▷ Benefits of Butyric Acid (2018 Update)
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Benefits of Butyric Acid

The Health Benefits of Butyric Acid

When most of us think about supplements, we tend to think about the big ones that physically interact with the body’s internal cells to improve health.

A fine example of this would be vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, all of which play integral roles in numerous physiological interactions throughout the human body. With this in mind, supplementing with these compounds can increase their availability within the body, and subsequently improve health and function as a result.

Interestingly, there has been a host of recent research looking into key supplements that can improve the state of your digestive system.

This is based upon recent findings that have shown that the health of your digestive system (and the state of the bacteria that it contains) can impact all other facets of health, including metabolic, cardiovascular, and even mental. As a result, supplements that improve the state of the digestive system can have wide reaching effects throughout the entire body.

And one such supplement that has garnered a heap of attention in both the scientific literature and the general health community is Butyric Acid.

What Is Butyric Acid?

Butyric Acid (also known as butanoic acid, butyrate, and BCA) is a specific type of saturated fat known as a short chain fatty acid.

Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are a type of fatty acid that is structurally less than six carbon atoms long. These compounds are incredibly unique, as while they can be broken down and metabolised for energy like normal fatty acids, they also serve a number of other functions within the human body.

Within this, they are the primary source of fuel for the cells within the colon, have been linked heavily to metabolic health and weight management, and have shown very strong associations with general digestive health.

Something that is quite interesting about butyric acid specifically (as a type of short chain fatty acid) is that while it can be obtained through the food you eat, it is also created by the good bacteria found within the gastrointestinal tract.  You see, these good bacteria ferment certain types of fiber and carbohydrates, creating the nutrients that they use for energy – and as a by-product of this fermentation process, they also produce butyric acid.

And it is because of this link with your good gut bacteria that the supplementation of butyric acid has been suggested to have such a large impact on digestive health.

Benefits of Butyric Acid

With the various interaction that butyric acid has been shown to have within the human body, it should come as no surprise that it has been suggested to impact numerous aspects of health in a very positive manner.

Taking this into consideration, in this article we wanted to take an objective look at the research to determine where butyric acid is best used, and where it isn’t.

Does Butyric Acid Aid Digestion and Gut Health?

As previously mentioned, butyric acid is the primary fuel source for the cells of the colon. In conjunction with this, it has also been shown to exhibit a positive effect on the various digestive bacteria that colonise the entire gastrointestinal tract.

Both the cells of the colon and those digestive bacteria that are found within the gut help breakdown complex food molecules so that they can be absorbed into the body more easily, while also excreting various chemicals and enzymes that exhibit an anti-inflammatory effect throughout the entire digestive tract.

As a result, the supplementation of butyric acid has been shown to cause large improvements in global gut health, thus creating an environment that is more beneficial for food digestion and absorption, while also reducing the harmful effects of inflammation [1].

Does Butyric Acid Provide Relief to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common digestive disorders known to man – and with symptoms that include bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, excessive flatulence, nausea, and extreme abdominal discomfort, it is also one of the most annoying.

Taking this into consideration, by improving the body’s ability to breakdown and digest food, while also reducing harmful digestive inflammation, butyric acid has been shown to improve the health of the gut lining. 

Through this interaction, its supplementation has been shown to have an extremely positive effect on those individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, causing significant reductions in pain, flatulence, and uncontrollable defecation [2].

Does Butyric Acid Help Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut describes a disease in which the lining of the gut becomes porous, allowing undigested food molecules and harmful microorganisms into the body completely unchecked. This can cause a host of issues throughout the entire body, while also placing undue stress on the immune system that contributes to a large decline in health and function.

While leaky gut is thought to occur in response to a number of distinct factors, an inability to digest large food molecules, combined with having a bad bacterial profile within the gut, are suggested to be two key contributors to its onset.

With this in mind, by improving both of these factors, butyric acid supplementation has been suggested to assist in the treatment of a leaky gut, although the current research is limited to animals at this stage in time [3].

Adding to this further, it is important to note that its action will not completely heal a leaky gut, and a change of diet is likely to be required to eliminate certain foods that are causing any additional gut irritation.

Does Butyric Acid Help Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative Colitis is a specific type of inflammatory bowel disease that occurs when the lining of both the large intestine and the colon become inflamed. This inflammation results in tiny sores (aptly named ulcers) developing on the lining of the colon. Not only are these ulcers incredibly painful, but they can also result in bleeding and pus like discharge, which is not pleasant.

There has been some lab-based evidence to suggest that butyric acid does have the potential to improve upon the state of the digestive bacteria and reduce digestive inflammation, thus improving the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis [4], but more human research is needed before this can be said with any real certainty.

Is Butyric Acid A Treatment For Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is another type of inflammatory disease that generally occurs within the small intestine and the colon. This gastrointestinal inflammation can result in diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, digestive bleeding, fever, fatigue, and excessive weight loss.

Although butyric acid has been suggested to reduce the harmful (and painful) inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease, there is currently no research to suggest that this is indeed the case.

Is Butyric Acid an Anti-Inflammatory?

Chronic and systemic inflammation is thought to be one of biggest drivers for declines in health, in conjunction with a significantly increased risk of disease and illness, in which it can place an excessive load on both the immune system and the body’s cells.

Interestingly, once absorbed into the body, butyric acid has been shown to reduce the secretion of key inflammatory cytokines, causing a subsequent reduction in systemic inflammation [5]. This is likely to have a positive impact on health and function, while also reducing the stress placed on the immune system (which can further reduce your risk of disease and illness).

