Butyrate

I have personally found butyrate and butyrate-producing foods to benefit my GI tract greatly, particularly in the area of improved, faster motility and also in minimizing my food intolerances.  But research touts that it has far-reaching effects above and beyond that, from cancer to diabetes to beyond!  Manufacturers of food have considered ways to boost the butyrate or butyrate-producing power of their processed foods because of its health-promoting power.  I don’t like processed foods; they’re a deforested, barren land.  I much prefer real foods.  My series on butyrate intends to explain butyrate and how the body can get improved butyrate access and/or production.  Real food matters.  Plant matter is the optimal fuel to create butyrate for our bodies, at least as I understand it now.  (I allow myself an “out” because protein and things like mucin can be used by bacteria to make butyrate.  It is not quite understood fully how effective and beneficially these sources are for us.  Time and research may tell.)

Part 1

Begins to discuss butyrate.  Focuses more on introducing the concept of bacteria in our body which need plant matter to produce butyrate–but it does so in a real-life, approachable way.  Uses examples from my life and imagination to help explain.  (Reaching out to parents and kids to improve diet is important to me.)

Part 2

Recaps part one a bit.  Introduces the concept of short chain fatty acids.  Explains the digestion of carbohydrates which is important to understand later on.

Part 3

Includes a recap.  Then, discusses that plant matter is not making it to the terminal colon and why that could be detrimental.  Reminds “low-carbers” to make sure and still get enough plant matter for good health/colon health.  Sets the reader up for the question, “But how can we get butyrate to our GI tracts?”.

Part 4

“Fun” quiz at beginning about butyrate.  Discusses foods which actually contain butyrate in them.

Part 5

Discusses what “fiber” is.  Very important concept which has been detrimentally oversimplified.  Discusses what fiber is, different kinds of fiber, fermentability of different fibers, and which fibers bring about butyrate production.

Part 6

Reminds us that there is no one, single diet best for us all.  Discusses resistant starch.  Shows some resistant starch content of various foods.  Discusses the complexities of determining resistant starch content of foods.

Part 7

A little, personal ditty.  A tiny recap.  Discussion of supplements, in general.  A list with links of readily available butyrate supplements.  (Remember, for me, my goal is to always get OFF of supplements!)  A list and description of non-readily available butyrate products.

Part 8:  This will discuss how bacteria “cross-feed” each other.  So probiotics can help increase butyrate and also cultivating bacteria which make by-products that will feed the butyrate producers.  I have many of the articles pulled, but getting the article written has been interrupted by research on what is more pressing and expedient in my life.  As of 12/25/15, I am still working on this ever so slowly.

Butyrate and Constipation

Title summarizes post.

Butyrate Is Important for You

Summarizes the known effects of butyrate, and they are many!  Read to see what butyrate has been purported to help with.

A Kid’s Conversation on Butyrate (Fiber–To Way Oversimplify)

A little conversation I had with my kids to explain how bacteria eat “fiber” and turn it into butyrate to help us.  A motivational post to encourage us to eat for our bodies and help our kids do the same.

An External Link to Another Series

Here is an interesting short chain fatty acid (Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid.) series that I was just sent a link to. I think it’s always good to read all kinds of opinions when learning about something. SCFAs: Part 1. The author in Part 3 discusses the butyrate paradox that always prevented me from being an all-out butyrate supplement supporter. I still don’t feel like I understand the paradox (when increasing butyrate seems to be detrimental), but we cannot deny that research suggests that it exists! (Try to eat real food rather than supplement a weak diet, please.)

50 thoughts on “Butyrate

  1. barbara

    Is GABA, a supplement sold as a substance to relax and relieve anxiety, the same as the butyrate for your intestines?

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Barbara,
      Good question. No. GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid. Butyric acid (butyrate) is a short chain fatty acid. GABA’s structure may have a butyric acid, but it is not formed from butyrate/butyric acid. It is actually made from two glutamates. So upping butyrate shouldn’t up GABA production or GABA ingestion shouldn’t up butyrate levels.

      Reply
  2. Russ

    I would like to thank you for your butyrate series,I have been experimenting with resistant starches since September & having mixed success with it. The butyrate series has given me a little more insight into what I’m doing .i have put on weight a mix of fat and muscle,, a work in progress
    Many thanks
    Russ O’Brien

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Russ,

      Glad you found something in the butyrate series that was hopefully informational. Good luck with your health endeavors. There’s a lot of debate out there now about resistant starch. But as far as butyrate goes, I don’t think there is an argument, and we can agree that there are several food routes to help boost that. Happy New Year!

