In recent years we hear more and more often about butyric acid. The reason for so much fame is due to the fact that it plays an essential role in the health of the intestine and, consequently, of the whole organism. Here’s everything you need to know about this valuable component. What is butyric
acid Butyric acid is a non-essential, saturated fat. It is found mainly in fats of animal origin and minimally in vegetable ones. One of the best sources is butter – in larger quantities if it is rancid – but it is also found in abundance in aged cheeses . A food that contains it in large quantities and is particularly beneficial for the intestine and ghee. Not to be forgotten and also the Kefir.

  • Did you know that …
    Butyric acid is also formed from the degradation of some indigestible vegetable fibers, in the intestine. However, the doses produced spontaneously are rarely sufficient for our well-being.

Butyric acid and intestine
Butyric acid plays an essential role in the health of the intestine , for which it appears to have an anti-cancer effect. According to recent studies, in fact, it would reduce the proliferation of cancer cells . Furthermore, butyric acid is considered to be one of the most important energy sources for intestinal cells.

  • Did you know that …
    Butyric acid gives off a very particular smell which is not at all pleasant to the human sense of smell. For example, it is felt when the butter is very rancid or when the body sweat is very marked. This would be due to the breakdown of some types of triglycerides that form in the sebum.

Fibers, flora and butyric acid
Everyone knows the importance of bacterial flora – or the human microbiome – and its effects on the health of the entire organism. But few know the connection between butyric acid, nutrition, and symbiotic gut bacteria. Non -digestible carbohydrates are considered the prebiotics – that is, the nourishment – for our precious bacterial flora. The category includes inulin, cellulose, resistant starch, beta-glucans, pectins and oligofructoses.

  • Did you know…
    Non-digestible carbohydrates (fiber) are so called because the bonds of monosaccharides are not metabolized by the enzymes amylase and disaccharidase. However, they are fermented in the intestine by enzymes and bacterial flora. The ones that are best fermented are pectins. While it is more difficult for cellulose and bran.

From vegetable fibers to butyric acid
Every time we introduce indigestible carbohydrates, the bacterial flora begins a fermentation process using these fibers and exploiting some enzymes. Following this process, short-chain carboxylic acids are formed, including butyric acid. The combination of these substances helps to reduce the pH in the colon and – like a chain reaction – this factor increases the production of butyric acid and “good” bacterial flora.

  • The bacteria that give rise to butyric acid
  • Butyrivibrio fibrillari
  • Clostridium kluyveri
  • Clostridium pasteurianum
  • Eubacterium limosum
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum
  • Clostridium butyricum

How to increase the production of butyric acid
As mentioned, butyric acid can be produced by the bacterial flora following the ingestion of non-digestible fibers. However, the increase at the level of the organism is not so obvious, because it would be necessary to act in two ways: the first is to integrate different varieties of intestinal bacteria by adding fermented foods to one’s diet; the second is to eat foods that contain non-digestible carbohydrates. Only one of the two is not enough. According to some studies, the use of resistant starch – the one that forms in cooled pasta or old bread – is very useful. Resistant starch is also found in partially ground cereals, seeds, raw potatoes and green bananas . Finally, a useful food on all fronts and theghee which possesses excellent protective virtues of the intestine, as many researches have sifted through. The precious virtues of butyric
acid Butyric acid seems to be involved in numerous functions within the body. One of these, as mentioned, is its specific virtue in reducing the risk of developing tumors . Especially if it is associated with the intake of other short-chain acids such as acetic acid. These are specific components that are easily found in the natural fermentation processes of foods (such as, for example, kefir and sauerkraut). These fats also appear to protect against liver damage.

  • Did you know…
    The presence of bacterial species that produce butyrate suppresses the growth of Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella and Shigella.

An ancient remedy for cancer
In July 1933 a scientific research was published which some newspapers talked about: scientists managed to cure cancer with “rancid butter”, or with butyric acid. The research states that “The acid deriving from rancid butter should not be eaten or injected, but is applied directly to the tumor growth . For some reason, which is still mysterious, butyric acid attacks cancer tissue much more malignantly than healthy surrounding tissue. A graduated dose of acid can kill and eat away all diseased cancer cells without harming nearby healthy ones. This is the same way radium attacks cancer. ‘ Unfortunately, there is no other news on this topic.Today’s research
Several researches argue that butyric acid – or its derivatives – appear to be excellent anticancers and inducers of programmed death of cancer cells (or apoptosis). Studies believe that butyric acid can be used successfully in the ‘treatment of colorectal cancer and hemoglobinopathies’. Another study, published in, asserts that ‘butyric acid and tributyrin are potent apoptotic agents [inducing cell death] and suggest that dietary butyric acid sources, such as milk fat, may provide anticancer in against the liver “. Butyric acid in irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis
Recent studies have shown that «Dietary supplementation with butyrate stimulates the elongation of the villi in the depth of the ileum and the crypt in the cecum. Butyric acid has also been shown to exert potent anti-inflammatory effects both in vitro and in vivo. Its immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory activity is presumably based on the topical inhibition of inflammatory mediators in the epithelium. The ability of butyrate to decrease the concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as Interleukin 8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) has been widely documented “. These benefits were also important in people with irritable bowel syndromewhich, following the rectal administration of butyric acid during an acute phase, have seen a reduction in symptoms. “Some anti-inflammatory effects of butyrate have also been observed in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and proctitis.”
[1] Br J Cancer. 1997; 75 (6): 850-4. An anti-cancer derivative of butyric acid (pivalyloxmethyl buterate) and daunorubicin cooperatively prolong survival of mice inoculated with monocytic leukaemia cells. Kasukabe T, Rephaeli A, Honma Y.
[2] Life Sci. 1998; 63 (20): 1739-60. Role of butyric acid and its derivatives in the treatment of colorectal cancer and hemoglobinopathies. Pouillart PR.
[3] Br J Cancer. 1997; 75(6): 850–854. PMCID: PMC2063395 An anti-cancer derivative of butyric acid (pivalyloxmethyl buterate) and daunorubicin cooperatively prolong survival of mice inoculated with monocytic leukaemia cells. T. Kasukabe, A. Rephaeli, and Y. Honma
[4] J Dairy Res. 1999 Nov;66(4):559-67. Butyric acid and tributyrin induce apoptosis in human hepatic tumour cells. Watkins SM, Carter LC, Mak J, Tsau J, Yamamoto S, German JB.
[5] Prz Gastroenterol. 2013; 8(6): 350–353. Published online 2013 Dec 30. doi: 10.5114/pg.2013.39917 PMCID: PMC4027835 Butyric acid in irritable bowel syndrome Andrzej Zaleski, Aleksandra Banaszkiewicz Jaroslaw Walkowiak
[6] Bird AR, Conlon MA, Christophersen CT, et al. Resistant starch, large bowel fermentation and a broader perspective of prebiotics and probiotics. Benef Microbes. 2010;1:423–31.
[7] Chen CC, Walker WA. Probiotics and prebiotics: role in clinical disease states. Adv Pediatr. 2005;52:77–113.
[8] Butyric Acid – PubChem

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