Is Butyric Acid A Potential Colorectal Cancer Treatment?

As butyric acid has been shown to improve the health of the specific cells found within the colon, it has been hypothesised to reduce the risk of them becoming cancerous and multiplying uncontrollably.

With this is mind, there is some evidence to suggest that the supplementation of butyric may assist in the treatment of colorectal cancer (in conjunction with traditional treatment methods), by ensuring the health of the colon cells are maintained [6].

Does Butyric Acid Assist Weight Loss?

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that those individuals who classify as either overweight or obese have significantly altered gut bacteria profiles when compared to those who fall within healthy weight ranges. 

With this has come research demonstrating that, by causing improvements in the state of the digestive system though butyric acid supplementation, you can limit weight gain in times of high energy intakes, and even promote weight loss [7]. It is important to note that the research demonstrating these effects has only been performed on mice, and more human research is needed.

Does Butyric Acid Help Combat Insulin Resistance?

Combined with its effect on weight management, in animal research the supplementation of butyric acid has also been shown to cause large improvements in both insulin resistance and resting levels of blood sugar [7].

As each of these are known to contribute to the onset of type II diabetes in a big way, this does suggest that butyric acid may offer an excellent addition to tradition diabetes treatment options – although more human based research is needed before this recommendation can be made in full.

Does Butyric Acid Help Candida?

Candida is a common type of yeast infection that can affect the mouth, intestinal tract, and vagina. Candida itself is a type of fungus that actually assists with nutrient absorption within the gut, but unfortunately, when it begins to overproduce it can break down the walls of the intestine and penetrate the bloodstream, leading to illness and digestive dysfunction (among a host of other issues).

By improving the health and state the cells and bacteria of the digestive system, butyric acid has been suggested to enhance their ability to fight off the infection of candida, and as such may offer an excellent addition to traditional candida treatments [8] – although as all the research demonstrating this has been performed within a lab setting, we would like to see some more human trials before this can be said with certainty.

Best Butyric Acid Supplement Product Reviews

Given the wide-reaching effects of butyric acid supplementation on health, we wanted to give you some quality options that you can integrate into your life effectively and immediately. Each of these are excellent options in their own right and provide what we believe to be the best three butyric acid supplements available on the market at the moment.

BodyBio Sodium Butyrate 600mg Butyric Acid

BodyBio have been consistently producing top quality supplements for a very long time, and as you can imagine, their butyric acid supplement is no different.

BodyBio - Sodium Butyrate, Short Chain Fatty Acid, 600mg, 100 Vegetarian Capsules

Providing you with a potent dose of 600mg butyric acid per serve, this is a great option that provides you with everything you need to enhance health and function quickly and efficiently. 

T.E Neesby Butyrex Butyric Acid Supplement (By Jigsaw Health)

Jigsaw Health have developed an extremely good reputation by producing good quality and affordable supplements that have scientific evidence to support their use – and their butyric acid supplement is a perfect example of this.

T.E. Neesby Butyrex (Butyric Acid, Butyrate) A Calcium Magnesium Butyrate Complex 600mg 250 capsules

Providing you with 600mg of butyric acid per capsule, and a whopping 250 capsules per container, this is arguably one of the most cost-effective options on the market. This is ideal for those looking to boost health on a budget.

Tesseract ProButyrate Butyric Acid Supplement

When it comes to improving digestive health and immune system function, Tesseract are often considered the gold standard. Using the best quality ingredients available, provided in scientifically supported dosages, they produce some of the most effective products in existence.

Tesseract Medical Research ProButyrate, 120 Capsules (1ct), Pure Butyric Acid Supplement Formulated for High Bio-Availability and Efficient Absorption, Supports GI Health and Microbiome Health

With this in mind, their butyric acid supplement has been shown to be highly effective and very potent – it truly is a great option.

It is important to note that while this is one of the more expensive supplements on the market, you are paying for quality.

Does Butyric Acid Have any Side Effects?

There has been an abundance of human research performed using butyric acid, and all in all it has been shown to be one very safe supplement, with no side effects being reported in any of the research studies.

This is likely because most of its interactions occur within the digestive system, rather than within the body – meaning it is very unlikely to become toxic, even when consumed in large doses.

With this in mind, there has also been suggestion that consuming butyric acid in capsule form can result in thinning of the blood and some gastrointestinal distress – neither of which are true in any capacity.

It is also important to note that while these supplements are likely to be well tolerated in both animals and pregnant women, there is limited research within these populations. As a result, we strongly recommend you avoid consumption if you happen to be pregnant, or avoid giving them to your pets, as we can't be sure that there won't be any negative side effects (it is always better to be safe then to be sorry).

Conclusion

Butyric acid is one of newer supplements to really make a splash within the health industry of late, where it is built around the premise that by enhancing digestive health it can improve health and function in a more global sense – something that has been supported strongly within the literature.

With this is mind, the supplementation of butyric acid has been shown to cause large improvement in digestive health, reduce the signs and symptoms of inflammatory digestive diseases, promote weight loss, reduce insulin resistance, and even reduce whole body inflammation.

The three supplements listed in this article are what we believe to be the best available at the moment – and as always, if you have had any experience using butyric acid then we would love to hear about it, so drop us a comment and we will get back to you ASAP!

References

About the author

Sabrina Wilson

Sabrina Wilson is an author and homemaker who is passionate about a holistic approach to health. When she is not writing she can be found tooling around in her garden with the help of her appropriately named dog Digby, bicycling in the park, and occasionally rock climbing…badly. Sabrina is a staff writer for the Organic Daily Post.

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