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.)

57 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?

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      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.

  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

    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!


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  5. 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!

    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!


  6. 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!

    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

    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?

  7. 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

    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

  8. 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

    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!


      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

  9. 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?

    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. 🙂



  10. 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!

  11. 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?

    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.

      1. Christopher

        So i have multiple food sensitivities to most of these foods except sweet potato, bananas, and plantain. Can i raise my butyrate producers by eating these cooled? Also is it heated and then cooled and reheated or just cooked and eaten cold

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Dear Christopher,

        Because of the properties of RS, this is not such an easy question to answer. Too many “if a person did this” or “ate it this way.”

        But I will try. Sweet potato does not have so much RS, even cooked then reheated. But there is still a small amount.

        Green bananas are great. Other ways to get RS from a green banana that most Americans aren’t familiar with include: 1) green banana flour 2) finding the small, hard green bananas in bunches that MUST be cooked (they’re hard as rocks and won’t peel otherwise!) like they eat in tropical climates and then cooking them and cooling them. They simply boil these small green bananas in their peels! Very cool.

        As for plantains, there is also plantain flour. And then also cooking, cooling, reheating. Mofongo is a Caribbean food that I make to do this.

        Cassava is another great RS root.

        I also remind myself that many of the natural “fibers” in all plant matter feed bacteria in different ways, producing butyrate indirectly. So to eat plant matter that I tolerate and enjoy and keep expanding that as I tolerate and enjoy is beneficial.


      3. Hélène

        I wish there was a way to eat prebiotics that kept me in ketosis! Ive finally got a way to be in ketosis that actually is allowing fat loss…IF. But eating starches would kick my old lady butt right out back into sluggardism as far as my metab/hormones is concerned. I sometimes eat fruit and bam.

  12. 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!

    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!


    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.


      1. Dave Reich

        I’ve also experienced bad headaches when starting butyrate products and had to stop taking them. Do you know what causes these headaches from butyrate?

  13. 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!

    Kelsey Barnett
    Naturopathic Medical Student Year 1

    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

    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—


  14. Natalie

    Hi Terri! Thank you so much for writing about butyrate! I have been searching for more info about it from a qualified source. I haven’t read the whole series yet (I’m a mom of 3, teacher, wife, and terribly busy as I know you understand!). I started having pain down there this past March. After a painful 6 months a 2 colonoscopies later, my final dx was colitis/procitits. That’s why it hurt down there so much, Terribly painful, but thankfully no blood or diarrhea, just pressure and canker sore like pain. My GI started me on sulfasalzine back in October. I decided to try this sodium butyrate from BodyBio I found on Amazon and after a few days my taste changed. My gastro was not happy that I tried this stuff from Amazon, but he did think the taste change was probably due to the sulfasalazine. Now I have been on Lialda for about 6 weeks and my taste is almost back to normal, but still a little off. I haven’t done the butyrate since I started Lialda but I really want to try it again, but I’m scared. I thought about why it’s taking so long to heal down there (because I’m not that much, better, a little bit but still lots of pressure and pain). Maybe I need to try to do a butyrate enema? Seems like I need to get medicine directly down there. I tried Canasa suppositories, but they didn’t help that much either. Anyways, do you know where I can find butyrate suppositories or enema? My gastro is still skeptical but I’m willing to try anything to be normal again. I have lost 30 pounds and have suffered from anxiety and insomnia because of this terrible proctitis. Prior to this year, the only medicine I had ever taken was Tylenol and Motrin. This has been a nightmare! Thanks for any advice. Happy Holidays!!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Natalie,

      I’ve enjoyed writing about butyrate. Thanks for reading. I’m sorry you’re going through this terrible pain and discomfort AND still trying to lead a normal teaching, mom-ing, wife-ing, and just being! I don’t know that I can relate to your pain totally, but I remember times when I’d have sharp, shooting pain and urgency but no real gut movement. Just pain and urgency. (Tenesmus is the medical word.) My colonoscopy showed nonspecific colitis. Who even knows what that would have been. But anyhow, I try to imagine going through my daily activities with that pain being persistent and even stronger than it was for my rare moments, and all I can think is, ouch. And be strong. Be strong. You’ll make it through this.

      Butyrate enemas and suppositories are different because no manufacturer makes them up pre-made, and they would need to be compounded by a pharmacist. Most pharmacies now-a-days do very little compounding. So I’d ask your normal pharmacist to refer you to the compounding pharmacy that they usually recommend to patients who end up needing specially compounded prescriptions. Your doctor would need to write the prescription for it, but then this compounding pharmacy would mix it up for you. If your doctor is not familiar with it, it might be helpful to have a reference to a an actual study that used butyrate enemas with a description in the material and methods of the enema (If you look in the materials and methods, you can see what form of butyrate they used, the concentration, what it was diluted in, etc.). I tried to find that quickly for you, but you know how it is when you search for studies—so often all you can get is the abstract, so you have to dig hard to get more. Or conversely, if you got the name of the compounding pharmacy, then you could call them and ask them about compounding butyrate enemas and what your doctor should write on the prescription then you could discuss it with your doctor. Does this all make sense?

