In the health and wellness community, Butyrate has become a household name seemingly overnight as more awareness is surfacing surrounding its benefits for our microbiome. People who want to take advantage of Butyrate’s health benefits may be wondering how they can increase their butyrate levels. Through supplementation and increased intake of specific foods, we can raise our internal Butyrate levels.
Here we explain how butyrate is produced by the body and what foods help improve butyrate production.
Table of Contents
- What is Butyrate?
- Benefits of Butyrate
- How Does the Body Produce Butyrate?
- Foods High in Resistant Starch To Increase Butyrate
- Can Any Diets or Foods Reduce Butyrate?
What is Butyrate?
Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) produced in your microbiome. It is made by the bacterial fermentation of resistant starch in your gut. Healthy levels of Butyrate in the gut promote a balanced microbiome, support healthy gut function, support a healthy inflammation response, and support genetic expression by protecting DNA.* SCFAs are fatty acids with fewer than six carbon atoms and Butyrate in particular has been studied extensively for it’s benefits on gastrointestinal, microbiome, digestive and cellular health.
Butyrate is important because it helps to repair the damage that pesticides, toxins, processed foods, drugs, etcetera has done to the lining of the gut. Research shows that the right levels of Butyrate helps to support a healthy gut lining, reinforcing the mucosal barrier, and helps keep you regular.*
Benefits of Butyrate
Butyrate is quite literally the food for the good bacteria in the gut. Our gut colonocytes are tiny cells that line the colon in the gut and they are fueled by this important short chain fatty acid. Proper levels of Butyrate are vital to maintaining a healthy microbiome and supporting your gut health.*
- Promotes gut/microbiome health
- Reinforces the mucosal barrier and modulates motility*
- Butyrate is an HDAC inhibitor, meaning that it supports a healthy inflammation response by suppressing the activity of specific cells*
- Supports healthy insulin sensitivity
- Promotes a healthy gut mucosa - Butyrate serves to close tight junctions and prevent the dysbiosis commonly known as leaky gut*
The throes of inflammation have been linked to most, if not all, chronic diseases. Butyrate is a savior in the overflow of harmful chemicals that breed from chronic inflammation. Its deficit may present as gastric discomfort, indigestion, bloating, gassiness, leaky gut, insulin resistance, obesity, and more. Although supplemental butyrate has been used by integrative, and even allopathic, medicine, its endogenous manufacture is available—and free—to those who eat the right foods.
The matter here is that we don’t eat enough fiber that resists digestion.
How Does the Body Produce Butyrate?
We get Butyrate and other short-chain fatty acids from eating foods that are high in resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of starch that’s quite literally “resistant” to digestion — your body can’t break it down. Once resistant starch arrives in the colon intact, good bacteria feeds on it, producing Butyrate — which provides essential energy to the cells that line the colon walls, also known as colonocytes.
Types of Resistant Starch
There are four types of resistant starch:
RS Type 1
RS Type 1 is physically inaccessible, bound within the fibrous cell walls of plants. Note that only plants have cell walls surrounding their membranes; animals have only cell membranes. This type of resistant starch is embedded in the coating of seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes.
RS Type 2
RS Type 2 is a starch with a high amylose content, indigestible in its raw state. Potatoes, unripe bananas and plantains reside in this group…until they’re cooked.
RS Type 3
RS Type 3 is retrograde, called this because it transforms into resistant starch when cooked and then cooled, like white potatoes and white rice.it reverts to its resistant form after being cooked and then cooled. If reheated to a temperature lower than 130° F, it maintains its resistant nature and is able to feed colonocytes.
RS Type 4
A RS Type 4 does exist, but it’s synthetic and not recommended for human ingestion.
Foods High in Resistant Starch To Increase Butyrate
Dairy contains butyric acid, and some foods contribute to its manufacture. Butter offers about 2.7 grams in a stick and parmesan cheese about 730 mg in 3.5 ounces. As tasty as it is, eating a quarter pound of butter is not recommended.
Cold Rolled Oats
If you'd like to add some interest to your resistant starch regimen, try overnight cold rolled oats. Just put the oats into a mason jar or other suitable glass container and cover with non-dairy milk (but not soy) or plain water. Refrigerate overnight. Add berries and/or cinnamon, if you like. This cold recipe will give you 8 grams of resistant starch. Cooked oatmeal eaten hot offers about half a gram of RS.
Butyrate is produced during the fermentation of undigested dietary fibre such as resistant starch and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) found in legumes. Beans, peas, and lentils (and their skins) are a good source of fiber and resistant starch, making them beneficial for digestion. As with many foods in this category, their butyrate levels increase when cooled after cooking.
Potatoes contain resistant starches when cooked, then cooled.
Rice, when cooled for at least 24 hours, causes starch retrogradation.
Underripe Bananas + Plantain Flour
When choosing bananas, go for the green. They may be tough to eat but they are higher in resistant starch. Plantains are more resistant to digestion so trying plantain flour may help increase levels of Butyrate.
Not exactly appetizing is it? You can also get resistant starch from whole grains, fibrous vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli stems, the peels of some fruits, like apples, and other cellulose sources.
All gut microbiomes are not equal. That means we cannot make the same butyrate levels as our friends. Trying to get 25 grams of fiber a day is a noble venture, but one that seems elusive to the best intentions.
Can Any Diets or Foods Reduce Butyrate?
Butyrate levels in the gut can be negatively affected by high-protein, high-fat, low-carb diets. Keto & Paleo diets that restrict carbohydrates and fiber lack the starch need