Butyrate Series, Part 6

We’re working our way through butyrate and the foods that increase butyrate in the body.  We are on resistant starch today.  It’s a doozy.  [“Doozy” probably comes from the nickname (“Duesy”) for a kind of car called a Duesenberg.  It was a supreme, luxury car made in my home state of Indiana, in a tiny farming town called Auburn, north of Fort Wayne.  Each Labor Day weekend they host a huge car auction called the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival.]

Don’t be afraid to let your diet be unique.

Getting butyrate and short chain fatty acids in the gut seems pretty important, and there a few dietary Cute orange snackways to go about getting it.  No one way will work for every single person.  You must recognize absolutely how unique and special you are.  (Is this chick for real?)  Seriously, I do think you’re probably pretty special, but I am talking about nutrition here.  What makes one diet suitable for one person and detrimental to another?  (Why can’t I eat ice cream?  Whaaa-whaaa.)

  • Your genetics:  Yes.  Absolutely.  The genes we have will determine how well we can digest certain foods!  If your long ago ancestors are from an area who relied traditionally on more starches, you have more genes to make amylase (the starch break-down enzyme) and more amylase in your spit. (1)  Native Japanese people have genes to metabolize seaweed that people of European descent don’t.  (Ha!  For those who don’t like the flavor of seaweed, more power to ’em, eh?) (2)  But, ice cream.  Mmmm.  Does ice cream make you bloat?  Blame your genes’ inability to make lactase for you to break down the sugar in milk.  (3) And your mix of genes will be different than your sister’s or cousin’s.
  • Your gut bacteria.  With the trillions (edited post-writing) of bacteria in your body, you’re bound to be one-of-a-kind.  Some people will have more of one type of bacteria helping them eat than another kind.  I hope over the butyrate series you have come to see bacteria as an integral part of you, your diet, and your health.  Your bacteria will affect what you can comfortably eat or what happens when you eat it.  If the bugs you happen to have are strains that make lots of methane with cellulose, then cellulose may not be your friend.  Your bugs may do better with resistant starch. If you have significant overgrowths of putrefactive bacteria that make more toxic metabolites, maybe you’re at higher risk for disease from a high protein diet. (4) (5)  (Studies show, however, that diet can modify levels of bacteria.  So all is not lost!)
  • Your individual function:  We all have our own unique pathology.  FODMAPS, SIBO, slow transit, food intolerances, and glucose intolerance just to name a few.  If your small intestine is really bad at absorbing the sugars and sugar alcohols from foods (like in FODMAPS),  you’re going to have to watch and keep a food diary to figure out which vegetables and fruits you can tolerate.  If green bananas make you itch, you have to find another source for resistant starch.

Bottom line?  Short chain fatty acids and butyrate are pretty darn important for the gut and body.  Find a way to make your diet compatible with getting them.  You have several options.  For nearly any specialized diet, there is usually something you can tolerate to help boost needed nutrients.

Ok.  Rant over– resistant starch to boost short chain fatty acid and butyrate production.  This is going to be dry, dry, dry and long, long, long.  I thought about dividing it up, but I wanted all the resistant starch stuff on one page, not several.  And I figure those who actually read it are people really looking to learn about it– so they’ll like it on one page.  By the way, Merry Christmas-time.  I hope you are having a beautiful month.  May you be filled with joy and peace now and forever.

Is that a healthy diet?

What healthy diet removes beans, legumes, grains and potatoes?  When I began my food journey two years ago, I was SHOCKED to see grains and potatoes removed from many diets like Paleo, SCD, GAPS, Primal, and Whole30.  (Were you shocked when you started?) However, after much research, I decided there was no harm in removing them as I tried to treat my GI health problems.  I mean, my vegetable intake skyrocketed in compensation!  Now, though, my GI issues have plateaued, and I have been on the prowl again to see what else can be done.  I am tracking butyrate- producing foods.  In this series, I have covered dairy products, fermented foods, fiber, and now we are hitting resistant starch.

Resistant starch from foods makes it past the small intestine’s digestive process to enter the colon, where bacteria can ferment (“eat it”) it to make short chain fatty acids and butyrate as a result.  Great!  Resistant starch is a popular topic in health spheres now.  It has several possible health benefits.  Do you see anything which could help you?

  • Improved blood sugar control and insulin response to food.  Implications for diabetes, pre-diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
  • Improved bowel health.  Implications for colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, diverticulitis, and constipation.
  • Improved cholesterol.  Implications for heart disease, high cholesterol, and metabolic syndrome.
  • Prebiotic to help stimulate the growth of “good” bacterial colonies in the colon.
  • Control of hunger and reduction of calories eaten.  Implications in obesity.
  • Increased micronutrient absorption.  Implications in overall mineral absorption for all and also in osteoporosis.
  • Thermogenesis.  Implications in diabetes and obesity.
  • Synergistic interactions with other dietary components, e.g. dietary fibres, proteins, lipids.  Implications for improvement of bowel health. (6)

Backtrack a second.  Working through the ways to Apples with almond butterpotentially increase butyrate:

The four ways to increase butyrate (as I see it) that I am working through:

  • Eat butyrate-containing foods.  (An aside:  I found something that said there was a form of butyric acid in butter AND honey!  The form is tributyrin, a form of butyric acid which is actually used in research studies to help the butyric acid not have such a short half-life.  No quantities listed in the abstract.  Isn’t that amazing?  Whole foods really can provide for us!) (7) 
  • Eat butyrate-producing foods like fiber and resistant starch.  (This is where we’re at in the series.)
  • Take butyrate supplements.
  • Take probiotics which contain bacteria known to make butyrate.

OK.  Back to resistant starch.  I know, some of you try not to eat starches.  So what is the difference between starch and resistant starch?  (Chemistry-wise, not much!  Actions in the body, HUGE!) 

