Butyric acid is a fatty acid created when the beneficial bacteria in your gut break down dietary fiber. It also exists in small amounts in some foods like vegetable oils and animal fats. Butyric acid has numerous benefits to gut health and can play a role in repairing the gut lining. In this article, we will explore butyric acid benefits in depth.
What Is Butyric Acid?
When the beneficial bacteria in your gut break down dietary fiber, they produce a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid, also known as butyrate and butanoic acid. This fatty acid is also present in some foods, like animal fats and vegetable oils.
Short-chain fatty acids are fatty acids that come from when beneficial bacteria break down dietary fiber, and butyric acid is one of the three most common short-chain fatty acids in the gut. The two most common short-chain fatty acids are propionic acid and acetic acid. Together these three fatty acids compose up to 95% of the short-chain fatty acids in your gut.
Short-chain fatty acids like butyric acid provide colon cells with energy. Short-chain fatty acids also modulate the tissue metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. As a result, short-chain fatty acids can improve gut health, from maintaining intestinal barrier integrity and mucus production to protecting against inflammation and preventing digestive disorders and diseases.
While gut bacteria produce butyric acid, many people have disrupted gut microbiomes that can limit butyric acid production. Butyric acid is in foods in small amounts; however, the amounts are not significant enough to provide many benefits. Because of this, butyric acid supplements can be a great support to restoring gut health in numerous ways.
What Are the Benefits of Butyric Acid?
There are many butyric acid benefits. Some of the top butyric acid uses include:
Butyric Acid May Repair the Gut Lining
Your gut lining is a single-cell thick wall that allows nutrients to pass through your bloodstream while keeping toxins out. However, poor diet, gut inflammation, Candida overgrowth, and imbalances in the gut microbiome can create tiny holes in the gut lining. When this happens, toxins and undigested food particles pass through your blood. This condition is known as intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome.
When someone has leaky gut syndrome, toxins leaking into the bloodstream get distributed throughout the body. As a result, they can impact the health of major organs and tissues. The body recognizes the food particles that pass through as pathogens to the immune system. The immune system then creates antibodies that attack these food particles whenever they enter the body. This immune response leads to food allergies and sensitivities that you never had before. In fact, according to research by Harvard Medical School, leaky gut is at the root of numerous health conditions.
Butyric Acid is a powerful compound that fights leaky gut by helping to repair the gut lining. It produces short-chain fatty acids that restore damaged intestinal tissue.
Butyric acid also acts on the fungal stage of candida, destroying the root-like structures that penetrate the gut lining and contribute to a leaky gut.
A leaky gut can contribute to numerous health conditions, such as:
- Chronic diarrhea, constipation, or bloating
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Brain fog and confusion
- Difficulty concentrating
- Skin problems, such as acne, rashes, or eczema
- Joint pain
- Widespread inflammation
- Chronic liver disease
- Food allergies and sensitivities
- Polycystic ovary syndrome and much more.
Butyric acid can play a crucial role in healing leaky gut when used as part of a more comprehensive GI protocol.
Butyric Acid May Lower Gut Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural process of the body and is a significant function of your immune system. When your body is injured or at risk of infection from toxins or pathogens, your body has a localized inflammatory response that plays a critical role in healing.
Short-term inflammation is beneficial; however, if inflammation persists over time, it can become chronic and detrimental to your health. For example, chronic inflammation in the gut can disrupt digestive health and be harmful to the gut lining. Chronic gut inflammation is a major contributing factor to the leaky gut syndrome.
Not only can butyric acid help heal leaky gut and repair the gut lining, but it can also lower the inflammation that is a major cause of leaky gut syndrome. Of course, it is essential to focus on removing things from your diet and lifestyle that may contribute to a leaky gut in the first place. Still, butyric acid may play a beneficial role in keeping gut inflammation levels low and supporting gut healing.
Butyric Acid May Help Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s disease
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that affects the large intestine. People with irritable bowel syndrome may suffer from cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, or both.
Chron’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract. It can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and anemia.
Butyric Acid May Help Eliminate Candida Infections
Candida is a type of yeast that naturally lives in your body in small amounts. Typically, the good bacteria in your gut and your immune system keep Candida levels under control. However, when the balance of good bacteria to yeast is not balanced, candida can grow out of control and lead to a Candida infection.
Candida yeast is single-celled fungi. When candida can grow beyond normal levels, they take on a pathogenic fungal form that travels up the intestinal wall. This form of candida can penetrate the gut lining, leading to leaky gut syndrome.
Butyric acid helps preserve the strength and integrity of the gut lining and may contain antifungal properties that can kill the fungal stage of candida. Supplementing with butyric acid may play a beneficial role in treating Candida infections and restoring damage to the gut lining caused by candida.
Butyric Acid May Support Liver Health
Some research has also shown that butyric acid may influence inflammatory markers in the liver. However, the underlying mechanism of butyric acid’s effect on liver health is still uncertain.
What Foods Contain Butyric Acid?
While butyric acid is primarily produced in the gut by beneficial bacteria, certain foods contain butyric acid. Some of the top butyric acid foods include:
- Cow milk
- Goat milk
- Red meat
- Vegetable oils
- Parmesan cheese
Ghee and butter are the best butyric acid-rich foods as they are particularly high in short-chain fatty acids. There are small amounts of butyric acid in chocolate, but only in milk chocolate, as the butyric acid exists in the milk fats. There is no butyric acid in the chocolate itself.
In the gut, butyric acid is produced by beneficial bacteria when they break down dietary fiber. Therefore, including more dietary fiber in your diet may improve butyric acid production. In addition, supplementing with high-quality probiotics may also increase the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Prebiotic foods contain resistant starches that your body can’t break down but relies on bacteria to break down. Foods that are high in resistant starches are the best foods to consume for increasing natural butyric acid production. Some of the best prebiotic foods include:
- oat bran
Arabinogalactan is another highly beneficial prebiotic that comes from the larch tree and can help to increase natural butyric acid production.
While there are some butyric acid foods, supplementing with butyric acid can provide more amounts of butyric acid than those found in food, allowing you to receive more of the benefits of this beneficial fatty acid.
Are There Side Effects of Taking Butyric Acid?
There is no research suggesting any side effects to supplementing with butyric acid or eating butyric acid foods. However, avoid supplementing with butyric acid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Always consult a licensed doctor before taking dietary supplements, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.