The Butyrate IBS Connection
According to the American College Of Gastroenterology, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects 1 in 20 Americans with women and those under the age of 50 most likely to be affected.
IBS, a disorder of the gut-brain connection, is most frequently characterized by pain and bloating of the digestive tract and can have significant negative influence on someone’s quality of life.
It has been demonstrated that individuals living with IBS tend to have less total microbiome diversity as well as lower levels of beneficial butyrate producing bacteria.
These observations could both be an inherent characteristic of the condition and the result of the fact that people living with IBS may be more likely to avoid some or most prebiotic-rich foods as a result of following a FODMAP reduced diet.
Because they contain large amounts of fermentable carbohydrates, most foods high in prebiotic compounds are also high FODMAP and may contribute to IBS symptoms in some sufferers.
This is where things get very interesting from our perspective, because prebiotic-rich foods are the primary means from which our gut bacteria produce butyrate – a compound that our overall and digestive health greatly benefits from.
So what happens when you provide a butyrate supplement to someone living with IBS?
Let’s find out.
Butyrate for IBS - Human Studies
While the emerging nature of this science means human studies are limited (for now!), we are fortunate to have access to the results of a study published in 2022 out of the Polish medical journal Przegla̜d Gastroenterologiczny to pave the path forward.
Here’s what their work entailed:
Sample Size: 3,000 people living with IBS
Intervention: 300mg of daily butyrate supplement
Time Period: 12 weeks
What happened next?
Abdominal pain, constipation, gas and diarrhea decreased in a statically significant fashion and 9 in 10 study participants reported they would recommend butyrate supplements to fellow IBS sufferers and continue to take it themselves.
Pretty compelling right?
While this is only the tip of the iceberg scientifically, you can understand why these types of findings excite us – and should excite you too!
But there’s more.
Vitamin D3 & IBS
GutArmor does indeed contain 500mg of a highly bioavailable form of butyrate known as Tributyrin, but it also contains 3,000 IU of Vitamin D3.
Something like 20% of Americans currently have sub-optimal Vitamin D3 levels in their system, and this number is expected to be higher in those living with IBS.
This is a major problem, not least of which for the fact that recent meta-analysis data out of Osteoporosis International has demonstrated that individuals living with IBS are at significantly increased risk of osteoporosis and that adequate Vitamin D status is a fundamental for prevention of this common bone disease.
Granted, yes, that is a future problem – but we also have emerging evidence to demonstrate that Vitamin D supplementation improves quality of life and reduces IBS severity in those living with the condition.
Finally, it has been demonstrated that Vitamin D supplementation in deficient individuals can significantly alter the gut microbiome and enhance the presence of healthy butyrate producing bacteria.
No pun intended here but I can appreciate that we’ve left you with quite a bit to digest today.
There is no denying that IBS is a complex, multi-faceted condition and while we eagerly await more human studies in this area we can’t help but be excited about what we know so far - aren't you?