Medically reviewed by Eric Venn-Watson, MD
It goes without saying, no one wants to be diagnosed with any type of cancer, but pancreatic cancer is an especially dangerous and aggressive disease.
Pancreatic cancer is a serious condition affecting your pancreas, and it has the ability to spread to other organs. Your pancreas is responsible for helping you with digestion by producing enzymes that break down sugar, starches, and fats. These are broken down so they can be used by your body.
Your pancreas is also responsible for helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. When you eat food, the sugar in your blood (also called glucose) needs to be moved to your body’s cells to be used for energy. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone, which effectively removes glucose from your bloodstream and delivers it to cells. In turn, extra glucose is stored in the liver.
When the pancreas doesn’t function properly, you can experience illness, such as:
Diabetes. If your body can’t use the insulin your pancreas makes, or if your pancreas cannot make enough insulin, you can become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance is part of a group of diseases that make up metabolic syndrome, a condition that places you at much higher risk for developing heart disease and having a stroke. If your insulin resistance isn’t treated, you can develop diabetes. Left untreated, diabetes can be a very serious and life-threatening condition.
Pancreatitis. This is a painful condition that describes inflammation of the pancreas. When the enzymes the pancreas produces attacks the pancreas itself, you can develop pancreatitis. Excessive, prolonged alcohol use can cause pancreatitis, as well as the development of gallstones.
Pancreatic Cancer. This cancer affects the cells of your pancreas, especially the ones that help with producing pancreatic enzymes. This cancer is hard to diagnose early, and as such, has one of the lowest survival rates.
There is no cure for pancreatic cancer, and currently, no way to screen for it. It is often not diagnosed until it has reached a later stage, and/or has spread to surrounding organs. This is because symptoms of pancreatic cancer aren’t present until the cancer has already spread.
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can include jaundice, fatigue, appetite and weight loss, abdominal pain, and gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea. Because there’s no way to screen for this deadly disease, it’s vitally important that we actively pursue ways to lower our risk of developing it.
5 Tips To Lower Your Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
We’ll be straightforward -- there’s no surefire way to just prevent pancreatic cancer, but there are ways to lower your risk of developing it. A healthy lifestyle and better choices can protect your pancreatic health. Here are five tips for lowering your risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Stop Smoking. Smoking increases your risk for numerous types of cancers, including pancreatic cancer. Research suggests that the carcinogenic compounds in cigarettes cause additional inflammation in the pancreas, and stimulates the growth of pancreatic cancer. In terms of risk factors for pancreatic cancer, smoking is number one. You can dramatically reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by stopping smoking today.
Avoid Weight Gain. Being overweight is the second highest risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer. People who are overweight (individuals whose BMI is higher than 30) are 20% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than individuals who have a healthy body weight. You can lower your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by losing weight and maintaining a healthy BMI. Increasing your exercise to 30 minutes a day can help you lose weight and promote overall health.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables. There’s no diet that will prevent any cancer, but eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best way to protect your overall health from a dietary standpoint, which plays a huge role. Eating fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, natural sugar, and fiber is a good way to stay healthy and give your body what it needs to function properly. Eating more fruits and vegetables can also help keep you feeling fuller for longer, which can help you lose weight, cut back on unhealthy snacks, and boost your energy levels.
Manage Your Blood Sugar. Increased blood sugar levels that lead to insulin resistance and/or diabetes can increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Having diabetes for a period of longer than five years increases your risk even higher. Sudden onset diabetes can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer, especially if you have no other risk factors for diabetes, like metabolic syndrome. Managing your blood sugar is important to your overall health, and along with a healthy diet, there's mounting evidence that adding a little-known fatty acid, called pentadecanoic acid, may help you achieve this goal.
