Butyrate-producing probiotics are a recent discovery that has already shown great potential in improving gut health significantly. Jump on and read about this gut health superpower and how to get more of this good stuff in your life!
The connection between gut health and holistic well being is extremely underestimated. So much so that where I come from something as natural as popping is spoken about in ‘hush hush’ tones. As if it is criminal to poop!
This all goes to show just how much gut processes are ignored. Without a doubt, your gut processes are a vital sign of health, and gut issues are a major prerequisite to a host of other health issues.
Find Out More: Gut Health: 7 Reasons Why It’s Important
Butyrate-producing probiotics are a super important part of how your gut functions. They are indeed necessary and vital to grow and maintain a strong healthy gut. Jump on and read more about this gut health superpower and how to get more of it in your life!
Colonic Fermentation and Its Link to Human Health
Colonic fermentation is the process where anaerobic bacteria within your gut (probiotics) break down complex carbohydrates/fiber to short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate.
Since your body cannot process these complex carbohydrates on its own, it skillfully engages the good bacteria found in your colon to help! As a result, you feed the good bacteria in your gut and they feed you right back by producing these essential SCFA’s.
This relationship is symbiotic – ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ kind of arrangement! What a win-win situation.
Colonic fermentation produces 3 different SCFAs namely:
Butyrate is the star of the show mainly because it plays a very important role in nourishing your gut.
Interestingly, butyrate does this by taking on a colonic salvage of calories that produces up to 5-10% of your body’s daily energy demand. As butyrate performs this function, it also provides up to 70% of the energy required for the epithelial cells that line the colon (colonocytes).
These colonocytes have the job of protecting your gut lining, preventing inflammation of your gastro-intestinal tract and protecting against the following diseases:
- Ulcerative colitis
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Colorectal cancer (American Cancer Society estimates that 5% will get colorectal cancer in their lifetime)
- Metabolic syndromes (obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and systemic inflammation)
List of Butyrate-Producing Probiotics
Believe it or not, your gut houses up to 160 species of bacteria. The major butyrate-producing probiotics come from the Phyla Firmicutes family which include:
- Roseburia spp.
- Eubacterium rectale spp.
- Faecalibacterium prausnitzii
Read more: What is Butyrate Used For?
What are the Dangers of Having Low Butyrate Levels?
Your gut microbiome is made of both good bacteria and bad (pathogenic) bacteria. Herein, butyrate is part of a very complex communication system. Essentially, the presence of butyrate tells your body that your good bacteria is on top of things. This alerts your immune system that all is well.
On the other hand, pathogenic bacteria do not produce butyrate. So if your butyrate levels are low, your body assumes the microbiome is being overtaken by bad bacteria. Similarly, the immune system then receives the message that all is certainly not well.
As a result, your body proceeds to attack by taking on inflammatory response. Now, inflammation whether low grade or chronic is not your friend!
Why? This is because inflammation is what introduces disease. For example, an inflamed gut can lead to Crohn’s Disease, just the same way inflamed lungs can lead to bronchitis or an inflamed liver can lead to fatty liver disease.
The surest way to know if your butyrate levels are low is to take a comprehensive digestive stool analysis ( CDSA). If you are unable to take a stool test, below are a few signs you may be low in butyrate:
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Chronic diarrhea
- Crohn’s disease
- Behavioral irregularities
- Upset microbiome balance
- Increased inflammation markers
- Reduced insulin sensitivity
Unfortunately, these signs are often seen when it’s too late and the disease has already been established. So the sooner you can boost your butyrate levels, the higher your chances of halting the progression of the disease.
Contributors to Low Butyrate Levels
The greatest contributor to low butyrate levels is a diet low in fiber. For example, the average American consumes only about 50% of the recommended daily intake of fiber.
Subsequently, low levels of fiber means that there is very little food for the good bacteria to feed on. If the good bacteria have little food, they are unable to produce sufficient butyrate. As a result, your microbial diversity is compromised.
In science-speak we call this dysbiosis, a microbiome imbalance where there is more bad bacteria.
To put it simply:
High-fiber/prebiotics → good bacteria/probiotics → plenty butyrate/postbiotics = a happy gut.
