Butyrate food
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How to Get Butyrate From Food

Have you ever heard of butyrate? For a lot of people, butyrate is very unknown. But it’s a massive contributor to gut health and overall health! Read on to find out what butyrate is, and how to get butyrate from food.

Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)

Butyrate food

When you eat fiber, your gut bacteria will start to produce Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) through fermentation. There are 3 main types of SCFA: Butyrate, Acetate, and Propionate.

SCFA have multiple health benefits.
They help make the large intestine more acidic. This makes the intestine less attractive for bad inflammatory bacteria to reside there. It also actively inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
SCFA provide energy for the cells in your gut.
They promote the movement of your gut, the intestinal motility.
SCFA decrease visceral hypersensitivity, which is good news for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)!
They reduce inflammatory markers.

That’s the general function of the SCFA, pretty impressive right? But every type of SFCA has a specific health benefit. Today we focus on butyrate and the foods that help produce it. Find out how to get butyrate from food, because you don’t want to miss out on the health benefits!

Want some help creating a diet to stimulate the production of butyrate? Schedule a free symptom assessment and I’ll show you how I can help!

What is Butyrate?

As mentioned above, butyrate is a SFCA that is produced by the fermentation of fiber through the microbes in your gut.

The specific bacteria that produce butyrate are Gram-positive Anaerobic bacteria. You don’t have to remember that, just FYI! If you want to recognize the bacteria in, let’s say, a stool sample or a probiotic, look for Faecalibacterium Prausnitzii or Roseburia. These are the biggest groups of butyrate-producing bacteria in the gut, among many others.

Butyrate in specific has the following health benefits:
Anti-tumor properties
Repair and enhance the barrier function of intestinal cells
Repair Leaky Gut by strengthening tight-junctions
Stimulate the production of antimicrobial peptides
Support intestinal immune cells
Stimulate cell growth and DNA synthesis
Regulates hunger and satiety
Improves visceral sensitivity and intestinal motility
Lower cholesterol by inhibiting intestinal cholesterol synthesis
Improves insulin resistance

Enough reason for me to get my butyrate-producing bacteria healthy and happy! But how to get butyrate from food?

How to Get Butyrate From Food

By now, you know butyrate is not just simply present in foods. You can’t just add butyrate to a product and have the health benefits.
Butyrate is made in your gut through the fermentation of fermentable fibers and resistant starch.

The butyrate-producing bacteria will be present in the gut of most people. But the better you feed them, the more there will be to produce the good butyrate for you! So make sure you feed your butyrate-producing bacteria and reap the health benefits!

Do you want a custom gut health plan, specifically made for you? Schedule a free IBS-symptoms evaluation with me, and I’ll show you how I can help!

Foods with Fermentable Fiber

Fiber in general is the main source of nutrition for your gut bacteria. When you eat enough fiber, your gut bacteria will grow strong and healthy and support your health.
You can find fiber in basically all types of plant-based foods. Think of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes.

Butyrate is mainly produced from fermentable fiber and resistant starch.

The foods that specifically contain butyrate-promoting fermentable fiber and resistant starch are:
Jerusalem artichoke
Chicory root
Dandelion greens
(Citrus) Fruits

Try to eat from this list at least once a day. Make sure you’re providing your butyrate-producing bacteria with the nutrition they need to keep you healthy!

As you may have noticed if you’re following the FODMAP diet, a lot of the foods that stimulate the production of butyrate are high in FODMAPs. This is why it is important not to stay on the FODMAP diet for too long and keep your gut healthy.

All other types of fiber from plants will support a healthy microbiome and definitely shouldn’t be forgotten. Consuming a big diversity of plants throughout the week will result in a more diverse and healthy microbiome.

So eat your plants! And tell me about your experience with fiber-rich foods!

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  1. Do the foods on your list need to be in raw form? How do you suggest consuming legumes, rice, and potatoes, which need to be cooked? I’ve read that after they are cooked and cooled, the beneficial properties of RS return to the rice or potatoes; is that true from your understanding? Do fruits need to be in a pre-ripe state? Are fruits like cherries and blueberries better due to their skin, as compared to strawberries?

    1. Hi Stacy, for butyrate it doesn’t matter if it’s raw or not. Fiber does not get affected by preparing the foods. Only if you peel a fruit/vegetable or juice it can it really drastically reduce fiber amount.
      For resistant starch, it is indeed true that cooking and cooling helps! After 24 hours at 8 degrees celcius, the resistant starch will be at its max. And for resistant starch a pre-ripe fruit can have a larger amount, but here variety is key! Pre-ripe fruits are also generally harder to digest and less tasty.
      All fruits are good to eat, and variety is key (again). Try to choose fruits in as many colors as you can. Every color will provide a different polyphenol and antioxidant property.
      Good luck!

  2. I have come across some articles that mentions butyrate helps produce the hormone hepcidin which balances the iron levels in the gut. If there are not enough of this hormone then the body will collect too much iron causing the condition haemochromatosis. Eating foods containing butyrate will help the body control the absorption of iron without having to regularly giving blood and taking medical drug treatments.

    1. Hi Pei,
      I have not heard about that before. So I’m not sure if that works like that. It would be very good though!

  3. Hi Manon, Is it a good idea or even necessary to take supplements to get butyrate or other elements of a healthy gut biome? Can we just eat a healthy diet to recover and maintain good health?

    1. Hi Steve. This would really depend on what is wrong in the gut. In order to produce butyrate you need bacteria that can produce it (the healthy bacteria) and fiber for them to digest. I believe many gut issues can be solved with a healthy food pattern and lifestyle, without the need for supplements. But it really depends on your personal case.
      I’m not a fan of butyrate supplements, because we need butyrate and the other Short Chain Fatty acids in the large intestine for a healthy (slightly acidic) environment and butyrate provides 10% of the energy for the intestinal cells. Taking them with a supplement, would mean it won’t get into the large intestine, but be absorbed in the small intestine.
      Hope this helps!

  4. Hi Manon,
    Dr Steve Gundry states that wheat causes leaky gut yet you mention wheat is butyrate promoting ? The wheat in North America (I live in Canada) is terrible and is a cause of lots of allergies and inflammatory problems.
    Looking forward to your answer.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Margriet,
      I’m afraid I’d have to disagree with dr Gundry on this. And I also have not come across the studies that link wheat to a leaky gut. (always open to read them if you have them though). But some people are indeed intolerant to wheat or gluten and then it’s best to avoid it. Also high wheat western diet are not great for your health. But as far as I’ve seen, whole wheat in moderate amounts (if you’re not intolerant) should pose no problem. For health reasons it’s best to choose fermented products like sourdough.

  5. I have hyper mobility and as such have poor connective tissues which I believe affects my gut in terms of good digestion. I was told to follow a low FODMAP diet. What’s best for me to keep butyrane high, FODMAP low and good gut walls? Many thanks

    1. Hi Sian, this is a very extensive question that I won’t be able to answer here. If you’re from the Netherlands or Belgium I’d recommend to schedule a call with me, so we can talk.
      Otherwise please find a dietitian near you who can help.
      Good luck!

  6. I am finding comfort to butyrate supplements with mct
    My condition was polymiositus
    Triggered by digestion
    The chickory and Jerusalem artichoke
    As well as butirato c-4
    Could it cause any negative results?

    1. Hi Bo Ko, glad to hear the Butyrate supplements provide you comfort.
      I am unfortunately not familiar enough with your condition and the relation to butyrate supplements to make any comments on this.

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