Butyrate Series, Part 7


We have made it to butyrate supplements.

Diet-wise, I follow the GAPS diet with modifications resembling a Paleo Diet/Autoimmune Paleo Diet –with some low carb stints thrown in to try to achieve my health goals.  I don’t have any lofty goals of looking like a runway model or movie star.  I’m still a little young to be much scared about cancer.  I don’t hang out with a fitness crowd to bring out my competitive inner edge.  My labs and ideal body weight have always checked out ideal.

I started the GAPS diet for exceptionally severe, idiopathic constipation and tweaked it here and there based on my research.  The symptoms I have changed include headaches, chronic allergy symptoms, fatigue, dry eyes, strange premature hot flashes, and I could go on.  My gut improved, but I still thought it could work better.  Several months ago, I started following some leads on nerve regeneration in the gut, and they lead me to butyrate.  I decided I would try an oral butyrate supplement, despite the researchers all saying a delayed release product was probably necessary.  If, by some chance, oral butyrate helped me, I would then focus on tweaking my diet some more to obtain butyrate naturally through food.  I was amazed when oral butyrate worked for me, particularly as I didn’t even choose a sustained release formulation.  If I stopped butyrate, my symptoms returned.  When I resumed it, my symptoms resolved.  So I’ve been working to try to increase forms of fiber and resistant starch that I tolerate–I’ve defined these in previous butyrate posts.

Ways I see to increase butyrate:

1. Eat foods with butyrate (butyrate-containing foods), like high fat dairy products such as butter. (Part 4)
2. Eat foods that your bacteria can make butyrate from (butyrate-producing foods), like fiber and
resistant starch.

3. Take butyrate supplements.
4. Take butyrate producing probiotics and prebiotics.

A bit about butyrate production.

Aside from the pharmaceutical industry, butyric acid is also used in the manufacture of plastics, varnishes, disinfectants, perfumes, and cosmetics. (Butyric acid and butyrate are interchangeable terms for our conversation.)  The American Food and Drug Administration has even approved it as an additive to food, beverages, and flavorings in the form of tributyrin. (1)  You’ll see more on tributyrin below.  (Humorous:  I also found it is used in fish bait: Carp Fishing Pellets.  Nice.)

The organic structure of butyrate is simple. It is just four connected carbons saturated with hydrogens with a carboxylic acid on the end of the chain. The manufacture of butyric acid is mainly from chemical synthesis using crude oil extracts. Crude oil extracts provide cheap, readily available ingredients. Butyrate can be extracted from butter, but the process is reportedly more difficult and expensive. Another way to obtain butyrate is through bacterial fermentation (the way we naturally get it from resistant starch and fiber in our colons). Bacteria are given the appropriate matter, and they ferment it to make butyrate. The fermentation method interests manufacturers because of the growing interest in “natural” sources for foodstuff. (1)  Butyric acid itself is a bit corrosive, and in supplements it will be found as a salt form.

My concerns with oral butyrate supplementation–and supplements in general.

My concerns with oral butyrate supplements are not unique to butyrate; they are the same concerns I have with supplements in general. Butyrate seems to have a pretty good track record. I mean, as I mentioned above, it’s even approved by the FDA for flavorings. But any time I take a supplement I ask myself a battery of questions. Could there be impurities, such as heavy metals? What is the proper dose? Does the supplement contain the amount of active ingredient it says it does? What if people take enormous amounts? Should there be a concern with unopposed supplementation? (What I am thinking of here pertains to “ratios.” For example the ideal ratio of calcium to magnesium supplementation. Or the ideal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.) What are the side effects?

Butyrate seems pretty non-toxic as long as the manufacturer’s dosing guidelines are adhered to.  One study found that escalating doses in mice lead to kidney swelling– in humans the equivalent dose would be 7-8 grams in humans.  (2, 3)  To put it into perspective, the butyrate supplement I tried recommends a dose of up to 3.6 grams.  Another study specifically points out that in vitro, butyrate has positive effects until a certain point at which it has an opposite, detrimental effect:

“We conclude that the effect of butyrate on the intestinal barrier is paradoxical; i.e. whereas low concentrations of butyrate may be beneficial in promoting intestinal barrier function, excessive butyrate may induce severe intestinal epithelial cell apoptosis and disrupt intestinal barrier.” (4)

And finally, here is a nice toxicology report on butyric acid from the Environmental Protection Agency,  “Screening Information Data Sets” (SIDS). The report was accumulated for the SIDS Initial Assessment Meeting, referred to as the SIAM, in 2003.  It goes over just about anything you’d want to know about butyric acid, from its different uses to its stability in water to its effects on rats and their fetuses. For those interested in the toxicity profile as it at least relates to rats, scroll down a ways. It will talk about effects on male rats, female rats, pregnant rats, developing fetuses, chromosomes, etc. (5)

What are some commonly available butyrate supplements?

I Googled some supplements, and I will list those that I found. By listing them, I am not recommending any of them!  (Neither am I dis-recommending any of them.)  I’m simply listing in one spot just about all the supplements I could find and available consumer reviews.  If you think butyrate may be right for you, run it by your favorite healthcare provider. Maybe print off a couple of the studies I’ve linked to in my article and the EPA report above to help the provider understand toxicity, perhaps highlighting the sentences of interest to facilitate quick reading for them. I’m not in the situation to recommend anything, but I am happy to share my own personal experiences and research that I’ve come across.