What is starch?  Starch is plant carbohydrate.  A plant uses starch as a storage form for energy.  Starch is high in things like potatoes, corn, rice, other grains, and beans.  When we eat starch, it is usually completely broken down and absorbed in the small intestine by our amylase and other enzymes.  You know the rest– glucose, insulin, and calories.

Let’s talk a minute about the structure of starch because structure is going to help explain what makes starch resistant.  Starch is made up of two molecules, amylose and amylopectin.  Both molecules are simply made up of many glucose molecules hooked together—just hooked in different ways.  Amylose has many glucoses strung together in a tight, compact linear fashion.  Amylopectin has glucoses strung together in branching chains, forming a large structure.  Depending on the food/plant starch in question, these two players come together in different ratios and shapes.  They connect with each other through hydrogen bonding and form crystalline granules (an important point here in a bit) of varying sizes.  The crystalline granules are an effective way for the plant to store starch.  We have an enzyme called amylase, which works in the small intestine, and it is most often able to break apart the bonds of starch to make simple sugars which are easily absorbed(8, 9)

What is resistant starch?  Same stuff as starch!!!!  It’s just that for one reason or another (which we will talk about), it defies digestion by the small intestine and its amylase enzyme.  It moves into the colon and feeds bacteria, thus producing short chain fatty acids and butyrate.  Yeah!

How would the same stuff as plain, old starch do that?  We will look at that in minute.  First let’s mention the kinds of foods that have resistant starch.

What foods have resistant starch?

Obviously, starchy foods will have resistant starch, but how much resistant starch a food has– well, it willYellow pepper for Y keep your head moving like one of those darn, tiny bouncy balls your kids like to throw around.  Understanding resistant starch content is nearly insane.  So I’m going to list some examples of resistant starch values, but you have to keep reading to understand how truly variable and FICKLE resistant starch is.  For example, IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO SAY THAT A BANANA HAS LOTS OF RESISTANT STARCH—because sometimes it doesn’t!  I started to put together a nice table of resistant starch values.  I had research articles all over the schoolroom desk; I knew it was going to be a citation mess.  Every source had different values for resistant starch content and often even for the same food.  I decided making a chart was clearly was not a good time investment.  (Where do you want to invest your time?)  So here are some sources with lists of resistant starch contents for you to look over.  For your information, some sources suggest at least 20 grams of resistant starch daily; others suggest more.

Free the Animal.  Resistant Starch in Foods.  (Man.  What diligence.  Kudos.  This is what my table would have looked like.  He did a great job, and I’m grateful for his work!  This is a link to a PDF file which is featured on the blog.) (12)

An in vitro method, based on chewing, to predict resistant starch content in foods allows parallel determination of potentially available starch and dietary fiber  (10)

The Resistant Starch Report.  An Australian update on health benefits, measurement and dietary intakes.  (11)

Bananas (11)
8.5 grams/100 grams          Raw green, medium-size
2.4-5.4 grams/100 grams    Ripe, medium-size
Potatoes (10)
12.2 grams/100 grams        Boiled and stored at  5 degrees C –41 degrees F–fridge temperature
3.7 grams/100 grams          Boiled and not cooled
50 grams per pound           (Saw it on the internet gossip, but I need a legitimate source)  (About 97% of the starch in raw potato is resistant.)
1.3 grams/100 grams         Baked
Sweet potatoes (11)
1.1-2.1 grams                       Cooked
Raw  About 98% of the raw starch is resistant.  (Need source)
Plantains (12)
3.5 grams/100grams          Cooked
Raw much, much higher    (Need source)
Beans, white, boiled (10)
16.5 g/100 grams
Lentils, red, boiled (10)
13.83 g/100 grams
Chickpeas (11) 
6.6 g/100 grams
Oats (12)
0.2 g/100grams                  Cooked
7.8 grams/100 grams        Raw
1.4 grams/100 grams        Cooked whole wheat pasta (valemaisalimentos.com)
2.9 grams/100 grams        Boiled 9 minutes  (C)
Rice (11) (13)
3.1 grams/100grams         White, cooked
1.6 grams per 1/2 cup      Brown, cooked

The amount of resistant starch a food has will vary.  It will vary by the TYPE of resistant starch, the food source of the resistant starch, the food preparation, and many other factors I will try to point out.

There are four types of resistant starch RS:  Resistant starch type 1 (RS 1), resistant starch type 2 (RS 2), resistant starch type 3 (RS 3), and resistant starch type 4 (RS 4).

  • RS 1 is in seeds, legumes, and whole grains.  The starch is resistant because of the physical seed coat around the starch.  (Grinding and milling will decrease the amount of resistant starch.  Based on this, a wheat kernel has more resisant starch than ground flour.  Even chewing your food well decreases RS!)
  • RS 2 is in uncooked foods like potato, green banana, green plantains, sweet potato, cassava, yam, some legumes and high amylase corn.  The natural, raw shape of the starch granules in these particular plants does not allow our digestive enzymes to get in and break down the starch. (5)
  • RS 3 is in cooked and cooled starches, such as legumes, bread, cornflakes, potatoes, pasta salad or sushi rice. The starch when cooked becomes highly absorbable starch, but when it cools it forms a crystalline structure that won’t let enzymes in so it becomes resistant starch.  This is called retrogradation.  I will talk more about this below.
  • RS 4 is chemically modified starch and is not naturally found in nature.  It is often found in processed foods, but we don’t know if it acts the same as natural RS or not.  (So why are they putting it in our foods?  And why do people not care?  Ignorance is bliss.  But not really.) (6)

Both the plant species and the plant variety affects resistant starch content:  Bananas overall have more resistant starch than most rice.  Beans usually have more resistant starch than potatoes.  Within a species, long grain rice has more RS than short grain rice.  (14)  Jasmine rice has less RS than long grain rice varieties.  High amylose maize (corn) has been bred to have higher resistant starch than other corn.