      Terri

      Reply
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  5. Donna

    Thank you Terri for taking the time to research all this and post your findings free of charge. I appreciate and respect the fact that you are both a qualified doctor and a ‘work in progress’ patient. IMO, the best possible combination.
    I have had migraines for 20 years and constipation for 30 years (I am 57 year old female) and now have resorted to daily enemas and daily Triptans to survive. I have learnt enough to know that if I fix the gut, there is a good chance of fixing the migraines. I have done everything I know to do from GAPS to fasting but have not made any impact on my health. I will now try to incorporate some resistant starch slowly into my diet.
    I am following your posts with interest.
    Thanks again
    Donna

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi Donna! Sorry for the delay! We’ve been visiting with family so I am behind. I do agree that it wasn’t till I decided to investigate my own problem that I realized the need to start connecting the dots and not simply accepting. And I think that is happening more and more with more physicians; the internet is so helpful in that regard!

      That is horrible about your migraines and GI tract. Do not give up. I don’t know the answer, but I know there must be relief for you in something/some combination of things left to try. I do want to convey a few things. 1) Some people are coming down on RS pretty hard. Personally, I think that adding some RS foods (lentils, navy beans are good and both GAPS–or deviate from GAPS and add in some homemade potato salad–whatever!) to a diet already high in plant matter is probably a good thing. So to say that RS is “bad” is not accurate. However, simply adding in RS powder, well that may not be well-roundedly healthy, if you know what I mean. BUT–if it works–then I think it indicates that that’s a good avenue to pursue with real food! 2) Some people are working very hard and strongly on incorporating massive amounts of different kinds of plant fibers. I haven’t read up on that enough. But putting it out there. THIS IS NOT the fiber that we learned about on food labels, Metamucil, or what they’re talking about when they say “Get more fiber.” You can read what they’re doing at a blog called Vegetable Pharm. 3) I read something interesting the other day about migraines in this interview I came across as I was reading about Co Q 10–you may already know all this. I knew some of it, but not all of it. Skip down to the segment on migraines if interested: http://chriskresser.com/coq10-vaccination-and-natural-treatment-for-migraines 4) Have you looked hard at your thyroid/iodine status? I’ve been floored by looking at newer thoughts to examine the labs for thyroid–even in books as mainstream as Wheat Belly Total Health. Not saying this is your issue, but in constipation, it certainly has to be in the differential. 5) Guess that’s all I have for now. 🙂 It has been crazy busy here. My GI has had a setback (but still better than three years ago!), but I knew as my hormones kicked around after having our beautiful baby that they would! I have lots more to write/I am writing, but getting it hammered out and written is happening much slower than a snail’s pace. If you find something that works for you, pass it on to me! ~~Terri

      Reply
      1. Donna

        Thank you for finding the time to put together all that information Terri. The problem with doing things on my own is that I “only see what I am looking for” and miss the answers that are out there in left field.

        1. “I don’t know the answer”… I find that response refreshing and an indication of the genuine humility of someone who does not want to be seen as another ‘go to guru’, hasn’t got a product to pedal and will readily admit if they were wrong. Just happy to be an educated ‘guide’ to us lost souls.

        2. “real food”… Exactly! When I tried to push supplements on my ill father he would say “But what food is it in?” I regarded him as naive and uneducated… turns out he was right. So for resistant starch I am going to start with half a cup of raw oats each morning.

        3. “segment on migraines”… thank you for the link. I was familiar with histamines but did not know about foods like cinnamon. I will have a closer look into that.

        4. “thyroid/iodine status?” I haven’t been able to get a doctor to look any further into thyroid as my TSH is ‘normal’ (2.4), but I suspect I have an issue there. As for iodine, I live in Australia and I noticed that you linked a study relating to iodine deficiency here. I can only handle transdermal nascent, (oral will give me a headache), but I will go back to painting on a few drops each day.

        5. Another line I am pursuing at the moment is adrenals/aldosterone/salt wasting. My blood sodium was 137, (again, ‘normal’) blood pressure is often 85/55 (doctors seem to dismiss that as a problem because I am still able to walk!). I was drinking 3 litres water/day and having to urinate every 2 hours. So I have put myself on fluid restriction (1 litre/day and increased salt intake. Problem is, I have no idea what I am doing… and … still get migraines!

        Thanks again Terri, please keep thinking, researching and writing. You have all the ingredients to be an excellent guide.
        Donna
        Brisbane, Australia

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Good Morning!

        Loved the story on your father and real food! Every time I read about supplements, I always think this. “Okay—but where can I REALLY get it!?” (As in, what food has it. Because that way it will have some cofactors.) Although I know there is a place for supplements, depending on the person, illness, nutritional status, etc.

