat diet-induced adiposity via adenylyl cyclase 3. International Journal of Obesity, 43(1), 202-216.

4 - Tong, T., Ryu, S. E., Min, Y., Claire, A., Bushdid, C., Golebiowski, J., & Park, T. (2017). Olfactory receptor 10J5 responding to α-cedrene regulates hepatic steatosis via the cAMP–PKA pathway. Scientific reports, 7(1), 1-13.

5 - Kim, T. H., Yoo, S. D., Lee, H. S., Lee, K. M., Seok, S. H., Kim, M. G., & Shin, B. S. (2015). In vivo absorption and disposition of α-cedrene, a sesquiterpene constituent of cedarwood oil, in female and male rats. Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, 30(2), 168-173.

6 - Griffin, C. A., Kafadar, K. A., & Pavlath, G. K. (2009). MOR23 promotes muscle regeneration and regulates cell adhesion and migration. Developmental cell, 17(5), 649-661.

7 - Pavlath, G. K. (2010). A new function for odorant receptors: MOR23 is necessary for normal tissue repair in skeletal muscle. Cell adhesion & migration, 4(4), 502-506.

8 - Pichavant, C., Burkholder, T. J., & Pavlath, G. K. (2015). Decrease of myofiber branching via muscle-specific expression of the olfactory receptor mOR23 in dystrophic muscle leads to protection against mechanical stress. Skeletal muscle, 6(1), 2.