WE’VE COME A LONG way since skim milk dominated American fridges everywhere during the low-fat craze of the ‘80s. Our relationship with dietary fat has had a positive evolution over the years and scientific studies continue to improve our fundamental appreciation for the importance of this key macronutrient for our overall health. We’re big fans of the egg-yolk-loving, avocado-adoring and walnut-wellspring diet of 2022.
So say hello to a Pentadecanoic acid (C15:0) 2023. Just when we thought we had reached peak lipid, the first new Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) to be discovered after 90 years of the omegas (omega-3 and omega-6 to be specific) ruling nutrition guidance everywhere. Not only have studies shown this EFA to outperform omegas at the cellular level to reduce age-related breakdown, improve our immune function, and strengthen both our cardiovascular and immune systems, but it turns out C15:0 helps to repair mitochondrial function (the energy factories in our cells that can be a major cause of fatigue when they’re not working properly) AND has benefits for the endocannabinoid system (that wonderful world in our nervous system we’re just beginning to understand but celebrated for the benefits of stabilizing metabolism, mood and sleep patterns).
With over 50 (and counting) peer-reviewed scientific publications consistently supporting the truly essential nature of C15:0 for actively repairing, restoring and revitalizing our long-term health at the cellular level, we’ve gone straight to the source to break this all down. We sat down with Dr. Stephanie Venn-Watson, DVM, MPH, the veterinary epidemiologist and public health scientist who made this discovery, strangely enough, through her work with dolphins.
We Have Dolphins To Thank For This Discovery
“Save the dolphins, save the world!” says Dr. Venn-Watson. “Older dolphins age a heck of a lot like older people. This includes things like high cholesterol, chronic inflammation, arthritis.” She was studying dolphins at the US Navy’s marine mammal program, specifically looking at how to help older dolphins live their longest, healthiest lives possible. Studying the diets of two cohorts in open ocean Florida and California, she discovered that one group of dolphins had less age-related disease than the other. As the fish in their diet was a little different due to the regions, Dr. Venn-Watson and her team were able to decipher that it wasn’t omega-3 that made the difference as they originally thought, but a specific fatty acid called C15:0. The molecule had been identified in 1942, but this was the first evidence that it could actually be an essential nutrient for mammals. C15:0 is naturally found in dairy, some fish and plants.
The next steps were clear for her, and her husband Eric, a Navy physician. They founded Seraphina Therapeutics and worked closely with the Navy to develop a pure, vegan-friendly C15:0 ingredient that they call FA15, and bring the first C15:0 supplement, fatty15, to the world.
So What Makes A Fatty Acid Essential?
All of the macro and micro nutrients we consume in our diets are supportive of fueling the overall body process, but there are a couple of pretty important long chain fatty acids our bodies can’t manufacture on their own with just any lipid. This makes them essential and means our food is responsible for providing both omega-3 and omega-6, so it’s important for us to include things like salmon, walnuts, chia, and flax in our diets. Many of us don’t get enough in our diet so supplementing with things like fish oil is pretty common. But with this new discovery, that might not satisfy the complete picture. C15:0 has heart, immune, joint, tissue, tissue, lung benefits that omegas don’t have.
“Unfortunately, omegas are unstable polyunsaturated fatty acid oils, which are highly susceptible to lipid peroxidation—both in the bottle and your body. In comparison, C15:0 is a stable fatty acid that is resistant to oxidation and better protects your long-term health at the cellular level,” Dr. Venn-Watson explains. “When we tested our pure powder and vegan-friendly C15:0 ingredient against the purest and highest performing omega-3, we found that fatty15 had 3x the cellular benefits, repaired more cell types, and was safer for our cells compared to omega-3. As such, C15:0 is emerging as the essential, essential fatty acid we need to support our long-term health and wellness.”
Our Cells Need Unsaturated And Saturated Dietary Fat
So that takes us back to the low-fat era, where general guidance was to cut back on full fat dairy and butter. “We are now understanding that C15:0 is critical to supporting our metabolic and mental health,” explains Dr. Venn-Watson. “In fact, a leading hypothesis is that nutritional deficiencies in C15:0 may be contributing to imbalanced metabolism, poor sleep, and higher anxiety. The great news is that replenishing our C15:0 levels can help us get back to our healthy baseline.”
But as we’ve all been embracing dietary fats more and more, the biggest fat myth we still need to bust is regarding saturated fat. “Not all saturated fats are bad for us. In fact some, like C15:0, are essential for our health. Numerous studies continue to show that proinflammatory even-chain saturated fats, like C16:0, are associated with an increased risk of metabolic and heart diseases. In contrast, C15:0 helps to calm our immunity and balance our metabolism, resulting in better long-term health.”
While this is great news for dairy lovers (Dr. Venn-Watson included: “I use 2% fat milk in my amaretto flat white every day, with a capsule’s worth of fatty15 melted in it (yum)!”), there are really only trace amounts in food and it’s even harder to get enough in a vegan or vegetarian diet. This is always where supplements come in handy, so fatty15 was created with this in mind. It’s vegan friendly, plus it’s pure C15:0 without any of the potentially harmful fatty acids like C16:0 that come along with the dietary sources. Plus, because food-based C15:0 is part of a more complex lipid structure it requires the right digestive enzyme mix to absorb. Fatty15 is ready to absorb and bioavailable.
C15:0 Has A Bonus Benefit For Our Mental Health
We’ve shared on the endocannabinoid system before, only recently discovered as a result of developments in cannabis use, and how it works to help regulate the body’s homeostasis and our nervous system. But this is the first time we’re seeing a relationship between C15:0 and the endocannabinoid system. “C15:0 helps our bodies make a second molecule, called PDC, which is the second-ever discovered full-acting endocannabinoid,” shared Dr. Venn-Watson. This ultimately supports the natural activation of receptors that regulate metabolism, immunity, mood, sleep and appetite. Initial reports have 3 out of 4 fatty15 customers finding deeper sleep, calmer mood, and even less cravings for snacks between meals.
So to recap, this new Essential Fatty Acid has an exciting laundry list of benefits:
+ Strengthening our cells (and us) against age-related breakdown
+ Repairing mitochondrial function, to keep our body’s energy-producers going
+ Naturally activating receptors that regulate our metabolism, immunity, mood, sleep and appetite
+ Supporting our DNA repair shops, which keep our cells functioning well, especially as we age
+ And so far reported long-term benefits include healthier skin and hair, as well as metabolic, heart, immune, red blood cell and liver supporting benefits.
Since it’s the first time in our lifetimes that a new supplement or vitamin has been the subject of such a game-changing discovery, we had to make sure you could try it for yourselves. Use code CHALKBOARD15 for 15% off a 90 day subscription. And please, report back! We can’t wait to watch the future benefits of this essential fatty acid grow.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This story is brought to you in partnership with Fatty15. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.