C15:0 saturated fats have a leg up on the EPA, study finds

New research shows that C15:0, or pentadecanoic acid, an odd-chain saturated fat found in butter, is safer and more effective at repairing cells than eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The peer-reviewed study was published in PLOS ONE.

The researchers behind the study are confident that the newly discovered essential fatty acid reigns supreme. Before this discovery, there were only two known essential fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3, and linoleic acid, an omega-6. The growing number of peer-reviewed scientific papers linking C15:0 to better health outcomes further reinforces the idea that it is the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in 90 years.

The study

The direct study involved 12 different human cell systems mimicking various disease states and were treated with C15:0 (pentadecanoic acid) or omega-3s. These cellular systems included 148 biomarkers relevant to whole-body health. This study found that C15:0 and omega-3s shared 10 beneficial effects, primarily around reducing inflammation. However, C15:0 had 26 additional beneficial effects over omega-3s that were relevant to immune, gut, heart, joint, skin, red blood cell, and lung health. Additionally, while omega-3s were toxic to four human cell systems at the highest concentration tested, C15:0 was safe for all cell systems at all concentrations.

“As an essential fatty acid, it was no surprise that C15:0 had multiple health benefits for the whole body,” said Stephanie Venn-Watson, CEO and co-founder of Seraphina Therapeutics, the company behind the research. “We were surprised, however, by the magnitude of the benefits and safety of C15:0 compared to the purest and highest performing omega-3 (EPA). These studies support that C15:0 may well be the essential and essential fatty acid.

C15:0 saturated fats have a leg up on the EPA, study finds

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