Keep in mind the success of butyrate supplementation is going to vary from person to person. The pills will release their contents differently because of inter-individual differences in the pH of a person’s gut and transit time.  These supplements are salts, and the butyrate provided by these supplements will probably be absorbed very early in the GI tract, perhaps offering no benefit. There are other forms of butyrate used out there but not over the counter. I will mention them later.

P.S.:  Thank Amazon for the photos.  I didn’t realize the links came with photos.  Well, that saves you from my very bad drawings and “bubble-gum” photos.  (Sorry.  “Bubble-bum” is the word my dad used to describe the music I listened to as a kid.)   Rest assured this is still a hobby; I make no money from it.

BodyBio/E-Lyte Butyrate 600 mg (Calcium/magnesium complex): This one has five reviews you can read on Amazon. The reviews revolve around fibromyalgia, collagenous colitis, excess ammonia, and multiple food sensitivities.


BodyBio/E-Lyte 600 mg (Sodium Butyrate): This one also has five reviews on Amazon, around cancer, bipolar, substance addiction, and more nebulous issues. Quite interestingly enough, this also has medium chain triglycerides in it!



BodyBio/E-Lyte 500 mg (Sodium-Potassium Butyrate): One review regarding autism.


Pharmax, Butyrate Complex: Three reviews. Constipation, yeast, and a nothing.


Nutricology/ Allergy Research Group ButyrAid: 5 reviews. IBS, dysbiosis.


Cal-Mag Butyrate: 1 review. Leaky gut.


T.E.Neesby – Butyrex Cal/Mag, 600 mg, Micro encapsulated design: Two reviews. GI related and insomnia.



Butyren, Allergy Research (Nutricology): “ButyrEn, from Allergy Research Group, is an enteric-coated tablet of the calcium and magnesium salts of butyric acid, providing 815 mg of butyrate and 100 mg of both calcium and magnesium…the enteric coating is designed to provide delayed release in the intestinal tract.” Two reviews which don’t offer much.


BioCare Butyric acid complex (magnesium and calcium): No reviews.


Digestix: Two fair reviews.


Forms of butyrate not available over the counter, per se:


In many butyrate research studies, tributyrin is used. Isn’t it fascinating that it is tributyrin which naturally occurs in butter? (6) Tributyrin serves as a delayed-release source of butyrate, and hence achieves more sustained plasma levels. It is made of a glycerol backbone with three butyrate molecules attached.  However, even still, it is absorbed before the colon:

“Oral tributyrin (glycerol tributyrate) is absorbed in the small intestine and at high doses increases free butyrate concentration in peripheral plasma for up to 4 h. However, the hepatic uptake of intestinal butyrate is known to be almost complete, suggesting that systemic delivery of butyrate to the colon would be limited.” (7)

Tributyrin has been used in many studies including, but in no way limited to, cancer studies, metabolic studies, and neurological disease studies.  Oncologists were hopeful that it could achieve the cancer-slowing benefits in vivo as is seen with butyrate in vitro; about 20% of cancer patients achieved long-term disease stabilization when receiving 200 mg/kg 3 times daily in a pilot trial. In diabetes and obesity, reports suggest tributyrin has the ability to suppress the induction of obesity and insulin resistance in mice fed a high-fat diet. Researchers speculate there may be an impact of tributyrin on the cognitive function of patients with early Alzheimer’s disease, although they express concerns:

“From the standpoint of practicality, however, it would be necessary to incorporate tributyrin into a functional food, as it would not be feasible to require the ingestion of many dozens of capsules daily.”  (3)


Phenylbutyrate is an “orphan” drug used in rare conditions. What in the heck is an orphan drug?  An orphan drug is one that has been pushed through the typical drug approval process usually because the disease it treats is so rare. Phenylbutyrate has activity similar to butyrate (induction of apoptosis and histone acetylation) and is used for urea cycle disorders. I have listed it here as its actions seem similar to butyrate, and if one is exploring butyrate, they can also pursue study of phenylbutyrate. (8)

Butyrylated Starch:

Some studies have started using high amylase corn starch with butyrate attached.  You’ve seen high amylase corn starch mentioned in this series before when I discussed resistant starch. (7, 9)  Potentially, they’d like to consider adding butyrylated starches to food products to promote health.  (Darn it, folks.  Why do we keep letting ourselves be manipulated this way?  Instead of a cheap study looking at the safety or toxicity of raw potato to deliver resistant starch to the colon to bolster butyrate production and butyrate promoting bacteria, they’re coming up with more ways to modify your food source.  Why can’t we get it together?  When is enough enough?  Stop eating processed foods.  Even gluten-free ones.)


These may be helpful in ulcerative colitis. Research results are mixed.  The one formulation I found pre-prepared had been discontinued.  I read some forums, but I couldn’t really find any strong leads here.  It seems that to get these, you have to take your prescription to a pharmacy which compounds (makes) them specially for you. The smell and delivery mechanism are undesirable I read–not to mention the exposure time of the colon epithelium to butyrate will be brief.  If you have anything to leave in the comments regarding these, some Googlers may find it helpful in the future.


Thanks for reading.  I’m sorry this has taken so long to prepare.  I hate that I pretty much came to a halt on a series.  I’m in my first trimester of pregnancy.  I’m not a very pleasant pregnant person.  Give me a baby.  Give me a kid.  Don’t give me pregnancy or a toddler.  (Joke.)