Preparation method changes content of RS:  Long grain rice prepared in a pressure cooker has less RS than when prepared in a traditional rice cooker.  Baked potato has less resistant starch than potato salad.  Heated and cooled, heated and cooled, heated and cooled potato has more resistant starch than just potato that has been heated and cooled one time only.

Cooking at all changes RS:  Raw potato has immense amounts of RS.  Mashed potatoes have immensely less.

Foods can have more than one kind of resistant starch:  Potatoes have RS 2 when raw and RS 3 when cooked and cooled.

Ripeness decreases RS:  A green banana has great amounts of RS.  Ripe bananas have lots less.

Chewing decreases RS:  What are you going to do about this one?  LOL.  I think this is a great example of how you can find good in just about everything!  If you don’t chew well, you can get more resistant starch!

Remember how I mentioned amylose and amylopectin above?  In part, their association together will help determine how much RS there is:

  • Amylose and amylopectin come together in different ratios (maybe 20:80 or 40 :60 or 25:75) and will be different between species of plants and different varieties of the same plant, as I already mentioned.  The more amylose there is, the more resistant.  (5)  In fact, there’s this processed stuff called High Amylose Maize Starch that was bred to have high amylose.  It has great amounts of resistant starch.  1 tablespoon has 4.5 grams of resistant starch.  (13) Amylose takes higher heats to gelatinize so it is more resistant.  (When it gelatinizes, the body can digest it easier.)
  • Chain length of the amylose and amylopectin molecules will affect resistant starch content.
  • Size of the crystalline granules will affect resistant starch content. (15)

Non-starch components may affect the amount of resistant starch.  Amylase (our digestive enzyme) can bind with fats, and then change the breakdown of the starch.  If the amylase is all bound up, it’s not available to digest all of the starch.  Some plants come included with their own amylase inhibitors so we digest them less, allowing more RS to the colon.  Phosphorus can bind to the starch and make it more resistant.

Biological factors (such as transit time and menstrual cycles) can affect the digestion of starch. (6)

Yes.  Resistant starch values for any given food Water kefir with grape juicevaries dramatically. 

So when you look at different tables for resistant starch, you will see all kinds of different numbers.  The resistant starch values will be all over the place.  I know you don’t like it.  It’s just the way it is.  Nobody in life can give you an answer.  We just have to do the best we can.  God didn’t say, “Here.  Eat resistant starch.”  He gave you fresh vegetables, fruits, tubers, and yes, even grains.  And thankfully, He gave me a fridge to cool my tubers.

Why in the world does cooling change the amount of resistant starch?

When typical starch is heated, it becomes quite absorbable.  When it is cooled, it can form resistant starch and then not be absorbable.  This is termed retrograded starch or resistant starch type 3 or RS 3.  How does this happen?

Putting the starch in water and heating it allows the crystalline structure of the starch granules (made up of amylose and amylopectin) to swell.  Water can get into the starch granules, but it can’t break them apart because of hydrogen bonding between amylose and amylopectin.  The starch gelatinizes and swells.  With the swelling comes increased ease of getting amylase into the starch to break down the bonds holding it together.  So hot, cooked starch is easier to digest.

As the hot starch cools, its structure starts tightening back up and recrystallizing, becoming more like it was before water and heat was affected it.  Amylase can no longer get in to break the starch down into absorbable sugars.

The higher the amylose content, the more heat that is needed to gelatinize the starch.  Things with more amylose, such as high amylose corn starch, have more resistant starch.  In one study, high amylose corn starch showed an increase in butyrate formation, whereas low amylose corn starch did not. (15) (16) (5)

People often wonder why it matters if it’s cooled since when it is eaten it heats back up in our bodies.  I read that the answer to that is that it takes more heat than the temperature of your body to overcome the retrogradation.

Who might shy away from resistant starch?

SIBO people?  People with small intestinal bowel overgrowth (SIBO) may have problems with resistant starch.  (SIBO is a disorder which contributes to bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and stomach pain.  It occurs when bacteria inappropriately colonize the small intestine.)  I have seen the argument made that gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), SIBO, and some other GI disorders may be made worse by resistant starch.  Increasing the food supply for the bacteria that are inappropriately growing in the small intestine doesn’t seem like it would be helpful.  I can definitely understand this thought process.  However, on the other hand, production of SCFA has been found to increase the motility of the gut and make the environment more acidic.  These two mechanisms sound helpful!  Everything is an equilibrium.  Nobody right now knows the answer.  This is where you drag out a pen and a calendar, and you diligently journal what you eat and your symptoms and stop waiting to be told what to do.

FODMAP people?  One would think that FODMAP issues might actually do okay with resistant starch if there is no SIBO to go along and complicate the condition.  The gases usually made by the bacteria from FODMAP ingredients are not formed from resistant starch:  “However, RS [resistant starch] is believed to result in only a modest production of these gases [carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen] compared with other non-digestible oligosaccharides, fructo-oligosaccharides and lactulose.” (6)  Potato, sweet potato, and rice are often well tolerated in those with FODMAP issues–although I read that sweet potato has mannitol which may cause some people problems.  (Sorry, no source.)

Diabetics:  They say that diabetics’ blood sugars will be fine on resistant starch and may even improve!  This seems like it would be quite variable and a diabetic should watch very closely.  (19)

Flatulence:  Excess gas.  Anecdotal evidence points out that there is excess gas as a person starts increasing their resistant starch.  The anecdotes say that it usually resolves in the first week at a stable dose.

