- We cannot make enough butyrate because we eat too few resistant starches
- Butyrate is a necessary component to a balanced microbiome, also working as an inflammation guard*. One of several, short-chain fatty acids created from fermented resistant starches, low butyrate levels have been associated with serious health concerns.
- Butyrate not only nourishes the gut but also promotes cell differentiation, helps to regulate blood sugar, and promotes healthy DNA*.
The Myriad Benefits of Butyrate
Prevention of Colonic Diseases
Of the short-chain fatty acids, and those having fewer than six carbon atoms, butyrate is the one that nourishes the gut and promotes cell differentiation, a process that helps to prevent serious colonic diseases.* Because of its protective nature, butyrate is a most desirable molecule and is to be cultivated as a friend or, at least, introduced as a partner.
Reduced Inflammatory Diseases
The fiery process of inflammation is linked to most chronic disorders, from heart attack to stroke to type 2 diabetes. Inflammation fuels a cytokine known as interleukin-6 (IL-6), which remains elevated in chronic sickness. Butyrate is a rescue molecule in inflammatory diseases, wherein it impairs the oxidative processes that initiate their genesis*.
Multi-purpose Repair from Gut to Brain
Butyrate inhibits enzymes that deleteriously unwind DNA, just like the kinked-up Slinky we ruined as kids. Butyrate sequesters harmful ammonia that forms from faulty protein metabolism and/or from inborn metabolic errors. In clearing mental fog, it increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor*. Depending on its concentration, butyrate decreases intestinal permeability, closing tight junctions and preventing leaky gut*.
Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that is a potent detoxifier of ammonia and neurotoxins. It encourages the formation of friendly bacteria in the gut.
What Causes Low Butyrate?
At this point, you may be wondering if you’re deficient in Butyrate, or how you would know if you may be? Again, we took this question to our resident expert, Dr. Tom, who let us know that the only way to truly know is by taking a stool test. But, he also stated that if you’re not getting adequate fiber from starchy foods in your diet, chances are good you could use some extra butyrate. As we know, the SAD (Standard American Diet) is full of processed foods that are devoid of fiber and 25-28 grams we need per day are generally lacking in many diets.
Symptoms of Low Butyrate Levels
Another way to determine if you may be deficient in butyrate is to consider common symptoms of those who are. These symptoms take time to develop and can include:
- Leaky gut
- Foggy thinking from faulty protein metabolism and consequent ammonia accumulation
- Chronic diarrhea
- Eventual IBS/IBD
- Crohn’s disease
- Behavioral irregularities
- Aberrant fatty acid metabolism
- Upset microbiome balance
- Increases in inflammation markers
- Reduced insulin sensitivity
- Missteps in DNA replication
How to Increase Butyrate in the Colon?
Foods Containing Butyrate
It is possible to get butyrate from the foods you consume, but in looking at the average diet, there is generally not enough slowly-digesting fibers to produce the necessary levels with food alone. That’s because a lot of the foods highest in resistant starch are not particularly appetizing, think cold mashed potatoes and white rice.
Foods that do help boost butyrate include:
- Dairy (but the high serving sizes needed may not be recommended for all)
- Cold rolled oats (try soaking oats in non-dairy milk overnight!)
- Legumes (when cooled after cooking)
- Cooled potatoes and cooled white rice
- Underripe bananas and plantain flour
- Whole grains
- Fibrous vegetables like asparagus and broccoli stems, some fruit peels like apples
While many foods contain small amounts of butyrate producing resistant starch, it’s still quite hard to reach the adequate amount. For this reason, ample supplementation with a butyrate supplement is vital to overall well-being.
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Nagendra Singh, Muthusamy Thangaraju, Puttur D. Prasad, Pamela M. Martin, Nevin A. Lambert, Thomas Boettger, Stefan Offermanns_, and Vadivel Ganapathy. Blockade of Dendritic Cell Development by Bacterial Fermentation Products Butyrate and Propionate through a Transporter (Slc5a8)-dependent Inhibition of Histone Deacetylases. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Sept 2010. 285: 36 (27601-27609).http://www.jbc.org/content/285/36/27601.full.pdf
Ohira H, Fujioka Y, Katagiri C, Mamoto R, Aoyama-Ishikawa M, Amako K, Izumi Y, Nishiumi S, Yoshida M, Usami M, Ikeda M. Butyrate attenuates inflammation and lipolysis generated by the interaction of adipocytes and macrophages.
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