The next Butryate Series post will revolve around using probiotics to increase butyrate in the gut.  But I may have to write some “bubble-gum” posts in the meantime, if I can even type up anything at all.  I’m about shot.  Please point out typos and mis-information, please.  I appreciate it.  ~~Terri

Sources:  There are some interesting sources today.  Read and scrutinize carefully.

1.  Acetate adaptation of clostridia tyrobutyricum for improved fermentation production of butyrate.  Adam M Jaros, Ulrika Rova and Kris A Berglund.  2013.  SpringerPlus 2013, 2:47.  http://www.springerplus.com/content/2/1/47

2. Minamiyama M, Katsuno M, Adachi H et al. Sodium butyrate ameliorates phenotypic expression in a transgenic mouse model of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy.  Hum Mol Genet 2004 June 1;13(11):1183-92.  http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/13/11/1183.long

3.  Tributyrin May Have Practical Potential for Improving Cognition in Early Alzheimer’s Disease Via Inhibition of HDAC2.  Mark F. McCarty.  March 2013.  Catalytic Longevity.



4.  Effects of Butyrate on Intestinal Barrier Function in a Caco-2 Cell Monolayer Model of Intestinal Barrier.  Peng, He, Chen, Holzman, and Lin.  Pediatric Research (2007) 61, 37–41.  http://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v61/n1/full/pr20079a.html

5.  SIDS Initial Assessment Report.  For 16th SIAM.  May, 2003.  http://www.epa.gov/hpvis/hazchar/Category_ButylSeriesMetabolic_HC_SIAR_0108_Interim.pdf

6.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butyrin

7.  Butyrate delivered by butyrylated starch increases distal colonic epithelial apoptosis in carcinogen-treated rats.  Clark et al.  Carcinogenesis. 2012 January; 33(1): 197–202.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3276328/

8.  A Phase I Clinical and Pharmacological Evaluation of Sodium Phenylbutyrate on an 120-h Infusion Schedule.  Carducci, Gilbert, et al.  Clin Cancer Res.  October 2001.  7;3047.   http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/7/10/3047.full

9.  Butyrylated starch increases colonic butyrate concentration but has limited effects on immunity in healthy physically active individuals.  West et al.  2013.  EIR.  102-119.

68 thoughts on “Butyrate Series, Part 7

  1. Natalia Holcomb

    Once again, thank you! I started supplementing potato starch twice a day and two capsules of the first butyrate product that you linked to in late November or early December. It’s made a big difference on my bowel regularity. It’s making it a lot easier to see what foods are affecting me poorly. I think probiotics will be the final link in that chain.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Your story sounds like mine on butyrate/resistant starch (RS)! Crazy difference, eh? For the first six-seven weeks of pregnancy, I was able to keep up the green bananas and potato starch, adding in some white beans here and there. Things were great, despite stopping butyrate when I discovered pregnancy. Then, I got too sick to even think about potato starch, beans, green bananas, cold potatoes, all of it–and things have been sadly been backsliding, no urge at all this week. It will be interesting as I get feeling better and able to add those back in to see if I can get back where I was.

      I’m looking forward to putting together the information on probiotics which increase butyrate, either directly or indirectly. I regret to say I know it will take awhile until I feel better.

      All the best to you and those you love. May 2014 bring you health, inner peace, and strength.

  2. Nishka

    Thank you! I so look forward to these 🙂 Great information. The butyrate complex I’m taking was really starting to kick in and help me until I got a sinus/ear infection I couldn’t kick and started taking amoxicillin…everything came to a halt. Only a couple more days left of the antibiotic and I’m hoping things start moving again. And hang in there Mama, I can vividly remember those days and how tired I was…hoping you are doing well and things are moving along. Happy New Year!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Interesting to hear an empirical report that the butyrate was helping! Sorry to hear about the ear infection requiring amoxicillin– which did a number on your natural helpful bacterial flora. That is beyond frustrating. But that’s just the way it is! We move onward despite hurdles. No challenge is too great after we regroup. (Smile. Pardon my hyperbole. The words are probably really meant for me, as I feel so yucky still. Isn’t that fatigue just about the worst?) I have read that it takes about a month to restore flora after an antibiotic. So be patient as you do the right things. Happy New Year to you, also! May it be blessed!

  3. Tricia

    Good to hear from you! So do you think butyrate should be taken as a supplement long term? Been taken it and wondering if I should continue to as part of my daily supplement protocol. Hope your feeling great! Tricia

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi there! So does that mean you may have found some beneficial effect from it, then? How exciting, if so! Nothing I have read so far has put up any flags for me regarding this supplement, other than making sure the dose isn’t outside of recommended and making sure the manufacturer seems reliable. I have heard that naturopaths and chiropractors use it, and I wish I could pick their brains on their experiences with it. How long do they keep patients on it? What kind of issues do they use it for? After reading the EPA report I mentioned, it seems pretty non-toxic, but I never have seen anything with long-term studies, so how can anyone say for sure? Personally, my tactic was going to be to use it as I titrated up the potato starch and green bananas for resistant starch (RS), occasionally coming off of it long enough to see if RS was going to cut it. I have to say, it was going pretty well, until I got too sick to stomach putting most things in my mouth, especially potato starch and green bananas! (Smile) Once I get to feeling better, I’ll try going back to RS. Hopefully soon I’ll be feeling back to my old self.