Know Your Fats. Lowering your unhealthy fat intake can help you lower your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. However, it’s a myth that all fat is bad. In fact, some (like omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids) are essential. While some saturated fats are associated with negative health markers, like inflammation, heart disease, and type II diabetes, some saturated fats are associated with positive health markers, like balanced immunity, heart health, healthy metabolism, red blood cell health, and liver health. The fat responsible for the good health markers? The fatty acid, pentadecanoic acid, we just mentioned, also known as C15:0.
C15:0 (aka pentadecanoic acid)
C15:0 is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that is supported by a growing amount of research to potentially be the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in decades. An essential fatty acid is something your body needs to function properly, but can’t make on its own. That means we have to get it from our food.
Getting C15:0 from our food, however, is a problem. We’ve spent an entire generation avoiding fat. We were no longer buying whole dairy products like milk and butter, and that’s precisely where C15:0 can be found. Unfortunately, whole dairy products also contain an unhealthy dose of bad fats, so where can we find our balance?
As of just recently: a once a day, C15:0 supplement.
You can lower your risk of pancreatic cancer by not smoking, avoiding weight gain, managing your blood sugar, and, possibly, increasing your intake of pentadecanoic acid. In a study including 750 patients, people who had higher circulating C15:0 body levels had a lower risk of having pancreatic cancer. A series of studies published in Scientific Reports has demonstrated how C15:0 can act as a beneficial dietary fat that may be critical to supporting your overall health.
C15:0 is all-natural, and has a myriad of health benefits not limited to simply increasing healthy fat intake -- here are just a few:
There’s no cure for pancreatic cancer, and there is no way of preventing it, but you may lower your risk of developing it by maintaining a healthy lifestyle void of smoking and excess weight, and packed with healthy nutrients and healthy fats, including C15:0.
Medically reviewed by Eric Venn-Watson, MD
You probably aren’t familiar with inflammaging. In fact, you may even think it’s a typographical error for the word “inflammation,” but we assure you, inflammaging is a real condition.
Pronounced “inflamm-aging,” this condition occurs mostly in individuals with advanced age. It describes a process of age acceleration that can make you more susceptible to age-related disease.
To fully understand inflammaging and what it does, we need to examine what happens to our cells as we age. We’ll cover cellular aging, what inflammaging is and how it affects our cells, and how you can avoid it.
What Happens To Our Cells When We Age?
Every cell in your body begins to break down and lose function as you age. The state of your cells largely determines your overall health and wellness. When your cells age, the structures that they make up (tissues and organs) also age.
Thus, if your cells are not functioning properly and are aging faster than they should, your tissues and organs will also begin to malfunction and age more quickly. The breakdown in our cells happens gradually, and leaves our bodies less energized and more fragile.
Some cellular aging happens naturally, without the assistance of any external stressors. What causes this process to speed up is largely a matter of personal health choices, like diet, exercise, maintained weight, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels.
If you suffer from certain weight-related illness, for instance, your cells are more likely to be advancing in age at a much faster rate than they would if you were maintaining a healthier weight.
What is Inflammaging?
Inflammaging refers to chronic, low-grade inflammation that occurs on the cellular level in older adults. It is believed that inflammaging speeds up the aging process, and causes an individual to experience faster aging than people who don’t suffer from this condition.
In essence, inflammaging is the constant onslaught of inflammation within a cell such that the cell can no longer function properly. This inflammation isn’t necessarily noticeable; at least not in terms of the types of inflammation you’ve likely experienced. The finite lifespan of the cell is dramatically shortened by inflammaging, and eventually the cell loses its functionality and dies.
The process of inflammaging is brought on largely by the same chronic illnesses that cause your cells to age faster: obesity, improper diet, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and high LDL cholesterol levels.
When your cells begin to malfunction and die without being able to reproduce other cells, your tissues begin to age faster, which means organs begin to age faster, which leads to advanced and rapid aging in the body as a whole.
How is Inflammaging Diagnosed?
You will need a series of blood tests to determine whether you are experiencing inflammaging. Inflammaging is determined by the presence of inflammatory markers in a person’s blood.