Last tidbits with no good place to fit in above butFruit kabobs I want you to hear about:

Will resistant starch make me fat?  Resistant starch reportedly helps with the feeling of being full–so you’re not so hungry!  However, if it is metabolized by your bacteria, it does have calories (short chain fatty acids are made and absorbed).  Typical starch that is absorbed up in the small intestine supplies 4.2 calories per gram.  Apparently, resistant starch produces 2 calories per gram.  (6)  Want an anecdote?  I started potato starch as a resistant starch.  I stir one tablespoon in water twice a day.  I can honestly say that I’m not very hungry.  Of course, there could be a million and one other reasons for that.

Did you know we have a drug that makes starch resistant?  Acarbose is a diabetic drug.  It inhibits amylase and so increases the amount of resistant starch and also increases oligosaccharides.  It has been found to increase SCFA in the colon (but with side effects of bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, etc).  (17)

Resistant starch versus non-starch polysaccharides (see last post for explanation) in butyrate production:  RS seems to do a better job than other carbohydrates at producing butyrate. Resistant starch acts as a prebiotic, raising the numbers of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. (5)

Resistant starch diet helps increase the neurons that promote motility:  “After 14 days of RSD [resistant starch diet], the neurochemical phenotype of myenteric neurons of rats showed a significant increase of 35% in the proportion of ChAT-IR neurons complared with animals fed with the SD [standard diet]…As expected, RSD was associated with a significant increase in colonic concentration of butyrate compared with SD [standard diet].”   (18)  What is this saying?  On a resistant starch diet, the proportion of acetylcholine neurons increased!  Acetylcholine neurons play a large role in GI peristalsis and bowel movements.  Also, my friend butyrate, was found at increased concentrations.

Which form of resistant starch produces more butyrate?  This really seems to land you all over the place, trying to characterize all the different starch types and food types and how they each have a different effect.  Crazy.  Anyhow, RS 2 from raw potato starch is reported to increase the concentration of butyrate in humans and rats while RS 3 is reported to increase the concentration of acetate in pigs, but not in humans.  (5)

Great related reading:

I’m not saying I agree with all that is said.  I just like to see ALL that I can out there so I can think about how it applies to my body.  Does benefit outweigh risk in trying something?  Am I willing to accept that what somebody suggests could set me back significantly?  Does what they’re saying make sense in the context of what I know about physiology and biochemistry (which is NEVER enough!).

Free the Animal has about a million resistant starch posts, including posts on specific conditions (like SIBO, FODMAPS, high blood sugars, etc.)  This is really the place to go to read about resistant starch, although they have quite an enthusiastic stance.  I’m pretty excited, too, but I try to temper my excitement.  Nothing is a cure-all.  I haven’t had success coming off of butyrate with an increase in resistant starch using green bananas and Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch (yet).

Animal Pharm:  HOW TO CURE SIBO, Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth:  Step #2 Eat Resistant-Starch-Rich Tubers, Grains, Legumes and Pulses (Guest Post: Tim/TATER)

Digestive Health Institute:  Resistant Starch–Friend or Foe


Please take good care.  Don’t be overwhelmed.  Track your symptoms.  Be patient with changes.  Don’t get frustrated.  Read.  Weigh benefits and risks.  Don’t flit from diet to diet to diet.  Pick a system, stick with it awhile, and then implement tweaks slowly and methodically.  Where you are at NOW does not reflect where you have to stay FOREVER!!!!!

As always, I need typos pointed out and faulty links.  I do the best I can, but this is a simply a hobby of putting together my findings for others to read.


Part 7


  1. Diet and the evolution of human amylase gene copy number variation.  Perry, Dominy, Claw, et al.  Nature Genetics 39, 1256 – 1260 (2007) Published online: 9 September 2007.  (Link)

  2. Transfer of carbohydrate-active enzymes from marine bacteria to Japanese gut microbiota.  Hehemann, Correc, Barbeyron, et al.  Nature 464, 908-912 (8 April 2010). (Link)

  3. Archaeology:  The milk revolution.  Curry, Andrew.  Nature.  July 2013. (Link)

  4. Dominant and diet-responsive groups of bacteria within the human colonic microbiota.  Walker, Ince, Duncan, et al.  The ISME Journal (2011) 5, 220–230.  (Link)

  5. Starches, resistant starches, the gut microflora and human health.  Bird, Brown, and Topping.  Current Issues in Intestinal Microbiology.  2000.  1(1):  25-37.  (Link)

  6. Health properties of resistant starch.  Nugent, AP.  Nutrition Bulletin.  March 2005.  30 (1): 27-54.  (Link)

  7. (Abstract.)  Anticarcinogenic actions of tributyrin, a butyric acid prodrug.  Heidor, Ortega, de Conti, et al.  Curr Drug Targets.  December 2012.  13(14):1720-9. (Link to abstract.)
  8. http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/hysta.html
  9. The synthesis of the starch molecule.  Smith, Denyer, et al.  Plant Carbohydrate Biochemistry.  1999.  Chapter 7.
  10. An in vitro method, based on chewing, to predict resistant starch content in foods allow parallel determination of potentially available starch and dietary fiber.  Akerberg, Liljeberg, et al.  The Journal of Nutrition.  1998.  128 (3): 651-660.  (Link)
  11. The Resistant Starch Report.  An Australian Update on health benefits, measurement, and daily intakes.  Landon, Colyer, and Salman.  Food Australia Supplement. 2012.    (Link)
  12. Link to a PDF file on Free the Animal blog listing resistant starch content:  http://freetheanimal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Resistant-Starch-in-Foods.pdf
  13. Natural Hi-Maize Starch website:  “Double Resistant Starch Intake.”  http://www.resistantstarch.com/NR/rdonlyres/DE2ADBB0-FF7D-40A7-B409-03493FEFFDFA/4601/Foodswithresistantstarch_LR.pdf
  14. Effect of variety and cooking method on resistant starch content of white rice and subsequent postprandial glucose response and appetite in humans.  Yu-Ting Chiu, Maria L Stewart. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2013;22 (3):372-379.  (Link)

