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What is C15:0?

Ever heard of C15:0 fatty acid?


Neither had I until I saw an ad for a supplement called Fatty15 on Instagram, which contains C15:0 so I did some research on it. C15:0, also known as pentadecanoic acid, is a saturated fatty acid that occurs naturally in dairy fat, ruminant meats like beef, bison, and lamb, as well as in certain fish and plants.


The manufacturers of Fatty15 claim that "dozens and dozens of studies from around the world have linked higher C15:0 in our bodies to healthy metabolism, balanced immunity, and healthy hearts. In some cases, higher C15:0 is even associated with longer life."


I did a quick literature search on pentadecanoic acid and found a few studies showing some promising results but definitely not "dozens" of studies.


What I found were some observational studies that found associations between higher levels of C15:0 in the blood and reduced risks of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes (Forouhi, Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2014), heart disease (Trieu, PLoS Med 2021), heart failure (Djousse, Cardiology 2021), and even a lower risk of mortality (Trieu, PLoS Med 2021). However, it's important to note that while these findings are intriguing, they do not definitively prove that supplementing with C15:0 directly leads to these health benefits.


Test-tube studies have shown potential benefits of C15:0 such as strengthening cell membranes, supporting the function of mitochondria (the energy powerhouses of our cells), inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, and aiding in the regulation of sugar metabolism (Ediriweera, BioChimie 2021; Fu, Food Nutr Res 2021).


Despite its intriguing effects observed in laboratory settings and its associations with reduced disease risks based on blood levels, there isn't any clinical research investigating the supplementation of C15:0 fatty acid or fatty15 for most health conditions.


It's worth noting that while some articles, particularly those authored by Stephanie Venn-Watson, the co-founder of Seraphina Therapeutics (a producer of fatty15), refer to C15:0 as "essential," it is not classified as essential.


Essential fatty acids, which our bodies cannot produce and must be obtained from diet or supplements, include only linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). C15:0, being a saturated fatty acid, falls outside this essential category (Institute of Medicine, Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids 2005).


Fatty15 is not cheap either - approximately $1.67 per capsule according to ConsumerLab.


Considering the lack of clinical research supporting the health benefits of C15:0 (and the fact that you can obtain it from food fairly easily), I don't think it's worth the cost.


Want help with how to eat sensibly and not have to buy expensive supplements? Schedule a Discovery Call with me today or send me an email: cindy@midlifefoodandfitness.com.




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