Normally, your healthcare provider will order a blood panel that includes the following tests:
If your blood tests indicate inflammation and your doctor has ruled out other possible causes, the diagnosis may be inflammaging.
How Does Inflammaging Affect the Aging Process?
Inflammaging is a dangerous condition because of the amount of cellular stress it places on the cells of your body. Your cells are not meant to withstand constant inflammation. A cell that is chronically inflamed is essentially “putting out fires” instead of operating the way it should.
This level of cellular stress causes the process of cellular aging to move at warp speed. The end result is a body that is continually aging faster, losing energy, stamina, and ability more quickly than it would if the cells were not experiencing such a high level of stress.
How Can You Avoid Inflammaging?
There are certain genetic markers that may make you more susceptible to inflammaging. However, developing this condition is largely a result of a cluster of conditions that are treatable and preventable. Here’s how you can avoid these conditions, and inflammaging.
Maintain a Healthy Weight. Obesity is defined as someone with a body mass index (“BMI”) of over 30. Especially dangerous is an individual with a 30+ BMI with excess fat around their midsection. This places a person at a much higher risk of weight-related, and age-related illness. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial in preserving your overall health, and avoiding inflammaging.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels In Check. Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin which helps move glucose in your blood to your cells to be used as energy. When your body becomes unable to use the insulin your pancreas makes, or if your pancreas cannot make enough to keep up, you can become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance and diabetes are two health markers that make a person more susceptible to inflammaging. As such, it’s important to make sure your blood sugar levels are normal.
Lower Your Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is a condition in which the pressure of the blood against the walls of your veins is too high. When this condition becomes chronic, a person is said to have high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke, and also increases your risk of developing inflammaging.
Get Your Cholesterol In Check. High cholesterol can put you at greater risk for heart attack and stroke. You won’t know you have high cholesterol unless you have a blood test to determine your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. If your cholesterol levels are high, take steps to lower them.
Take a Cellular Health Supplement. Your overall health starts at the cellular level, so it makes sense to begin supplementing your health on the cellular level, too. You can give your cells the support they need to function properly and avoid inflammaging by using pentadecanoic acid, i.e. “C15:0.”
How C15:0 Helps
C15:0 (aka pentadecanoic acid) is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that a growing body of evidence suggests is the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in almost a century. Essential fatty acids are nutrients our body needs to function properly but cannot make on their own.
C15:0 supports your cellular health by essentially deep-diving into your cells and fortifying them, so they are no longer fragile and susceptible to age-related illness, like inflammaging.
Here are just a few key characteristics:
Sounds like pretty good protection against inflammaging, doesn’t it? If you’d like to learn more about how C15:0 can help give your cells a fighting chance as they age, we’d love to have that conversation.
Aging is inevitable, but inflammaging isn’t. You can age on your own terms, and along with healthy lifestyle choices, a cellular support supplement with C15:0 can help you do it.
Authored by : Eric Venn-Watson, MD
Much of what we see on our skin is a direct reflection of our internal health, so tackling the root cause of the issue is the best course of action.
A good example of internal problems causing external skin issues is the skin condition known as acanthosis nigricans. This condition causes thickening and discoloration of the skin and is brought on by an elevated insulin level in the patient. This is usually referred to as insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome.
In order to remedy the skin, the insulin resistance needs to be treated. While most remedies for skin inflammation and irritation focus on an external treatment, like creams or lotions, we’ll look at ways you can prevent skin inflammation from the inside out.
What is Skin Inflammation?
Skin inflammation is an immune response. Inflammation is essentially a collection of white blood cells that are attempting to heal something that is reacting negatively with your body. Skin inflammation can be mild to severe and can be caused by numerous external and/or internal triggers.
A classic example of skin inflammation is acne. Acne has many causes, but the end result is pustules of inflammation on the skin. Many times, the root cause of acne isn’t products or bacteria on the skin, but a response deep within the skin cells to something imbalance inside the body.
