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Breaking Science News:
Fixing C15:0 Deficiencies Helps Slow Aging

5 Possible Symptoms of Low Magnesium Levels

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
  • Nerves, muscles, bones, and blood sugar levels are all impacted by magnesium. This abundant mineral is essential to the body. 

    Low magnesium levels can have a negative impact on health, and addressing a magnesium deficiency is important to stay well. 

    Another more recently recognized nutrient deficiency, C15:0, may be more common than magnesium deficiency and is essential to the vitality of our cells.

Getting enough magnesium daily may not be at the top of your to-do list, but if your magnesium levels decline, you’ll want to address it immediately. Magnesium is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function and supports numerous other bodily functions. 

Together, we’ll talk about the symptoms of low magnesium and how dietary intervention and magnesium supplements may be necessary to help restore magnesium levels. We’ll also talk about a more newly identified nutrient deficiency (C15:0) and how it impacts your cellular health.

What Is Magnesium’s Role in the Body?

Magnesium is an essential mineral which means our bodies need it to thrive but can’t readily make it on their own. As such, we have to get magnesium through dietary sources or supplements. 

Magnesium plays a crucial role in nerve function and is a cofactor of hundreds of different enzyme systems in the body. 

These enzymes regulate functions like:

  • Protein synthesis
  • Proper muscle function and control
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Glucose control
  • Energy
  • Bone health
  • Heart rhythm

Getting enough magnesium is critical to a person’s health, and most people living in developed nations with access to healthy foods will not be deficient. In addition, magnesium is also regulated by the kidneys. The kidneys ensure that levels of magnesium stay within healthy range by limiting the amount of magnesium that can be eliminated through urine. 

Magnesium Deficiency: What To Know

While it is unlikely you will suffer from magnesium deficiency if you are in otherwise good health, it is essential that you get the amount of magnesium you need to prevent a decline in your magnesium levels. Certain people will be more predisposed to magnesium deficiency than others.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

If you are deficient in magnesium, a medical condition known as hypomagnesemia, you may begin to experience symptoms. Magnesium deficiency may be caused by not getting enough magnesium through your diet, or due to an underlying health condition that makes it harder for your body to absorb the magnesium it needs. 

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: 

  1. Loss of appetite
  2. Nausea and/or vomiting 
  3. Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  4. Heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
  5. Muscle spasms and muscle weakness
  6. Abnormal muscle contractions and muscle cramps
  7. Migraine headaches 

Prolonged magnesium deficiency can also result in the lowering of other key minerals, like calcium and potassium levels, which can result in conditions like hypocalcemia and hypokalemia, respectively.

Who Is at Risk of Magnesium Deficiency?

Most healthy individuals are not at risk of magnesium deficiency. However, certain people who lack access to healthy foods or have health conditions may be at risk. 

You may be at risk of low magnesium levels if:

  • You have a gastrointestinal issue. If you suffer from Crohn's disease, celiac disease, or other gastrointestinal issue that results in chronic diarrhea, you could be at risk of low levels of magnesium.
  • Have had intestinal surgery. Surgery that removes a portion of the intestines can result in low magnesium levels. 
  • Have had weight loss surgery. Some weight loss surgeries make it harder for your body to absorb the amount of nutrients it needs.
  • Have type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes that is not well managed may be at increased risk of hypomagnesemia. 
  • Have alcohol use disorder. The symptoms that accompany alcoholism (poor diet, vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis, and kidney function issues) all make it harder for your body to absorb and retain the amount of magnesium your body needs to thrive.

Magnesium is also an electrolyte. Electrolytes help your body maintain chemical processes, and also regulate the amount of fluid in your body. They’re essential for helping your cells create energy, and helping your body maintain homeostasis. 

How Much Magnesium Do You Need?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium changes with age. Adult males 18 and older need 400 mg of magnesium per day, while adult females need just 310 mg per day. Pregnant women need slightly more, as do slightly older adults over age 31. 

It is extremely rare to have too much magnesium in your body. The kidneys eliminate excess magnesium to ensure levels are balanced. However, if you have chronic kidney disease, you could develop a life-threatening condition in which magnesium levels are too high, called hypermagnesemia. 

Increasing Your Magnesium Intake

If you have a severe magnesium deficiency, your healthcare provider will tell you the best way to increase your magnesium levels. However, if you simply have low magnesium, you can increase your magnesium levels. 

A blood serum magnesium test is needed to determine how much circulating magnesium is in your bloodstream. Foods that are sources of magnesium include nuts and seeds (like cashews), beans, and leafy greens. 

Increasing your magnesium intake may include making dietary changes to include magnesium-rich foods, like dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, and legumes. You can also increase your intake by taking a magnesium supplement. Remember that if you are not magnesium deficient, increasing your intake of this important mineral can result in a laxative effect. 

Recovering From Low Magnesium

If you have low magnesium and begin to increase your magnesium levels, it will take time for your body to adjust. In people with severe magnesium deficiency, recovery with daily magnesium supplementation can take over 40 weeks. 

Thankfully, most people have no problem with magnesium absorption and will not find themselves to be magnesium deficient. There is, however, another, more recently discovered nutritional deficiency that may be affecting one out of every three of us. The nutrient? C15:0.

What Is C15:0?

C15:0 is an odd-chain, essential saturated fatty acid that helps support your health by targeting it where it begins: inside your cells. Cellular health is essential to our overall wellness, and supporting it can increase our longevity. If you have a C15:0 deficiency, you’re risking the health of your cells. Low levels of C15:0 can lead to fragile cells, lipid peroxidation, and early cellular breakdown. This explains why people with low C15:0 often experience poor cardiovascular, liver, and metabolic health. 

