Butyrate For Mood & Mental Health
Butryate Is A Mood Boosting SCFA
Having just written a comprehensive article on pretty much everything one can do from the diet, lifestyle and supplemental perspective to increase butyrate production in the digestive tract, we can now spend some serious scientific energy examining why doing so is worth your time and effort.
That discussion starts in the realm of mental health where emerging science continuously points to the relationship between the gut microbiome and the optimal functioning of the brain.
Butyrate is a major fuel source for our colon cells, which reciprocate by creating an oxygen free environment in the gut.
This environment helps our good bacteria to thrive and outcompete the bad, which in turn improves the state of our microbiome with significant potential to also improve our mental health from there.
It all comes down to a little something known as the gut-brain axis, a fancy way of saying that the gut and brain are in regular physiological communication with each other and thus their mutual well-beings are dependent on one and other.
And guess what?
Emerging science suggests that SCFA’s like butyrate are one of the key molecules that facilitate that communication which scientists refer to as cross-talk.
Good, let’s learn more about butyrate and mental health.
Butyrate & Depressive Symptoms
Depression is the second most prevalent mental health condition globally behind only anxiety.
Emerging science has suggested that there is a strong link between the state of one’s gut microbiome and their depression severity – which is why early studies looking at probiotic use in depression have yielded promising results.
Taking it a step further, a 2021 study out of Psychosomatic Medicine determined that there is a correlation between depressed individual’s butyrate levels and the severity of their depression whereby higher butyrate levels were associated with less depression symptoms.
It is also true that individuals with depression have been identified as having lower levels of butyrate producing bacteria.
Why might this be?
Well, butyrate and other SCFAs encourage the production of something known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is known to have positive effects on our brain cells and reduce what is known as neuroinflammation.
Neuroinflammation, a fancy way of saying inflammation in our brain cells, is increasingly identified as a driver of depression and other mental health conditions.
Butyrate, Cognitive Function & Brain Longevity
There’s little question that longevity of the body has a great deal to do with longevity of the mind.
While it is a biological reality that cognitive function declines with age, the choices we make have a significant role to play in modifying our risk of cognitive disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
A decrease in butyrate production has, for example, been linked with Parkinson’s Disease while just last year the acclaimed scientific journal JAMA published a landmark study on cognitive function and the gut microbiome.
They found that cognitive aging and function was related to the diversity of the microbiome.
Adequate SCFA production is a consequence of a healthy, balanced microbiome and so here we have early evidence of a potential role for butyrate in optimizing cognitive function as we age.
Although, more human research is required to draw firm conclusions, butyrate has already garnered attention for a potential role in numerous neurological diseases associated with aging.
Butyrate, Serotonin & Mood
Butyrate = Gut Health & Mental Health
Serotonin is a complex neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that is responsible for brain cell communication.
It plays an important role in mood regulation, which is why it is sometimes referred to as a “feel good” compound.
Oh, and guess what?
The vast majority of serotonin in your body (~90%) is made up in the digestive tract.
While we have quite a bit more to learn in this area, initial science points to the fact that SCFAs like butyrate play a significant role in regulating production of serotonin in the digestive tract.
“[S]hort-chain fatty acids can modulate serotonin metabolism in hosts by affecting key intermediates of the serotonin pathway.”
Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology 2018
With this information in tow, we also know that stress has the potential to negatively influence the state of your gut microbiome.
Although human evidence in this area is still limited, a fascinating 2020 study out of Neuropsychopharmacology found that adults who received an SCFA supplement experienced a reduction in cortisol (the “stress” hormone”) in experimentally curated stressful situations as compared to those who used a placebo.
Studies like this represent the tip of the iceberg in this area of scientific inquiry and you can be 100% sure the GutArmor team will be focused on sharing the latest and greatest science in this world as it becomes available.
Gut Armor & Your Butyrate Levels
If today’s content has compelled you to learn more about what you can do to naturally increase your butyrate and SCFA production, we’ve got you covered with a comprehensive piece on that subject matter.
How To Increase Butyrate Producing Bacteria
A friendly reminder that GutArmor is on that list.
In addition to delivering postbiotic butyrate in the form of tributyrin directly to the GI tract, early human evidence suggests that tributyrin supplementation may also increase the presence of healthy butyrate producing bacteria too.