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Promoting Your Metabolic Health: A Focus on Odd-Chain Pentadecanoic Acid (C15:0)

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Highlights
    • Our metabolism is defined by a complex series of chemical reactions that occur throughout our whole body, all the time, to keep us healthy. 
    • As we age, our metabolism can falter, resulting in impaired cellular functions, faulty immune systems, foggier brains, and difficulty maintaining a healthy body weight.
    • Fatty15 contains just the good, pure powder form of C15:0, with evidence of promoting healthy metabolism in part by naturally activating receptors throughout our body that orchestrate our metabolism.*

Authored by: Stephanie Venn-Watson, DVM, MPH

When we think of our overall health, we can point to our heart and brain, and maybe our liver and spleen. But how many of us can point to our metabolism?

While we tend to think of our body’s health organ by organ, our metabolic health is our whole body health, helping to keep our hearts, brains, livers and everything else in order. Unfortunately, when our metabolic health starts to fail, our body’s health does, too. The correlations between our metabolic health and total body health are significant, and learning how to take better care of our metabolic health is key to keeping our bodies functioning properly as we age. 

So, how can you best protect your general metabolic health and decrease metabolic risk factors like insulin resistance and weight gain? Our metabolic health is much more than just how quickly our bodies burn calories, but most of us don’t understand what other functions our metabolism has.

First, let’s talk about what metabolism is and how it keeps your whole body healthy. Then, we will share a surprise about dietary saturated fats. Finally, we will discuss how a growing body of evidence supports fatty15 (a pure, powder form of C15:0, an odd-chain saturated fatty acid) as an important way to support your metabolic health, resulting in a happier and healthier you.*

What is metabolic health and how does it affect bodily tissues?

While most of us understand why protecting our heart and brain health is important, knowing what metabolic health is, and why we should promote it, can be a bit trickier. Here’s why.

Our metabolism is defined by a complex series of chemical reactions that occur throughout our whole body, in all our tissues, all the time, to keep us up and running.[1] Our metabolism breaks down nutrients into smaller, bite-size molecules that our cells can use for all kinds of good things, including generating energy and allowing cells to communicate with each other.

Metabolism also includes building larger molecules that our bodies can use to form tissues and perform more complex functions that make our bodies smarter, faster, and healthier.[1

Thus, your metabolism is a fully functioning factory that takes nutrients in and turns them into, well…you. Your metabolism takes place on a cellular level. Your cells make up tissues, that make up organs, that make up entire bodily systems. When something goes wrong with your metabolism, there’s a domino effect that can add up to some pretty significant issues.

When we’re younger, our metabolism runs like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, as we age, our metabolism slows, resulting in an increasingly poorly functioning factory that produces an increasingly less-healthy you,[2,3including:[4]

  • Less efficient conversion of nutrients into energy
  • Poorly functioning cells that check out earlier than they should
  • Impaired communication between cells

 As we get older, these changes in our metabolism can contribute to:

  • Impaired organ functions (like, your heart and liver)[5]
  • Faulty immune systems that respond inappropriately[6]
  • Foggier brains[7]

As part of this breakdown in our metabolism, metabolic syndrome can occur, which is now present in 1 in 4 people globally.[8]

Metabolic syndrome is a term for a group of conditions that place you at a higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke. These include:

  • Excess weight, which can lead to obesity (especially around the midsection)
  • Insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes and fatty liver disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

These conditions can also cause chronic, low-level inflammation, which researchers now believe is a major underlying cause of many age-related illnesses and diseases. 

It goes without saying that diet and exercise are important, but in terms of your metabolic health, they’re incredibly crucial. Most of us are still tied to outdated ideas about our diets, like watching our overall fat consumption and avoiding saturated fats at all costs. 

New research, however, suggests that ensuring adequate fatty acid composition in our diets is important to our health.

A surprise about saturated fatty acids

For the past 40 years, dietary saturated fats have been on our naughty list. As a result, we have shunned butter and bacon. We’ve spent an entire generation avoiding fat, but the results haven’t given us the better health we were promised.

Dozens and dozens of nutritional studies on saturated fats have been published over the past 20 years, and scientists have learned a lot about saturated fats – both good and bad - and how they impact our metabolic health.[9]

The problem is, while we continue to hear about bad saturated fats, most of us have not heard the silver lining from these studies – that there are also good saturated fats, called odd-chain saturated fatty acids.[10] In recent years, we’ve begun to realize that consuming more good saturated fats is imperative to our metabolic health.