  15. Understanding Starch Functionality.  Scott Hegenbart. Food Product Design.  January 1996. (Link)

  16. Butyrylated starch increases colonic butyrate concentration but has limited effects on immunity in healthy physically active individuals.  West, Shristophersen, et al. Exerc Immun Review.  2013.  19: 102-119.  (Link)

  17. Abstract for Effects of acarbose on fecal nutrients, colonic pH, and short-chain fatty acids and rectal proliferative indices.  Holt et al.  Metabolism.  1996.  Sep;45(9):1179-87.  (Link)

  18. Short-chain fatty acids regulate the enteric neurons adn control gastrointestinal motility in rats.  Gastroenterology.  May 2010.  138(5):1772-82. (Link)
  19. Consumption of both resistant starch and b-glucan improves postprandial plasma glucose and insulin in women.  Behall, Scholfield, et al.  Diabetes Care.  May 2006.  29(5): 976-981.  (Link)

51 thoughts on “Butyrate Series, Part 6

  1. Tricia

    Thank you! So much valuable info. very grateful I found you:) I have so many questions as I am trying to heal myself and just diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome with RA lots of supplements and natural anti inflammatory food and life style. I’m convicted it all beings in the intestines so trying to tackle the beast. Any input you have I would greatly appreciate! Do you ever do phone consults? Thank you again! P.S.
    Should I start eatting butter??:)

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I’m glad you “liked” the information, and I am so sorry you are dealing with Sjogren’s and RA! (How’d you get that grammatical mark above the “o”!!?? 🙂 ) I am pretty early on in this journey, and I have tons to learn still! I don’t think I know enough yet to consult anyone, but I love to share what I learned and what I’ve been through myself or heard from others! I’d love to field anything you can think of! Makes me keep learning!

      Your path sounds a lot like mine, via gut rehab and autoimmune. As far as butter, this butyrate stuff has really got me thinking about butter. I reacted to it and ghee before, but I haven’t tried again recently. I think it might be time. I have thought about trying the butter oil. Have you heard of that? It ought to have butyrate in it, too–like butter and ghee. I was afraid to try it, too, since I reacted to dairy so strongly. It seems butter is a good thing, if a person is honest as to whether they really do/do not have symptoms from it. But I can’t think that the healing effects would outweigh the inflammatory effects if a person reacts–but I could be wrong!

      And you probably have found the site, but The Paleo Mom site was helpful for me. I hope you make progress with your diet and health! I’d love to hear of any progress so I can keep learning how effective/not effective this diet and natural stuff is! ~~Terri

      1. Tricia Tetrault

        Funny…the ..over the o just appear when typing that weird word:) I am learning a lot from all your info and my own research. How long have you been taking butyrate? Do you have any negative side effects? Seems to be working already:) have you heard of the blood type diet? He recommends Butyrate as a supplement. There is so much I want to say,ask but I will spare you my ramble! Again thank you,

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I love rambles. I always loved “stream of consciousness” writing. 🙂 Rambles welcome!

        Glad your technology puts that stuff in for you! That’s convenient!

        I know–butyrate worked quickly for me, too. I really don’t understand how it works orally and that quickly. The studies all want it to be released in the colon so they create the tributyrin to help it do that. But my formulation isn’t enteric coated, tributyrin or anything special. So it would be absorbed quickly in the stomach and/or small intestine. The effect must be systemic or perhaps butyric acid acts in a feedback loop with other parts of the GI tract or causes something to be secreted that does? I haven’t an idea yet. If anyone who reads this does–pipe in! Regardless, when I stopped taking it to prove itself, my peristalsis stopped. Add it back in and it restarted. Very strange. I have used it 6 weeks. I had no side effects. You?

        I have heard of the blood type diet and bought the book to read. It has been “debunked” but I always look for pearls to connect the dots. I will have to pull it out to see what he says about butyrate! Thanks!

        Your welcome. 🙂 ~Terri

      3. Tricia

        Side effects minor just lots of gurgling and some heart burn. Finding some more valuable info. on butyrate and inflammation! This butyrate seems to be a wonder if it’s true:) hoping it is and trying to see if anyone has used it for long term and effects on body good or bad. Much help needed, many prayers for direction and wisdom I’m determined to figure this out. 🙂

      4. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I take that back. Good point. Gurgling the first few days. No heartburn. Yes! Lots of information on butyrate and inflammation! Lots! To my small mind, butyrate seems so impressive. (Or course if I can stimulate it with my diet, that’s my goal if I can. As I increase the butyrate foods/butyrate producing foods, I’m also increasing other vitamins and minerals that are so helpful.) I feel so stupid, but I just can’t figure out why there are not more human studies with butyrate! It has been around a long time! What’s up?

        How long have you been searching in the more natural health direction for your problems? And BTW, I’m pretty good at e-mail. E-mail me if you want and we can compare notes! My e-mail is in the sidebar there. You can do this!

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Hi, Melanie! No problem about where the info goes. It all funnels through me! And a good “Google” search will even allow a person to find this info in a blog’s comments. At least, that’s how I ended up finding so much info out there! I did NOT know about cassava/tapioca starch when I wrote this. However I have since discovered it. Such staples in other cultures. I adore eating cassava itself. I’ll go skim the article you sent! Thanks—-And I presume you know about Tim Steele/The Potato Hack, who is currently testing many different starches to try to get an idea how much RS each contains, since it’s always published so variably.

        Take care!

