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Optimizing Red Blood Cell Production

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
    • Healthy red blood cells deliver critical oxygen to tissues throughout our body.
    • As we get older, our red blood cells can become more fragile, resulting in an increased loss of red blood cells that can make us feel tired.
    • Science supports the use of fatty15 (containing the sturdy fatty acid, C15:0) to naturally improve the resilience of red blood cells, especially as we age.* 

Authored by: Stephanie Venn-Watson, DVM, MPH

Red blood cells play a critical role of delivering oxygen to our tissues. By continually delivering necessary oxygen, red blood cells help keep everything – from our toes to our hearts to our brains – working.

Unfortunately, the natural process of aging can result in premature breakdown of our red blood cells, resulting in a less-than-optimal you.[1,2] So, what is the best way to protect the health of your red blood cells, especially as you get older?

Let’s talk about what impacts red blood cell health as we age and how having non-optimal red blood cells can impact your daily life. Then, we’ll cover how fatty15 (a once daily supplement containing C15:0, or pentadecanoic acid) can be an important way to promote your red blood cell health, resulting in a healthier you.*

How does aging negatively affect red blood cell health?

The aging process affects every part of your body, including your red blood cells.[1] These aging-related changes include the following:

  • Increasingly fragile red blood cells. As we age, specific lipids and fatty acids in our cell membranes can become more susceptible to lipid peroxidation, resulting in poorly protected cells that break down earlier than they should.[3] Polyunsaturated fatty acids, which tend to be oils, are most susceptible to this age-related oxidation.[3]
  • Imbalanced immune systems. As we get older, the signals between our cells can become impaired, resulting in an immune system that responds too strongly to inappropriate triggers.[4] This imbalanced immune system can attack our own cells, including our red blood cells.[5]

As red blood cell health declines with age, people may experience fatigue, increased risks of falling, and take a longer time recovering from illness compared to people with healthy red blood cells.[6]

So, how can I promote healthy red blood cells, especially as I get older?

How to promote your red blood cell health

Steps you can take to optimize your red blood cell health include the following:

  • Routine health check-ups. Most people do not know their red blood cell health status until they have a routine health check-up that includes a simple blood test. This test usually includes measurements of your hematocrit and hemoglobin, as well as measurements of the size of your red blood cells, which will let you know if you have red blood cell health is less than optimal.[7]
  • Check for iron deficiency. One of the most common causes of poor red blood cell health is lack of iron.[8] In these cases, your doctor may prescribe supplements containing iron.
  • Check for other drivers that impact red blood cell health. More and more often these days, poor red blood cell health is caused by factors other than iron deficiency. As we mentioned above, these factors can include aging-related degradation, chronic disease, and imbalanced immune systems – all of which increase the fragility of our red blood cells.[2] So, it may be important to work with your physician to see if these underlying factors are negatively affecting your red blood cell health.

When red blood cells become more fragile with aging, chronic disease, or an imbalanced immune system, supplementation with fatty15 (a pure powder form of pentadecanoic acid, aka C15:0) may help.* Interested in learning more? Well, read on.

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Fatty15 to promote your red blood cell health*

Fatty15 is a daily oral supplement that contains pentadecanoic acid (aka C15:0), a sturdy fatty acid naturally present in trace levels in butter and other whole-fat dairy products, as well as some types of fish and plants.[9]

Our studies support that:*

  • Daily supplementation with FA15TM (the pure powder C15:0 ingredient in fatty15) improved red blood cell stability by 80% in relevant models.[10]
  • FA15TM supports a healthy immune response, which may lessen your body’s own attacks on your red blood cells.[10]

In addition to helping to promoting healthy red blood cells, our studies have demonstrated that fatty15 can support your overall health by binding to key receptors, called PPARs (pronounced pee-pars) alpha and delta, that regulate metabolism, immunity, mood, appetite and sleep.[10This explains why 88% of people surveyed and taking fatty15 reported at least one of the following benefits:*

  • Better, deeper sleep and waking up feeling more refreshed
  • Calmer mood
  • Less desire to snack between meals
  • More even energy throughout the day

With fatty15, you now have the option to protect your red blood cell (and overall) health and age on your own terms.* 

Read the science 

For a summary of peer-reviewed and published science on C15:0 (pentadecanoic acid), including our studies in Scientific Reports demonstrating C15:0 as a natural promoter of healthy red blood cells, please click here.

1. Berliner, N. Anemia in the elderly. Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc 124:230-237 (2013).

2. Sanford, A.M. & Morley, J.E. Anemia of old age. J Nutr Health Aging 23:602-605 (2019).

3. Hulbert, A.J. One the importance of fatty acid composition of membranes for aging. J Theor Biol 234:277-288 (2005).

4. Baylis, D. et al. Understanding how we age: insights into inflammaging. Longevity & Healthspan. 2:8 (2013)

5. Erschler, W.B. Biological interactions of aging and anemia: a focus on cytokines. J Am Geriatr Soc 51:18-21.

6. Rohrig, G. Anemia in the frail, elderly patient. Clin Interv Aging 11:319-326 (2016).

7. Anemia. Mayo Clinic. CON-20156925.

8. Camaschella, C. Iron-deficiency anemia. New Engl J Med 372:1832-1843 (2015).

9. Jenkins, B. et al. 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. Molecules 20:2425-2444 (2015).

10. Venn-Watson, S. et al. 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).

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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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