Examples of Skin Inflammation
Skin inflammation doesn’t necessarily mean acne or blisters, although those can be symptoms of skin inflammation. Sometimes, skin inflammation will present with less severe symptoms.
Examples of skin inflammation include:
Causes of Skin Inflammation
There are many causes of skin inflammation. Some external factors that could cause inflammation are:
Because we know that many skin conditions are caused by internal factors, it’s important to look at what some of those causes are.
How To Prevent Skin Inflammation
You can’t always avoid skin inflammation, but there are many types of skin inflammation that can, indeed, be prevented. Here are some tips on how to avoid it, and how to help soothe inflamed skin if you’ve got it.
Avoid the Sun
The sun can aggravate inflamed skin, and it can cause inflammation on its own, especially if you don’t use sunblock. When your skin is exposed to the sun, the UV light damages it, and elicits an immune response from your skin cells in the form of a suntan. If you continue to stay in the sun, the skin will eventually burn.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Your skin is affected by your diet, so it’s important that you eat well and avoid foods that trigger inflammation. Known inflammation offenders include added sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans-fats, red meat, and margarine. If you want to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, you should eat foods like tomatoes, green vegetables, nuts, omega-3 rich fish, olive oil, and nuts and seeds.
You can also consider adding pentadecanoic acid (aka C15:0) to your diet.
What is Pentadecanoic Acid (aka C15:0) and How it Helps Your Skin
If you’ve never heard of pentadecanoic acid (also called C15:0), it isn’t surprising. It’s a saturated fatty acid, and since we’ve spent the last few decades avoiding fat because of dietary guidelines that told us to avoid it, it wasn’t very well known. Turns out, not all fat is bad, and that includes some saturated fats.
What is C15:0?
C15:0 is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that a growing body of research shows may be the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in 90 years. “Essential” means our body must have it to function properly but can’t make it on its own.
C15:0 is crucial in helping keep us healthy on a cellular level. The inflammation responses we see on our skin happens in our skin’s cells. Supporting our overall cellular health and immunity is the first step (and in some cases the only step) in reducing and/or eliminating skin irritation.
How Does C15:0 Work?
As we age, our cells age right along with us. As for our cell’s immunity, it becomes unbalanced as cell function declines. Our cells become fragile, and lose some of their function. They become less able to communicate with other cells. Our cells become less able to properly manage nutrients which can affect conditions like weight, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol.
C15:0 can help. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that digs into our cells, strengthens cell membranes and fortifies cellular health. When the cell wall is strengthened, the cell doesn’t damage and age as rapidly. With less damage and aging, your cells function better, and for longer:
In short, C15:0 gives your cells a fighting chance.
How To Get More C15:0 in Your Diet
Getting more C15:0 in your diet isn’t as easy as you may think. It’s mostly found in whole fat dairy products, as well as some fish. However, it’s found in relatively small amounts. You can also get your full daily amount of essential C15:0 from vegan-friendly dietary supplements, which can be safe, well-tolerated, and a good way to support your overall health on a cellular level so you can avoid skin inflammation and help soothe it when it occurs.
Authored by: Eric Venn-Watson, MD
It’s no secret, there are parts of our overall health that are on the decline. In America (and many other countries in the world), we’re plagued with health issues that are directly related to poor diet and lack of exercise.
Our bad health habits are taking a toll on us, too. The statistics are in, and it turns out most of us aren’t getting nearly the amount of recommended daily exercise we should be. We’re also exceeding the limits of daily caloric intake.
What does it all mean? For many, it means the onset of health problems related to blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight gain. Together, they are referred to as metabolic syndrome.
If you’ve been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, or one of the conditions that causes it, your healthcare provider may have asked you to begin the metabolic syndrome diet. We’ll talk about what metabolic syndrome is, how a certain diet helps you manage it, and what you should and shouldn’t eat.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome isn’t a disease in itself. It’s actually a group of conditions that, when they occur together, put a person at higher risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.