  4. The Vanilla Housewife

    So so hard to eliminate processed foods! Eating healthy in this part of the world is too expensive!
    Wait, did I read it right? You’re expecting? That is good news Terri! How did I miss that? Congratulations! Great things in store for you this year!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I’m sorry it is too expensive. It doesn’t seem fair. It seems with that climate in the Philippines that fruits, vegetables, and fish would be a dime a dozen. But, yes, even here–it is MUCH cheaper to buy boxes and cans devoid of vitamin C, vitamin B 12, vitamin B6, and so on. I know that is why it is so hard to transition. I feel they have snagged us in and keep perpetuating the cycle. But there has to be better choices–even if there are not ideal choices? Yes? No? Tell me. After seeing the health differences in my family, I just want to make it do-able. The Philippines probably isn’t like the USA in health–I don’t know I haven’t read statistics, but here, obesity reigns. From kindergarten to grandparenthood. Immune diseases are skyrocketing. Depression and anxiety. GI distress issues. Allergies. I’m convinced our food choices are a HUGE chunk (not the only chunk) of the escalation of those issues. Any little part I play in helping others gain more veggies/fruits/less processed oil and fats/less reliance on processed grains, etc, makes me feel better. The better we feel, the better we can help others and ourselves.

      [Yes, you read right. It is early (and I know the statistics). But if all goes well, I’ll feel better soon and have a new little one in August. You missed it because I’ve felt so horrible all I’ve been able to write is sarcastic comments on other blogs 🙂 .]

      1. The Vanilla Housewife

        We have health issues here too, and published statistics wont even help anybody understand how widespread the problem is because many do not look for medical help. A lot of us self-medicate and rely on herbal stuff. Although we do have top notch medical facilities available and it’s not like how it was many years ago but the chances of an average Filipino seeking professional help is slim mostly because of cost. Depression and anxiety is not something that we seek help for. We don’t go to psychiatrists and by we, I mean those that are not part of the upper socio-eco class, which makes up the majority of the country. Diabetes and Hypertension is something I know that is common here. Vegetables and fruits can be inexpensive but the organic ones are not. It is much cheaper to buy canned goods and instant noodles than to cook meals at home. Allergies to food, although present is something that’s really not a major issue here (I think), I’ve read about American kids allergic to so many things. I guess the health problems that we have may be similar to the issues in the US or it could be worse because many don’t seek help and are not included in the statistics.

        But why are we dwelling on these things right now, we should be celebrating your good news! I am so happy for you! Although I feel for you because I felt horrible during the first trimester of my pregnancy with the little girl, all I did was puke and cry and had to be on medical leave for sooo many health issues.

        Congratulations Terri! I hope your body adjusts to the hormonal changes soon so you can feel better!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Yep. Those last two paragraphs about sum it up. I wonder how I ever worked through pregnancy!!

        I’ll leave it all at that and mull internally over your insight on the Philippines issues as I continue to blog and try to encourage. I’m going to log off now. Hugs.

  5. All Seasons Cyclist

    Since I started following a Paleo diet I have come to enjoy real butter without guilt (awesome). However, we use coconut oil as our primary fat. Do you know if coconut oil is a butyrate-containing or producing food? Also, I think I’ll stay away from the carp bait (I’ve been away from Indiana too long).

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I know what you mean about butter. The more I learn about it and other foods, just all the more fascinating it all becomes! Coconut oil is probably a good choice, I’d think, with my preliminary readings on Alzheimer’s/dementia. I will read more on it eventually and post. Coconut oil is full of beta-hydroxy-butyrate. How that fits into butyrate is left for me to unravel hopefully later this year or two (I try to be realistic in my expectations 🙂 ).

      That would be some really smelly carp bait! Indiana rocks! It will always be home for me, even as I tarry onward.

  6. andthreetogo

    Again, another post where you take something that could be so confusing and make it easy to read!
    ANNND… congratulations! I also was a very unhappy pregnant person in my first trimester. The second was great and then the third, well it was a day to day mix of emotions. 🙂 I cannot imagine being pregnant and taking care of my toddler though, so the fact that you are taking care of and homeschooling your other children, writing this blog, and also pregnant… wow, you rock! Happy New Year!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Glad it was understandable! Just don’t ask me to explain physics. I’ve always hated physics. 🙂
      Thanks for the wishes and comments which help me feel better. A good husband truly makes everything possible. (Isn’t that right?) So your first few months were rough, eh? Me, too. Every time.

      1. andthreetogo

        A good husband does make a huge difference. Chad kept me sane in my emotional chaos. Yeah, I was really sick all the time. It was pretty horrible. But then at 16 weeks that gave way to feeling great.

  7. IrishMum

    Congrats on the great news!!

