How To Increase Butyrate Producing Bacteria
Gut Armor's 6 Step How To Guide To Increase Butryate Production In Your Colon
Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs), particularly butyrate, contribute to gut and immune health by acting as a major energy source for the unique cells of the colon.
These cells, known as colonocytes, play an incredibly important role in maintaining gut health and they require butyrate for normal development and functionality, in other words – to do their job.
But what is their “job”?
Well, a big part of what they do is consuming oxygen in the digestive tract which creates a low oxygen environment – this type of environment actually favors the growth of healthy beneficial bacteria and hinders the growth of the less helpful species.
In addition to helping to maintain a healthy gut microbiome, optimizing butyrate levels contributes to decreasing inflammation and strengthening your intestinal tract lining.
So now that you know why you need it, let’s figure out where and how we can improve our butyrate production.
Butryate is produced primarily by specific families of bacteria that specialize in breaking down specifics foods and creating beneficial compounds as a result.
Owing to its numerous health benefits, there is a great deal of interest over how to increase butyrate in the colon, and a major way we can accomplish that is by increasing the presence of butyrate producing bacteria.
Here’s our 6 step evidence-based guide on accomplishing just that.
Step 1 - Eat More Prebiotic-Rich & Fermented Foods
In my December feature for GutArmor we reviewed the impact that prebiotic-rich and fermented foods have on improving the diversity of the gut microbiome, which also means improving the presence of butyrate producing bacteria.
We encourage you guys to read that piece for the full scoop, but here are some examples of foods in each category to get you started.
Prebiotic-Rich: Chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas, asparagus, garlic, onion, cabbage, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, barley, pears, peaches, oranges, apples, bananas, almonds, pistachios, cashews and flaxseed.
Fermented: Yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, fermented cottage cheese.
If you are an otherwise healthy person looking to enhance your gut microbiome via diet, look no further than the foods above - which by the way are extremely nutritious in their own right.
Fun Fact: Left-over rice, pasta and potatoes are high in something known as resistant starch which may also contribute to butryate production. The heating and cooling, hence the leftover aspect, is key.
Step 2 – Eat More Polyphenol-Rich Foods
Polyphenols are a family of antioxidant compounds that may also act as “prebiotics” in the human digestive tract, meaning they can contribute to increasing butyrate production as they act as “food” to stimulate the growth of butyrate producing bacteria.
Foods highest in these compounds include various types of tea as well as fruits/vegetables with a deep red, blue or purple color like grapes, beets, berries, pomegranate – among others.
Eating more of these foods may stimulate the growth of butyrate producing bacteria in the colon.
Coffee counts too, with initial research showing that those who drink at least one coffee per day tend to have greater diversity in butyrate producing bacteria than those who don’t drink any at all.
Coffee is a rich source of various types of polyphenols.
Step 3- Try Intermittent Fasting
It turns out that increasing butyrate producing bacteria may not just be about what you eat, but also when and how often you eat.
A 2021 American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition paper looked at the effects of Ramadan fasting on the gut microbiome and found that it significantly increased the butyrate producing bacterial species Lachnospiraceaeae.
The style of fasting observed in these studies closely resembles the 16:8 format where there is a minimum 16 hour fasting period.
Step 4 - Improve Your Sleeping Habits
According to the CDC, about one third of Americans sleep 7 or less hours per night – this is known as short sleep duration.
Recently, studies looking at sleep quality and the gut microbiome found that those who sleep closer to recommended levels tend to have a greater abundance of butyrate producing bacteria in their body.
Look no further for motivation if the quality and quantity of your sleep needs an overhaul!
Step 5 - Consider A Probiotic
There are a wide variety of health conditions including diabetes, IBS, fatty liver disease and even PCOS (among others) where the state of one’s gut microbiome may be characterized by an imbalance between good and bad bacteria.
This phenomenon, known as dysbiosis, can be improved through the use of probiotics in some people.
In fact, numerous studies have demonstrated that probiotics have the potential to improve the gut microbiome and enhance the presence of butyrate producing bacteria.
Not all probiotics are made the same, and personalized guidance as to which one to use, for who and how long from a healthcare provider will help ensure their appropriate and beneficial use.
Step 6 - Suit Up With Gut Armor
GutArmor contains tributyrin, a postbiotic compound that directly delivers butyrate to the GI tract.
For each of the five steps listed above so far, I appreciate that different folks will have a different capacity to bring these goals to life in this moment depending on personal factors like dietary restrictions, time and desire or even ability to make lifestyle changes.
That’s where GutArmor comes in.
In 2021, the The Journal Of The Academy Of Nutrtition And Dietetics conducted a 3-week pilot study where a group of adults were provided tributyrin over a 3-week period.
The primary outcome they noticed in this period was an increased abundance of the Anaerostipes genus of bacteria which is known to include several types of butyrate producing bacteria and represents another pathway for us to contribute positively to our butyrate production and overall gut health.