  2. IrishMum

    Amazing work Terri, are you feeding, teaching those kids while you put all this together? 😉 There is SO much in it!! I love your work, and am learning something new with every post. Pity my brain has slowed down so much as I have aged that I have to read a couple of times 😦
    “Raw potato has immense amounts of RS. Mashed potatoes have immensely less”, but raw taste terrible and mashed with lots of butter is delicious!!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks! Now that I have reintroduced potatoes, meals are a cinch! We just eat cold potatoes. And since we buy our bananas so green, they last forever! (Wink.)

      The posts are manageable until time to add citations. That stinks and takes up too much time. Don’t like.

      Your quick wit will never slow!

      Can’t wait to get over to your new post. I saw it come in but had to get those stupid citations listed. Cheers!

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Well, it sure does take me longer than 30 seconds to read them…am I okay, do you think?
        And I always think that I suffered through so much learning the stuff like this I post on, why not pass the pain? LOL! Misery loves company!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Wow. That’s a strongly worded abstract. Nice to see. Might be worth seeing if I can track down the article! Thank you! I just wish we could get more people at bare minimum eating whole foods; it’s very frustrating to watch now that I know.

  3. All Seasons Cyclist

    OK, I had to pull a dictionary for this article (really I just used Google). Thanks for the explanation of what “resistant starch” is — I’ve heard the phrase for a couple of years but was too lazy to look it up. I think I am just going to refer to it as “enteric coated starch” from now on.

  4. andthreetogo

    I am amazed that you can break down this subject and make it not only readable but also easy to understand. Although I do not suffer from any of the issues here, I do love to learn and believe very much that eating the right food can often heal what ails us (or at least make the symptoms less horrible). Thanks for sharing all the info you have found with the rest of us!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you!!! I am so glad it is readable! I wasn’t sure about this last post! I would say none of the symptoms seemed to catch up with me (I really was never uncomfortable with my GI tract up til then either) hit me until age 35. Then I seemed to fall apart! Bam! Unlike you, I was NOT a food believer because of my training and because of the way I was raised.

      Now you know why to tell your daughter to eat her potato salad: the bacteria in her “tummy” will make butyrate to keep her “stomach” feeling good and to help her not get sick!

  5. The Vanilla Housewife

    I’ve been thinking, before any food gets into your mouth, you have them broken down in your head and you know exactly what goes where. I wish I took chemistry and biology more seriously back then.
    Seriously, you need to write a book! So many would benefit from your knowledge!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I’m glad the culmination of all my time spent studying is at least paying off in the health department of my family! It was a long road. I’m just happy if people get a pearl off of the blog. There are two things in life I’ve watched others do and realized I should not do: 1. Build a brand new house. 2. Write a book.

      But I’ve also learned you should never tell God you will never do something. You’ll end up in the tundra of South Dakota. Or the combination of grain, dairy, and sugar will start making you sick and you’ll become a huge whole foods advocate (because you said you’d never give up white flour). Or a couple of other things!

  6. Pingback: Potato Diet, Fall 2013 - Page 85 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 85

  7. Pingback: Resistant Starches - Page 57 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 57

  8. Valerie

    “Where you are at NOW does not reflect where you have to stay FOREVER!!!!!” – I love this, Terri! So true. I need to keep this in mind as I make changes to my diet and exercise.

  9. Pingback: Butyrate Series, Part 7 | The HSD

  10. Ashwin Patel

    I love your Butyrate series and particularly Resistant Starch. Very informative. However I am worried about individuals for whom it may actually cause problems.
    There is a link connecting the consumption of starch leading to the growth of the Bacterium Klebsiella in the GI tract and leading to triggering of autoimmune conditions in genetically pre-disposed individuals….Ankylosing Spondylitis and Crohn’s Disease. Apparently, Klebsiella microbes in the bowel have an enzyme (Pullulanase) which can cleave the starch molecule and use it as a substrate for growth. In light of this information, do you still consider Resistant Starch to be “Prebiotic” or would it be better described as “Colon food” ?
    follow this link for Article causing me to worry:

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Nice link. Thank you for sharing. I am no expert and I’m learning along with the rest of everyone else out here! I still consider RS to be prebiotic and also a potential source of butyrate production–which is beneficial for many (all?). (But RS is NOT the only way to get butyrate production up!) Based on this article, however, I’d have to do a lot more reading before I used RS supplement/extensive food sources in my regimen if I had Ank Spond/IBD or a family history of such as it does look like Klebsiella makes it into food. I do keep in mind that many cultures historically/presently rely on foods high in RS and they have low incidence of these diseases–so what gives?:

      Ank Spond in West Africans…: http://ard.bmj.com/content/56/1/68.full

      Definitely this is a very multi-faceted problem. One man’s cure is another man’s poison.

      Have you found this blog yet? The author is pretty good at getting back with answering comments. Here is a link to a RS article:

      “Gut Vs Gut: This is how and why RS is Working” http://mrheisenbug.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/gut-vs-gut-this-is-how-why-resistant-starch-is-working/

      Take care and have a good day! ~~Terri

    2. marvin

      I have ankylosing spondylitis and i’m treating myself by avoiding starch(otherwise it triggers flares)at any cost + probiotics and i was looking into butyrate after reading a couple of researches.but to develop ankylosing spondylitis you “need”to have HLA b27(present in 95% of the patients with AS). so no i wouldn’t recommend you to try this regiment if you have ankylosing spondylitis

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Hi, Marvin. Thanks for chiming in. If you happen to check back, I’d love to know how your ankylosing spondylitis is doing. Do you only use probiotics and diet modification? Does that help? What kinds of starches seem to make things worse? All? (Squash, legumes, grains, select fruits, etc?) Did you decide to pursue increasing your butyrate through some sort of dietary means (obviously probably not starches)? Supplementation means? I’m just so fascinated by how much/if diet can modify disease.