    So much to read, I am going to have to come back tomorrow and reread. My brain is too tired to absorb it now, but I will say that I was a little disappointed that there were no “bubble-gum” photos 😉

  8. Pingback: Anxiety, depression, laziness...Can the nameless wonder change? - Page 586 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 586

  9. myjourneythrume

    It is 7.30am here as I’m reading this post and my brain isn’t quite working yet so I’m going to have to reread this when I’m more awake! But it’s such a good helpful post Terri, thank you for sharing it all. I think I need to investigate butyrate, it sounds like it could help me. Green bananas make me bloat almost instantly. Interesting to hear about the effects of pregnancy on your ‘system’ I’ve wondered what would happen to mine if I were pregnant. Huge congrats on the baby news, I love how you subtlety slipped it into the post 😉

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks, Jess. No worries about butyrate; all of us could get it through diet with a few nips and tucks, I believe–green bananas or no! I don’t mind parenthood one little bit, but pregnancy and I hate to tangle. Just want to slap those women who say, “Oh, it’s the best I ever felt.” Don’t know whether to believe them or think they’re fools. (Sorry for the sarcasm. Still not feeling well.) But, honestly, I do know EVERY person’s body is COMPLTETELY different, and I don’t think one can tell how it’ll treat them–even from pregnancy to pregnancy. Mine has been quite reliably miserable every time.

      On all that negativity, ha ha!, have a wonderful week over there! Life really is good!

  10. Steve

    Butyrate enemas have been made at home by mixing about 10 grams per liter of spring water. Can be made in smaller doses ( like a disposable enema sized amount ). From a pharmacist, this would cost $90 a liter. Done at home costs about $3 a liter. Used as a retention enema twice a day, I have seen remarkable things. It helps ulcerative colitis and re differentiates cells. Yes make abnormal cells more normal. Lots of research in the 1980’s and 1990’s on this. After that, not much work published as new, expensive drugs became the norm.
    Yes I am a physician with direct knowledge in this area but I am not offering advice in this forum.

    1. Marney

      Terri this was an amazing post on butyrate and I’m grateful you took an interest in the subject! I’m glad to know coconut oil is a potential source too since I consume a fair amount along with ghee and EVO. Would love to know your thoughts on the mini retention implant enema using sodium or calcium butyrate? This would get the butyric acid right into the colon where it would hopefully migrate to the rest of the colon.

      Steve, I’ve read some of the research on butyric acid enemas helping inflammatory bowel conditions and tried a few, mixing a VSL3 capsule and a sodium butyrate capsule together in a couple ounces of water in an emptied fleet enema bottle. I was able to retain it without a problem. I have recurrent inflammation in my ascending and transverse colon but so far it hasn’t been captured by colonoscopy or othe test but I’m certain it’s there because of distinct pain and chills..I have a history of diverticulitis but had the sigmoid colon removed which resolved issues there but then new issues started up on the right side and near the belly button. There’s now research suggesting recurrent uncomplicated diverticulitis could be a form of IBS that’s mediated by inflammatory processes. I appreciated your comment Steve that you’ve seen success with these implants which is just enough info for me to give it another go. Perhaps I should separate the butyric acid implants from the VSL 3 implants.

      Great info and thanks again!

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Dear Marney, Good to read your comment. Thanks! I don’t know what to think on the retention enema. I’ve thought about it some. I guess my mind couldn’t see the butyric acid migrating “backwards” through the colon, so I’d expect a local effect in the area. But I’m no expert. And the research was so mixed, as well as the anecdotal reports when I read through the forum comments. Although, on the using VSL, if the VSL bacteria stuck around, I guess I could maybe see those slowly making it “back.” I don’t know. And the VSL helps promote butyrate production via lactic acid, I think, if I remember right.–I hope you feel okay. Good luck with all. ~Terri

    2. Maddy

      I have a friend who suffered from Ulcerative colitis (centered in colon more) for 10 years. She took Butyrate supplements 2 caps 3x per day, it was not overnight, over a year of slow improvement. Gastroenterologist could not believe her last scan, zero inflammation.

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Awesome, Maddy! That’s wonderful news! I know I respond well to butyrate and foods which help the bacteria to generate butyrate! Helping the mucus layer and helping close tight junctions really makes a difference in some!

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  12. MM

    I am desperate to recover from trying some bread back in May after almost 2 years of no UC symptoms (eating SCD). I do not want to go back to the doctor as all they want to do is another colonoscopy and the to give me more drugs that will only suppress my immune system and give me side effects. I want my gut to heal and they have no interest in real healing. They tell me it has nothing to do with what I eat. I am not going to pay someone who has no clue about nutrition.

    I might try the butyrate enemas and see if helps with the inflammation. I am currently eating cooked veggies and fruit but can’t seem to get the inflammation to go. I recently added psylliam fiber which is not SCD legal. Any other suggestions?

  13. Anonymous

    Hi! I just discovered your website. I was searhing info about oral butyrate, because it`s used to manage congenital chloride diarhhrea (very rare interited disease) in some countries, mainly in Italy, but it only works for some patiens and not for patiens with certain gene mutations. Any idea why would that be? So I was researching information how to make the persons own bacteries to produce butyrate when oral butyrate doesn`t work. If you have a post to come, about suplements and probiotics which will help the bacteria to procude butyrate, it would be awesome! (For sources of butyrate treated CLD please see my website, site is not in English, but most of the links are on the second post) Sorry my English isn`t fluend.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Anonymous, Welcome to my little site. Your English was quite sound. I understood perfectly. I will link over to your website when I finish typing this comment to check it out. I am working on another butyrate post. It takes me too much time to turn an article around. 😦 But life is good. 🙂

      The next post will focus on how you don’t just need to feed directly the bacteria which make butyrate. By feeding and keeping the other bacteria healthy (usually implies plant matter), they will then make the things that butyrate-producing bacteria can use. So it’s a functional system, not necessarily a one-type of bacteria specific system. I hope it will also then explain why lactic acid producing probiotics are beneficial too.

