Fatty15 Near-Term Benefits and Long-Term Gains
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
- Essential nutrients are critical nutrients our bodies must have in order to stay healthy. Examples include vitamins and essential fatty acids.
- C15:0 is a trace saturated fat in butter and some types of fish and plants that science now supports is an essential fatty acid. Fatty15 (containing FA15TM, a pure powder form of C15:0) supports our long-term metabolic, immune, red blood cell, and liver health.*
- By naturally binding to receptors called PPARs throughout our body, fatty15 can also help with near-term benefits, including improved sleep, feeling calmer, having more balanced energy and mood throughout the day, and decreased snacking between meals.*
Many of us take a mix of vitamins to support our long-term health, along with different supplements to address near-term needs, like improved sleep or calmer mood.
When a dietary supplement is truly essential, however, it can help protect your long-term health while also providing near-term benefits that you can feel.
Sound good? Well, read on.
C15:0 (also called pentadecanoic acid) is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid present in trace levels in butter, other whole fat dairy products, and some types of fish and plants. A growing body of science supports that C15:0 is an essential nutrient that you need to sustain health. Which means that without adequate C15:0 levels, you may not be able to maintain an optimal healthy state.*
What evidence supports that C15:0 is essential for my general health?
In order to be considered 'essential', a nutrient needs to meet the following three criteria:
- Low body levels of the nutrient results in poorer health
- Your body doesn't make enough of the nutrient on its own
- Your primary source of the nutrient is through diet or supplements
Until now, only two dietary fatty acids have met these criteria: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). So, let’s look at where C15:0 lands with each of the criteria for 'essentiality'.
First, low C15:0 body levels are associated with poor health.* Numerous population studies throughout the world have repeatedly shown significant associations between low C15:0 circulating concentrations and poor metabolic, immune, heart and liver health. A large-scale study involving over 14,000 individuals showed that people who had less odd-chain fatty acids, including C15:0, in their diets had a higher risk of mortality over a 14-year period.
While these studies all showed associations between low C15:0 and poor health, a series of peer-reviewed studies demonstrated C15:0 as the cause of good metabolic, immune, red blood cell, and liver health. So, checkmark - growing evidence supports that you need adequate levels of C15:0 in your body to stay healthy.
Second, your body doesn’t make enough C15:0 on its own. While there is evidence that other odd-chain saturated fatty acids (like C17:0) can be made by your body, studies repeatedly show that your circulating C15:0 levels reflect how much C15:0 you eat. Yep, that means you can become deficient in C15:0 if you don’t eat enough of it – and that you can restore your levels only by eating more foods (or fatty15) with C15:0 in it.* In fact, studies have shown that C15:0 supplementation with fatty15 increases both C15:0 and C17:0 blood levels, giving you a double benefit of increasing two types of beneficial odd-chain saturated fatty acids.
Finally, your primary source of C15:0 is through the diet – specifically, whole fat dairy products. C15:0 blood levels have long been used as a way to measure how much whole fat dairy one eats, meaning whole fat dairy is your most important dietary source of C15:0. The problem is, we have been told for decades not to eat whole fat dairy products, and as a result, population-wide C15:0 blood levels have been declining.
To protect your long-term health, fatty15 enables you to restore and maintain your C15:0 levels in a pure and vegan-friendly way.* That means you don't have to go back to eating calorie-rich whole fat dairy products (which contain much higher levels of the bad even-chain saturated fats) in order to get your proper amount of daily C15:0.
How does C15:0 work?
As an essential fatty acid, C15:0 works at the cellular level to improve your long-term health and wellness.
- Strengthens cellular membranes, making them more resilient against age-related breakdown. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that imbeds into the lipid bilayer of membranes to protect cells against lipid peroxidation.
- Repairs mitochondrial function and restores cellular energy. C15:0 has been shown to rescue mitochondria at concentrations between 10 and 50 uM, resulting in significantly reduced reactive oxygen species in cells.
- Lowers multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines to balance immune responses. C15:0 lowers key cytokines, including IL-6, MCP-1 and TNF-alpha, across numerous human cell systems.
- Naturally activates PPAR-alpha and delta receptors, which regulate our metabolism and immunity. Additionally, PPAR-alpha activators have been proposed to support brain health, while PPAR-delta activators can mimic exercise by supporting beta-oxidation of fatty acids.
- Naturally activates AMPK to regulate glucose uptake. Metformin is an example of another well-known AMPK activator.
- Naturally inhibits HDAC-6 receptors, which can help to repair DNA. As an HDAC-6 inhibitor, C15:0 has also demonstrated the ability to slow the proliferation of damaged cells.
