Butyric Acid: Benefits and Effects

We are going to tell you what butyric acid is and why its genesis should be ensured to avoid the development of inflammatory intestinal pathologies. Read on.
Butyric Acid: Benefits and Effects
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 12 July, 2023

Butyric acid is one of the short-chain fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory potential and can serve as an energetic substrate for bacteria living in the digestive tract. Much importance is being given to these compounds. There’s evidence that maintaining a healthy microbiota can make a difference to health in the medium term.

Before starting, it should be noted that to ensure that digestive processes run smoothly, the diversity and density of the microorganisms that live in the intestine must be guaranteed. Otherwise, a dysbiosis situation could develop, with increased fermentation and the appearance of gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

What is butyric acid?

Butyric acid is a short-chain fatty acid that is created from the fermentation of soluble fiber in the intestine. It’s the main energy substrate in the colon and stimulates the absorption of sodium and water there.

It also helps the proliferation of the bacteria that live there. According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, it could be a cornerstone in the prevention of pathologies such as colon cancer.

Why is it relevant to health?

It’s important to note that this type of compound has a decisive anti-inflammatory action. Therefore, it is proposed that its presence in sufficient quantities would be key in the management of pathologies such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease.

This is evidenced by research published in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design . In fact, supplementation with this element is being tested for the prevention and management of these pathologies.

It could even have a positive effect on immune function. After all, the microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract are one of the first barriers to the entry of toxins and pathogens into the systemic circulation. If a good density of bacteria is ensured, it will be less likely that these elements won’t pass through the intestinal epithelium.

Intestinal microbiota.
The vitality of the microbiota is directly related to general human health.

Fiber and its role

It’s key to ensure the consumption of soluble fiber to consolidate the genesis of butyric acid internally. In fact, a study published in the journal Nature Reviews confirms the positive effects on the functioning of the digestive system.

In general terms, eating oats and apples is particularly recommended, as they contain two positive substances: beta-glucans and pectins. Thanks to them, dysbiosis situations will be avoided.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that fiber not only protects against alterations in the microbiota, but also plays an important role in modulating the entry of glucose into the blood. This prevents complex metabolic pathologies, such as type 2 diabetes.

It’s also worth mentioning the power of fiber to act on appetite and satiety. It can prevent hyperphagia (an excessive desire to consume food), which could result in an energy imbalance in favor of intake.

Short-chain fatty acids themselves also protect against all these phenomena. Especially against metabolic ones.

Some oats.
The incorporation of fiber in the diet has many advantages. One of them is the proper stimulation of microbiota metabolism.

You may also be interested in: What Is Normal Microbiota?

Butyric acid is a beneficial compound

Butyric acid is one of the main energetic substrates for the microorganisms that make up the microbiota. It’s an element with anti-inflammatory properties, and it will help to prevent the development of different chronic and complex pathologies.

For this reason, it needs to be synthesized correctly, including a sufficient amount of soluble fiber in the diet. There’s nothing better for this than consuming vegetables in abundance.

In some situations, it may be necessary to supplement with a probiotic supplement or include in the routines more fermented foods. This will optimize the digestive processes and nutrient absorption.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • McNabney SM, Henagan TM. Short Chain Fatty Acids in the Colon and Peripheral Tissues: A Focus on Butyrate, Colon Cancer, Obesity and Insulin Resistance. Nutrients. 2017;9(12):1348. Published 2017 Dec 12. doi:10.3390/nu9121348
  • Silva JPB, Navegantes-Lima KC, Oliveira ALB, et al. Protective Mechanisms of Butyrate on Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Curr Pharm Des. 2018;24(35):4154-4166. doi:10.2174/1381612824666181001153605
  • Gill SK, Rossi M, Bajka B, Whelan K. Dietary fibre in gastrointestinal health and disease. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021;18(2):101-116. doi:10.1038/s41575-020-00375-4

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.