By feeding our bodies a high fiber diet, we grow our already present gut flora. Following this, we can then produce more butyrate.
The recommended daily fiber intake is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
What Can You Do to Increase your Butyrate-Producing Probiotics?
1) Up your fiber intake
Your first line of defense in getting your body to produce more of the good stuff is to eat a diet rich in prebiotics! I like to call it a whole-foods, plant-heavy diet.
This means consuming lots of foods as close to their natural state as possible. Such as:
- Fresh fruits & vegetables
- Whole grains
- Nuts & Seeds
There is an old saying that says “variety is the very spice of life”. The more color and variety in your meals, the more variety in your gut microbiome.
So go on and have fun eating your rainbow colors!
Sample Prebiotic Rich Meal Plan
|Rolled oats with fresh berries, ground flax seed & bananas||Power- packed salad with 4 raw veggies, quinoa/diced sweet potatoes with balsamic vinaigrette and topped with sesame seeds.||Wok stir-fried beef with carrots, green beans and broccoli, served over brown rice.|
|Smoothie with 2 fruits, 2 vegetables, oats/chia seed.||Whole meal Pita wrap with hummus and roast vegetables||Baked Butter Salmon with roast potatoes & mixed green salad|
Snacks: Get your 5-a day fruit in as many colors as possible
2) Rev up your probiotic intake
Remember our simple equation above? More probiotics, means more butyrate produced.
You can add more probiotic foods to your diet through fermented foods like:
- Greek yogurt
If all these fermented foods are too much to stomach (no pun intended), you can also take probiotic supplements.
Read more: Why, How, and When to Take Probiotics
3) Go easy on the antibiotics
Antibiotics are revolutionary. Without a doubt, they are an incredible advancement in healthcare that has saved millions of lives. That said, too much of a good thing like antibiotics can turn out to be damaging.
Since most antibiotics are digested in the gut, they interfere with the gut microbiome. In an effort to kill all the bad bacteria, they also kill some of the good guys.
Use them sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.
4) Tone down your animal and processed food intake
Aim for animal foods to make up only ¼ of your daily food intake.
In the same way, processed foods are high in refined sugars which feed the bad bacteria. As a result, these foods become damaging to your gut as they encourage a build up of bad bacteria.
Save the cookies, cakes and doughnuts for a special occasion and your gut will thank you for it.
5) Take a butyrate-producing probiotics supplement
Life can get crazy and I sure know it is sometimes hard to eat the diet you desire. If this is you, a butyrate supplement could be of great benefit.
It can deliver powerful SCFAs directly to your colon so they can work their magic!
Top 5 Butyrate-Producing Probiotics
If you need help finding butyrate supplements, we have 5 recommendations below.
- Pure liquid Tributyrin, the most bioavailable form of Butyrate
- Non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free & dairy-free
- Slow-release thus making it all the way down to small & large intestine
- The company has long term experience with butyrate supplementation
- Significantly more expensive than other competing supplements
- No fillers or additives used
- All-natural ingredients and free of wheat, gluten, yeast, corn, soy, dairy, artificial colors, and resins
- Added benefits of calcium and magnesium supplementation
- There is an option of sodium butyrate or sodium-potassium butyrate.
- Strong odor – though this is a sign that it contains natural butyrate which is known to be stinky!
- Tributyrin ensures high bioavailability of butyric acid in all sections of the intestine.
- The microencapsulation technology allows a slower and gradual release along the intestine.
- BUTYCAPS are non-chewable softgel capsules.
- Butyric acid may help support the health of the GI tract & microbiome.
- No dairy, no gluten, no corn protein, no meat of any kind, no cane sugar
- Ensure to always confirm that the product you buy is not expired.
- Contains both butyrate and propionate another useful SCFA
- Slow release to ensure it gets to the colon
- Dairy, soy and corn free
- Poor capsule that may disintegrate in humid climates
- Strong odor
Take Home Message
Gut health is synonymous with holistic well-being. A happy gut makes a happier and healthier person.
So go on and do your gut a favor by feeding it lots of prebiotics so that it makes more of those awesome butyrate- producing probiotics. Then enjoy all the amazing benefits of having more butyrate in your life!