Researchers have identified 12 hallmarks of the aging process, and all of them are found within the cells that make up our tissues and organs. C15:0 targets six of these hallmarks and supports the health of our cells in several important ways. 

Keeping Cell Membranes Strong

Protecting cells is paramount, and our cells have a built-in security system in their cell membranes. However, cell membranes begin to wear down over time, causing cells to become vulnerable and lose their shape. 

C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that armors our cell membranes against age-related breakdown. Studies have shown that pure C15:0 improves cellular strength by 80%.

Clearing “Zombie” Cells

One of the 12 hallmarks of aging is called cellular senescence. This process refers to cells that lose their function but do not die. Instead, they lurk around inside our bodies, creating an inflammatory response that results in higher levels of proinflammatory cytokines, a key driver in aging. 

C15:0 activates AMPK, a molecule that significantly calms and lowers cytokines and clears away these damaged cells. 

Restoring Mitochondrial Function

Aging mitochondria produce less cellular energy (ATP) and more reactive oxygen species (ROS). This is a bad combination because it means our cells are functioning with less power but still being subjected to ROS, which can damage them. 

C15:0 helps restore mitochondrial function, ramping up ATP production and decreasing ROS by 45%. In one peer-reviewed study, C15:0 was shown to increase ATP levels in cells by 350%.

Restoring Homeostasis

By activating AMPK, C15:0 restores homeostasis by calming the immune system, regulating glucose uptake, and supporting metabolic, immune, coronary, and liver health. They also bind with receptors called PPARɑ and PPARẟ receptors that can help support mood and sleep. 

Restoring and rejuvenating your cells is one of the best ways you can increase your longevity and fight back against the aging process. 

Am I Deficient in C15:0?

Recent science supports that as many as one out of every three of us may be deficient, but you’ll need a blood test to know for sure. You or your healthcare provider can order an at-home C15:0 test to determine your current level and monitor for changes. 

Additionally, your healthcare provider can order a complete blood count, fasting lipid panel, and liver enzyme tests to help determine additional benefits to your health. 

Science supports that C15:0 levels below 0.2% are considered a deficiency syndrome. Meaning we must achieve above 0.2% to maintain our baseline health and wellness. Levels between 0.2% - 0.4% are considered normal. Interestingly, in blue zones where residents often live to age 100, C15:0 levels are closer to 0.64%. 

Where To Get C15:0

C15:0 is found primarily in whole dairy products, like whole milk and full-fat butter. Unfortunately, dietary guidelines issued in the 1970s (some of which remain intact today) told us to stay away from fat, and especially saturated fat, to prevent cardiovascular diseases like heart disease. 

We now know that not all fats are bad, not all saturated fats are bad, and some are even essential for our health. Because of the 1970s guidelines, milk quickly lost its popularity. As a result, there was a four-fold decrease in milk consumption which, along with plant-based milk products, which have no C15:0, we have experienced a significant decrease in our C15:0 levels. 

However, just because whole milk and dairy products contain C15:0, increasing your intake of these foods may not be the ideal way to obtain your C15:0. Whole dairy contains a wallop of calories and sugars (from lactose) that may not help support a healthy weight. In addition, dairy products also contain bad, even-chain saturated fat consistently associated with negative health outcomes. 

A solution? Fatty15.

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Discovered by researchers studying longevity in dolphins, fatty15 is a research-backed, science-born supplement that contains just one ingredient: the pure powder form of C15:0 known as FA15™. 

There are a few reasons why taking fatty15 is a more efficient way to supplement your body with C15:0 than upping your dietary dairy intake. 

It’s Ready to Absorb

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. These multiple steps can make our absorption of C15:0 from foods less efficient. In contrast, FA15 in fatty15 is our proprietary pure, powder C15:0 ingredient already in free fatty acid form. Less work for the gut, more good C15:0 for our bodies.

It’s a Low-Calorie, Healthy Fat Alternative

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 is probably 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.

Further, the calories in whole-fat milk likely explain why a large-scale recent study showed that adults who drink more dairy milk are more likely to have a higher body weight.

It’s Cow-Free

The movement to more plant-based milk and meat replacements is driven by a desire for more animal-free products and a desire to veer from cows and cattle because of concerns around methane production. Interestingly, plant-based milk replacements lack C15:0 altogether.

With fatty15, you can skip the cows altogether, which is good for the environment and supported by cows everywhere. By choosing fatty15, you can get the good, healthy C15:0 your cells need, without any of the bad. It’s one of the best decisions you can make in terms of supporting your ability to live a longer, healthier life.

Undo Deficiency

Magnesium deficiencies aren’t incredibly common in the United States, but some people may develop them and they may need additional magnesium supplementation. A recently identified nutritional deficiency syndrome in C15:0 can lead to poor liver, heart, and metabolic health. 

Obtaining a C15:0 blood test is a good way to determine if you are deficient. Supplementation with fatty15 is a good way to increase C15:0 levels, improve your cellular health, and support your overall heath and wellness. 


Magnesium - Health Professional Fact Sheet|National Institutes of Health

Electrolytes: Types, Purpose & Normal Levels|My Cleveland Clinic.com

Hallmarks of aging: An expanding universe|PubMed

Dairy consumption and overweight and obesity: a systematic review of prospective cohort studies - Louie

Efficacy of dietary odd-chain saturated fatty acid pentadecanoic acid parallels broad associated health benefits in humans: could it be essential? | Scientific Reports

A review of odd-chain fatty acid metabolism and the role of pentadecanoic Acid (c15:0) and heptadecanoic Acid (c17:0) in health and disease

Profile photo for Eric Venn-Watson

Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

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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