Could Butyrate be the Preferred Supplement?

I recently touched on this topic in a podcast with the Supplement Engineer, check it out here.


If the supplements in your cabinet had distinct personalities, anthropomorphically of course, how would they feel if one were more popular than the others?  With people, it’s common for jealousy to cloud one’s vision despite that equal opportunities for success abound, whether financial, social, intellectual, or in another realm.  The one thing we can’t change is the physiology of our looks, at least not without plastic interventions.  But the fundamental character is prone to stay the same.  This is what happens with those supplements.  Some are more likeable than others. They might have a character that affords more benefits.  They might be easier to swallow.  They might even smell good.

If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, no supplement needs it more than butyrate. As for character, some folks feel that no other supplement can touch it.  Re-forming and re-establishing the integrity of the cell membrane is one of the noblest things a supplement can offer.  Once that is accomplished by the structural contribution of the cellular architect, phosphatidylcholine (PC), which also has a functional role in maintaining health, we can give the keys to the airplane to butyrate and allow it to continue the journey to salubrity and to let PC become the co-pilot—still utile, but relegated to structural and functional support instead of to reconstruction of membrane stability, wholeness and durability, which it already accomplished.

Recent interest in digestive function and its connection to the brain via the bi-directional vagus nerve pathway has spawned interest, too, in the butyrate molecule. A 4-carbon fatty acid made endogenously in the gut by the bacterial fermentation of resistant starch, butyrate displays a host of welcome traits.  Since few people ingest sufficient resistant starches to make their own, supplemental butyrate is a sensible companion.

Butyrate may not be a structural being (remember anthropomorphically), but it certainly has impact.  Impact?  Ten pieces of paper in your pocket is a volume that may equate to ten dollars.  It may also equate to a hundred or even a thousand dollars.  Here, volume is the same, but impact is definitely different.  That’s butyrate.  What it lacks in the number of attributes is offset by its influence on our health.

Besides the gastrointestinal benefit of closing tight junctions to prevent the passage of partially metabolized nutrients into the blood stream, butyrate provides a comfortable place for gut bacteria to live and thrive.  It supports the fight against soft tissue diseases that affect prostate, breast, cervix and, of course, colon cells.  Originally made available to treat urea cycle disorders, butyrate sequesters the ammonia that arises from faulty protein metabolism to cause foggy thinking, while simultaneously inhibiting an enzyme that has the potential to disrupt DNA replication and bring about a mutation.  Short-chain fatty acids, like butyrate, single out intestinal mechanisms that assist in the increase of energy expenditure to burn calories and reduce obesity.  And butyrate subdues the hormones that stimulate appetite.

Mitochondria receive their share of publicity.  These energy factories of the cell are stimulated in the presence of butyrate.  At the same time, butyrate is fighting the inflammatory response caused by a number of insults, including those that incite renegade glucose metabolism.  And by fighting inflammation, butyrate may contribute to the prevention of CVD.

Butyrate has its own personality, different from that of almost all other supplements.  Were it really able to transubstantiate, it’d be a valued ally.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions (call our office on 856-825-8338). I accept oatmeal cookies as a thank you for my time 🙂

– Dr. Tom Wnorowski