What are Short Chain Fatty Acids?
Short-chain fatty acids (also referred to as ‘volatile fatty acids’ in some circles) are a specific type of fatty acid molecule that contain fewer than six carbons and atoms. These specific compounds have been shown to interact with the body in a multitude of different ways. One of these relates directly to the maintenance of digestive health.
There are three primary short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) found within the human body, propionate, acetate, and butyrate.
Propionate plays a key role within the liver, where it helps metabolize various molecules into glucose (one of the body’s primary fuel sources). On the other hand, acetate and butyrate are known to interact with the cholesterol found in the blood, and heavily influence digestive function.
Unlike many nutrients we obtain through the food we eat, short chain fatty acids are actually produced by the good bacteria found within the gut, when they ferment dietary fiber. This makes them quite difficult to obtain through diet and suggests they may play an import role in digestive health.
Of the three key short chain fatty acids, butyrate appears to have the largest impact on digestive health, suggesting its importance when looking for an effective leaky gut remedy.
Uses of Short Chain Fatty Acids
SCFAs are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties. You see, SCFAs directly modulate the release of inflammatory cytokines, essentially inhibiting their secretion. Through this mechanism, SCFAs can reduce inflammation throughout the digestive system, positively influencing gut health.
It is worth noting that research suggests that butyrate contains the most potent anti-inflammatory properties of all SCFAs, while acetate has the least. Additionally, SCFAs also exhibit antimicrobial properties, in which they have the potential to clear harmful bacteria from the gut without inducing an inflammatory response. In this manner, SCFAs act as an important aspect of the body’s primary defense mechanism – the gut!
And finally, SCFAs are absolutely integral to ensuring the integrity of the digestive system. Specifically, SCFAs help produce the mucosal barrier that completely lines the gut. They do this by helping to produce structural proteins used to repair the endothelial wall of the digestive system.
Why Use Short Chain Fatty Acids for Leaky Gut Remedy?
As mentioned above, SFCAs are essential to the maintenance of digestive function. This makes them great candidates for being a leaky gut remedy.
Leaky gut is typified by a highly permeable digestive system. This allows the easy movement of harmful molecules and organisms into the body while causing a huge inflammatory response (which, when prolonged, can inhibit the healing process).
As SCFAs are important for the production of the intestinal wall and mucus barrier, their consumption helps heal a leaky gut. In fact, studies show that supplementation with SCFAs can promote healing of the holes in the gut associated with a leaky gut syndrome.
In conjunction with their effects on the physical aspect of a leaky gut syndrome, the anti-inflammatory properties exhibited by SCFAs can assist reduce the digestive inflammation associated with leaky gut. By reducing this inflammation, we see an increase in the healing capacity, and subsequently a noticeable improvement in leaky gut.
Furthermore, an increased amount of SCFAs within the digestive system has been shown to increase the health and number of good bacteria within the gut. As these bacteria are responsible for producing SCFAs naturally, this further improves the state of the digestive system in its entirety.
Short Chain Fatty Acids in Leaky Gut Remedy Dosage
Unlike many other supplements, SCFAs are a relatively new addition to the health industry. Therefore, they don’t have an established upper limit. Despite that, a dose of 300 mg of butyrate per day has been shown to be safe and effective at improving digestive function and healing leaky gut symptoms.
It is important to state that it may take a couple of weeks before your symptoms start to improve. So, don’t become discouraged if nothing changes immediately.
Since scientists haven’t set an upper limit, yet, many SCFA supplements come in much higher doses than 300 mg. For those who want to be somewhat cautious with consumption, ButyrEn provides 200 mg per serve. This means if you take 1-2 capsules per day, you will remain close to the 300 mg recommended dose.
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Top 5 Best Short Chain Fatty Acid Supplements for Leaky Gut Remedy
If you have a leaky gut, your ability to produce SCFAs will be limited – regardless of how much fiber you eat!
With this in mind, SCFA supplements offer you an excellent way to get more SCFAs. Of those supplements on the market, some are unquestionably better than others.
As such, we have gone ahead and outlined the top 5 SCFA supplements, offering you an excellent leaky gut remedy. We have ranked these supplements from 1 to 5. (A ranking of 1 means we believe the supplement is the best option available.)
To establish what we believe is best we judged each supplement on:
- the scientific evidence to support their use
- provided serving size
- dosage form and type and
This SCFA supplement by the allergy research group comes in capsule form, provides us with 50 servings of butyrate, at 200 mg per serving, provided in the form of butyric acid. (Butyric acid is a specific form of butyrate that has been developed for the sole purpose of supplementation due to its high degree of absorbability.) This is a very affordable option, making it perfect for those on a slightly tighter budget.
While this supplement is a relatively new entry into the market (and as such, has not received too many reviews), The Allergy Research group have received a huge amount of support from their customers, many of which applaud their high-quality products and excellent customer service. This is an excellent option for those looking to introduce a high-quality SCFA supplement into their regime.
It is worth noting that currently, this particular supplement has no negative reviews, indicating its effectiveness and usability.
Similar to the first option appearing on this list, this capsule based butyrate supplement produced by NutriCology provides us with a solid 250 mg serving of butyric acid per serves, and 150 servings per container. For the cost per 50 servings, this is one of the most affordable SCFA supplement on the market. This makes it perfect for those on a tight budget.
While a small number of people found the large tablets difficult to take, most people reported being happy with the product. Many reviewers have claimed it caused large improvements in their digestive health almost immediately.
This 600 mg, highly-bioavailable butyrate capsule by Body Bio is one of the most popular on the market.
While this option is somewhat more expensive than some of its competitors, it does provide a whopping 125 servings per purchase.
The vast majority of Amazon reviewers have given it 4 stars and above. Of those, many have claimed it is highly effective at improving digestive discomfort and extremely easy to take. Of the four people who rated this product less than three stars, the majority reported little improvement in digestive discomfort after a month. This lead them to question its effectiveness.
While this specific supplement has received very few reviews, it offers 600 mg of butyrate (in the form of butyric acid) per serving, and 41 servings per purchase.
Those individuals who have reviewed this product positively report that it is highly effective. They claim it increases digestive health and eases discomfort with consistent use. It is important to note that, per serving, this supplement is slightly more expensive than others on this list.
With this in mind, it may not be the most suitable option for those individuals who don’t like taking tablets.
This butyrate supplement is one of the more recent options to enter the market. It provides you with 500 mg of pure butyrate in a single, easy to take capsule. A container provides you with 60 servings, making it one of the more expensive options on the list.
We should note that as this has specific supplement has not been on the market for too long, it doesn’t have a heap of reviews. Despite that, ALL of those who have reviewed it on Amazon have given it a 5-star rating. They report it offers a highly effective means to improve digestive health and function.
Take Home Message
SCFAs are absolutely essential to the maintenance of digestive health function. They may play a key role in helping treat a leaky gut.
If you have had any experiences with SCFA supplements and digestive health, we would love to hear about it! Drop us a comment and we will get back to you ASAP.