Why Butyrate is So Important for Health


Butyrate production in the gut is incredibly important for human health. Thus, the point of today’s article is to explore butyrate.

What is Butyrate?

Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid (fat) that is produced in the large intestine. It is a byproduct of bacterial metabolism, when fibers are fermented in the gut. The bacteria feed on certain foods (fibers and starches) and then excrete butyrate.

Why is Butyrate Important?

Butyrate heals the gut lining by sealing it so that toxins stay out of the gut. This is an important piece to good human nutrition. Toxins getting into the gut will lead to disease and obesity, because of inflammation. Thus, regular butyrate production in the gut is necessary. In Joel’s Greene’s book Peak Human, he writes that butyrate is essential for a secure gut lining, which is key for peak human health.
Not only does butyrate seal the gut lining, but it also directs non-inflammatory macrophages just below the gut lining. Macrophages are a type of white blood cell of the immune system. These cells engulf and digests cellular debris, foreign substances, microbes, cancer cells, and anything else that does not have the type of proteins specific to healthy body cells on its surface. Since butyrate directs macrophages, that makes butyrate very powerful.

What Healthy Butyrate Will Do

From Joel Greene’s book, Peak Human:

  • Clinical studies show that people with advanced colon cancer have very low levels of butyrate in the colon. Yet, science shows that butyrate neutralizes cancer-promoting RNA. And through a specific signal pathway, butyrate can actually directly kill cancer cells in the colon.
  • Butyrate can activate genes that promote brain health, protecting against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, strokes, autism and other brain diseases.
  • Butyrate regulates certain human genes that are involved in keeping us young.
  • Butyrate stimulates special immune cells to secrete serum IgA, which limits the growth of bad bacteria in the gut.
  • Some studies show that butyrate can improve learning and memory, particularly in the case of dementia induced by dietary toxins.

Butyrate is all about improving the body’s immune system. Without it, the gut lining simply cannot do its job properly, and when it fails, the gut is riddled with toxins, which leads to disease.

How to Drive Increased Butyrate

Real food. Fibers and starches.

In this case, supplements are not the answer.

Proper butyrate production must be driven from real food. Ideal fibers for butyrate are resistant starches. Resistant starches resist digestion, and through this resistance mechanism, they end up feeding bifidobacteria, which is turn, drives butyrate production.

Ideal Starches

The ideal starches are cooled/cold starches and include garbanzo beans, black beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes and oats/barley. However, keep in mind, you must eat these foods cooled or cold, in order for the starch to properly resist digestion, and thus feed your bacteria.

Key Takeaways

Butyrate is extremely important for optimal human health. You can drive increased butyrate production by eating resistant starches.

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