What is Butyric Acid?
Strictly speaking, butyric acid is an acid chain called short chain fatty acid or SCFA with an acid lead linked to atoms composed of hydrogen and carbon. Humans can usually get their dose of butyric from two main sources. The first source would be from an individual’s diet which can either be from plant-based food items or animal-based food items. The second major source would be from nutritional supplements.
More About Butyric Acid
Butyric acid is synthesized directly by healthy bacteria found in the colon during the process of fermentation for fiber that is non-digestible. It is also a molecule that is considered highly versatile which means it can be applied to various possible uses particularly for a wide range of health benefits. Generally speaking, it has the following modes of action:
- It can serve as an activator for transmembrane protein. Evidence suggests that butyric acid can initiate the activation of various proteins in the GPCR group or the G-Protein coupled receptor group. This group of cells is responsible for proper cell communication and signaling resulting in a wide array of health benefits.
- It can serve as an epigenetic regulator. These regulators determine and control how types of genes are to manifest. This means that butyric acid can help in controlling unwanted changes or mutations in the DNA and other DNA related molecules helping the body regulate and stabilize its processes.
- It can serve as an energy substrate. Energy substrates are the metabolic starting points that ensure cells have enough energy. This is particularly important especially for the proliferation of healthy gut bacteria and proper colon function.
What are the Benefits of Butyric Acid?
As stated in the earlier section of this article, butyric acid has a number of main modes of action that can greatly help in enhancing the overall health and wellness of individuals. Listed below are some of these health benefits:
1. It can help alleviate the symptoms of gastrointestinal health conditions
Most of the study conducted on the possible health benefits of butyric acid revolves around the possible effects it has on the Gastrointestinal Tract health or GI tract and Gut Health. This comes as no surprise as Butyric acid usually comes from food items consumed and from supplements. Evidence suggests that butyric acid can be beneficial for patients suffering from inflammatory and functional bowel disorders.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a form of functional bowel disorder that can present itself with a number of symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and other related symptoms. Research indicates that butyric acid can lead to reduced pain in the abdomen. The reason behind this is currently up for further studies but it has been suggested that butyric acid can prevent and regulate the growth of bad bacteria in the gut which can cause abdominal problems such as infections and inflammations.
2. It has also been shown to possibly address Crohn’s disease
Further clinical studies are needed to confirm the medical benefits of butyric acid for the said illness but it has been observed that butyric acid can help reduce inflammation and promote the development of anti-oxidants such as glutathione. All of these contribute to the reduction of damage caused by oxidation and inflammation in the abdomen or the gut which can result in the better management of Crohn’s disease.
3. It may help treat and even prevent cancer of the colon
Another major possible health benefit of butyric acid is its possible effect in the treatment and prevention of colorectal cancer. Clinical research suggests that butyric acid can prevent and control the growth of colon cancer cells. With the increased presence of butyric acid, cancer cells undergo what is called controlled death of cells or apoptosis.
In addition, butyric acid has been shown to promote the development of GCPR or G-Protein coupled receptor group which can contribute to the aforementioned process of apoptosis. This capability of GPCR or the G-Protein coupled receptor group is an exciting pathway for medical practitioners to explore as it can give patients different possible options for their colorectal cancer treatment.
4. It can help in losing weight and management of type 2 diabetes
Various studies conducted on animals have shown that butyric acid can help manage type 2 diabetes and help people to lose weight. It is also suggested that butyric acid can help address metabolic syndrome and obesity-related weight issues. This is because butyric acid can help the body suppress the hormones signaling hunger or appetite. With controlled levels of hunger or food cravings, patients who are overweight and with type 2 diabetes can more easily manage their weight and food intake resulting in improved levels of sugar in the bloodstream.
5. Butyric Acid can help people with certain neurological conditions
Most studies point to Butyric acid’s benefits for the GI or gastrointestinal tract. However, new studies suggest that butyric acid can also address a number of neurological conditions. The results of the said studies showed that butyric acid can be effective in addressing neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Hutchinson’s disease. The researchers further asserted that Butyric Acid may be used to promote brain cell health similar to that of Butyric Acid’s effects on the cells located in the gut or abdomen.
Are There Risks in Using Butyric Acid?
At the moment, no known major risk has been associated with the use of butyric acid as excess butyric acid in the system will simply be excreted from the body without any major issues. As such, it is safe to assume that the benefits of using Butyric Acid greatly outweigh the risks.