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  • Writer's pictureMarcie Vaske, MS, LN, CNS

What Are Short Chain Fatty Acids? (+ should you take a butyrate supplement?)

What are short chain fatty acids and should you be supplementing to make more?

Today I'm going to answer the questions of what are short chain fatty acids as well as the importance and health benefits of short chain fatty acids.

What you should consider before supplementing short-chain fatty acids,

As well as where can you find them in your diet,

The different types of short-chain fatty acids,

And how can you increase short-chain fatty acid production naturally.

(Video Transcript Below)

But first, my name is Marcie Vaske and I'm a licensed nutritionist with Flusso Nutrients. At Flusso Nutrients, we really work hard to educate you on different types of supplementation to help you make a better decision about what's going to be best for you.

If you have questions or are wondering what's going to be best for you specifically, it is going to be better to speak with a supplement practitioner or supplement literate practitioner to give you more specific information.

The information we provide is just going to be based on what is better for the average person and to help you understand why you should use it and or why you shouldn't.

And the short-chain fatty acid supplement I talk about today will be linked below and you can easily order it if it's something that after this video you think is going to be a good fit for you.

So to get started,

What are short-chain fatty acids?

Short-chain Fatty acids are a group of fatty acids that help to support our intestinal tract.

Short-chain fatty acids are produced from the, or fermented from the fibers that we consume. So when we talk about adding in more vegetables and more whole healthy grains as well as fruits, we want to use that good fiber to help support our short chain fatty acid production.

Now, short chain fatty acids serve a very important role for specific colon sites, which are colon cells in our intestinal tract.

The healthier those cells are, the our integrity of our intestinal tract is now clearly short-chain fatty acids are going to be very helpful and critical for the health of our digestive system, but they do have other far-reaching places in our body that they reach and support.

So in addition to that gut integrity that they keep healthy, they also help to support our immune system.

They help to regulate that immune system to keep inflammation at bay.

And short chain fatty acids also help to or play a role in our metabolism or our metabolic profile.

And so what they do is they help to support our blood sugars, our insulin sensitivity, and keeping that metabolism and metabolic function in our body really working on better cylinders and short-chain fatty acids have even been shown to help our brain and they help to have kind of a neuroprotective effect, which helps to support our mental health.

So you can see just how important those short chain fatty acids are. It's not just for our gut, but for our immune system, our brain health and our metabolic system.

So all these main systems in our body that we want to stay healthy. So if you feel like you may not be getting enough healthy insoluble or soluble fibers or soluble fibers, particularly for short chain fatty acids, then you may want to look into supplementing.

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And even if you may be getting enough of the soluble fibers to help support your short chain fatty acid production, but you're in kind of a healing space, maybe you feel like your immune system needs support or your mental health needs support, or maybe it is your gut health that needs support or maybe even your metabolic system supplementing might be just give you a little bit of an extra edge and get you there a little bit more quickly.

What do you need to consider before beginning a supplement for short chain fatty acids?

One of the things would be if you have an inflammatory bowel disease, sometimes starting with short chain fatty acids can increase bowel movements.

And so if you already have an inflammatory bowel disease that is active or you're in a flare, you may want to consider holding off or at least speaking to a health practitioner prior to starting.

Also, you want to look at any kind of medications that you're taking, and that goes with any supplement because short-chain fatty acids might interact with certain medications.

So again, you want to be sure that you're speaking with your health provider to make sure that there isn't any contraindications there.

And of course, you want to watch the dosage.

Butyrate Supplement Dosage + Potential Side Effects

So beginning with what the packaging says is a good and safe place to start. And you can always, of course talk to your healthcare practitioner to see if you need a little more, or maybe you should start with less until your body gets used to it.

And there are some potential side effects to beginning short-chain fatty acid supplementation, which I mentioned just a moment ago, but it can increase your bowel movements. It may just give you a little bit of abdominal discomfort for a few days.

You might notice a little bloating, and if you start at a low dose, then it'd be less likely that you'll experience these things and kind of work up versus if you just start really hardcore, you might have more of the symptoms.

But just know that it's kind of a normal transition period for beginning a short chain fatty acid supplement. If it lasts longer or if feels severe, absolutely stop the supplement.

