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what is sodium butyrate good for, when should I take sodium butyrate, should I take sodium butyrate, are sodium butyrate supplements effective

What Is Sodium Butyrate Good For?

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Sodium butyrate is one of my favorite must-have supplements. I never go without it, and in this guide, I will explain how it can benefit your health. Some of the questions I’ll answer below include:

  • What is sodium butyrate good for, and what are sodium butyrate benefits?
  • When should I take sodium butyrate?
  • Should I take sodium butyrate?
  • Are butyrate supplements effective?

Table of Contents

What Is Butyrate?

Butyrate is something your gut produces when good bacteria break down dietary fiber. Butyrate is made in the colon (large intestine), and it’s a short-chain fatty acid. Butyrate plays a crucial role in the health of the digestive system since it serves as your colon cells’ primary energy source. Butyrate meets an estimated 70% of the energy needs of your colon.

Other benefits may also stem from butyrate, including preventing cancer, supporting the health of your immune system, and reducing inflammation.

Short-chain fatty acids like butyrate are important to ensure that your cellular systems are working correctly and interacting with one another the way they should. Butyrate receptors in the gut are in immune, nerve, and endocrine cells.

What Is Sodium Butyrate?

Sodium butyrate is a chemically modified form of butyrate used in supplements. A sodium butyrate supplement can encourage the production in your gut.

Should I Take Sodium Butyrate?

There are certain situations where you might consider taking sodium butyrate.

You could consider taking a sodium butyrate supplement if you don’t eat many foods that naturally help your body make butyrate. Examples of butyrate foods include:

  • Dairy like butter
  • Whole grains
  • Underripe bananas
  • Legumes
  • Cooled rice
  • Cooled potatoes

Along with your diet, if you follow a high-protein or high-fat diet and have minimal carbs, it can lead to less dietary fiber intake, so that you may make less butyrate.

Certain medications, like antibiotics, can impact your body’s ability to produce and absorb butyrate.

If you have a chronic health condition like type 2 diabetes, it can disturb your gut microbiome, and you might also consider taking a sodium butyrate supplement.

What Is Sodium Butyrate Good For?

The following are some of the potential sodium butyrate benefits that come with taking this powerful supplement.

Provides Fuel for the Cells of Your Gut Lining

Most cells in our bodies will use glucose and sugar as primary energy sources. By contrast, the lining of your gut has cells called colonocytes that primarily use butyrate, and these cells need butyrate to function properly.

Butyrate provides fuel for the colonocytes, and the cells will create an environment free of oxygen, which helps promote a healthy gut microbe. The result is also reduced inflammation for a healthy gut overall.

Heal Leaky Gut

Since the gut lining needs butyrate to stay healthy and function the way it should, it also makes sense that sodium butyrate can help heal the leaky gut and plug it.

Your gut lining is called an intestinal barrier. The barrier is meant to allow things like vitamins and minerals to pass through the bloodstream to go where needed. At the same time, the gut lining is also protective in that it can help pathogens, toxins, and certain types of food compounds from entering your bloodstream. The process is known as intestinal permeability.

If you have a healthy gut lining, there are tight junctions, which are small holes that relax, letting nutrients and water go through. If your gut isn’t healthy, the tight junctions don’t close between meals, and toxins and other unwanted substances can enter the bloodstream in a condition known as leaky gut.

Sodium butyrate and butyrate, in general, help fuel the cells of your gut lining to heal or prevent a leaky gut.

Fights Against Diabetes and Obesity

Butyrate has the potential to improve type 2 diabetes and obesity because of how it increases the production of gut hormones that will enhance blood sugar levels.

Butyrate specifically can enhance the secretion of GLP-1 and PYY, which are gut hormones. GLP-1 increases insulin production and can reduce glucagon production in the pancreas, while PYY increases glucose uptake in your fatty tissues and muscles.

When you have increased production of butyrate and other short-chain fatty acids in your colon, it helps release these blood-sugar-balancing hormones.

Brain Health

We’re continuing to learn just how much the health of our gut plays a role in our mental and brain health.

Butyrate’s’ functions include neuroprotective effects benefiting the brain and nervous systems. Butyrate targets many pathways associated with disease progression for conditions like stroke, autism, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

If you boost your butyrate production or supplement, it might help your mental health and mood and potentially prevent brain diseases later. Butyrate may also help improve brain plasticity, which allows it to adapt.

Heart Health

Some studies have found that butyrate might help protect against cardiovascular diseases affecting your heart and blood vessels. For example, in one study, treatment with butyrate improved myocardial injury through a gut-brain neural circuit. The researchers concluded that the heart health benefits of butyrate might come from its ability to suppress the sympathetic nervous system.

Other research has found that the microbes in our gut can play a role in heart failure. People with heart failure often have a set of shared microbial alterations. Researchers have found that when people have reduced biodiversity in their gut of the bacterial families that produce butyrate, they often have heart failure.

A leaky gut has also been proposed as a possible contributor to the development of heart failure.

Butyrate is also known to have a direct immune-modulating effect in the gut, so it could be that it’s able to reduce immune activation or directly suppress inflammation, and that could help heart health.

Sleep Quality

The quality of our nightly sleep depends mainly on our gut microbiota. A depletion of diverse bacterial flora can be associated with sleep disorders, problems with our sleep-wake rhythm, and decreases in sleep duration.

In a study published in the Scientific Reports Journal, butyrate appears to play a role in sleep onset and quality. Butyrate can enter the portal vein, which transports it to the liver, where it’s stored. Then, butyrate may act on the portal vein’s sensory mechanisms to help promote sleep. It appears that butyrate can attach to receptors on the wall of the liver and portal vein and, in doing so, can trigger sleep.

Combats Inflammation

Several studies show butyrate can reduce inflammation in different ways. For example, in one study, sodium butyrate was found to help combat H. pylori and the inflammation it produces.

In other studies, sodium butyrate has been found to reduce intestinal inflammation in animals. Other studies have found that it helped inflammation of the intestines and kidneys in people with type 1 diabetes.

In rat studies, sodium butyrate reduced intestinal injury and inflammation by regulating inflammatory cytokines.

Short-chain fatty acids are part of how the body maintains intestinal homeostasis, contributing to the modulation of both local and systemic inflammatory and immune processes.

Cancer

There’s a lot of compelling research about butyrate and its role in oncology.

Specifically, it’s starting to become more apparent that butyrate may have a protective effect against colorectal cancer. That’s one of the most common cancers worldwide, and butyrate may help suppress the proliferation of cancer cells. It may also help improve healing after surgery and prevent colon complications, like an anastomotic leak that can occur after colon resection.

In cellular studies, butyrate has been found to potentially lead to the apoptosis and inhibition of colorectal cancer cells. In these early studies, it’s been found to prevent invasion and metastasis, working through complex molecular networks.

Other types of cancer are also being studied regarding how butyrate could affect them. For example, in another cellular study, butyrate appeared toxic to breast cancer cells, leading to apoptosis.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Ongoing inflammation and colon ulceration are defining characteristics of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Research suggests that reduced butyrate levels could play a role in IBD. Correcting gut dysbiosis could be one way to help alleviate the inflammatory responses that are part of IBD.

High butyrate levels achieved through supplementation could potentially create anti-inflammatory effects through various metabolic pathways, which could normalize proinflammatory cytokines.

Butyrate can affect regulatory T-cells and also increase the levels of anti-inflammatory, immune system cells like M2 macrophages.

Should I Take Sodium Butyrate?

You should speak to a healthcare provider if you have questions, but reasons you might consider taking sodium butyrate is if you have any of the following conditions or symptoms:

  • You take medications that deplete your good gut bacteria
  • You have a chronic disease like type 2 diabetes
  • You’re dealing with gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS or IBD
  • You’re at high risk for colon cancer
  • You have heart-related issues

When Should I take Sodium Butyrate?

You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions when taking sodium butyrate, but overall, it’s a good idea to take one or two capsules daily. Some people do take higher doses.

You can focus on your diet to naturally increase your body’s butyric acid production. Fiber-rich foods will help naturally raise butyrate levels, as can high-quality butter or ghee.

Overall, butyrate supplements are considered safe since your body produces them. You should be careful if you have food intolerances and experience bloating because sodium butyrate could irritate your GI system. If you’re obese, you might already have higher-than-normal butyrate levels, so you should perhaps avoid supplementation.

Are Butyrate Supplements Effective?

There is early evidence that butyrate supplements may have several benefits and can help raise your body’s levels.

What’s the Best Sodium Butyrate Supplement?

I take sodium butyrate daily, as does my husband, for general gut health and wellness. The only brand I use is from BodyBio. I’m linking it here:

I like this brand because it’s affordable and has a strange cheese-like smell, which might not sound like a benefit, but high-quality butyrate should have this odor. This brand has no fillers or additives, and the reviews from other customers are generally excellent.  

Final Thoughts—What is Sodium Butyrate Good For?

What is sodium butyrate good for? Potentially quite a bit. The benefits of sodium butyrate can include:

  • Better gut health
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Lower risk of cancers, including colon cancer
  • Improvements in IBD symptoms
  • Healing leaky gut
  • Brain health benefits
  • Reductions in obesity and type 2 diabetes symptoms
  • Better immune function

There’s a lot of currently available and ongoing research showing what butyrate is good for, specifically what sodium butyrate’s benefits might be for health.

Sources

Cleveland Clinic. “The Health Benefits and Side Effects of Butyrate.” July 11, 2022. Accessed January 9, 2023.

Gasaly, Naschla et al. “Butyrate and the Fine-Tuning of Colonic Homeostasis: Implication for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.” NIH National Library of Medicine, March 22, 2021. Accessed January 9, 2023.

Cleophas, Maartje C.P. et al. “Effects of oral butyrate supplementation on inflammatory potential of circulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells in healthy and obese males.” Scientific Reports, 2019. Accessed January 9, 2023.

Wang, Wenqi et al. “Sodium Butyrate Selectively Kills Cancer Cells and Inhibits Migration in Colorectal Cancer by Targeting Thioredoxin-1.” NIH National Library of Medicine, May 27, 2020. Accessed January 9, 2023.

Liu, Hu, et al. “Butyrate: A Double-Edged Sword for Health?” Advances in Nutrition, February 9, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023.

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