        Interesting on the thyroid/iodine. I’m still researching. Getting doctors to order free T3, free T4, and reverse T3 is hard. And antibodies even harder. I feel like this is probably very important to know, even though I was trained it wasn’t. “TSH was good enough.” But I don’t think it is anymore.

        I try to take away something from each new resource I read. One book I read talked about a “water cure.” (But it was not the book by that title. It was a GI related book.) He recommended putting a little sea salt in some warmish water daily and drinking it. I think as a start to each day. Can’t remember. Anyhow, it struck me. Couldn’t see how it’d be any different than generously salting my food and drinking ample water throughout my day, but. . . Your comment about adrenals/aldosterone/salt wasting made me think of this.

        Funny. I’m giving whole grain, unprocessed, gluten-free verified oats a try just the last few days too. I’m part Scottish, you know. (Wink.) Bagpipes sing to my bones every time I hear them. So why not? I’ve got my “feel-good, safe-for-me diet” hammered out so I can always go running back to it if/when things head South. So I thought, “What the heck?” I haven’t been any worse the last two days! I’ll say that. Who knows… Grain-free got me far, now let’s see if reversal just a tad gets me anything. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t.

        I’ll keep posting. Albeit more slowly I’m realizing and having to accept! You take good care and GOOD LUCK!

  6. Donna

    Having a maiden name of ‘Urquhart’, I too am determined to keep oats in any form. I have gone back to soaking/cooking them, which unfortunately removes the resistant starch advantage. However, I was reading (somewhere?) that the RS2 (eg. raw oats) are fermented early in the colon (caecum) and the RS3 (eg. cooked/cooled rice potatoes)are fermented towards the sigmoid colon. Using my untrained logic to decifer that…??? would that mean that those of us with motility/trapped gas/constipation issues should consume RS3 and avoid RS2?? This could be one of those “stupid questions”:)

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Yes! I’d say! If an Urquhart can’t eat oats, then who can? Right? (From the banks of Loch Ness, right?) On the RS question. I’m not sure. Here is my thought to what I think is your question. I don’t know where my colon dysfunction is occurring. Is it the whole colon? If so, I want butyrate along the colon, and particularly there at the end. So I eat both RS2 and RS3, personally, to get the advantages of both. I kind of think about how if I was left to my own devices in nature back in the day, sometimes I’d be super hungry and eat some raw tubers and later when I had time, I’d eat them cooked over the fire. So from a butyrate standpoint, I think we’d want both to bathe the entire colon and for us, hopefully “repair” it. From a trapped gas standpoint, if we can just get our colons having more frequent motor complexes and forward movement, that would help. If I eat things I know cause my increased gas, I don’t eat too much of them at a time. I don’t know if this helped at all. And it took me long enough to get back to you again. Sorry. Love the questions. After I finish up a few things I committed to, I need to get back to butyrate. Have a great day!

      Reply
    2. Maddy

      Donna – I know this is an old thread, but I am replying because my daughter developed migraine with food allergies, and then we treated those with allergy shots which reduced the IgE reactions, but then we uncovered food intolerances which provided no IgE response but were migraine triggers. So a few things I want to share and hope you get this:
      1) google deficit DAO spain. Study showed 87% of migraine patients they tested were deficient in DAO enzyme, this can be genetic (like myself, and I have always gotten red wine headaches), or acquired deficiency due to gut issues. DAO breaks down histamine most notably in food, but also lesser known it will also break down tyramine. You can buy supplements on Amazon we use Histablock by Seeking health but there are other brands. Take 2-3 caps before every meal. Look into low histamine diet. Made huge difference. She can even eat some chocolate if she takes the DAO.
      2) Have you tried Colostrum??? We have used Suthrival brand 6 hour colostrum, which has all kinds of immune modulating elements in it, it heals the gut barrier. There is another brand on Amazon which says it is 6 hour verified and organic, by some professor at Cornell or something. That brand probably OK too. 6 hour collection or less important because the immune elements are in the first few hours after birth, before it becomes milk, will have near zero casein or lactose. This helped.
      3) we are taking Butyrate too…believe in the allergy-migraine connection. Brain allergies are different than regular allergies. Mast cells are complex cells. I have heard of people making suppositories with Butyrate capsules and a little coconut oil and freezing them. Warming the coconut oil to liquid first, stir it in. You can do those before bed.
      4) get your cortisol/DHEA ratio tested. cortisol is immunosuppressant, and DHEA is immunostimulative. Too much DHEA raises TH2 level immune reactions, of which histamine and mast cells are Th2. Look into Th1 stimulating supplements on website Self-hacked. Maike mushrooms is one.
      5) in France they treat food allergies with Interchrom, which his Gastro Chrom in the US. Can you get that in Australia? It is disodium chromylgate or something like that.

