Butyric acid is what’s known as a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA). There are 2 main SCFAs in your gut – there other two are acetic acid and propionic acid adn they make up about 95 percent of the SCFAs in your gut. SCFAs are saturated fatty acids and they are created when friendly bacteria break down dietary fiber and they provide your colon cells with energy. Butyric acid provides your colon cells with about 70 percent of their energy needs. As well as it’s role in reinforcing the action of the gastrointestinal epithelial defence barrier, butyrate has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties through inhibiting the action of an important immune regulator called NF-??, which is responsible for initiating the production of inflammatory cytokines. It is reported that butyrate metabolism has been found to be faulty in conditions such as Inflammatory bowel disease, suggesting that without a sufficient amount of butyrate, inflammation may be unregulated in the intestines.
This study looks at the effects of butyrate on the epithelial defence barrier, the purpose of which is to separate bacteria and toxic waste from entering the blood stream. One of the main defence mechanisms of this barrier is the layer of mucus that covers the surface of the cells. The role of this mucus layer is to decrease the interaction of gut microbes with other cells and prevent inflammatory responses. Butyrate has been shown to stimulate mucin production which is the primary ingredient in mucus.
The study concludes that there is a significant amount of evidence to show that butyrate has many positive effects on, not only our gut health, but our health in a more general sense. It has been suggested to have a number of clinical applications in the treatment of several disorders, however more research is needed in this area to assess the long term benefits of butyrate on health and the effects it may have on disease.
From the conclusion of this study, we recommend incorporating more whole grain flour into sourdough bakes as it should no longer be seen as a luxury ingredient. Bread is a major staple of our diets so why not increase the health benefits that it provides us with by using whole grain, which is affordable to all.
CANANI, R.B., COSTANZO, M.D., LEONE, L., PEDATA, M., MELI, R. and CALIGNANO, A., 2011. Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG, 17(12), pp. 1519-1528.
To find out more about Butyrate and it’s effect on health see: