What Causes Aging and Can It Be Slowed?
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
- Aging is a natural process, but it seems to happen faster than we’d like it to.
- Aging starts at the cellular level, and that’s where you’ll need to begin to help slow down the aging process.
- Pentadecanoic acid (aka C15:0) is a critical dietary fat that declines in our bodies as we age, targets three key biomarkers of aging, and has been associated with human populations with the highest longevity.*
Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Stephanie Venn-Watson
While aging is simply a part of life, it’s not always a positive experience; at least from the standpoint of being at greater risk for age-related illness as we get into our golden years. While every birthday represents another year well-lived, it also represents a decline in function among the overall health of our cells.
The problem, for most of us, is that our bodies tend to age more quickly than we’d prefer. It isn't that we necessarily want to be 18 again, but the majority of us would like our bodies to keep up with (and look) as young as we feel. So, is it possible to fight back against the wear and tear?
What causes our bodies to age, and is it possible to slow down the hands of time? We’ll talk about what makes us age and give you some solutions for aging on your own terms, including one particularly promising option called pentadecanoic acid (aka C15:0).
What Causes Us To Age?
It goes without saying that we age over time, but time alone isn’t the cause of our bodies aging; in fact, there are several theories of aging out there, and one of them has to do with cell replication.
Aging starts at the cellular level. When our cells age, the structures that they make up also age, and our bodies age as a whole.
Over time, every cell in your body begins to break down. This breaking down is part of a natural cycle of biological aging (as compared to chronological aging), but sometimes, it happens much more quickly than we’d like. Aging cells become fragile and susceptible to malfunction and age-related disease.
The DNA found in your cells replicates when your cells divide. If you remember the classic DNA chain, you’ll remember it has a double helix pattern, with two strands intertwining.
Cell division is healthy and a part of cell life, but at some point, your cells cannot copy themselves any longer. The telomere shortening that results leads to cell damage and DNA damage. The cell then reaches a point of cellular senescence.
These senescent cells cannot function as they normally would, and DNA repair is challenging.
There are many factors that can cause a cell to age more quickly than it should. Let’s look at some of the causes of aging:
Your body needs essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fatty acids to survive. If you eat an improper diet, you limit your body’s chances of receiving these essential macronutrients.
You can also increase your chances of being overweight and/or experiencing obesity by eating an improper diet. This is not just about calories — eating too many processed foods, simple carbohydrates, and foods high in unhealthy fat can cause inflammation in your body on a cellular level, which can cause your body to age faster than it normally would.
Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats can help ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs and ensure your cells are nourished properly.
The inhalation of carcinogens and toxins causes you to age prematurely. Not only will your body age faster, you will look older than you actually are. There are no health benefits associated with smoking. In fact, there are only negative health markers linked to smoking.
The ingredients in tobacco smoke cause inflammation in your body and cause immediate cellular damage. In fact, studies show that when a person is smoking, their white blood cell count (the cells responsible for battling infection) is higher.
Lack of Exercise
A sedentary lifestyle can also cause you to age faster than you should. As you age, your maximum sustained heart rate begins to decline, as well as your lung capacity and general physical ability.
Much of the reason this happens is due to lack of physical activity. Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle is a great way to maintain physical ability and agility, increase your heart and lung capacity, and age a little slower than your counterparts sitting on the sofa.
Healthcare providers recommend aiming for at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day. Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that raises your heart rate to a level that makes it strenuous to perform the activity. This can be walking, cycling, running, and/or swimming.
Free Radical Damage
One of the biggest factors of aging (especially skin aging) is free radical damage. Free radicals are unbalanced molecules that are missing an electron. They come from numerous different sources. Ultraviolet rays of sunlight, smoke from cigarettes, pollution like smog, and even fumes from household cleaning products can all be sources of free radicals.
Free radicals look for balanced molecules (molecules that have two electrons). When they find them, they latch on to them, and take one of the electrons. When this happens, the cell containing the “assaulted” molecule is damaged. This oxidative damage can wreak havoc (hence the populatiry of antioxidants).
This cellular damage on the skin usually results in the development of fine lines and wrinkles due to a lack of elasticity and collagen, and can be particularly devastating to older adults who certainly do not feel like they should have as many visible signs of premature aging. But as you’ll soon see, there are options outside of changing your skincare routine to support healthy skin aging.
How Can You Slow The Aging Process?
Nothing can prevent aging, but you can definitely give your cells a fighting chance in the healthy aging battle. In addition to not smoking, eating a balanced diet, exercising properly, and wearing sunscreen, there’s evidence that a particular fatty acid can dramatically increase your cells’ overall health, helping them to function properly and age more slowly.*†
What is Pentadecanoic Acid (aka C15:0)?
We’ve been avoiding saturated fats for decades, but turns out, we got some of it wrong.
According to a growing body of evidence, some saturated fats are critical for our health.†
In fact, one type of odd-chain saturated fat is associated with positive health markers like balanced immunity, heart health, healthy metabolism, and overall cellular health.*† This valuable fatty acid is known as pentadecanoic acid, or C15:0. A recent study showed that people living in High Longevity Zones (where more people live longer than the average global population) had higher C15:0 body levels compared to people living in Low Longevity Zones. Another large-scale study that followed over 14,000 people over 14 years showed that those who had more C15:0 in their diet had a lower risk of mortality during the study time period.
Unfortunately, as we age, our C15:0 levels decline, and the likelihood of you getting enough C15:0 in your diet is pretty slim. It’s mostly found in whole fat dairy products like milk and butter, and even then, it’s found in a small amount and is accompanied by a notable amount of unhealthy fat.
How Does Pentadecanoic Acid Help Fight the Aging Process?
Just how does this little fatty acid help us fight back against aging?*
There are a few different ways C15:0 can help, all of which specifically target well-known hallmarks of aging:*
- Supporting your body on a cellular level. As a sturdy fatty acid, C15:0 dives deep into our cells, strengthening the cell membranes to keep them healthy and protect them from damage and fragility.
- Increasing cellular stability and helping to prevent premature cellular breakdown. In turn, you age less quickly than you would if your cells remained unprotected and vulnerable to damage and stressors.
- Protecting mitochondrial function. Your mitochondria are responsible for cellular energy. Sluggish mitochondrial function means decreased cellular energy output, and increased cellular stress, two major factors of cellular aging. C15:0 helps bolster your mitochondrial function, so your cell’s tiny powerhouses can continue churning out the energy they should.
- Helping to maintain cellular homeostasis. Part of cellular aging causes our immune system and metabolism to become unbalanced over time. C15:0 naturally binds to key receptors throughout your body, called PPARs, that help to support healthy metabolism and immunity, so your cells stay healthier, longer.
If you’re ready to give your cells the fighting chance they need, fatty15 can help.*
Fatty15 is the first and only supplement you can take to get your daily dose of C15:0.* It contains pure FA15™, which is pure C15:0 in powder form. This little supplement is vegan, pure, and key to help keep your cells functioning like they did a decade ago.*
The C15:0 in fatty15 is so important, that an increasing body of evidence suggests that C15:0 is likely the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered in 90 years.† That’s pretty big news, especially since an essential fatty acid is one your body needs to function properly, but cannot make on its own.
You can’t stop the aging process, but you can work to slow it down.
Along with a balanced diet, exercise, and better lifestyle choices, fatty15 can fill in a crucial missing gap in your health stack.
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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