      Reply
      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Very interesting thoughts, Maddy. Thanks for sharing.

        I’m currently reading on the blood brain barrier, microglia, mast cells, pericytes, etc, which goes along with your mention of “brain allergies.” VERY interesting thread of reading.

        Happy Thanksgiving! I look forward to reading more on the DAO/colostrum/Gastro Chrom areas that you mention. I sure do hope you are all happy and well.

  7. jerry

    Hi, great blog, thanks. I am a low-carber who has taken to resistant starch ( potato starch )
    with good effect. Just recently though, I also started consuming 10 gm. ghee daily and found that it
    had significant effect on my thyroid meds ( hypothyroidism ). My TSH blood work has shown my
    T4 dosage was correct but I still felt the cold, which was frustrating.

    I believe butyric acid is the carrier of T3 into the mitochondria and I certainly noticed the
    difference with increased energy and body warmth.

    Hope other people with hypothyroidism might benefit from this. Please can you confirm the
    benefits of oral butyric acid, aka yak milk tea!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Good Morning, Jerry!

      Thanks for leaving a comment on your results with RS and ghee. Fascinating. You gave me new lead to look at! BA carrying T3 into the mitochondria? VERY fascinating. Very. I will be Googling all over that ASAP, and if I find something, I will for sure want to post on that! I have been unable to find studies on the benefits of oral BA, although personally, I’ve had success. Go figure. I had to look up yak milk tea! Ha! Is that what you drink? For any readers of comments, here’s a vignette on a man drinking some: http://munchies.vice.com/articles/mongolian-yak-butter-tea-is-as-chunky-as-it-sounds

      Will you transition from potato starch to “real” food forms of RS? I know I try to get a well-rounded array of fibers for the BA producers AND the other bacteria which FEED the BA producers. Feed them all, I say! 🙂

      Terri

      Reply
  8. jerry

    Hi Terri, greetings from the UK and thanks for your reply!

    My ‘Path to Wellness’ has been a rocky road: I totally endorse all
    of your dietary suggestions and would happily eat my way
    through the food stores in your larder!

    Dr ‘trackyourplaque’ Davis’s regime increased my HDL by a
    staggering 40% with low fasting blood glucose, low BP and low
    triglycerides. LDL still on the high side, possibly a genetic
    predisposition(?) Correct thyroid regulation is pivotal and I nagged
    my GP ( family doctor) to refer me to a consultant in order
    to check T3 levels. They came back ‘normal’ which failed
    to explain my post-exercise fatigue and low body temp, hmmmm . . .

    (I would like to share with Donna’s post above that the endocrinologist
    stated categorically that the current thinking is that TSH needs
    to be UNDER 2mU/L, which my GP was not aware of. Daily
    selenium supplementation essential for T4 conversion too).

    My current positive reaction to oral butyrate (ghee) together with
    potato starch for my colon microbes to chomp on might suggest
    that blood levels of T3 are irrelevant unless it gets into the cells.
    I found a post on google that stated that butyrate is the T3 carrier
    and hope you can confirm it authoritatively, although it was probably
    a study on rats or, a veterinary paper that I read, so . . .

    I am sporty and push myself with intensive cardio exercise. It’s
    like proving an engine, you cannot deny that a change in fuel is
    increasing performance and reducing recovery time. Go figure!

    I use the ‘free-the-animal’ guide to dosage level of resistant starch:
    Some flatulence and lucid dreaming. Too much and I colic.
    I have been on potato starch for 3 months but the big change came
    with ghee a couple of weeks back, which is why I posted on your blog.

    Being the male of the species, I like my protein smoothies, yum-yum!
    I love proper real food but can’t be bothered cooking for myself to
    any great extent. I spent decades eating ‘real food’ only to suffer
    perforated diverticulitis, so decided to stick with what works for me
    and now feel energised in body, mind and spirit. I just hope others
    can benefit from my experience.

    Jerry ( :

    Re – yak milk tea, those sherpas kick ass at high altitude and
    drink gallons of the stuff!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I am glad you opted to post. Thank you. I have jotted a note beside my computer to follow up on the T3/butyrate connection. Is there also a vitamin K2 connection? That ghee should be high in both butyrate and vitamin K2. Thought I read (I can only remember vaguely because it’s not what I was reading about at the time) on Jack Kruse’s blog something about vitamin K2 and metabolism (?thyroid connection). But maybe not. Can’t remember for sure.

      I thought Dr. William Davis had a nice thyroid write-up in his most recent book, Wheat Belly Total Health, regarding the use of reverse T3 levels particularly. Have you read much on reverse T3 or had it measured?

      I cant’ agree with you more on making sure to support the thyroid (and all of our thyroids, at least in most Western countries, need supported) with selenium (and also select B vitamins). And that the conventional medical approach of TSH management and acceptable levels is somewhat frightening now that I’ve read up (and will continue to do so).

      And haha! Yes, I do believe there is some male/female predilection for food choices (regarding your protein smoothies)! I just want people to feel good and for the most part, not accept many of these diseases of inflammation which are controllable with diet and lifestyle modification–that the food pyramid and ADA imposed on them (and me too–I never dreamed food could take away my allergies and tension headaches). How do we get people motivated to try it? Sometimes, once you get the ball rolling, people feel it and don’t look back. But getting them to try is tough. Well, anyhow, just thinking out loud. Have a good weekend!

      Terri

      Reply
      1. Hélène

        RT3 is an important overlooked dysfunctional thyroid system aspect. I take T3 and I just make RT3 out of it. Theres no way to supplement me. No way to get my body working. I dont do the T3 as its useless.
        High RT3 seems to be caused by another illness or disorder in the body. Mines 42, nooooot good. T3 low outside even lab ranges, let alone functional med range. Im cold and fat and bad mental fog and fairly depressed. Freezing cold, cept when Im too hot in summer, cant regulate my temp…HPA axis is not working.
        Also of course, adrenals are often underlying thyroid. Getting adrenals working tho? haha

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Helene, This does not sound like a happy way to feel. I’m sorry. Hopefully you can find someone, a functional health doctor or integrative health doctor, to help you! Best, best wishes to you.

  9. illys2013

    I’m still tracking down days here- and you, my dear, are well-trained! Do you recall which types of pancreatic exocrine cells produce lipase?
    Fatty activity gives me a light tension under the left ribs, even oil-pulling. I suspect outed due to low liver bile production and the like.
    Cheers this sunny morning!

    Reply
  10. Tess

    Thank you so much for all your info and taking the time to educate,….much appreciated! I have been adding some resistant starch to my family’s diet,…and would like to add some supplements of butyrate also. Yet, I see many kinds of Butyrate, like Sodium Butyrate, Sodium/Potassium Butyrate, and a Calcium/Magnesium Butyrate,….confused on which one to get. Any help would be so appreciated!! Again,….thank you for your wonderful, informative and helpful blog!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I have seen studies using sodium butyrate mostly. The butyrate does not have need of any of those (sodium, potassium, calcium, or magnesium) to be absorbed, so it should not matter which salt is used. They should all “break apart” in our stomachs and allow the butyrate to be absorbed and the mineral to be absorbed as is typical for that mineral (sodium, potassium, calcium, or magnesium). So which is used can be based on doing what studies did, or by choosing a mineral likely to be needed in a diet. For example, I already took supplemental magnesium for my GI, so I chose to try stopping that and using the calcium/magnesium butyrate. Some people know they are deficient in potassium intake, so they may opt for that (or maybe they get too much potassium and wouldn’t want that). I have read lots of mixed reviews on butyrate. Some have good success. Some notice nothing at all. Even rarely, I saw one or two people complain it set them back. I note improvement in food intolerances with it. I wish you much luck in your health! ~~Terri

      Reply
  11. Tess

    Thank you so much for getting back so quickly, and taking the time to answer! You are a gem and much appreciated! Your reply has really helped point me in the right direction! Thank you again! ~ Tess

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Thank you kindly, Tess. And you’re welcome. If you do end up trying it, you should let me know which camp you end up in. Better. Worse. No change. It has not “cured” my slow GI or my food intolerances (leaky gut/increased GI permeabiity), but they always seem improved when I take it–so I continue to play with better ways of improving my short chain fatty acid (butyrate, propionic acid, acetate) profile “naturally.” ~~Terri

      Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      From what I know, grass-fed fat products should have butyrate in them. I never saw this in black and white when I was reading, but it kind of was deduced. That sound about right to you–or did had you read of them being “converted” to butyrate on eating them?

