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 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.
Talk to NutraIngredients-USA, Venn-Watson noted that there are several big takeaways from the study. “First, in this study, C15:0 was better, broader, and safer than the purest, highest performing omega-3 (EPA). These extensive studies showed that C15:0 exhibited 36 clinically relevant benefits on 83% of cell types tested, while safe at all concentrations In contrast, omega-3s only safely provided 10 clinically relevant benefits to 33% of cell types tested, while being toxic at the highest concentration to 4 of the 12 cellular systems.
she added that the study showed that C15:0 can actively reverse chronic health conditions by significantly reducing several biomarkers relevant to chronic inflammation, heart disease, metabolic disease, autoimmune disease and the cancer. Importantly, these effects were dose-dependent, which is consistent with a therapeutic effect.
And finally, she explained that the study supports that C15:0 has antidepressant and anticancer properties, closely mimicking those of bupropion, a leading antidepressant, and gemcitabine, a cancer therapeutic.
The Venn-Watson team previously discovered C15:0, the first essential fatty acid discovered since the discovery of omega-3s nearly a century ago. This finding was published in Nature’s Scientific Reports in May 2020. Since then, over 30 peer-reviewed studies have been published linking higher C15:0 to a wide range of benefits.
“C15:0 (also called pentadecanoic acid) is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that is the first essential fatty acid to be discovered since omega over 90 years ago. Numerous prospective cohort studies have shown that people with higher concentrations of C15:0 are less likely to develop several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.Some studies have even shown that people with higher concentrations of C15:0 live longer long time “,said Venn-Watson.
She added that while research continues, what is known about C15:0 is that it protects long-term health through multiple mechanisms at the cellular level. Specifically, C15:0 has been shown to stabilize cell membranes, repair mitochondria, regulate immunity and metabolism by activating key receptors called PPAR-ɑ/δ and AMPK, and arrest cancer cell proliferation by inhibiting HDAC receivers.
Revision of dietary recommendations?
Venn-Watson hopes dietary guidelines will be updated to reflect this growing area of research. Currently, guidelines recommend a reduced intake of all saturated fats.
“A growing body of evidence supports that odd-chain saturated fats, like C15:0, are beneficial to our health. On the other hand, even-chain saturated fats, like C16:0, continue to be associated with poor health”she says. “We are now learning that C15:0 may have an edge over omega-3s, from skin health to heart health to safety.”
Omega-3 and oxidation
The researchers pointed out that while C15:0 and omega-3s target similar receptors and pathways relevant to supporting immune, metabolic, and heart health, previous research shows a key difference: C15:0 appears to inhibit a key pathway which uses oxidative stress to induce inflammation. . On the other hand, polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3, activate this pathway. This may be why, in the current study, C15:0 was more effective and broad in reducing inflammation compared to omega-3s.
“The better, broader, and safer cell repair properties of C15:0 compared to omega-3s may be due to C15:0’s natural resistance to oxidation, especially with age,” said Venn-Watson. “In addition to our ongoing studies, we are thrilled to see the broader scientific community turn their attention to C15:0. Through this global effort, we are learning more about this good fat and its role in supporting our long-term health and well-being.”
Seraphina Therapeutics initially discovered C15:0 as a healthy and essential nutrient by applying advanced omics technologies, including metabolomics. While these advanced technologies are typically used to discover new therapies, they can also be used to find which ingredients are truly essential to health. The health and wellness company said it is actively leveraging these technologies to advance other molecules that show promise in healthy aging from more than 100 discoveries to date.
In addition to expanding our understanding of how C15:0 protects physical health, based in part on the results of this study, Venn-Watson et al. actively exploring how C15:0 can also support mental health.
Venn-Watson said she expects this research to have profound implications for the omega-3 industry.
“For the first time, consumers have an alternative essential fatty acid option that is pure, stable, sustainable, vegan-friendly and now with evidence to be better, broader and safer,” she said. “We are on the verge of a true nutritional renaissance.”
Source: PLOS ONE
May 26, 2022 doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0268778
“Broader and safer clinically relevant activities of pentadecanoic acid compared to omega-3: evaluation of an emerging essential fatty acid in twelve primary human cellular disease systems”
Authors: S. Venn-Watson, et al.