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.
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.