      Reply
  12. Olivia

    You are truly amazing. I’m wondering when your Part 8 post is coming out about probiotics? I have been researching butyrate-producing bacteria and mast cell activation disorder relentlessly and I’m trying to come up with a list of the very best strains to treat it (butyrate happens to be excellent at mediating mast cells and their release histamine – I’m sure you know this!). If you could let me know when the post will be up, I would be forever grateful. Really looking forward to it. xx

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Olivia, I have been slowly working on it! Even as of two days ago. I feel like I’m making headway, and then all of a sudden I get interrupted by something or can’t find the information I feel like I need. I have read your other comment. I will approve it when I can, but I want to leave it in my in-box till I can write down your e-mail so when I do get the post finished I can try to remember to let you know. Regarding the Inuit that you bring up in your other comment, I have been offered many explanations now, so I do feel assured they got butyrate producing materials coming in one way or another! 🙂 I’ve got some MIYAIRI in my fridge; I don’t know what I think of it for me. But one thing is for sure, probiotics treat each person differently! Thank you for your nice words. They’re very reassuring. Sincerely, Terri

      Reply
  13. Olivia

    By the way – I forgot to mention, I saw in your post that you wondered how the Inuit were able to get a good source of butyrate with a high fat diet. I came across this page detailing that Alaskan soil contains Clostridium butyricum, which is a major butyrate-producing bacteria and used in that Japanese product MIYAIRI 588. Perhaps they were able to populate their guts by eating roughage from the land that still had some soil/bacteria on it? Leaves are great for this, because the bacteria can hide in the folds and make it all the way down to the colon protected. Just my hypothesis! Again, love your work and thank you! https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index.php/Alaskan_tundra

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I have been reading, trying to get the next post on butyrate ready, on the bacteria which make butyrate. Your hypotheses is definitely valid for the Inuit and butyrate, and I have seen it mentioned for people in general (that is, getting butyrate from soil based bacteria, of which C. butyricum is). But C butyricum isn’t one of those “stable”-type bacteria for the human gut biome. Yes, it seems you’ll find it in some, but not, I guess I’ll use the word, commonly.

      I read the other day about the different pathways to make butyrate that the bacteria have. It seems that the ones which are commensal use one pathway the most, whereas the ones we ingest from soil, they seem to use another pathway more. I’m still mulling on the potential significance of that for health. I think I’m leaning toward the idea of the best way to get butyrate is to grow and nurture your own core commensals which make butyrate, lots of plant matter (some key food categories to hit–those with some resistant starch, inulin, pectin, and a few more), and supplying typical probiotics via traditional probiotic foods (More specifically the juice from them, but the foods as well, if tolerated. Just that so many with poor GI issues don’t tolerate the actual foods.) to help produce byproducts such as lactate and acetate and an acidic environment, which our commensal butyrate-producers like.

      Thank you for reading and sharing information. I enjoyed reading your link. Anyone who clicks to it, check out that glacier!

      Terri

      Reply
      1. Hélène

        Very commonsense…so you’re probably right 🙂
        Always take data (facts), process them (understand) with wisdom (sense). Voilá! Truth
        Is my Trivium showing lol

  14. Christian

    I am very happy to have found your site. Well written and referenced. Of course I read many other sources regarding resistant starch as well and I was wondering if you have ever run across info regarding digestive enzymes. I often take a Pancreatin enzyme which contains Amylase. Would taking this with meals containing fiber and resistant starch negate the benefits by making the resistant starch more digestible?

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Christian,

      I do not think that the amylase in your Pancreatin will be able to break down the RS that you eat very much at all. The way I understand it, the amylase (whether the amylase our bodies make or the supplements we take) can’t “get at” the bonds it needs to “work on” due to the physical structure of the resistant starches. Amylase just doesn’t have the physical access to do its chemical job! It appears that RS3 (reheated potatoes, legumes) is really not able to be affected by amylase at all because of the retrogradation. RS2 (raw potato, green banana) may be affected a little but not much.

      Thanks for the question. I tried to Google a source for you quickly because its nice to have sources. Here’s an article which kind of explains this. I don’t think it’s a “great” article, as I saw a couple of typos in the section “Starch and its classification.” But if you read pages 2, 3, and 4, it states what I stated above. There are probably better articles, but for sake of time, I’ll just link to this. 🙂

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2006.tb00076.x/abstract

      Terri

      Reply
  15. Christian

    Thank you Terri for your time and effort. Yes it does seem that the enzymes will not negatively impact any of the major benefits of introducing resistant starch into the diet. I feel better knowing that my digestive enzymes will provide benefits in breaking down much of the food but leave me with the benefits I was looking for in the starch realm.
    Thanks again for your time!
    Christian

    Reply
  16. Hélène

    Its prob up above but what is R1 if raw potato and plantain are R2 and reheated potatoes, beans and, I assume, rice are R3?

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      RS type 1 is what’s locked up inside the cell wall of a whole seed or grain, like a kernel of wheat.

