Top 5 Best Butyrate Supplements for Leaky Gut Cure

This article explores the best butyrate supplements for healing your leaky gut.  But first, some basic information about butyrate and why it matters for your gut health.


If you didn’t know better, you’d think butyrate belonged in a chemistry lab, rather than your medicine cabinet, right?  But despite its scary, chemical-sounding name, butyrate is actually a powerful anti-inflammatory and gut healer.  And if you have symptoms of leaky gut, butyrate definitely belongs with your medicines.

What is Butyrate?

Butyrate is a fat that belongs to a special family of fats known as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).  SCFAs are produced in your gut when your friendly digestive bacteria ferment dietary fiber.  Butyrate stands out among the SCFA family because it’s the most effective in healing your gut.

(Note: as you surf the net reading about butyrate and gut health, you may come across other similar sounding names, such as butyric acid, or maybe butanoic acid.  Don’t let that trip you up — these are the same chemical!  They are just the names given to more stable forms of butyrate that are often used in supplements.)

Butyrate is an anion, meaning it has a negative electrical charge.  It’s really unstable unless it’s part of a salt (i.e. paired with a molecule that has a positive charge).  

Learn More: Probiotics: Benefits, Dangers and Best Sources

Forms of Butyrate in Supplements

Tributyrin is the natural butyrate found in butter and it’s the superior form of butyrate for digestion, absorbability, and bioactivity.  It’s been the subject of much research and is proven to be more potent than other forms of butyrate.

A more common form of butyrate in supplements is butyric or butanoic acid.  Butyrate structured in this way is stable and neutral, which makes it suitable for putting into supplements.

Butyrate can also come paired with a positively charged molecule in the form of a salt.  Commonly, these positively charged molecules are sodium or calcium and magnesium.

If you’re not using tributyrin, it doesn’t matter too much whether you choose butyric acid or butyric salts.  The butyrate will work the same in either case.

But butyric acid supplements will give you more bang for your buck because they’re all butyric acid.  If you’re taking sodium butyrate or calcium/magnesium butyrate, around 1/3 of your supplement is sodium or calcium and magnesium.

While calcium and magnesium are essential minerals that you might not be getting enough of in your diet (and you might, therefore, want to pay for in your butyrate supplement), you are almost certainly getting plenty of sodium in your diet from regular salt and you don’t really want to be shelling out for it in your butyrate supplement.  For this reason, we do recommend that, if you’re going to use a salt form of butyrate, you choose calcium/magnesium butyrate.

What Does Butyrate Do in Your Body?

What Does Butyrate Do in Your Body?

Now we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s look at what this busy little chemical is actually doing in your body.  There’s a lot to it, so let’s dive straight in.

We’ve already hinted that butyrate heals your gut by reducing inflammation.  But there are a hundred other anti-inflammatories that could do that, so, butyrate must do more than that to get such a great gut-healing reputation!  

What makes butyrate so special is that it works in a multitude of ways in your gut.  Even though there’s still a lot to find out about why it’s so great, here’s what researchers know so far about butyrate and digestion.  Butyrate:

But it doesn’t end there.  Because of the way butyrate acts on so many different systems in your gut, it can affect your health outside your gut, too.  

Butyrate actually alters your gene expression, leading to fundamental changes in how your cells work, right down at the DNA level.

 Via these effects on your gene expression, butyrate is also able to:

As you can see, butyrate is not just any anti-inflammatory!  It has a lot of health benefits that have nothing to do with inflammation.  In fact, this list is not even complete!  But it definitely gives you an idea of how important butyrate is in your body and all the different ways your body uses it.  Of course, if you have leaky gut, it’s the anti-inflammatory, immune modulating and cell regenerating properties of butyrate that you’re really looking for.

When Should You Take Butyrate?

When Should You Take Butyrate?

It’s unlikely there’s a difference in absorption rate whether you take butyrate with food or without, although studies are lacking to confirm this one way or the other.  There may be a small advantage in taking it with food because that’s when your digestion is really ramped up, releasing digestive enzymes and juices that help you to absorb nutrients.  This is a general rule for taking supplements; it’s not specific to butyrate.

If you’re taking split doses, as in 3 capsules daily, one with each meal is a good idea.  This gives your body a constant level of butyrate throughout the day, and it will be able to utilize more of it.  Sometimes if you take one single large dose of a supplement, your body uses what it can and gets rid of the rest.  So, split dosing is a good way to get around this.  (This is, again, a general helpful tip for taking any supplement.)

