Butyrate Foods: Learn the Truth About This Beneficial Compound

Photo of milk, yogurt, kefir, aged cheese, cottage chees, and swiss cheese on a wooden surface for the butyrate foods post by The Healthy RD
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If you want to boost your gut health and overall health, you should aim to get high-butyrate foods into your diet. 

Butyrate is a natural substance found in foods. It is also made in your gut.

As a type of short-chain fatty acid, its most well-known function is to fuel the gut lining. 

But it does so much more. 

By eating certain foods, you can help harness the power of butyrate for your health. 

Supplementing butyrate also has very beneficial effects on gut health.  These benefits can be from boosting mood to dampening autoimmune symptoms. 

Let’s take a closer look at how to get butyrate into your diet and harness its benefits. 

What is Butyrate?

Image of butyrate as a short-chain fatty acid for the butyrate foods post by The HealthyRD

Butyrate is a natural type of short-chain fatty acid that aids in gut health.

By doing so, it helps with many aspects of keeping you healthy.

Here are some other roles of butyrate in the body:

Whether you’re looking to enhance your digestion or boost cognitive performance, incorporating the following butyrate-rich foods into your diet may be a simple yet effective way to improve your overall well-being.

Butyrate Foods: Categories

Sadly, the list of foods that contain butyrate in them is short.

However, certain foods and supplements can help the body make more butyrate, so there are lots of ways to naturally boost butyrate levels in your body. 

The following food categories are rich in natural butyrate or help the body make butyrate:

  • Dairy products
  • Animal fats
  • Certain types of dietary fibers
  • Some resistant starches
  • Probiotic-rich foods

But, it’s not a slam dunk to get butyrate by just eating dietary fiber as much of the media would lead you to believe. 

Let’s take a look at the best ways to optimize butyrate in your diet. 

Natural Butyrate Foods

The foods that contain the most natural butyrate are:

By eating these foods, you get the most direct form of dietary butyrate for your gut. 

It is perhaps part of why the French Paradox exists.

The French population eats a lot of butter and cheese, yet doesn’t suffer from as much heart disease as we do in the United States. 

Related post: 13 Important Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

Fermented Vegetables That Promote Butyrate Production in the Gut

Fermented foods also can help the body make butyrate, but they aren’t a direct source of butyrate. 

The lactic acid in fermented foods can be made into butyrate, but be aware that this process relies on having a healthy microbiome. 

Good choices of fermented foods include: 

Adding fermented foods like these have a lot of other health benefits too, so try to aim to eat fermented foods daily. 

Resistant Starches and Fibers That Help Make Butyrate in the Gut

Foods with certain resistant starches and fibers can help the body make butyrate, but not all resistant starches and fibers do. 

Some research shows that reheated or cooked then cooled potatoes are the only starch that significantly increases butyrate production in the gut. 

Most of the research suggesting that fiber-rich foods help the body make butyrate is based on rat studies.

However, when these same fibers are given to humans, the production of butyrate isn’t as clear-cut. 

It makes sense to include some resistant starches and soluble fiber in the diet, but keep in mind that the research isn’t solid in this area.

These foods are: 

One important thing to know about some of the high-fiber foods and resistant starches like green bananas is that they do not work alone without the use of probiotics like Bacillus probiotics

Also, you should be aware that limited research shows that wheat bran does NOT help the gut make butyrate. 

I wouldn’t recommend wheat bran anyway because of all the issues many people have with gluten and wheat’s antinutrients. 

Also, while websites state that legumes, nuts, and seeds help make butyrate, I couldn’t find any evidence in research that this is true. The exception is flaxseeds, which increased butyrate production in rats. 

Just be careful with flaxseeds because they have antinutrients in them which can cause gut pain and a reduced absorption of nutrients.  I suggest fermenting them before eating them. 

Butyrate Foods: Probiotics

graphic of probiotics with the word probiotics written across bacteria in blue for the butyrate foods post by The Healthy RD

Probiotics with prebiotic fiber on the other hand, more reliably increase butyrate production than fiber alone according to research.

Many of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotic strains help the body to make butyrate. 

Additionally, soil-based probiotics, also known as Bacillus probiotics, help the gut be efficient in making butyrate. 

Just be aware that if you have a histamine intolerance, you should probably stick to the Bacillus or Lactobacillus types of probiotics and avoid Bifidobacterium probiotics. 

And unlike the studies with resistant starches, human studies have been conducted which prove the benefits of probiotics for enhancing butyrate levels. 

A good example of this is a study using a probiotic called Bacillus coagulans. It was given along with prebiotics called fructooligosaccharides. This combination resulted in a much higher butyrate production than people receiving a placebo or fiber alone. 

Another example of how probiotics help make butyrate is a study that used a probiotic called Bacillus subtilis. Bacillus subtilis promoted butyrate production in the gut in this study. Keep in mind that they also gave L-glutamine supplements, which is a gut-healing amino acid. 

You can luckily get probiotics from fermented foods, but some research shows that probiotic supplements are more likely to survive the acidic environment in the stomach.

Butyrate Supplements

Body Bio Butyrate

One of the best ways to enhance the butyrate in your diet is to add in a butyrate supplement.  They can help your body be healthy in numerous ways. 

Butyrate supplements help reduce the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, reduce irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, and even help improve the gut microbiome.

By doing so, supplemental butyrate helps improve immune response and may even dampen autoimmune diseases. 

Supplementing sodium butyrate may help reduce diverticulitis symptoms too. 

Other fascinating research shows that butyrate supplements may be beneficial for the heart and the brain for improving mood

Early research suggests that butyrate supplements may be helpful for neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease. 

Butyrate may help boost energy metabolism and reduce inflammation as well. 

There are no serious side effects of taking butyrate either, but you may want to start slowly because using butyrate can result in temporary healing reaction symptoms, such as increased frequency of bowel movements. 

Be aware that butyrate supplements have a distinct smell of aged cheese, so that’s when you know it’s the right stuff.

Other Ways to Increase Butyrate

Besides eating butyrate foods and taking butyrate supplements, you can enhance butyrate in other ways.

  • Avoid constipation
  • Reduce unnecessary medications
  • Prevent diabetes by reducing processed foods in your diet
  • Manage diabetes well if you have it
  • Optimize your vitamin D levels

Many over-the-counter as well as prescription medications may impair your gut’s ability to make butyrate. Only take necessary medications. 

Additionally, vitamin D may have additive benefits to butyrate by dampening inflammation and helping make butyrate more effective in the body. 

Still, there are many unanswered questions about butyrate in the body. 

For example, no research has been conducted as of yet to determine the effects of many types of foods on butyrate production.

Summary

You can enhance your gut health and overall health by increasing butyrate in your diet.

By adding in butyrate-rich foods like butter, ghee, yogurt, aged cheeses, and grass-fed meats, you can enhance your digestive health. Fermented foods help the body make butyrate as well. 

Certain fiber foods like green bananas, potatoes, broccoli, roasted chocolate, and apples help make butyrate. However, make sure to get a good supply of probiotics into your diet through fermented foods or by adding probiotic supplements too. 

Last but not least, butyrate supplements can help heal the gut and promote health. These butyrate supplements even promote healthy probiotic bacteria to live in your microbiome. 

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