      Keep in mind that a food may have a combination of the different types of RS and even different levels of the same kind. RS is not a number’s kind of person’s favorite substance to tally and keep track of. 😦

      Depending on the type of potato it is determines how much RS it has. How the potato is cooked determines how much RS it has. If the potato is raw, it has RS type 2, and if it’s cooked and cooled it has RS type 3. Beans can have RS type 1 (cell wall) and 3. It’s a mix, depending on the food, hybrid, how it’s cooked, if it’s cooled, what part you’re eating.

      It’s a mix and match kind of thing.

      Reply
  17. Linda of Pittsburgh

    What an amazing amount of work you have put into these articles. Thank you so much. Having had gastro issues from being put on antibiotics (12 years old) for acne many years ago, (until 25 years old) began suffering constant upper respiratory infections (yes, taking even more antibiotics). March 2016, gastro doc had me do the hydrogen breathing test, which showed SIBO. Previously had been treated for IBS, C and D, and diverticulosis (big-time antibiotics) for years. After the hydrogen test, was told had SIBO, and put on Rifaximin. Two bouts of it, and it did help, but not enough. My gastro didn’t know about FODMAPS. (Just as an aside: after one too many bouts of diverticulitis, or maybe was not diverticulitis, he told me diet had nothing to do with stomach issues.) However, am very grateful he decided on testing. Began researching SIBO big time, and FODMAPS were the beginning. Cut out mushrooms (ate almost every night!) and onions, cut down on amount of nightly broccoli, limiting to 1/2 cup each night. (I still go overboard with broccoli from time to time, and then suffer) Then an article about resistant starch lead me to believe that may hold part of the answer. Eating a pat of high quality butter from Ireland, about 3x a day, and a cold, cooked potato every night, has been my new medicine. Still have issues from time to time, but am learning something new every week, something else that effects the gut. Trail and error, but it’s working. And so much to digest (lol) from your extensive research. Wonderful. Thanks so much again for this series. Wish a copy could be left in every waiting room for people with gut issues to read. Blessings HSD!

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Linda, Thanks for the words! As I am a live studio, they are always appreciated! You’ve had quite a path! Oh, my goodness! SO many antibiotics!!!! Thanks for sharing your story. I hope your GI tract responds well to all your doing for it!

      So the butter is helping? The potatoes are helping? That’s awesome, if so! Tim Steele, nicknamed Tater Tot, would be happy to hear, if so.

      I was doing great on RS whole foods until I had a surprise pregnancy really no supplements at all needed. Getting my gut motility back since then has been tough, but I am confident. Pregnancy and motherhood of a young children must take a toll, as I wasn’t able to simply repeat my steps and get back spontaneous motility like I thought I could/would! For me, butyrate production has been key, even still. I know that not everyone will respond to butyrate and/or foods thought to be butyrate-producing. But, I do! Our GI tracts are uniquely different, and there is NO one-size fits all prescription!!! I do want to write up why, eventually. But my kids, family, and friends come first. So I just strongly encourage people to find plant foods/prebiotics/fibers (RS, inulin, baobao, beta glycans, whichever!!!) that agree with them. At first, our GI tracts are so dysbiotic, it may feel like nothing agrees! But time and patience and trial and error and knowledge and seeking usually trump. (Perhaps I should have chosen a better word, but I refuse to let politics and arguing to determine my language. Refuse. 🙂 )

      Since these articles, I’ve learned that I am what is called an FUT2 non-secretor. As I am very healthy aside from constipation and necessity for a eating a low inflammatory diet, for me this is really not the issue that you’ll find on the internet if you Google it—well, unless people are eating “standard American diet.” BUT it could help explain why I have to be very strict with eating right to keep things working properly. It contributes to lower amounts of normal flora. I do have the normal flora, but in lower amounts. I know this because I’ve gut tested. Interestingly enough, after a month of very high fiber, the flora did respond positively. So I feel I just have to work harder to feed them properly.

      Butyrate still helps me when I am having flares of my bad motility. I am currently trying some tributyrin I was able to source, but it has only been a week of that. But my goal in life still is to be mostly supplement free as my diet allows. Well, that’s the update here, if anyone is reading. Oh, yes, and I did try some Clostridium butyricum; it didn’t help me at all, at least that I noticed. Maybe I didn’t give it long enough.

      Warmest wishes to all!

      Terri

      Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi, Maddy! How are ya’!? I ordered some tributyrin from the site below. I do not want to endorse them in any way—nor do I mean to non-endorse. I was simply curious and wanted to try. Motility has been great this first five days. No magnesium needed last night! But side effect has been headache, which I also had when I started butyrate for the first time back when I wrote my initial string of butyrate posts.

      https://eliehs.com/shop

      Reply
  18. Kelsey

    Hello Terri!

