One of the first steps to improving your gut health is repairing your gut lining. To achieve this lofty goal, you must alter the state of your microbiome. Your gut needs probiotic bacteria that feast on dietary fibers you consume. Once they break down these fibers, your stomach bacteria will produce butyrate. For many, butyrate might be the answer in how to repair your gut lining.
Unfortunately, too much butyrate may be detrimental to the weight of some people. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of butyrate and how it might help you repair your gut lining.
What is Butyrate?
Butyrate is one of many short-chain fatty acids produced by probiotic bacteria in your gut. However, butyrate is one of the least abundant of the bunch.
The amount of short-chain fatty acids our gut biome produces are approximately:
- Acetate (60%)
- Propionate (25%)
- Butyrate (15%)
When we consume dietary fibers that we can’t break down, such as inulin found in artichokes and onions, these food particles get fermented in our intestines.
Probiotics live off the sugars produced by the fermentation process. Just like we excrete waste, so do they. However, their trash is our treasure. That’s because these short-chain fatty acids make up to 10% of the calories our cells need to power us through the day .
How Butyrate Might Help Repair Your Gut Lining
Of the short-chain fatty acids our microbiome produces, butyrate is most helpful for maintaining the integrity of our gut barrier. It provides up to 70% of the fuel necessary for epithelial cells within our colon . To achieve this, butyrate activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) .
The purpose of AMPK is to promote homeostasis (balance) in cells. It also plays a significant role in how our metabolism functions. In fact, some scientists credit weight loss to AMPK activation.
One study on AMPK and found,
“In both mice with and without NAFLD, levels of fats in the liver dropped when AMPK was activated — new fat production was slowed and existing fats were metabolized. Moreover, when AMPK was activated in mice that were fed a high-fat diet, the mice were protected against weight gain and obesity and had fewer signs of liver inflammation .”– Science Daily
AMPK is essential for appetite regulation. It also plays a significant role in losing weight. Let’s talk about another metabolic benefit of AMPK next.
Stimulating the AMPK promotes autophagy. This natural process is when cells destroy and consume older cells. They become something like super-cells.
In the end, the cells lining your gut become stronger. Thanks to activating AMPK, butyrate helps colon cells maintain their four to five day life cycle.
With healthy cells always present, the tight junctions of our small intestine become more robust.
In turn, particles and toxins from your organs don’t permeate into the gut biome, triggering Leaky Gut Syndrome. As a result, butyrate can help you repair your gut lining.
Butyrate and Preventative Care for Gut Health
Besides butyrate helping repair your gut lining, this short-chain fatty acid is a beneficial tool in preventative gut health care. That’s because butyrate is a potent anti-inflammatory fat.
Research shows that butyrate can inhibit the growth of pro-inflammatory biomarkers, such as:
- Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)
- Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)
- Interleukin-1-beta (IL-1β)
- Interleukin-6 (IL-6)
- Interleukin-8 (IL-8)
Furthermore, butyrate promoted the growth of Interleukin-10 (IL-10) and
Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) . Research on these cytokines found that they play a role in regulating symptoms associated with autoimmune disease and allergies .
With less inflammation in the system, then the cells in your gut lining have a better chance of survival. So, not only does butyrate help repair your gut lining by strengthening the cells, but it lessens the need for an immune response in the first place.
Too Much Butyrate and Obesity
While butyrate is useful in repairing your gut lining, too much of this short-chain fatty acid might be a cause for concern. Research shows that obese individuals tend to have elevated levels of butyrate in their system.
Scientists hypothesize that when butyrate gets metabolized, it creates cholesterol, fat, and ketones . The cholesterol and fat are a recipe for lipid production. They use the ketones as a catalyst through the β-hydroxy-β-methylglutaryl-CoA pathway (HMG-CoA).
Repair Your Gut Lining with Probiotics
Butyrate production in the gut biome is minimal when compared to other fatty acids, such as acetate. Therefore, your microbiome might need help in creating this short-chain fatty acid, especially if you’re combating a condition like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO).
The stomach bacteria that produces the most butyrate is by far members of the Bifidobacteria genus. An analysis of 42 healthy people found, on average, two species of this butyrate-producing-bacteria .
Most commonly, these volunteers had:
- B. longum (90%)
- B. adolescentis (79%)
- B. catenulatum (38%)
We relied on this intestinal flora so much because they’ve been with us since we were born. About 90% of a baby’s gut biome is comprised of Bifidobacteria, while even more is supplemented to them through breast milk. Unfortunately, our dietary habits cause us to turn our backs on our long-time friends.
The Bifidobacteria analysis found,
“Bifidobacteria are among the first bacteria to colonize the human gastrointestinal tract and reach their highest proportion in the colon (up to 90% of the total colon microbiota in vaginally delivered breast-fed infants) during the first 12 months of life. This abundance significantly decreases over time to <5% in adult subjects and decreases even more in the elderly.”– Front Microbiol.
Find out if you need more butyrate in your system by getting your gut tested. We can determine your Bifidobacteria levels. From there, we can supply you with a customized probiotic with inulin. That way, the butyrate-producing stomach bacteria can get to work. When you Thryve Inside, you will repair your gut lining faster.
 LeBlanc, J. G., Chain, F., Martín, R., Bermúdez-Humarán, L. G., Courau, S., & Langella, P. (2017). Beneficial effects on host energy metabolism of short-chain fatty acids and vitamins produced by commensal and probiotic bacteria. Microbial cell factories, 16(1), 79. doi:10.1186/s12934-017-0691-z
 Brahe, L K, et al. “Is Butyrate the Link between Diet, Intestinal Microbiota and Obesity-Related Metabolic Diseases?” Obesity Reviews : an Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23947604.
 Peng, L., Li, Z. R., Green, R. S., Holzman, I. R., & Lin, J. (2009). Butyrate enhances the intestinal barrier by facilitating tight junction assembly via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase in Caco-2 cell monolayers. The Journal of nutrition, 139(9), 1619–1625. doi:10.3945/jn.109.104638
 “Health Effects of Metabolic ‘Magic Bullet’ Protein.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 15 Jan. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190115111944.htm.
Hu Liu, Ji Wang, Ting He, Sage Becker, Guolong Zhang, Defa Li, Xi Ma, Butyrate: A Double-Edged Sword for Health?, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 9, Issue 1, January 2018, Pages 21–29, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx009
 Levings, Megan K, et al. “The Role of IL-10 and TGF-Beta in the Differentiation and Effector Function of T Regulatory Cells.” International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12483031.
 Guilloteau P, Martin L, Eeckhaut V, Ducatelle R, Zabielski R, Van Immerseel F. From the gut to the peripheral tissues: the multiple effects of butyrate. Nutr Res Rev 2010;23:366–84.Google ScholarCrossrefPubMed
 Rivière, A., Selak, M., Lantin, D., Leroy, F., & De Vuyst, L. (2016). Bifidobacteria and Butyrate-Producing Colon Bacteria: Importance and Strategies for Their Stimulation in the Human Gut. Frontiers in microbiology, 7, 979. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.00979