Metabolic syndrome, therefore, is really a condition where a person is in a high risk zone.
Here are the hallmark health conditions that put you in the metabolic syndrome “danger zone":
What is the Metabolic Syndrome Diet?
If you’ve been diagnosed with any of the markers above, you’re at risk of developing metabolic syndrome because of the way these conditions interrelate. As such, you may want to try subscribing to a diet and exercise plan to prevent further development of symptoms.
The metabolic syndrome diet eliminates certain foods that trigger the conditions of metabolic syndrome and include foods that help you avoid them.
While anyone can benefit from eating a diet composed of more whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, people who have underlying conditions which could lead to metabolic syndrome (like the ones referenced above) can find it most beneficial.
Here are five foods to avoid, and four nutrients to start looking for right now.
Foods to Avoid
Certain foods can trigger the health conditions that cause metabolic syndrome, and they’re part of the average American’s everyday diet.
Nutrients to Eat
Thankfully, there are a lot of nutrients that you can eat that are not only delicious, but also help you drive down the markers for metabolic syndrome.
C15:0 helps protect you by diving deep into your cells to promote your cellular and general health. A growing body of research shows that this odd-chain fatty acid may be the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in 90 years. This means that we may need certain levels of C15:0 in our bodies to stay healthy, our bodies don’t make enough of it, so we must ingest adequate levels of C15:0 in our diet or supplements.
C15:0 helps protect your overall metabolic health by naturally binding to receptors throughout our bodies, called PPARs, that help to regulate our metabolism. C15:0 also helps to restore impaired mitochondrial function, supports your cells’ resilience and functionality, and helps to restore communication between your cells.
When your cells function properly, your body functions properly. Studies have shown that people with higher C15:0 levels in their bodies have a lower risk of having or developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and many other conditions.
Where Can You Get C15:0?
You can get C15:0 in trace amounts in full fat dairy products and some fish. However, you can also get a full, daily dose of C15:0 in a once daily supplement that is easy to take, completely tasteless, and confined to one convenient capsule.
You don’t have to become a part of the declining health statistics. Giving your body a fighting chance with exercise and a proper diet, including C15:0.
Authored by: Eric Venn-Watson, MD
No one likes getting “the conversation” from their healthcare provider, but if you aren’t managing your diet and exercise very well, chances are, it’s going to happen.
Hearing your doc say you should trim a little off your waistline or exercise more may seem like a non-threatening suggestion you can easily brush off. However, if you don’t heed your doctor’s orders, you could put yourself at risk for a condition known as insulin resistance.
You can make dietary and lifestyle changes to help prevent becoming insulin resistant in the first place and reverse its effects if you’ve already been diagnosed.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone that your body naturally makes. Insulin is what regulates the glucose, or sugar, in your blood. Insulin is produced by your pancreas. After you eat a meal, glucose enters your bloodstream from carbohydrates that have been broken down. Insulin is what helps glucose get to your body’s cells to give you energy.
If there is extra glucose in your blood after you eat, it gets stored in your liver. When your insulin levels dip a few hours after your meal, your liver releases the glucose back into your bloodstream to be used as energy.
In a person who is healthy, this is how the process works and keeps you energized.
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance is a condition in which a person’s body has built up a tolerance to insulin, making it much less effective.
People with insulin resistance syndrome, also known as metabolic syndrome, require more insulin to deliver glucose from the blood to fat and muscle cells to be used as energy. They also need more insulin to persuade the liver to store excess glucose.
While insulin resistance doesn’t mean a person has type 2 diabetes or even prediabetes, it is characteristic of people who develop these conditions.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
“I feel fine,” you may say to yourself, but insulin resistance often comes with no feelings of sickness or general malaise. Only having a fasting glucose blood test can show whether you have risk factors for insulin resistance, or even prediabetes. As such, it’s incredibly important to get regular check-ups with your healthcare provider.