      On your question about why the butyrate would work for some and not others. Would the butyrate only matter if certain genetic material was there to be read? Butyrate is an HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitor, so it would allow genes to stay open to be read and transcribed–but if the mutation prevented anything sensical from being made it wouldn’t matter. Or maybe the non-responding mutations have genes which are not butyrate-sensitive, as apparently not all are. Or, if we’re talking simply butyrate supplementation, perhaps it’s just not getting to the proper site in these people. I know that I have a good response to butyrate, but other people have reported back to me that they don’t. I don’t know. I’m definitely not an expert, just an enthusiast.

  14. Anonymous

    Some personal notes on Butyrate. I have repeatedly stopped and restarted. Generally low dose when I do take it. 2 caps once a day. When I stop I get more bloating, I have mild eczema that returns after about 36 hours average, especially when I eat unfermented wheat (pretzels, noodles) after 48 hours mild asthma returns at night. 2 capsules will generally control these other symptoms. It got me thinking again about “gluten intolerance”. Did I mention I own a bakery? I eat a fair amount of fermented wheat products, and different types of fermentations. So I started wondering about the pretzel/noodle effect. Could it be that fermentation is not only changing the gluten, or maybe not even changing it, but changing the chemical environment of digestion sufficiently as in butyrate or other SCFAs. So I looked and found this:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214745/ by no means a conclusive study, but look at the butyric acid numbers for “sourdough” bread compared to unfermented bread. Interesting to say the least.

    Thank you for introducing me to butyrate. It keeps getting better.


    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hello again, Phil! Thanks for sharing that! And NO, you didn’t mention you own a bakery. That sounds divine. Although like a lot of hard work. Do you sell and ship nationally? Or locally only? Anyhow, fascinating. It looks like fermentation, as the traditional foods people (Weston Price Foundation, for example) say, does make a difference! I like that they are studying this. I was frustrated when they wanted to simply say that people who couldn’t eat wheat due to IBS symptoms were simply FODMAP intolerant. As if that was it, period. I “knew” it was more than that. Now, this very small study is indicating so many more ways that fermentation could affect people’s ability to eat gluten/bread. Thank you! If you see more like this, I’d love to see them! And that is interesting that 2 capsules of butyrate keeps away your eczema, bloating, and mild asthma. I’ve read a little on baker’s reactions, just a little. I wonder if you fit into this category at all. Didn’t butyrate also help your colonic motility? I may be remembering wrong. If so, is it still helping motility? Have a good week.—– Terri

    2. Jo tB

      Phil, I don’t know how you make your bread, but this article explains why bread may no longer be the healthy product it once was.


      Bread doesn’t have the long proofing time it once had (overnight for artisan bakers). Factory made bread now uses fast rising yeast and a lot of additives.which to my mind doesn’t make the bread healthy. It is the long proofing time that predigests the flour making it less probematic for our gut flora. And don’t forget modern wheat has been bred for its high gluten yield.


      Jo tB

  15. Jamie

    Hello! I’m taking T.E. Neesby’s Butyrex. I’ve been taking for several months at recommended dose. I’m now 11 weeks pregnant and kept taking without giving it a second thought. Just want to check and see if you feel this is safe during pregnancy. Thank you!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Jamie,

      The toxicology report link that I had cited in my sources is no longer available on-line. I scoured the net for it for you so you could read it (as it was very helpful) and also show it to your doctor and discuss it if you feel butyrate has been that helpful for you. It indicated that butyrate was pretty safe in animals, even in very high doses, even in reproduction. I can’t find that nicely composed information anymore! If I find it, I’ll come back and leave it. I know you want me to tell you, “Yes! Go ahead!” or “No! Stop it!” But the prudent thing for me to do is to have you call your doctor and ask him or her based on your situation.


      Addendum: Here is a link which covers toxicity information.


  16. L8nda

    Hi wondering if anyone is still there. I have IBS and fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, all getting worse over 15 years. I thought I would try Sodium Butyrate because Magnisum seems to have a bad effect on my conic diarrhea. I started slow on butyrate with on capsule a day. The day after the first one I thought it may he working because fof the first time in ages I didn’t go the toilet but the next day my bowel was worse and so was the pain . . I took it for 3 days but have now stopped. I have had some success with fodmap. Any advise please. Xx

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      No medical advice. But I’ve had good success myself with a VERY holistic program approaching my nutrition, food sensitivities, building back up my gut, reasonable exercise, getting good sleep “hygiene,” select supplementation, being outside, and definitely dealing with mind-body issues. I believe that FODMAPS, candida diets, food elimination diets, etc, can go on forever until a very holistic approach is taken. I wish you SO much success. Don’t give up. Keep persistent. And don’t ever forget or neglect the way you approach life as being involved in how your body handles health. Hugs to you too.