      I’ve also read of people just diluting the contents of butyrate capsulses and giving enemas that way. I’ve never tried that, and I don’t know about that. I just worry about contaminants in supplements. The rectum is a special place to deliver drugs through due to its unique blood flow, so ideally, really pure, appropriate ingredients are indicated. I also understand, though, that these peole are desperate for relief and most have exhausted the resources of their conventional medical doctors. I also think that there are naturopaths out there who use butyrate enemas/suppositories and they’d have more experience to share on how they use it rectally.

      I know for myself, following an autoimmune type of diet relieved the bouts of tenesmus that I described above (my main purpose, though, was slow transit relief but at times I did have these symptoms I described above). I did an elimination diet (using whole, real foods, no processed foods) and was able to identify which foods make my colon aggravated. For me, eggs were a very surprising culprit. Eggs seem to bring back tenesmus. Weird. I know. But I know that for controlling my symptoms, I was very, very relieved to find autoimmune protocols (Terry Wahls, Paleo, and others) which allowed control of my symptoms—and then I have slowly played with the diets and worked on overall health (sleep, exercise, stress, mindset, foods, relationships, reducing exposures to plastics, chemicals, etc.) until I can eat a much more normal diet and feel and fuction pretty well just all around! So I always recommend to people to eat whole, real foods exclusively in flares and then tailor it even more strongly if that’s not helping—by eliminating dairy, eggs, grains, nuts, legumes, or anything they suspect.

      I have found that butyrate helps me. It’s a longer story than that, but that’s the gist of it. There are foods that the bacteria eat in your colon which they make butyrate out of. Leftover potatoes, green bananas, beans/lentils, leftover cassava root, green plantains (leftover cooked green plantains—called mofongo in Puerto Rico). I hate to use supplements, but when I found that butyrate helped me, I switched to using Bob’s Red Mill potato starch (NOT potato flour) as a slurry in water. I have found that very helpful for slow transit. (Again, there’s a longer story to that, but again, that’s the gist of it with some caveats.) That is one of the most powerful butyrate “produces” there is.

      Well, I could write all day. But my kids are all up, and they’re buzzing for Christmas. I’m listening to a story about our little elf right now.

      I have another buytrate post I’m trying to get teed up (working on the citations—the most tedious, dry, terrible part). It discusses the probiotic Clostridium butyricum which is known to increase butyrate in the colon. You might enjoy reading and learning about that (in all your free time, right!?!?).

      Bottom line of all that—it might be helpful to try a butyrate enema, but they’re more difficult logistically to obtain. Some people benefit from them greatly and some don’t. Depends on which study you look at. If only we knew which would make some responders and some not, that’d be awesome. You’re clearly in a position of physical misery (a 30 pound weight loss?? persistent tenesmus??), so I’d like to think that a reasonable doctor is up to trying something that is financially feasible, known to be safe, and even has some studies behind it. But due to the pressured environment of medicine today (more and more patients, more and more documentation required, more and more law suits, more and more guidelines that are mandated to be followed regardless of patient individuality, etc), you’re probably going to have to work extra hard to go outside the box.

      I wish you well. Merry Christmas to you and all your family. God is good, and I always know (even if I’m mad about it and don’t like it), that God is leading me somewhere. I hope you come out stronger and wiser on the other side of this physical challenge.

      Terri F

  15. Katie

    I have similar symptoms to yours and just wondering if you were still taking the butyrate and which kind. I hate taking supplements, but I haven’t been able to eat my way out of this problem am I am very motivated Cooked eggs also bother me but I can do a raw duck egg in a smoothie
    Cooked eggs did not used to bother me that I know
    There are people on the breaking the vicious cycle Facebook page that have used butyrate enemas for Proctitis and done well
    I have Crohn’s disease put into remission 19 years ago on specific carbohydrate diet. But after cheating with potato chips four years ago I got severe constipation but I also have several old strictures. I recently got a Viome test. Interestingly, even though my stool marker for inflammation is normal along with my blood tests for inflammation and there’s no inflammation during a colonoscopy, the Viome test shows that I don’t have very much good bacteria and very low butyrate production and poor intestinal barrier. The other thing that is interesting although I am allowed cow dairy it tells me only to eat one teaspoon of butter a day. So maybe my bacteria doesn’t convert it well Just another piece of the puzzle but I would like to try butyrate for motility Oh and I have poor sulfate pathways which might explain the problem with the eggs I think hydrogen sulfide can slow motility also.
    Can you please tell me what butyrate works for you? I don’t want to take the sodium one because the test also said I should only have 1/8 tsp salt a day
    Thank you!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi, Katie: That’s so interesting to see you’ve been on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for 19 years for Crohn’s! Wow! I let you know in the other comments about which butyrate supplements I used. I don’t use them anymore. For me, they were a moderately temporary bridge.