These numerous benefits help explain why people with higher circulating C15:0 concentrations have better immune, metabolic, heart and liver health.*
Okay, I get that evidence supports C15:0 is essential for my metabolic, immune, heart, and liver long-term health.* Are there any benefits of taking fatty15 that I may feel in the near-term?
Yes, 2 out of 3 fatty15 customers report at least one of the following benefits within their first six weeks on daily fatty15:*
- Feeling calmer and less stressed
- Improved sleep and waking up more refreshed
- Better, more balanced energy and mood throughout the day
- Decreased hunger, resulting in less snacking between meals and/or eating smaller meals
Near-Term Roles of PPARs. Many of these near-term benefits are likely due to fatty15’s role as a natural activator of two key receptors, called PPARs (pronounced pee-pars) alpha and delta, that are present throughout our body - including our brain.* PPARs are well-known regulators of metabolism and immunity, which helps to explain how fatty15 naturally protects our long-term metabolic and immune health.
In addition to these long-term benefits, however, there are an increasing number of studies support the role of PPARs in regulating our mood, stress, sleep patterns, energy, and hunger. Here are just a three things PPAR activators (especially PPAR alpha activators) can do:
- Improve mood and provide neuroprotective effects by activating PPAR alpha receptors in the amygdala and hippocampus, resulting in lowered stress and anxiety.
- Help to regulate sleep and circadian rhythms by binding to PPAR alpha receptors in the brain, which can improve the quality and depth of sleep.
- Lessen hunger by activating PPAR alpha receptors that impact vagal activity and decrease the desire to eat between meals.
Near-Term Roles of PDC. Additionally, our bodies use C15:0 to naturally make a second molecule, called pentadecanoylcarnitine (what we refer to as PDC). PDC is the second-ever discovered full-acting endocannabinoid. Briefly, endocannabinoids have been considered the holy grail of health due to their ability to help support both physical and mental health.
PDC has been shown to:
- Activate CB1 and CB2 receptors as an endocannabinoid that can help to improve joint comfort, mood, and sleep.
- Activate 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptors to reduce stress.
- Inhibit histamine H1 and H2 receptors to calm immune responses.
As a natural PPAR activator with a PDC metabolite, fatty15 has the ability to promote your long-term health with the potential for near-term benefits you can feel.* Fatty15 customer testimonials, including near-term benefits, can be found here.
So, what if I don't feel the near-term benefits?
Similar to other essential fatty acids and depending on individuals’ differences in age, gender, and lifestyle, some people may be more likely to experience these near-term benefits than others. Whether or not you feel the near-term effects of fatty15, rest assured that it is busy working on its long-term benefits to your general health, too.*
Can't I just get C15:0 from food?
While C15:0 is available in trace amounts in food, especially whole fat dairy products, there are a few reasons why the pure C15:0 ingredient in fatty15 (FA15) can be even better for your health.
- Food-based C15:0 is tied up in complex lipids called triacylglycerides, which we cannot absorb. Because of this, digestive enzymes are needed to break C15:0 down into free fatty acids, which can then be absorbed. In comparison, fatty15 provides ready-to-absorb free fatty acid C15:0.
- Foods with healthy C15:0 also contain bad saturated fats. While dairy fat contains trace amounts of C15:0, these foods contain much higher levels of even-chain saturated fats (like, C16:0), which come with increased calories and continue to be linked to increased risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Fatty15 was made to provide only the good fat with only 1 calorie.
- Our most common food source of C15:0 is dairy fat. In comparison, the pure and award-winning C15:0 ingredient in fatty15 is vegan–friendly and has zero additives.
In addition to all of the reasons above, only the pure C15:0 ingredient in fatty15 has been extensively studied for safety and efficacy, including a recent study demonstrating that fatty15 has 3x more cellular benefits than the highest-performing omega-3.*
The Take-Home Points
In summary, mounting science supports that C15:0 is an essential nutrient that can help support your long-term health and wellness. As an added bonus, you may enjoy near-term benefits, including deeper sleep, improved mood, and less snacking.
Read the studies
Venn-Watson, S., Lumpkin, R., Dennis, E.A. Efficacy of dietary odd-chain saturated fatty acid pentadecanoic acid parallels broad associated health benefits in humans: could it be essential? Sci Rep 10:8161 (2020).
Venn-Watson S. and Butterworth C. Broader and safer clinically-relevant activities of pentadecanoic acid compared to omega-3: Evaluation of an emerging essential fatty acid across twelve primary human cell-based disease systems. PLOS ONE (2022).
Venn-Watson, S., Reiner, J., Jensen, E.D. Pentadecanoylcarnitine is a newly discovered endocannabinoid with pleiotropic activities relevant to supporting physical and mental health. Scientific Reports 12:13717 (2022).
For a full list of peer-reviewed C15:0 studies, click here.
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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