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What is butyric acid?

You may not be aware of this, but it is very likely that you have eaten something called butyric acid before, and whether you believe it or not, your body will also produce it. This is true - butyric acid, also known as BTA, is a saturated short chain fatty acid found in butter, shortening, raw milk, animal fats, and vegetable oils.
It is also formed in our colon through bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates such as dietary fiber, and therefore also exists in our colon. Butyric acid supports the health and healing of small and large intestine cells. It is also the preferred fuel source for the large intestine or internal cells of the colon.
The BTA content in shortening is one of the main ingredients that provides all the wonderful benefits of shortening. Eating butyric acid in foods or supplements such as shortening has been proven to aid digestion, calm inflammation, and improve overall gastrointestinal health.
People with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease have been shown to benefit from butyric acid, and research shows that there is hope in diabetes and insulin resistance. BTA is also known as a potential anticancer fatty acid, especially in colon cancer.
I am glad to tell you more about this very interesting fatty acid and how it improves your overall health - and how it occurs without even knowing it!


What is butyric acid?

Butyric acid is a colorless liquid that is soluble in water. Scientifically speaking, its structure is a four carbon fatty acid with the molecular formula C4H8O2 or CH3CH2CH2COOH. Butyric acid also has other chemical names, including butyric acid, n-butyric acid, and propionic acid. Together with acetic acid and propionic acid, it accounts for approximately 83% of the short chain fatty acids in the human colon.
On its own, BTA has an unpleasant odor and a bitter, pungent taste, with a slightly sweet aftertaste. It exists in the form of esters in animal fats and vegetable oils. What is an ester? Esters are organic compounds that react with water to form alcohols and organic or inorganic acids. Esters derived from carboxylic acids such as butyric acid are the most common type of ester.
BTA is produced in the large intestine along with other short chain fatty acids produced by the fermentation of dietary carbohydrates, especially prebiotics such as resistant starch, oligofructose, and other dietary fibers.
Even in scientific articles and research, the names "butyric acid" and "butyrate" can often be interchanged. Technically speaking, their structures are slightly different, but they are still very similar. Butyrate or butyrate is the traditional name for butyrate conjugated bases. In short, butyrate is almost identical to butyric acid, but its proton is one less. From the perspective of scientific research, their health benefits seem almost identical.

Health benefits

1.Weight loss

Butyric acid is widely popular due to its potential to help people lose excess weight. Scientific evidence shows that obese people (and people with type II diabetes) have different intestinal bacterial composition. Short chain fatty acids are believed to play a positive role in preventing metabolic syndrome, which almost always includes abdominal obesity, along with probiotics.
Short chain fatty acids such as butyric acid help regulate the balance between fatty acid synthesis and fat breakdown. In a 2007 animal study, after five weeks of BTA treatment, obese mice lost 10.2% of their weight and 10% of their body fat. Butyric acid has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, which helps prevent weight gain.
So far, most of the evidence linking BTA supplements to weight loss has been based on animal research, but it does demonstrate a positive effect of natural treatment for obesity.

2.Potential treatment for colorectal cancer

Multiple studies have shown that butyric acid has the potential to fight cancer, especially colon cancer. It actually demonstrates the ability to "modify nuclear structure" and induce colon cancer cell death. This may be an important reason why an increase in fiber intake is associated with a decrease in colon cancer, as higher fiber intake is usually equivalent to the presence of more butyric acid in the colon.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2011, "the role of short chain fatty acids, especially butyrates, in the treatment of colon cancer has been widely studied, and it is believed that their anti-tumor function is due to their intracellular effects." This laboratory study further demonstrates that butyrate treatment leads to an increase in programmed cell death in colon cancer cells.
According to a 2014 scientific article, it appears that a high fiber diet prevents colorectal tumors by relying on microbiota and butyrate. What does this mean? This means that obtaining a large amount of fiber itself may not be able to resist cancer. It eats a diet rich in healthy fiber, with sufficient gut microbiota and BTA present in the body to provide cancer defense in the colon.

3.Alleviation of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Generally speaking, butyric acid can have a very positive impact on intestinal health, greatly affecting the overall health of your body. Short chain fatty acids such as butyric acid can help maintain intestinal health and sealing, thereby preventing intestinal leakage syndrome and various problems related to intestinal leakage, such as IBS symptoms. This is a digestive system disease characterized by a common set of symptoms, including changes in bowel movements and abdominal pain.
A scientific article published in Gastroenterology Review explores the potential of butyric acid as a dietary therapy for IBS based on extensive research conducted to date. The researchers concluded that "butyrate supplements seem to be a promising treatment for IBS.
Some noteworthy 2012 studies included in the article were a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study involving 66 adult patients with IBS who, in addition to receiving standard treatment, also received a daily dose of 300 milligrams of microcapsule butyric acid or placebo.
Four weeks later, researchers found that the frequency of abdominal pain during defecation was significantly reduced in subjects taking butyric acid. After 12 weeks, the frequency of spontaneous abdominal pain, postprandial abdominal pain, abdominal pain during defecation, and post defecation impulses in the BTA group decreased.