    Do you think there is something to be said about directly supplying the butyrate (from butter or other dairy sources) versus indirectly supplying the butyrate for our colonocytes by feeding the intestinal bacteria fibers to allow their production of the metabolite? I have seen many people raving about butyrate and taking on trends such as “bulletproof coffee” which is advertised to be so beneficial due to the butyrate in butter.

    It seems as though the most benefit comes from allowing our gut biome to ferment to give us the butyrate, so as to not only support our own health, but to also support the health of the bacteria. What do you think? I would love some recommendations to resources you trust. Thank you so much!

    Warmly,
    Kelsey Barnett
    Naturopathic Medical Student Year 1

    Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Kelsey,

      I wish you the absolute best in naturopathic school and eventually in practice. I hope it is a wonderful experience.

      On taking butyrate directly: I have not, up to this point, found much at all which explains what happens to the butyrate once it’s absorbed across the enterocytes early in transit. It goes to the liver, and then I lose what happens. Most articles just say, “Oral butyrate is not helpful because it’s absorbed too early.” However, it must do something as it is one of the few compounds (phenylbutyrate) to have done anything for ALS. (It hasn’t done much, don’t get me wrong and it may not translate/is not translating to humans. But it suggested something where most things suggest NOTHING for ALS. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2005.03077.x/pdf) I would eventually like to learn more of the metabolism/physiology of butyrate post absorption across the enterocytes/colonocytes. If anyone reading knows, do enlighten me!

      The butyrate in butter/high fat dairy is tributyrin. It, I believe, is absorbed more slowly than plain butyrate salt (like sodium butyrate). So will make it further to promote better intestinal health (and if absorbed, do whatever systemic effects butyrate does that I just don’t have a great grip on). It, from my reading, is absorbed before the colon, so it is often called “useless.” But as I pointed out above, I don’t think it’s useless. Finding what it (butyrate) specifically does post-absorption, though, is challenging.

      On getting butyrate via fermentation: I agree that getting butyrate via fermentation is the best idea. Eating prebiotics/fiber allows butyrate production directly and indirectly. Lactate and acetate (as by-products of prebiotics/fiber) very often get converted to butyrate in the colon. By feeding the bacteria which like the prebiotics/fiber, then you get more bacterial producers of butyrate and lactate and acetate. You get a better pH environment. And so on.

      So by eating food rather than just taking butyrate, then you’re getting “more” bang for your buck. The problem comes in when patients have severely dysbiotic/dysfunctional guts. I think for them to eat prebiotics/fiber can make them very uncomfortable and more symptomatic! So maybe in these people, or people who just need more butyrate to overcome a problem, butyrate supplementation is a great thing, hopefully allowing them to have better GI health so they can add in real food for natural butyrate production.

      I have my citations at the end of each butyrate post; I’ve lost count of how many there are (and I’m working on another or two—-but it will be a long time before I get them posted). I just try to read everything I can and then keep an open mind. No one person seems to have it all right. So I don’t really “trust” anyone. (That’s a sad state to live in, eh? Never trusting anyone. 🙂 ) But on hand, I don’t have any other resources. I just like to Google every component. Like:

      butyrate and ALS
      acetate and butyrate
      lactate and butyrate
      butyrate and pH
      butyrate and SIBO
      butyrate in the liver
      absorption of tributyrin
      production of butyrate from resistant starch
      production of butyrate from inulin

      …and so on. That’s how I search. Then, when I read all these links that turn up, I get a thousand more leads! And on goes the rabbit hole! I know you don’t have time for that though!

      GOOD LUCK with everything!!!! Study hard!!!!

      Terri Fites

      Reply
    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Lucy,

      Thank you so much for the link to your series AND for all the work you have put out there for all of us to see on the internet. I’m so glad you’re doing this series. It is great. And your site is so neat and clean and tidy. Like it a lot! I wish you ALL the best in your MD/PhD training. You are so lucky to know this “alternative stuff” BEFORE med school! Then you can truly integrate it. I’m so excited for you. Go affect your world!

      The butyrate paradox always scared me when writing my series. I tried never to ignore it as I developed my writing, even if I wasn’t explicitly pointing it out in each paragraph or post. That is why I always tried to encourage people to look for some form of real food that they could tolerate which would encourage butyrate producers/butyrate production. The “What if?” was consciously there. Whereas, if a person tolerates onions or homemade potato salad, then come on, who can argue with that? So I loved reading your post.

      I’ve had many questions and comments about butyrate in certain cases being “bad,” and your post can help people wade the waters better. Thank you.

      I look forward to following along! I’ve updated my “Butyrate” page with an external link to your series. I think anyone who stumbles across my blog would enjoy reading your series.

      Have a good one—

      Terri

      Reply

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