  11. Jo tB

    During the height of the potato starch hype, I also conducted an RS experiment. I wasn’t very eager to try potato starch, so decided to use plantain flour instead. As a diabetic (T2) it would lower my blood glucose levels, which excited me a lot. The first week I saw greatly improved levels and danced around the room, yippie, yippie. It was too soon, as after the first week my sugar levels went back up and I was back to square one.

    My issue is I have suffered from constipation for over 40 years. No amount of doctors and specialists visits have ever solved the problem. Doing a poop once every 3 to 4 days, is not a good thing. However, having followed the suggestions made on Mr Heisenbugs blog and on other blogs/forums, I definitely see an improvement. Going twice a day for the last few days (and three times last Sunday), hey, for me that’s a MIRACLE. How?

    I have started making my own yoghurt again (1 ½ weeks ago), I have found a supplier here in Holland that makes raw milk yoghurt. I use a couple of tablespoons of that yoghurt to start mine. I added 2 capsules of L. plantarum 299v to the last batch I made and plan on continuing in doing so. That way I get fresh live bacteria into my system. I add 1 teaspoon each of Plantain Flour, Sour Starch (made from Cassava), pounded Yam flour and maize starch to the yoghurt, let it stand for a while (as per Mr Heisenbug’s blog) to give the bacteria time to attach themselves to the granules and I add a dash of whipping cream for the fat. The results look very promising, but I don’t want rejoice too soon this time around, for fear I jinx it again.

    I also used half a very green plantain, slice it and add to a blender with half a can of coconut milk. I have also done it with the yoghurt. Boy, does that make one VERY THICK and yummie smoothie.

    I couln’t find butyrate in Holland. I have found Gamma Amino Butyeric Acid (GABA) capsules and have started taking them. So the combination definitely is starting to work on my constipation!!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      That is amazing! I will be anxiously awaiting to hear if you jinxed yourself! (Smile! I’m hoping you didn’t!) Will you please let me know if the GI still moves on its own in about a month?

      Will you please clarify when you add the starches and cream in your yogurt making process? Before you let it ferment or just a bit of time before you eat it?

      (You should be getting some pre-made butyrate in your whipping cream and full-fat yogurt if they are grass-fed. That’s how I’d get my butyrate if I tolerated dairy.)

      I hope this all brings success. Before this, did you ever have any dairy issues? The reason I ask is because no matter what dairy I try, I have issues (both GI and CNS). So I’m secretly hoping to hear you say, “Oh, yes. I couldn’t eat dairy “X” number of years ago.”

      Is this one particular Heisenbug post? Or accumulation of thoughts? I’d love to read about this some more! I didn’t know if I could just go to his blog and search “constipation” and find a particular post or if it’s on one of his RS posts or etc.

      Being pregnant has really put me back, not to square one, but definitely not really acceptable either.

      And lastly, will you share if you also use any other GI stuff–like magnesium, flax, whatever? in addition to all these RSes that you’re also incorporating with the yogurt?


  12. Pingback: Butyrate Series, Part 5 | The HSD

  13. Pingback: Butyrate and Constipation | The HSD

  14. Aviva

    Hello Terry,
    Quite an article, this one!! I sure have to read it again.
    Since I became inerested in Butyrate I was wondering about Gaps people and resistant starch.
    I saw somewhere here that you are on the Gaps diet so I realize you know the SCD and Gaps theory (by Dr Haas, Elaine Gotshall and Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride (her name is so long :)). These two diets take all starches out of the diet for quite a long time – no potatoes, no rice. I know that a lot of people with Crohn and Colitis may feel good on Scd/Gaps for long years.
    So – didn’t Dr. Natasha know about Butyrate? She does advise eating butter and ghee but no starch whatsoever. So are we, Gaps people starving our gut bacteria? Or all the other vegetables we eat enough food for these bacteria?
    I understand that Scd and Gaps (I am a Gaps practitioner, a new one) are a simplified theory for a very complicated issue and I feel that when I go deeper I lose my way.
    All this because I was thinking about giving my daughter the Biotics Cal-Mag Butyrate for her Crohn (there are some studies about it’s benefits in Crohn) but wondering about it all, can’t tie up all the ends. She was eating rice on her recent flare up and it seems it did her good and even had some potatoes (warm) and they were fine as well.

    By the way, you can see some more reviews on Butyrate products on IHerb and Vitacost.
    So this is it for now.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi! Ha! Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s name is so long!—I don’t know if these doctors/researchers knew/know about butyrate. However, GAPS and SCD specifically allow for some very high butyrate producing foods: lentils and Navy beans. (And the diets also encourage grass-fed butter/ghee/yogurt which would have butyrate intrinsically.) Beans and legumes are top butyrate-earners. Also, peanut butter would be a butyrate producer too, I believe if I remember right. On the other hand, these (lentils, beans, peanut butter) are “advanced” foods, and they are not emphasized any more than any other foods on the diet. So I think it is quite possible that many people on GAPS/SCD who don’t eat those could be running into some issues. That’s why I think it’s important for all of us to remember that these diets are not designed to be permanent diets. I stuck with it about 18 months, and then I started branching (when I started reading about butyrate).—-Another point (how to organize all our thoughts into this little box, eh?) is that there is cross-feeding of the bacteria. So when lactic acid bacteria make lactic acid, another butyrate-producing bacteria can use that. So one population of bacteria feeds another. (It takes me forever to turn posts around, but this is one I have papers pulled to write about.) So I have to think that all of the vegetable matter that is so encouraged (even mandatory, if you will) in GAPS/SCD is supporting a host of bacteria which can turn around and support the butyrate-producers. Not to mention the probiotic foods and supplements.—It is all a deep rabbit hole! I liked GAPS for having a platform to start from, but I took notes daily for a very long time to figure out what worked and didn’t work for me. I’ve read across the internet of many people who struggled on GAPS, added in XYZ (rice/potato/sweet potato/etc), and they felt they blossomed. So I know it must be so personal; I don’t doubt their stories. I know people out there come down hard on rice and potatoes (and grains in general), but I think we’re all too different to be lumped. But a struggling person deserves a trial of a “healing” diet like GAPS/Wahls/Autoimmune Paleo to see how far they can get with nutrition.—And I’m still learning! My slow transit is stuck right now, so I’m not claiming I know anything!—Would love to just keep hearing what works and doesn’t so we can all make a mental tally… Guess I’ve written too much again as usual. 🙂 Signing off.