4.Crohn's disease treatment

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal lining, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. Similarly, this is a disease related to intestinal leakage. A study published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacy&Therapeutics in 2005 was small-scale, but it found that "oral butyrate is safe and well tolerated, and may effectively induce clinical improvement/remission of Crohn's disease.
Another study in 2013 showed that butyric acid can alleviate pain during defecation and intestinal inflammation, both of which are very helpful for Crohn's disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
Short chain fatty acids like BTA do play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of the intestinal barrier, which can help prevent intestinal leakage and avoid IBD like Crohn's disease.

5.Combat insulin resistance

A study published by the American diabetes Foundation in 2009 observed the effect of butyric acid on the regulation of insulin sensitivity in high-fat diet mice. The study concluded that "dietary supplements with butyrate can prevent and treat insulin resistance caused by diet in mice." The researchers also found that there was no increase in body fat in mice treated with butyrate, and butyrate supplements actually seemed to prevent obesity.
Researchers agree that more research is needed to further explore how butyrate affects human insulin levels, but so far it looks promising, which may have a profound impact on the treatment of diabetes.

6.General anti-inflammatory effects

Research has shown that butyric acid has a wide range of anti-inflammatory effects. It is believed that BTA can not only help alleviate inflammation, but may also have a useful ability to manage immune responses.
As we mentioned earlier, inflammation is the root cause of most diseases, which is why containing more butyric acid in the body may benefit many people with various health problems caused by inflammation.

How to use

Research has shown that increasing the intake of highly processed, low fiber, and high sugar foods can reduce the level of butyrate production in the large intestine. If you are unable to obtain enough butyric acid from your diet, supplementing with butyric acid may be a good idea.
Butyrate supplements can usually be purchased at health stores or online. It is most commonly found in the form of capsules or tablets. The dosage recommendations vary depending on the product. Some people suggest taking one to six capsules/tablets after meals, while others suggest taking one capsule with meals three times a day for a few hours before or after taking other medications. If you are unsure, it is best to carefully read the product label and consult your doctor.
If you prefer to get butyric acid from food, then the following are good choices: butter, shortening, raw milk, and Parmesan cheese. When searching for high-quality butter, it is best to choose raw and cultivated ones. However, this may be difficult to find. Organic butter from grass fed cows is your next best choice. Some appropriately made kombucha (a fermented tea beverage) may also contain butyric acid.
To naturally increase the production of butyric acid in your body, you can increase your intake of healthy prebiotics, such as raw Jerusalem artichoke, raw dandelion, raw sweet potatoes, and immature bananas.
Scientific research has found that the levels of butyrate in feces vary from person to person, but consuming a diet rich in resistant starch (such as immature bananas) typically increases butyrate levels and may help maintain colorectal health.

Interesting facts about butyric acid

Butyric acid is named after Greek βούτ ῡ ρον, It means butter. Butyric acid accounts for approximately 3% to 4% of butter. Have you ever smelled the rotten butter? This unpleasant odor is the result of the chemical decomposition of BTA glycerol ester. Although there is a topic about odor, butyric acid is actually the cause of the unique odor of human vomit.
In his extremely long life (over 102 years old), it is said that a French organic chemist named Michel Eug è ne Chevreul first observed impure butyric acid in 1814. It was through the acidification of animal fat soaps that he was able to recognize the first use of butyric acid in combination with several other fatty acids, including oleic acid, decanoic acid (naturally present in coconut oil), and valeric acid.

Risks and side effects

It is difficult to find any documented negative side effects of butyric acid supplements. If you take butyric acid and experience any negative side effects, you may need to reduce the dosage. Of course, if you have any serious side effects, you should stop using and seek medical attention immediately.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult your doctor before taking butyric acid supplements. If you have any ongoing health conditions or have taken any other medication before taking BTA supplements, please also consult your doctor.

Final idea

In order to naturally increase the production of butyric acid in the body, please pay attention to regularly consuming more foods containing butyric acid, such as shortening and high-quality butter. Also increase daily intake of fiber rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains.
If you can increase the intake of these prebiotics, then you can help increase the probiotics and short chain fatty acids in your body. This is a healthy and simple way to increase butyric acid levels, let alone your overall health.
The balance of all prebiotics, probiotics, and short chain fatty acids seems to not only improve mild and chronic gastrointestinal problems, but many studies have shown that butyric acid may have some serious anticancer properties, especially in colon cancer.
What about supplements? Butyrate supplements may be helpful, especially if you have inflammatory bowel disease or are trying to prevent colon cancer. In terms of weight loss, most of the evidence linking butyric acid to weight loss is based on animal and in vitro studies. Butyrate supplements should never be considered a magical weight loss supplement, but they may be helpful for an overall healthy lifestyle.

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