That said, taking butyrate consistently, every day for a period of weeks or months is how you’ll get the best results.  So, if you find you can only remember once each day, then just take your entire daily dose at one time.

Remember, it’s not going to help your health sitting on the shelf!

How Much Butyrate Should You Take?

Unlike many other supplements, butyrate and SCFAs are fairly new to the health industry.  There hasn’t been enough research yet to establish an official upper limit.  Most clinical trials, however, use a dose of around 300 mg daily, and they have proven this dose to be safe and effective at improving digestive function and healing leaky gut symptoms.

Be aware that it will likely take a couple of weeks for your symptoms to improve.  Stick with it even if you don’t notice a difference straight away.

Since there’s no agreement on what the upper dosage of butyrate should be, many supplements come in higher doses than 300 mg.  Try to choose a supplement that gets you close to this dose though, to ensure you’re getting a safe and effective amount of butyrate.

What Foods Contain Butyrate?

What Foods Contain Butyrate?

Most of your butyrate requirement is taken care of by your healthy gut bacteria.  All you need to do is give them the right food to make it.  Since butyrate is made from fermented fiber, you can increase your butyrate level by increasing fiber in your diet.  This means eating more of the following sources of soluble fiber:

  • Whole grains – brown rice, oats, barley, rye, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, corn.
  • Legumes – lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, mung beans, adzuki beans.
  • Fruits and vegetables – leafy green vegetables, apples, kiwifruit, berry fruits, bananas, citrus fruit.

Butyrate is also naturally occurring in dairy products.  It’s not a good idea to eat too much dairy, though, because it has a very high saturated fat content.  Most people already have too much-saturated fat in their diets.

Butter is around 3%-4% butyrate, so you’d need to eat 10 grams daily to get your dose of 300 mg butyrate.  This is the equivalent of around two teaspoons of butter each day.

Of course, you can also take a butyrate supplement to boost your levels of this vital nutrient.  Supplementation is a guaranteed way of getting the right dose, every day.

Why Take Butyrate Supplements for a Leaky Gut?

Why Use Butyrate For Leaky Gut?

We already touched on the actions of butyrate that really make it useful for a leaky gut – it’s anti-inflammatory, immune modulating and cell regenerating.  If we dig a bit deeper into this, you’ll really get a handle on exactly why butyrate is a key supplement for healing a leaky gut.

Butyrate is an Anti-Inflammatory

Let’s start with its anti-inflammatory activity.  If you’ve done your research on leaky gut, you’ll know that leaky gut essentially means you have a damaged gut wall.  Where you should have thick, impenetrable gut tissue, you have thin, porous tissue that isn’t doing its job of keeping your gut contents inside your gut.  You’ll also know that the cause of all this is inflammation.

So, anything that reduces inflammation in your gut is going to help reverse this condition and let your gut wall rebuild itself.  The cells of your intestines are some of the fastest growing cells in your body, so the minute you remove the cause of damage, your gut will start to repair itself.

Butyrate Regulates Your Immune System

Butyrate also directly calms and quiets your immune system, down-regulating your T cells.  Other parts of your immune system are also affected – pro-inflammatory cytokines, dendritic cells, and macrophages are all told to stop their attacks on your suffering gut wall, for example.  The net result is your gut has a chance to repair itself.

The net result is your gut has a chance to repair itself.  Finally, butyrate also helps your gut cells grow, helping fill in the damaged areas!  

Butyrate Helps Your Gut Heal

With both of these gut healing processes in full swing, your gut can truly heal.  Tight junctions between cells are restored, cells are able to grow and survive at a healthy rate and your villi deepen and thicken, giving you more surface area for absorption of nutrients.  Your gut wall can return to its normal, healthy state, with a thick layer of cells between your gut contents and your bloodstream.  And the important barrier function of your gut wall is strengthened.

Related: 7 Reasons Your Gut Health is Important

Butyrate Side Effects

Incredibly, there have been no negative side effects noted from butyrate supplementation when it’s used at a reasonable dose.  As long as you stick to the recommended dosage range, the only side effects you’ll experience will be positive ones.  (Along with improving your symptoms of leaky gut, you might find your cholesterol levels reduce and your mental focus improves, for example.  We can’t see anything wrong with that!)