      1. jamie

        What sort of VERY holistic approach are you referring to when treating food sensitivities, building back up gut, etc? I’ve been working with holistic doctors for 3 years, taking vitamins, supplements, and following strict candida/FODMAPs diet. While G.I. symptoms have improved, I’ve noticed that I seem to react to even MORE foods than before I ever started holistic treatment. Just curious as to steps that you too in your own journey. Thanks:)

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Dear Jamie,

        Good morning. For me, everything has been a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. The mind-body piece might be the last little (big) piece. Like you, I also had an issue where I seemed to react more and more despite diligent diet, supplementation, sleeping right, trying to minimize unnecessary stress. Tests were inconclusive for joint swelling/dizziness/etc, blah, blah, blah. In life, despite a deep happiness and contentment with my life and family, I ran up against a stress that I couldn’t change. So I enlisted the help of a wonderful, local life coach (and friend) for this issue but she addressed the other issues (health/food related/body) as well, especially the food sensitivities. I hope I wouldn’t hurt her feelings to say that it all seemed so hokey to me, yet some of the meditations/self-reflections she walked me through could make my symptoms worse or better. So she recommended that I read up on mind-body stuff, starting with a Dr. Sarno. Doing that, I learned lots and then I keep plowing through mind-body books. I feel headed in the right direction and near a nice plateau. The Loving Diet (Jessica Flannigan) was very helpful for the mind-body segment too. But I’ve run the gamut from Sarno-like journaling to going back and taking the Meyers-Briggs personality test to reading all kinds of mind-body literature. Can I eat eggs now? Well, yes and no. I still get the headaches and fatigue, but I’ve found that if I retreat from everybody for about 20 minutes, I can do this “whonky” stuff and emerge feeling pretty good. If I do this “whonky” stuff every day, I feel pretty darn good every day… I’m still exploring it and putting it together for myself. IF all goes well, I hope to run a segment on it. But I work slowly due to the constraints of homeschooling my kids, keeping up with my friends and family–not to mention you know how hard it is to test a food, take it out, put it back in, wonder if your symptoms were due to your hormones that month or lack of sleep that week, etc! Right!?! So when I said VERY holistic, I was probably mostly referring to the newer segment I’ve added to my life of the mind-body practice. And lastly, as I know a lot of mind-body stuff has some unusual ideas and often in some ways gets bashed, I’ll put out there I’m firmly a follower of Jesus Christ and incorporate these new ideas and techniques as a way of connecting deeper in my own faith and what in the world I’m down here for. 🙂

        Well, long answer. Probably not what you had in mind. But it is what it is. Glad you asked, though. Do take care.

      3. Jamie Chin

        Thank you so much! I am a believer and follower of Jesus as well:) I noticed that Dr. SARNO has a few books…which one (s) was most helpful for you?

      4. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        They all said the same thing, I feel. But I guess if I had to pick, Healing Back Pain was the easiest to read. However, I had to be aware and substitute my food sensitivities in place of the back pain issue. I liked The Divided Mind, probably. I believe it was this one that he even discusses his own experience very briefly with a food incidence. I do not believe in what he calls “TMS” on a physiological level, but I do believe that my brain can do more to help (or inhibit) my physical symptoms than it was doing before. So whenever my symptoms were acting up, I’d tell myself, as he suggested, that this was “TMS” (defined in my mind as the ability of the brain to help shut off negatives and turn on positive symptoms but wasn’t due to some protective mechanism it was using). This will make sense if you read any of his books. In order for his ideas to work, I HAD to journal as he suggests every time my symptoms flared. His book could probably be summarized into a 1-2 page treatment plan! It’s not too “hard” except to make yourself do it!

        I had to take it further, as his ideas helped me when I had flares, but how to keep the flares away? Sarno described a personality prone to “TMS.” It fit me. But so what? I did his work, journaled, looked at my growing up years (it’s all your parents’ faults, right?), etc, etc. I kept reading and thinking. Asking myself in quiet, meditative times (HA! Very few for a mother of four who are homeschooled…), what is my body trying to tell me? Yes, I was weird and finally decided it had something to tell me if I’d just ask it and listen. This has nothing to do with Sarno really. But I learned that I am more introverted (I always laughed at the Meyers-Briggs personality tests whenever “introverted” came up—not a fat chance I’m introverted, I thought!) than I thought and that even though I can and do put myself out there always, my mind and body struggle with it a lot. (This explains why often, when I’d feel bad, whenever I had complete alone time, I would feel better.) And I learned I am strongly empathic/empathetic; I can’t change that even though I’ve tried for 40 some years because my husband is the most fact-driven man about you can know–and I studied and worked in fact-driven fields. You can google empathic (if this could be you, consider it), and that is quite scary all the crazy stuff out there on that! Ha! But I don’t know about all the mumbo-jumbo they have on the internet about it. All I know is God gave me a gift to be in-tune to others feelings, yet because I didn’t see it as a gift, I didn’t know how to keep myself healthy with it.

        I’ll close for now. Never can keep my comments short. Darn it. 🙂

      5. jamie chin

        Thank you!! Sounds like we have a very similar constitution…which sounds like it may be true of a lot of chronic pain sufferers. Excited to embark on this leg of the journey. Thanks for pointing me in a new direction.

  17. Gaius

    Regarding the concern about lead in one of the supplements listed above:

    The reviewer who made the comments on Amazon about lead was completely ignorant and misinformed. The assumption this person made is that when there is a Prop 65 warning, that this indicates the presence of lead. This is patently false. Prop 65 is not focused on lead alone, but on toxicity of many substances.
    Furthermore, ANY butyric acid supplement that they want to sell in the State of CA *MUST* have this Prop 65 warning printed on it. Note that most studies show no toxicity of this substance with either dermal or oral administration, and the very few that do have massive amounts being given to the lab animals. Plus, even in large oral doses, they only reported mild toxicity. I weigh 125 lbs, roughly, so I would be ingesting something like 114 grams if I used as much as the testers did. Well, most supplements have only 600 milligrams, which is slightly more than half of one gram.

