Butyrate Producing Probiotics – 101 Guide
I first learnt about Butyrate after listening to Dr. Steven Gundry talk about it.
He used Butyrate in some of his supplements so I decided to do some further research.
I want to figure out if it was a scam ingredient or genuinely beneficial for gut health.
What Is Butyrate?
Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid and is not a probiotic bacteria like some people believe. (1)
It is also dubbed a Postbiotic by some supplement companies. Postbiotics are the result of Probiotics feeding on Prebiotics.
Butyrate is created deep in the gut and is said to have various health benefits. Likewise a deficiency in Butyrate is said to have negative consequences for your health.
A damaged gut lining is said to potentially contribute to IBD, Leaky Gut, Obesity and potentially more and Butyrate is crucial for protecting your gut lining. (2)
Weirdly the reason Butyrate has the name is because it is said to smell like non fresh butter and Butyrate is actually the Latin Butrym word for butter. (3)
What Produces Butyrate?
Too put it simply Butyrate is produced in the colon by Prebiotic Fibers. These Fibers are unable to be digested by the gut and are then used to feed Probiotic Bacteria and Butyrate.
Once Butyrate is fed by the Prebiotic fiber it is then used to feed the colonocytes cells that line your gut colon. These cells are important because they help to protect the gut lining. (4)
Can Probiotic Bacteria Produce Butyrate?
New studies in 2020 have confirmed that there are indeed some probiotic strains that can help produce Butyrate.
These probiotic strains are anaerobic soil based spore forming bacteria strains. It's not commonly found in many probiotic supplements but there are some new ones that have been released recently. (5)
Lactobacillus bacteria does not directly produce Butyrate acid but Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria can feed the other probiotic strains that do produce Butyrate so in a roundabout way it does. (6)
What Foods Have Butyrate?
Some of the best prebiotic foods are from vegetables. Here are some good options;
Fruits like Bananas can be a high fiber prebiotic but only if they are unripened. They should look green and not taste sweet.
Butter and Ghee contains pure Butyrate but the studies on whether or not the Butyrate in this food can reach your large colon are inconclusive.
Butyrate For Weight Loss
Butyrate may help to fight obesity via the gut and brain connection since it is also a neurochemical. (7)
The gut and brain are connect by the vagus nerve and through this the Butyrate neurochemical can send signals to the brain to tell it to stop eating. (8)
Butyrate can also regulate blood sugar levels so that they are managed better which may help with weight loss as well. (9)
Best Probiotic Butyrate Supplements
Most Butyrate supplements won't help as studies suggest that the Butyrate doesn't make it deep enough in to your digestive tract.
It may not get passed the upper part of your digestive tract which is your stomach and small intestines.
Dr. Steven Gundry's BC3 supplement claims to encapsulate Butryate in hundreds of tiny capsules that are inside of the main large capsule.
He claims that through this way it can make it deep enough into your digestive tract but I could not find any studies to back up this claim.
The Bottom Line: Is It a Scam?
In my opinion it seems like some supplement companies are trying to sell something that doesn't need to be sold.
It's quite simple to produce more Butyrate in your microbiome by eating Prebiotic foods you can buy at any store easily.
It's unclear if many Butyrate supplements actually work and there is a lot of conflicting information out there.
The positive news is that, every year more studies are being carried out and things like soil based probiotics look promising.