Butyrate Supplement Types

So there are a few types of short-chain fatty acids, and really there's three main types.

So there's the acidic, there's propionate, and then there's our butyric acid and these all work synergistically to help provide what we need for our immune system, our gut health, our metabolic system, as well as our mental health.

And those are the main three. There are others. So if you're thinking like, okay, well what supplement am I going to use here?

How do I want to do it?

A lot of times you might see supplements out there like a butyric acid supplement, for example, because butyric acid is kind of our main short chain fatty acid that does a lot of things, a lot of what we just talked about above and what I just named a few moments ago.

And so understanding that that's kind of the one to maybe go to is one piece. So you can supplement with butyric acid or butyrate is what it usually would be called on the packaging. And so that's one way to go for sure.

But when I'm working with people and I'm trying to increase their short chain fatty acid production, I like to do it more of a natural way.

So what that means is that a lot of times I'll use something called Sunfiber (linked below at the end of this article), and there's other kinds of fibers like that out there, but I like this one.

It works really beautifully. And so essentially it's like food for your short chain fatty acids. So instead of just putting straight butyric acid in or butyrate in, it's more about helping your body do it on its own, which I like.

It feels more natural to me. And it also does support short chain fatty acid production well.

And so you're not just improving just one type of acid, but you're working on all of them, which again, to me feels really good. So I will link that product down below, which is sun fiber, and I always say begin slow.

So you can start with just an eighth of a teaspoon depending on how your body is, what kind of symptoms you're having. If you're really healthy and you're just like, well, I want to improve my short chain fatty acids, you can probably take more. But typically I work with a lot of people with gut health issues.

So starting at a slower amount, an eighth of a teaspoon, maybe for a few days, that goes fine, you can increase it to a quarter teaspoon and so on and so forth.

You typically would take maybe a teaspoon a day, and you should get to that in your own time. So however it feels, I have some people who stay at a quarter teaspoon because it works for them. And so the whole thing is that you're making short chain fatty acids when you're adding in food for them.

Short Chain Fatty Acids Foods

So I really like that approach. Now, if you're thinking, well, I don't really want to supplement, but I just want to know how to support my short chain fatty acids through food, and you can do that. So foods that are going to be highest in short chain fatty acids are kind of like food for them would be fiber rich.

Those types of foods like our fruits and vegetables, our whole grains are going to be very abundant in that.

And then they will ferment in our digestive system, creating our short chain fatty acids. Other foods that are going to be helpful are just like what we use to promote good flora in our digestive system, which are going to be fermented foods.

So things like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurts, those things are going to, again, support our short chain fatty acids as well. And in addition to those two, you can also incorporate resistant starches.

So resistant starches can be found in cooked potatoes, cooked sweet potatoes, green bananas, and these are little, again, just a little bit of food for our digestive system.

So easy to add in a little bit of that throughout your meals throughout the week. And you know that you're then working on improving your short chain fatty acid production.

And so how do you improve our short chain fatty acid production naturally and just kind of ran through 'em, really watching what you're eating.

So getting in that fiber food, consuming more fiber, making sure that you are also getting maybe some resistant starches in throughout the week.

Of course, just supporting a healthy microbiome with good flora, so that fermented food can really be helpful there.

The yogurts, the kimchi, the sauerkraut. And of course, if we're putting in all of this good stuff, we want to make sure the bad stuff is out.

So things like processed foods or sugars, so things, basically anything in a package or that has damaged fats, and those things are toxins to our digestive system, which wear down our sure chain fatty acids. So taking those things out and putting in the good things.

And if you want to supplement, maybe trying a little bit of that sun fiber.

So as you can see, short chain fatty acid in our body are very important all the way from our gut health, which is going to be primary because that's where they're made and produced, and they have the integrity of our intestinal tract all the way to our mental health.

And in between we have our metabolic system and our immune system.

And so supporting all of these functions is going to help us feel better every day. If you are interested, I will link that supplement below, which is sun fiber.

So you're welcome to try it if you'd like, just start slow or just add in some natural foods and take out the bad foods.

So I hope that helps you make a better decision on what your gut needs.

Thanks for watching.

Check out the high-quality supplements we discussed in this video - links below for your convenience!

1) Sunfiber: create an account here, then search the name "Sunfiber by Metabolic Code" -

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