  15. Aly

    Oy vey, I’ve just made it through your butyrate posts and I’ve learned so much! But I am quite surprised to read this because I recently thought I’d figured out that too much resistant starch was my problem! I read a lot about the SCD because just cutting out grains and dairy hadn’t solved my problem. Since adding fiber and probiotics always seemed to make things worse, it seemed like SIBO was a possibility. I notice I get bloated after eating potatoes, plantains, other tubers. It seemed like these things were feeding bad bacteria in my gut. But if I keep avoiding these things it sounds like I’m starving my gut of something crucial! I’m going to look at the sites you linked and try to learn more.

  16. Kathy

    Just a brief comment about butyrate – started taking the Body-bio Butyrate 5 days ago. Have had slightly softer BMs, BUT noticed after 2 days that my complexion started improving – dramatically! My enlarged t-zone pores are noticeably smaller, my skin is less oily – I need less make-up. This is a wonderful side effect, but what gives? Would appreciate your thoughts.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author


      I don’t know, but it looks like pharmaceutical topical cream scientists might know something. You are very astute and very body aware. Man, that’s amazing! Pharmaceutical companies should hire people like you for leads. 🙂 Some strong, topical steroid creams use butyrate as a kind of carrier. Read this abstract, which I’ve given the link for and actually copied and pasted for if the link ever goes dead and someone is interested:


      “Abstract: In fresh human skin homogenates, the activities of four enzymes, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PDH), “acid” phosphatase (AcP), and “leucine aminopeptidase” (LAP) were assayed following an incubation with hydrocortisone, hydrocotisone acetate, or hydrocortisone-17-butyrate, respectively. Concentration of the three compounds measured 2.75 mMol/l. Hydrocortison butyrate inhibited LDH-G-6-PDH-, and AcP-activities. Hydrocortisone and hydrocortisone acetate exerted a significant inhibitory action only in the case of G-6-PDH-activity.–On pure G-6-PDH from yeast, the inhibition exerted by hydrocortisone butyrate was significantly stronger than the inhibition exerted by the two other steroids. Time/action diagrams revealed the fact that hydrocortisone butyrate is superior to the other two compounds from the beginning of the incubation period.–The date sustain the assumption that hydrocortisone butyrate exerts biochemical-pharmacological actions of its own and that it may not be considered just as an esterified transport form of hydrocortisone.”

      It also appears to affect the cornification of skin, but I couldn’t quite grasp the full story on this because I couldn’t read the full report and the abstract was not extensive:


      “Our observations suggest that sodium butyrate stimulates cornified envelope formation via the induction of the plasma membrane-associated transglutaminase required for cornified envelope synthesis and, additionally, by abolishing the inhibitory effect of retinoids on the expression of this enzyme.”

      and here is a PDF describing a specific skin agent/cosmetic which uses butyrate. I’ll link to it if I can. Hopefully it will pull up for you:


      “These results suggest that ITHABUT displays outstanding properties as long-lasting moisturizer of dermal
      layer and promotes enhancement of skin elasticity. These two properties have a beneficial effect in
      restoration of skin physiology.”

      I’d better stop. There’s not a lot out there on this, at least with the search terms I tried. Obviously these researchers/pharmaceutical companies got some information from somewhere that if I dug long enough, maybe I’d find. But time passes too quickly and Christmas planning calls me. I think you picked up something there and you definitely renewed my interest in all this alternative jazz. And to keep eating really strong! 🙂 Thanks!


  17. Roger B

    I found that the flatulence never ends. But my family can’t smell anything. I can sit in a room with a bunch of people and quietly open the nuclear football and push the red button, and no one reacts at all, thanks to resistant starch. And no, these people were not polite; they were family, who have no problem jumping on me for these kinds of things. (:->) Oh, did I mention that my favorite age is 6 years old.

    You should know that there is a lot of scientific and anecdotal evidence that H2 (“molecular hydrogen”) is a fan-freaking-tastic antioxidant. And I am one of those anecdotal evidences. But trying to make H2 rich water in the kitchen is very much of a hassle, so I went looking for ways to increase H2 absorption naturally via diet, and I think that I found it. I hope that you will check it out and write about it some day soon.

    FYI, I measured Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch at 13 grams per tablespoonful.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I hadn’t heard that about H2. I Googled it briefly and found an article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257754/. Interesting. Will keep that in mind as I read.

      Your poor family. 🙂 Well, if you increase methane, as well. There’s no odor to that.

      “Hydrogen is metabolized by a range of bacterial and archaeal flora in the gut, including the sulfate-reducing bacteria, which use hydrogen to reduce sulfate to sulfide; the acetogenic bacteria, which reduce carbon dioxide to acetate via molecular hydrogen; and the methanogenic archaea, which convert hydrogen gas to methane (Figure 1). In the colon of methanogenic humans, the methanogens are the primary hydrogen-consuming flora, reducing flatulence through 4:1 conversion of hydrogen gas to methane gas (15).” (http://www.nature.com/ajgsup/journal/v1/n1/full/ajgsup20126a.html)

  18. Nevada Smith

    I was looking at two supplements. Sodium butyrate and sodium potassium butyrate.
    Would on be more preferred than the other?


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