Role of Butyrate in maintaining our gut health

Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that provides fuel for cells of our gut lining, supports the immune system of the colon wall & protects against diseases associated with the digestive tract. It is produced by your gut bacteria & improves your digestive health. Butyrate makes sure that our existence & those of microbiome are symbiotic. Our gut bacteria digests plant fibres for us & converts them into organic compounds known as short chain fatty acids that play a pivotal role in our health & well being.

As shared in our earlier blog, microbiome is an ecosystem of bacteria, yeast & other microorganisms that live in your gut. It is involved in production, regulation & breakdown of smaller molecules that carries out various physiological functions in your body. Our gut bacteria produces fatty acids, vitamins & amino acids that help in building a healthy immune system to maintain our gut lining. One of the primary functions of our gut bacteria is to facilitate breakdown of dietary fibre that has travelled through the digestive tract since our body can’t. This process of fermentation yields a number of metabolites. These health stimulating molecules are a great source of energy & meet about 15% of daily calorie needs.

Butyrate provides 90% of fuel for cells that line the gut. Essentially Butyrate enables these cells to perform their functions effectively, thereby maintaining integrity of gut lining. Impaired or faulty butyrate metabolism can lead to inflammation in people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases.

This short chain fatty acid offers a lot of benefits at different levels including genetic level that helps to regulate functions of genes involved in immune response. Butyrate also functions as anti-cancer & anti-inflammatory functions by suppressing the activity of some immune cells. Besides, Butyrate also reduces the inflammatory capacity of the gut, thereby creating an environment that enables microbiome to exist in the human body by forcing an immune response.

Butyrate has an antioxidant that helps in maintaining a healthy gut. Besides, it has also been shown to help the large intestine absorb electrolytes that are required for various physiological processes & play a pivotal role in preventing different forms of diarrhoea. It also facilitates natural movement of gut that moves food through it & increase blood flow of large intestine.

Considering the benefits Butyrate offers, can we increase Butyrate’s production?

Members of the Firmicutes phylum are particularly known for their butyrate-producing capacities. Consuming foods high in prebiotics through diet is known to enhance butyrate production. Prebiotics foods consist of vegetables, pulses, fruits, & whole grains which contain fibre that passes through your body undigested to feed microbiome bacteria in your large intestine. Please do not fall for butyrate supplements since it will only feed your stomach & will have no impact on your gut bacteria. Please note that Butyrate is produced by bacteria in your microbiome. By increasing the consumption of food stimulating prebiotics, you can optimise the ratio of bacteria that produce butyrate. Increasing your butyrate through food is a great way to improve your digestive health. High protein, low carb & high fat diet is said to slow down butyrate production. Replacing complex carbohydrate & plant based fibre with animal based protein & fat is said to negatively impact butyrate production

You should focus on fibre rich plant diet that with promote bacterias in your microbiome involved in butyrate production in your large intestine.It is no brainer that microbiome is unique for every individual & therefore each bacteria prefers a distinctive prebiotics diet.

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Originally published at https://thesushantkumar.com on December 16, 2020.

Corporate finance professional turned Health & Fitness Entrepreneur, a fitness enthusiast, adventurer & trekking enthusiast