The Difference Between Odd-Chain and Even-Chain Saturated Fats

So, here are a few pearls of wisdom about saturated fats (that you can also pass on to others):*

  • Not all saturated fats are bad. Dozens of large-scale epidemiological studies conducted throughout the world repeatedly and consistently demonstrate some types of saturated fats associated with poor health, while other types are associated with good health.[10]
  • Even-chain saturated fatty acids are associated with poor metabolic health. Saturated fatty acids with an even number of carbons in their chemical structure (like, C16:0 or C18:0) continue to be associated with higher risks of having or developing metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.[11,12]
  • Odd-chain saturated fatty acids are associated with good metabolic and health. Saturated fatty acids with an odd number of carbons in their chemical structure (like, C15:0 or C17:0) are consistently associated with healthy metabolism, as well as healthy hearts, immunity, and livers.[1213,14,15]
  • One odd-chain saturated fatty acid in particular, called C15:0 (pronounced see-fifteen, also called pentadecanoic acid), is emerging as the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in 90 years. A growing body of science supports that C15:0 meets the criteria of an essential fatty acid.[10This means that we need adequate levels of C15:0 in our bodies to stay healthy, but our bodies don’t make enough of it, so we need to get C15:0 from our diet or supplements.

Can Milk Fat and Butter Give You Better Health Markers?

Studies show that fatty acids like C15:0 (and even heptadecanoic acid, i.e. C:17, another fatty acid found in ruminants of milk fat) can be found in subcutaneous adipose tissue (i.e. body fat) of people whose diet contains a high consumption of dairy products

That doesn’t mean we should all increase our intake of milk fat

Think of C15:0 as the building block. You have to consume it because your body doesn't make it, and some of the essential C15:0 gets converted to other beneficial fatty acids, like C17:0.

While our most common dietary sources of C15:0 are butter and other whole fat dairy products, these foods contain much (much) higher levels of the bad even-chain saturated fats, which can be detrimental to your diet. 

However, being able to find C15:0 in adipose tissue is a good biological marker of long-term milk consumption, which tells us when we do consume this fatty acid, it stays in our tissues, working long after we consume it.

So, where can you get the good C15:0 fat without the bad saturated fats? Supplementation with a one-of-a-kind dietary tablet that’s easy to add to your health stack. Read on to find out more.

How pentadecanoic acid in fatty15 can support our metabolic health

Fatty15 is a once daily and easy to use supplement containing only one ingredient: FA15TM, a pure, vegan-friendly powder form of C15:0. Studies have demonstrated that fatty15 helps to promote healthy metabolism, including:*

  • Improving energy production. Fatty15 helps to restore impaired mitochondrial function, enabling your cells’ batteries to pump out the energy your cells need to keep your metabolism in tip-top shape.

  • Helping cells stay resilient and functioning. Fatty15 makes your cells less fragile by incorporating sturdy C15:0 into your cells’ membranes, enabling them to live and function longer as a key part of your metabolism.

  • Restoring communication between cells. Fatty15 naturally binds to receptors, called PPARs (pronounced pee-pars) alpha and delta, that are found throughout your body and brain. PPARs alpha and delta orchestrate your metabolism and immunity, as well as your mood, appetite, and sleep. By activating PPARs, fatty15 allows your cells’ communication systems to stay alert and respond appropriately to environmental stressors and your diet.

By promoting your metabolic health, our studies have shown that fatty15 can help maintain healthy glucose, cholesterol, and immune homeostasis, as well as healthy liver function.* 

With fatty15, you now have the option to protect your health and age on your own terms, without increasing your intake of the bad, even-chain saturated fatty acids.*  Consider incorporating fatty15 into your daily health routine to support your metabolic and whole body health at the cellular level.*

Who We Are

How did we discover that C15:0 was so amazing? To be truthful, it didn’t start out with a focus on human health. 

Dr. Stephanie Venn-Watson, a veterinary epidemiologist, discovered the potential benefits of C15:0 while working to improve the health, nutrition, and welfare of older dolphins. She initially found that the healthiest aging dolphins had a major dietary source of C15:0, i.e. a greater fat intake of this  unique odd-chain, long-chain fatty acid that seemed to have important health benefits.

Three years and eight studies later, Stephanie and her team were able to show that C15:0 was an active and beneficial fatty acid that was meeting the criteria of being the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in 90 years. 

The team developed FA15 to provide a sustainable, pure and vegan-friendly source of C15:0 that was easy to take every day.

Seraphina Therapeutics was the winner of the 2021 Nutritional Outlook Best of the Industry Award for the discovery and introduction of FA15™, the first and only pure, powder, tasteless, scentless ingredient that’s present in what is also the first pentadecanoic acid supplement, fatty15

Sources:

Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation|NCBI 

Evaluation of a biological marker of dairy fat intake|PubMed 

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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