Butyric acid (butyrate) is an acid produced by the bacterial degradation of FIBER in the colon. Gut bacteria ferment undigested carbohydrate to a family of small saturated fatty acids, acetic acid and propionic acid in addition to butyric acid. A small amount of butyric acid is present daily in the diet. Butyric acid occurs in milk, with butter containing 3.3% butyric acid. Butyric acid and other short chain fatty acids are taken up by the intestine to be used for energy.
It is estimated that breakdown of short-chain fatty acids produced by colonic bacteria can satisfy 5 to 10% of the body’s total energy requirements. Butyric acid is specifically an important energy source for the cells lining the COLON, where it seems to assist their normal development and maintenance. Butyric acid seems to reduce chronic inflammatory conditions of the colon, and high fecal levels correlate with decreased risk of colon cancer.
Allergies and food sensitivities are well known to be part of the syndrome of immune suppression. Each allergic reaction further suppresses immune response and creates mounting levels of inflammation throughout the body. Here, we are more concerned with the effect of inflammation in exacerbating poor integrity of the gastrointestinal wall. Since many antigenic reactions are a result of “leaky gut syndrome”, i.e. the passage of partially undigested food particles through the swollen and inflamed mucosal wall into the blood, some desensitization must occur to re-establish a normal immune response.
Traditional treatments may include sublingual drops or injections of dilute extracts with subsequent possibility of anaphylactic shock, often commensurate with avoidance of those foods. Identification of food allergens is often elusive, due to the variable time lag between the ingestion and onset of symptoms.
Most clinical identification methods, including trial elimination diets and food skin tests are lengthy, costly, and often inconclusive. Some new research shows that many antigenic reactions may occur only on the walls of the G.I. tract and therefore may not show up in blood or skin tests.
Using butyrates can circumvent these processes by stimulating extremely rapid repair of the mucosal wall. Butyric acid works in several ways:
1. It reduces the inflammatory condition of these walls reducing intracellular seepage of undigested food particles.
2. It seals up the holes left by penetration of the roots, i.e. rhizoids, of candida albicans overgrowth, which are often implicated in secondary food sensitivities. For best results, butyric acid can be used in conjunction with caprylic acid, one of the most effective anti-fungals available on the market today, with a remarkable lack of side effects.
3. By stimulating epithelial sloughing in the intestinal tract, new attachment sites are created for favorable bio-flora such as bifidus and acidophilus cultures. Re-establishing the balance of protective bacteria supports our enzyme and fighter cell capabilities, which is necessary for stronger immune support.
In compromised immune systems, undifferentiated cell growth can be inhibited by butyric acid, as reported in Cancer Research November 1982. The earliest reference to this phenomena was reported by James Watson: “Butyric Acid In The Treatment Of Cancer” The Lancet, April 8, 1933. pp 746-748.