Geroprotectors: Guarding Against Aging
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
A geroprotector is a substance or intervention that supports healthy aging or increases a human being’s longevity.
Some geroprotectors include fasting, exercise, and supplements that support healthy aging.
Taking fatty15 can support the healthy aging of your cells and protect against cell damage.
Geroprotector is a word that you’ll likely see more of in the coming years as science continues to approach the aging process as a disease that needs a cure. Together, we’ll explore geroprotectors, how they work, and which ones you can take advantage of right now.
What Is a Geroprotector?
A geroprotector is any substance or intervention thought to promote healthy aging, slow down the aging process, or increase a human being’s longevity. They can range from foods to supplements (sometimes called nootropics or nutraceuticals) and even pharmaceuticals.
You’re probably familiar with a few of them, and they may also be referred to as aging suppressants, geroprotective drugs, and senolytics.
What They Can Do
The research on these types of activities and substances is relatively new, so there’s still a lot of digging to be done.
What we know for now is that these substances can enhance our health as we age in ways like:
- Protects our bodies against age-related breakdown
- Supporting cognitive function
- Balancing energy levels
- Helping maintain our cellular health
- Supporting greater longevity
These geroprotective activities and substances may give us the ability to thrive and live out our days more healthfully than generations before us.
What They Cannot Do
We still haven’t realized the dream of simply not aging. No substance or activity has yet been discovered to completely relieve our bodies of the burden of getting older. However, with geroprotective substances and techniques, we might be able to at least take a small sip from the fountain of youth.
What Happens When We Age?
Most of us think of aging in terms of wrinkled skin, aching joints, and feeling less mentally sharp. While these are side effects of the aging process, the actual phenomenon of aging happens in our cells.
Cells break down as we age. Scientists have determined twelve hallmarks of aging that happen inside our cells. These activities involve the gradual wearing out, breaking down, dysfunction, and replication of damage to new cells.
Cells may cause us to age biologically faster than our chronological age, depending on factors like:
- Existing diseases, infections, chronic illnesses.
- Epigenetics of each person (the changes in your biology that happen due to your environment and activities like your diet and exercise).
- Lifestyle habits like smoking, not managing stress, eating an unbalanced diet, and maintaining a sedentary lifestyle.
- Our knowledge and access to geroprotectors.
If the goal is to age in reverse, or at least put the breaks on the aging process, we need to find geroprotective ways to keep our cells from aging.
What Geroprotectors Work?
There’s currently no prescription medication that is labeled for geroprotection. As science develops and we learn more, perhaps there will be. For now, we rely on the growing body of science dedicated to finding and studying geroprotector compounds. Additionally, there is a growing community of biohackers who willingly use themselves as test pilots for geroprotective compounds and interventions.
You probably know at least one person who practices intermittent fasting (likely because they’re happy to tell you about it). The reality is they’re onto something. Caloric restriction, particularly fasting, has supportive evidence that says it can help increase longevity.
If the thought of going food-free for a period is loathsome, consider that you already practice an intermittent fast each night between the time you finish your last bite of food until you eat the first bite in the morning. Extending it a few hours could pay dividends into your health bank.
Whether you run, cycle, swim, or lift weights, the benefits of exercise are hard to match with many other geroprotective activities. One type of exercise in particular, high-intensity interval training, is even linked with helping protect the telomeres on our chromosomes.
One of the twelve hallmarks of aging is telomere attrition, which refers to the shortening and loss of telomeres when our DNA replicates. HIIT workouts, which feature short bursts of high-energy movement followed by a brief rest period, might help support healthy cell replication.
It’s no surprise that numerous supplements say they can help increase your longevity, but if you’re looking for researched and proven ones, you’ll find the list is much shorter. One supplement in particular, C15:0, is directly linked with addressing the dysfunction and decline we see in aging cells.
C15:0 is an essential, odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that can support cellular strength, maintain cellular energy, and reverse cellular aging. Here’s how it works.
- Stronger Cell Membranes. Cell membranes wear out as we age, causing our cells to become misshapen and lose their function. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that integrates into cell membranes, improving cellular strength by 80 percent.
- Clearing Damaged Cells. Cellular senescence is one of the twelve hallmarks of aging. It refers to the process by which cells eventually lose their function completely but don’t die. Instead, they create an inflammatory and toxic environment. C15:0 activates AMPK, which helps clear out damaged cells. AMPK also regulates glucose uptake and calms the immune system.
- Regulating Inflammatory Response. C15:0 significantly calms and lowers proinflammatory cytokines, which are known to fast-track the aging process in our bodies.
- Repairing Mitochondrial Function. Mitochondrial decline is one of the cellular hallmarks of aging. Aging mitochondria lose their ability to properly power our cells and produce cellular energy needed for us to thrive. C15:0 rescues our cells’ energy-generating pathways by increasing their ATP output by up to 350 percent and decreasing the reactive oxygen species they produce by 45 percent.
- Activating PPARɑ and PPARẟ Receptors. These receptors play a role in regulating immunity and heart and liver health. They also help regulate mood and sleep. C15:0 activates them and helps restore homeostatic function.
If you’re looking for a geroprotective compound that checks all the boxes, you just found it, but chances are you aren’t getting a lot of C15:0 in your diet.
The Problem of Accessing C15:0
The discovery of C15:0 didn’t start with human research. In fact, while studying dolphins, a husband and wife team of scientists discovered that one population of dolphins had fewer age-related illnesses than the other population.
They furthered their research and discovered C15:0 was the key difference, and the protective benefits the dolphins enjoyed could also benefit humans. There was just one problem: C15:0 is found primarily in whole-dairy products (and a particular type of fish consumed by dolphins).
They developed a solution. Fatty15.
Why Take Fatty15
There are a few reasons why taking a supplement to obtain this essential fatty acid may be beneficial.
First, it's made ready to absorb. In milk (and other foods), C15:0 is attached to branches of lipids called triacylglycerides, aka triglycerides. That means our gut has to use digestive enzymes to break down these triacylglycerides to release C15:0 as a free fatty acid. Once C15:0 is released, it is ready to be absorbed. In contrast, FA15TM (the single ingredient in fatty15) is a proprietary pure, vegan-friendly, sustainably-produced, award-winning, powder already in the most bioavailable form.
It's not mixed with bad saturated fats. While the good C15:0 fatty acid is present in whole-fat dairy products in trace levels, there are much higher levels of “bad” even-chain saturated fatty acids that continue to be associated with poorer health. Likely that is why studies evaluating the effects of milk on our health are mixed (some say dairy fat is bad for us, while others say it is good for us). Fatty15 provides just the good fat without the bad fats.
Plant-based milks have no C15:0. More people have been consuming plant-based milks recently. Unfortunately, these products are completely void of C15:0, so if are drinking plant-based milks, you likely are missing C15:0.
Full-fat dairy products include excess calories and sugars. Consuming more whole-fat milk products can increase the number of calories and amount of sugar (lactose) in your diet, which can be detrimental to body weight and overall health fatty15 offers the benefits of this essential fatty acid without the cows or calories.
Geroprotective and Convenient
The science of geroprotection is still developing, but you can get a head start on improving your longevity and aging more healthfully. Fatty15 is an easy and convenient way to protect your health and reverse aging on a cellular level.
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
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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