Fiber eaten in the diet may be broken down or simply passes through the intestinal tract. Some fibers that are not absorbed in the body are fermented and create short chain fatty acids (SCFA).
Butyrate is one of the short-chain fatty acids produced by the anaerobic bacteria that live in the intestines.
It has several functions in the body:
– Provides up to 30% of the energy needed for the cells in the colon
– Prevents diarrhea
– Improves blood circulation in the colon
– Controls inflammation in the GI tract
– Helps the colon with barrier reinforcement and repair
– Provides an environment in the colon conducive to “good” bacteria to grow and reproduce, instead of “bad” bacteria (pathogens that cause disease)
– Reduces ammonia levels from the intestine
– Contributes to the reduction of colon cancer by inhibiting the formation of secondary bile acids and reducing DNA damage in the colon cells
– Protects the colon from developing ulcerative colitis
Normal Ranges for N-Butyrate (in %):
- Optimal: > or = 7.8
- Mildly Decreased: 4.4-7.7
- Low: < or = 4.3