It’s worth noting that animal studies have shown side effects at very high doses, including swelling of the kidneys and destruction of gut cells.  But the dosage range for these side effects would be around 7-8 grams, daily, in humans.  This is about 25 times the dose of 300 mg daily we’re recommending.  So, you really have nothing to worry about if you use butyrate supplements as directed.

How Do You Choose a Butyrate Supplement?

How Do You Choose a Butyrate Supplement?

As we touched on above, butyrate comes in a few different forms.  Most commonly, you’ll find supplements delivered as butyric acid, sodium butyrate or calcium/magnesium butyrate.  

Look for Powders

Each form of butyrate can be sold as a powder, capsules or tablets.  The powder form is best for absorption because your body has immediate access to the nutrient.  Capsules come in a close second because it’s relatively easy to digest a capsule and get to the powdered butyrate inside.  Tablets are known to be least absorbable because they often contain binding agents that hold the ingredients together and keep them in a tablet shape.

Avoid Fillers

A good butyrate supplement will be pure, with no fillers.  If you’re taking a tablet, it’s normal to expect a small amount of binding agent (otherwise the tablets would crumble into powder in the bottle).  But you don’t want any fillers!  These are ingredients used to bulk up a supplement when the active dose is too small for a standard dose.

If you’re only taking 300 mg of butyrate, you want your capsule to be half empty.  If it’s not, you know it contains fillers!  And if you’re taking 300 mg butyrate powder, you should only need the smallest pinch on the end of a teaspoon, not tablespoons full of powder!

Look for Respected Brands

Always buy from a reputable brand that guarantees quality and purity.  Look into where they source their raw product and what sort of testing they do for purity.  Many cheap supplements are sold without thoroughly testing the product.  You need to know that the butyrate you’re buying contains the amount of active ingredient it claims to.  

Independent testing also lets you make sure that the supplement isn’t contaminated with any other chemicals.

Check Out Customer Reviews

Finally, it’s always a good idea to check product reviews and customer feedback to find out what other people’s experiences have been.  This is a great way to get around advertising and get an honest view of the quality of the supplement.

Next: Creating Your Leaky Gut Supplement Regimen: An Expert’s Guide 

5 Best Butyrate Supplements for Leaky Gut Remedy

Now for the best part!  We’ve made a list of the top 5 butyrate supplements available today, so the hard work is done for you.  All you have to do is read through and decide which one will suit you best.

We’ve ranked each supplement based on:

  1. the scientific evidence to support their use
  2. provided serving size
  3. palatability
  4. dosage form and type and
  5. affordability

Let’s take a look at our top 5 picks, starting with number 1!

1. Butycaps

Butycaps is our top pick for powdered butyrate.  The butyrate in this formula is delivered in tributyrin form, held in micro-encapsulated granules.  If you have severe digestive issues and you’re concerned about whether your digestion is strong enough to break down a capsule or tablet, then Butycaps is the supplement for you.

Butycaps doesn’t win prizes for convenience or taste but it makes up for that by being the best option available if you have a poor digestive function.  Butyrate has a rather unpleasant flavor and Butycaps have tried to overcome this by adding banana flavor to the formula. Butycaps Butyrate SupplementAmazon Button

You need to be careful with how you take Butycaps granules because tributyrin a rather delicate chemical – you need to take it without crushing or heating.  You can add it to flavored yogurt to disguise the taste, or put it in your super smoothie.  Just make sure you add it at the end of your smoothie making after you’ve finished with all the grinding and whizzing.

If you’re on a campaign to improve your digestion, Butycaps can be a great addition for the start of your gut healing program.  You might want to use the granules for the first 1-3 months until you start to see an improvement in your digestive function.  And after that, you could switch to something more convenient, like the capsules below.  

You only get one-month supply in each box of Butycaps, so it’s definitely not the most economical choice.  With a decent 787 mg butyric acid in each sachet, you’re getting 2x the standard recommended dose.  But don’t worry, it’s still well below the upper limit for daily butyrate intake.  In fact, you should notice a difference in your gut health reasonably soon after you start taking Butycaps.