The hallmarks of insulin resistance syndrome include the following:
You may have some or all of the above if you are insulin resistant.
Risk Factors for Developing Insulin Resistance
Your lifestyle, diet, and exercise routines play a major role in keeping you healthy and reducing your risk for developing insulin resistance. Simply taking better care of yourself can drastically reduce your likelihood of developing insulin resistance.
People with some or all of the following factors have a higher risk of developing insulin resistance.
4 Tricks To Reverse Insulin Resistance
Thankfully, by making some lifestyle changes and adjusting your diet and supplement intake, you can begin to reverse your insulin resistance, or prevent yourself from becoming insulin resistant.
Here are 4 tricks you can start today to reverse your insulin resistance.
Eating better isn’t just about losing weight. Your body needs certain nutrients and vitamins to work properly. Many of the prepackaged, processed foods we eat are void of nutrients and have instead been filled with trans-fats, refined carbohydrates, and added sugar.
Eating a diet richer in complex carbohydrates (whole grains, brown rice) and seeking out plant-based foods, fresh fruits, and vegetables is a great way to improve your diet, increase your overall health, and even help keep you fuller longer.
Exercise is a crucial part of reversing insulin resistance. Moving for just 30 minutes per day can dramatically improve your overall health. In fact, even low impact exercise, like walking, has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Your weight matters in terms of your overall health. If you carry excess weight, especially around your waistline, you’re at a much higher risk of developing insulin resistance. By maintaining a healthier diet and exercising, you can also begin to shed extra pounds.
Increase Your Intake of Pentadecanoic Acid (aka C15:0)
Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that a growing body of research supports is as beneficial in maintaining healthy metabolism.
Afraid you should avoid it because it’s a “saturated” fat? We understand, but science says not all saturated fats are bad. While even-chain saturated fatty acids are linked to negative health markers, odd-chain saturated fatty acids like C15:0 have been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and insulin resistance syndrome (also called metabolic syndrome).
C15:0 naturally binds to receptors in your body, called PPARs, that orchestrate your metabolism and immunity. By doing so, C15:0 promotes your overall metabolic health, which can help you maintain healthy blood glucose levels, more balanced cholesterol, and better liver function. Studies have shown that daily supplementation with C15:0 can lower glucose and cholesterol in relevant models of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance syndrome.
C15:0 also works by supporting your metabolic health on the cellular level. In addition to activating your metabolism-regulating receptors, this fatty acid helps improve your cell’s mitochondrial function, which equates to more overall energy. It also bolsters your cells’ resilience and functionality. As you age, your cells become more fragile and easily damaged. C15:0 gives them support.
What Foods Contain C15:0?
Our primary source of C15:0 is whole dairy products like full fat milk and butter. It is estimated that we need between 100 to 300 mg of C15:0 a day. Because many of us have moved away from whole fat dairy products, you may not have much in your diet. As an alternative to milk fat, people can also get their daily C15:0 from once daily vegan supplements.
In summary, activities that may help to reverse or prevent insulin resistance, including a healthier diet, 30 minutes of exercise a day, and eating foods or supplements with C15:0 can also improve your general health. Let’s get back to healthy.
STEPHANIE VENN-WATSON, dvm, mph
Dr. Stephanie Venn-Watson is a veterinary epidemiologist dedicated to improving both human and animal health. Before co-founding Seraphina Therapeutics and Epitracker, Inc,. she worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense. Dr. Venn-Watson has over 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications and is an inventor on 40+ patents. Her dedication to discovering natural compounds to improve global health has been featured in/on Forbes, NPR Science Friday, PBS, National Geographic, BBC, and more.
ERIC VENN-WATSON, MD
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson is a physician, US Navy veteran and serial entrepreneur. Prior to Seraphina Therapeutics, Eric founded multiple companies in therapeutics discovery, healthcare analytics, and medical device industries as well as working in leadership roles in several life science companies.