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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Justin

Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid made by good bacteria in the gut as a byproduct of fiber digestion.  Butyrate signals the immune system that the gut bacteria are in the desirable range. When the butyrate level becomes low due to inadequate fiber intake, the body produces an inflammatory reaction.

Butyrate has been shown to have numerous positive effects:

  • Suppressing or preventing cancer
  • Suppressing hunger
  • Inhibiting growth of bad bacteria
  • Increasing mineral absorption
  • Decreasing incidences of obesity
  • Assisting in activating programmed cell death

A plant-based diet, one rich in fiber and resistant starch, produces and feeds good gut bacteria. Conversely, feeding bacteria sulfur-containing amino acids like methionine produces toxic gases like hydrogen sulfide and bile acids that may promote cancer growth, DNA damage and inflammatory bowel disease.

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