Butycaps

Dosage

Supplement Form

Butyrate Type

Supporting Research

787 mg per sachet

Powder

Tributyrin

Li, 2009

Gaschott, 2001

Cen et al, 1995

2. Healus Advanced Tri-Butyrate

Healus Tri Butyrate stands out as the most convenient, most effective butyrate capsule you can buy.  Like Butycaps granules above, Healus deliver their butyrate in tributyrin form, the natural butyrate found in butter.  Customer feedback is resoundingly positive for this butyrate and it’s being studied for its potential use as a colon cancer adjunctive.  Amazon Button

With 500 mg of pure butyrate in each capsule, this is an easy one-a-day way to get a decent dose of butyrate.  

Each bottle contains 60 capsules so it’s at the more expensive end of the scale.  But the price reflects the quality of this product.  If you’ve tried other butyrates and found they didn’t give you the result you were hoping for, this product is definitely worth trying.

Healus Advanced Tri Butyrate

Dosage

Supplement Form

Butyrate Type

Supporting Research

500 mg per capsule

Capsule

Tributyrin

Li, 2009

Gaschott, 2001

Cen et al, 1995

3. BodyBio Butyrate

BodyBio Butyrate is high potency at 600 mg in each capsule.  It’s great that it’s in capsule form and has no fillers.  It’s also guaranteed free from yeast, wheat, corn, soy, dairy, artificial color or resins.  This makes it very appealing for anyone who suffers food allergies or follows a specific diet, for example, a vegan diet or gluten-free diet.

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This option is not the cheapest, but it’s definitely got our stamp of approval for quality and purity.  The formula is calcium/magnesium butyrate, which breaks down into 80 mg calcium, 40 mg magnesium, and 600 mg butyrate in each capsule.  With 100 capsules in each bottle, a single bottle will last you around 3 months.

BodyBio Butyrate

Dosage

Supplement Form

Butyrate Type

Supporting Research

600 mg per capsule

Capsule

Calcium/magnesium butyrate

Celasco, 2014

Cananai, 2004

Scharlau, 2009

4. Biome Equal Butyrate Complete Postbiotic

Biome Equal contains butyrate and propionate.  We haven’t talked about propionate here, but, basically, it’s another SCFA that works in a similar way to butyrate.  The two work nicely in combination.

Each capsule of Biome Equal gives you 600 mg of sodium butyrate and 150 mg of sodium propionate.  Sodium butyrate is approximately 20% sodium and 80% butyrate, so your 600 mg dose breaks down to around 120 mg sodium and 480 mg butyric acid. 

Biome Equal Short Chain Fatty Acids

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The directions on the bottle are to take 2 capsules daily, but as you already have 480 mg in each capsule, one is enough to get more than your dose of 300 mg.  Start with one capsule daily for the first two weeks and you can double the dose if you need to, once you’re comfortable and confident taking it.

With 180 capsules in each bottle, a single bottle will last you 3-6 months, depending on the dosage you’re taking.

 Biome Equal Butyrate Complete Postbiotic

Dosage

Supplement Form

Butyrate Type

Supporting Research

480 mg per capsule

Capsule

Sodium butyrate + sodium propionate

Henrike, 2009

Krokowicz, 2014 Russo, 2016

5. Ecological Formulas 2:1 Butyric Acid

Ecological Formulas 2:1 Butyric Acid delivers butyric acid in a reasonably low dose, in combination with calcium and magnesium.  Each capsule contains 250 mg of butyric acid, 42 mg of calcium and 21 mg of magnesium.  You can take just one capsule daily to check your body’s tolerance to the formula, and increase it to 3 capsules if you want a higher butyrate dose.Ecological Formulas Butyric Acid

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Ecological Formulas Butyric Acid is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.  With 90 capsules in each bottle, you’ll be restocking every 1-3 months.

Ecological Formulas 2:1 Butyric Acid

Dosage

Supplement Form

Butyrate Type

Supporting Research

480 mg per capsule

Capsule

Calcium/Magnesium Butyrate

Celasco, 2014

Cananai, 2004

Scharlau, 2009

Take Home Message

Butyrate is an effective gut healer with virtually no side effects when taken as directed.  It’s primary action in your gut is to reduce inflammation and reprogram your immune system so that your body stops attacking its own tissues.  This allows your gut cells to live longer, be more productive and take better care of your digestion.

The net result of supplementing with butyrate is that your gut wall gets stronger, healthier and more able to do its job.

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