Butyric acid is a vital fatty acid produced when the good bacteria in the gut break down dietary fibre. It is naturally found in animal fats and vegetable oils, however, the quantity of butyric acid found in food sources is less compared to the amount produced in the gut.
What is Butyric Acid?
Butyric acid is known as a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), which is one among the three most common SCFA’s in the gut, along with acetic acid and propionic acid. These saturated fatty acids comprise about 90-95 % of the SCFAs in the gut that is produced when gut-friendly bacteria break down dietary fibre. Butyric acid is well-known to support digestive health, reduce inflammation and lowers the risk of diseases and promote overall health. It holds a significant role in providing colon cells with the needed energy to carry out its normal functions and also regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It goes by other names such as butyrate and butanoic acid.
Incredible Health Benefits Of Butyric Acids
Butyric acid serves as a chief source of energy for colon cells, which make up the lining of the intestine. While most of the body cells utilise glucose as the main source of energy, the colon cells lining gut chiefly use butyrate, without butyrate these cells are unable to perform normal functions. The short-chain fatty acids offer an oxygen-free environment that supports the growth of gut microbes that controls inflammation and maintain gut cells healthy.
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Potent Antioxidant Effects
Butyrate guards the cells against detrimental substances to keep gut healthy and disease-free. A colon is a storage place of the waster products. Higher levels of butyrate have shown to increase levels of glutathione, an antioxidants made in the system which neutralises free radicals in the gut. This improves the barrier function of the colonocytes and lowers the risk of bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Regular intake of high fibre diet increases the amount of butyric acid produced in the gut which is well-known to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Studies have proven that butyric acid is a potential to prevent and treat colon cancer by blocking the growth of colorectal tumour cells. Moreover, it also leads to apoptosis that stops the growth of cancer cells completely.
Studies show that butyrate stimulates the secretion of gut hormones such as glucagon –like-peptide -1(GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY).GLP-1 hormones increase insulin secretion and lower the production of glucagon in the pancreas. While the PYY hormones promote the uptake of glucose in muscles and fatty tissue. Thus the presence of butyric acid increases the secretion of gut hormones that regulate type 2 diabetes and control weight
Boosts Brain Health
Butyric acid plays a key role in promoting neuroprotective effects that trigger brain and nervous system function. Butyrate targets several pathways linked with the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s stroke and autism. A diet abundant in butyric acid is an effective way to improve disease outcomes and uplift overall health.
Food Sources Rich In Butyric Acid
Generally, most of the butyric acid in the body is made from the gut bacteria. While some amount of butyric acid is also found naturally in food sources which include:
Butter is one of the richest sources of butyric acid. It is also available in the form of dietary supplement as sodium butyrate. However, increasing the intake of dietary fibre can also help to boost butyric acid level in the gut. The gut bacteria chiefly feed on resistant starches which the body can’t break down. Some of the good sources of resistant starches, pectin found in many fruits and inulin.
Also Read: Dietary Fibre And Its Role In Preventing Chronic Diseases