    2. Christian

      Hi, I am not a Dr nor do I play one on TV 🙂 but in one of the emails I got a comment was made that testing showed an individual did not have an optimal variety of gut bacteria.
      I think this may be worth investigating as they are antibiotic resistant and act sort of like gardeners for our bacteria and help create optimal conditions for our friends.
      “The world market for probiotics supplements has been growing over the last two decades based on their important clinical merits. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most used genera , mainly for their ability to exclude pathogens. However, they do not have multifunctional probiotic capacities as B. subtilis . Bacillus bacteria are increasingly attracting attention of researchers as promising probiotics due to their strong antimicrobial, antidiarrheal and immunostimulatory effects, ability to stimulate growth of natural flora and prevent intestinal inflammation; besides having an excellent stability profile in otherwise unfavorable conditions. Moreover, it has established efficacy and safety in numerous randomized, double-blind clinical trials, as validated and approved by authorities like FDA and EFSA. In this sense, B. subtilis has the potential to emerge as the “perfect multifunctional probiotic bacteria” for various clinical conditions in humans.”
      From this link

      1. Katie

        Thanks for your input. I have considered megasporbiotic but am a little nervous as what if it takes of residence and it doesn’t agree with me? You can’t get rid of it can you?

      2. Christian

        I certainly cannot make recommendations regarding spore probiotics but there is a lot of information suggesting that they have a positive effect on SIBO and that lacto probiotics may not be as beneficial as soil based but of course I have to leave that to individuals to decide.
        There is a lot of info regarding PRE biotics being as if not more beneficial that pro biotics because simply adding more probiotics to the system that doesn’t have adequate food available for them is not as beneficial.

  16. katie

    Could you please let me know what kind of butyrate you ended up using? I have extremely similar symptoms to you. I am looking at Healus tributyrin and bio mag cal. Thank you!!!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hi, Katie:

      Sorry it has taken me so long to answer.

      I used Body Bio Magnesium/Calcium and Butycaps. This is not an endorsement or recommendation. This is simply an answer to the question of what I ended up using.

      1. katie

        Thank you so much for your reply! I understand that we are all individuals and will respond differently. I don’t hold you accountable for my decisions but since there is always so much conflicting information, I try to look at individuals that seem to have similar symptoms to me and see what works for them. The proof is in the pudding so to speak. That is why I tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, there were so many testimonials to great results and it made sense to me.

        I recently did the Viome test and it appears that Hydrogen Sulfide gas is my problem, which makes sense since eggs, wine, and cabbage etc. bothered me. Also too much fructose, which I assumed was candida but I guess the same bacteria that produce gas from sulfer can do it from too much fructose too.

        Specifically, did you find that the Bio mag/ca helped your motility? My stool is soft. I have strictures which don’t help, although no pain, I just can feel things gurgling. When I have good peristalsis I have no issues. Also, I thought you were trying Tributyrin from a past comment, although not the Healus brand. Did that have a similar result as the bio mag//cal supplement? It is supposed to be delivered more efficiently to the colon.

        One last question. I believe the Healus product of Tributyrin is only one of the types of short chain fatty acids. It doesn’t have the acetate or the proprionate (that’s from memory I am sure I have the words wrong). Do you know if the Bio Mag/cal has the other forms? I believe the other forms help to decrease PH to improve motility? I didn’t see the answer on the website.

        Thank you so much for this blog it was very helpful! I am sure it took a ton of time and I appreciate your sharing the blessing of your knowledge. I always pray for answers and God has been very good to me. Thanks for your time!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Hi! I feel like the Butycaps and the Mag/cal butyrate I took did both seem to help my motility initially and my sensitivities to certain foods. (So why did I stop? I didn’t feel like it helped enough to justify for me the cost, the inconvenience of ordering and taking supplements, and taking a supplement with potential unknown effects when I felt like good dietary management with butyrate-forming foods seemed to help me too.) Both of those products do only have the butyrate short chain fatty acid and not acetate or propionate. It was specifically the butyrate that I was looking for because of the studies of it on the gut barrier and motility. It does also decrease the ph. You’re welcome for the blog articles. When I have time, I enjoy reading nutrition/health information lots and summarizing it into understandable, real-life words. And along your last words, God is good. Amen. 🙂

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