    And, although I appreciate the intent of Prop 65, the implementation seems to be lacking due to what appears to be both incompetence and corruption:


    The internet is great, and the resources on this site for butyrate are excellent. However, the downside is that misinformation also can get repeated, and the manufacturer of the product listed above is being scrutinized unfairly due to the random comment of one misinformed individual.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Gaius, After reviewing what I wrote and reading the Amazon reviews again, I have removed my brief pertaining line that simply noted what a a reviewer said on Amazon. Of course, the reviews on Amazon are still there. But I think in this situation, I’d suggest that a reader call the company and specifically ask about lead if it is a concern, to see if they’ve tested for it and what the results showed. Because I did read some about Prop 65 just now, and I do see it smacks a label on lots and lots of things, some that may be concerning and some that are kind of silly.


  18. Roger Bird

    Typo report: “Screening Infromation Data Sets” should be “Screening Information Data Sets”. The “ro” should be “or”.

    I’m just buttering you up in the hopes that you will look into food sources for molecular hydrogen.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thanks. Corrected it. I’m so glad you pointed that out typo. (Frustratingly, I went back several months ago to look at that material, and it is no longer there as it was when I was working on this post. Disappointing.)

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Okay. I’ve skimmed it. What makes you so interested? (Asked in a curious way.) Lots of things out there have all kinds of claims. What sparked this for you, say, versus taking magnesium or increasing your glutathione or this or that? Why hydrogen? (I read the article I linked to briefly and I read the site you linked to briefly. And I did a quick Google search in general, although mostly coming up was H2O2 thereapies. I didn’t have time to go back further than the first page of Google hits, which you know doesn’t bring up what you really want often.)

      Don’t you think increasing hydrogen would occur if you fed your gut bacteria things like resistant starch, fermentable fibers, soluble fibers, and so on and so forth? Do you think/suspect that increasing one type in particular has an advantage? (Like resistant starch’s relationship to butyrate?) Although, by eating for your bacteria, the hydrogen would increase in the colon, most likely, versus if the H2 was in the “water” like they kind of talked about on the website you linked to.

  19. fionafaytv

    What a great write up on trying forms of Butyrate!! Thanks! In the past, I have created Butyrate (from the calcium/magnesium capsules) enema implants with added probiotics. Although to get the most exposure inside the large intestine, a high enema must be performed first, and emptied out. So that then the implant can go in and stay in (lay down with massage). I created this since I had IBD with my large gut affected since a kid, and have huge issues with fibre. I also found that a ghee implant worked wonders, with the effects lasting about 2-3 weeks at a time. The ghee is also another way of getting direct short chain fatty acids directly to the gut cells, especially if have issues with getting SCFAs from ingesting fibre, like I did! But= to anyone reading this: it is a specialist method, where hygiene and safety protocol must be followed, and any ghee used is liquified and COOLED!!! Same with any Butyrate implants! Dont go putting hot things up your butt people!!! I know probably all sounds a bit bonkers, but when you’ve lived with IBD and various autoimmune diseases, you never stop investigating and trying things!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Fiona Fay—Thanks for “stopping by.” I appreciate reading your experience with butyrate. I went to your site and read about your exceptionally challenging autoimmune history, not an easy physical life! I hope your book is going well and a is a real success! Best wishes!

      I know studies show some success with butyrate enemas. Others not. I think that means that some people with IBD will respond very well—and others not. How to predict who is who is the challenge. Disappointing to see so many good ideas thrown out because study samples are so different. I’d like it if they took the people who responded and somehow did other studies manipulating butyrate somehow. Leave the non-responders behind to move on to other things.

      Oh, well. That’s science. And good reminder for people to be wise, aware, and safe in your comment.

      I’m a bit wondering about how one would go about preparing a ghee enema—it would separate from the water used.

      Anyhow, may you have blessed health and professional success.


  20. Robert T

    Are you still around, Terri? I wish you were a practicing because I would love to be able to consult you, either as an MD. or a Psychologist 😉 I’ve lost almost all QOL over the past two years from a total loss of motility and other digestive issues (probably from a week of 24/7 with 4 different antibiotics, but who knows for sure). I’m onto Tributyrin as my latest attempt at a find for cure. I’m praying one day I can feel a natural urge to have a bowel movement and actually empty my colon again. From what I’ve read, you can relate. It looks like you’ve moved on from this blog… your blog is an amazing and generous sharing of information. I hope you and your family are doing wonderfully!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Good morning! Hello! I am still around, Robert. I am keeping a long-term approach to writing and my blog and health writing. It gets interrupted a lot with the kids’ needs/activities, but I guess I just plan to do it when I can, on the topics I can. Because I enjoy it. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment. And I can relate to the slow-to-stop GI tract. It took me such a complete overhaul in all aspects of my life to manage. Sometimes I have flares, and I have to drop back to my basics. What I eat matters. My stress level matters. Getting quiet, uninterrupted time to sit and do a mindless activity so my GI can relax, too, matters. Certain supplements matter.

      I’m sad your QOL is being impacted. I hate hearing that. I wish you success in helping your GI tract. Don’t give up! Explore. Observe. Everyone has advice, but I feel like we all have to (safely) find our own way.

      Warmest wishes. We are doing nicely in our corner of the world.

      If you ever get that GI going, I’d love to hear how! —Terri F


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