Facts and Food Sources of Butyric acid (C4)


Butyric acid also known as butanoic acid, is a carboxylic acid with CH3CH2CH2-COOH as structural formula. Butyric acid is a colorless liquid which is soluble in water. It has other chemical names such as butanoic acid, n-butanoic acid, n-butyric acid and propylformic acid. Salts and esters of butyric acid are called butanoates or butyrates. It could be found in plant oils, animal fat, breast milk, bovine milk, parmesan cheese, butter and as a product of anerobic fermentation (including in colon and as body odor).  The taste of Butyric acid is like butter with unpleasant odor. It is used as a flavoring agent in manufacturing foods. In humans, it is a biologically active compound. It is a four carbon fatty acid which is formed in human colon by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates particularly prebiotics such as resistant starches, other dietary fiber and fructooligosaccharides. With propionic and acetic acids, it accounts about 83 percent of short chain fatty acids in human colon.


In 1814, butyric acid was firstly observed by French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul in impure form. He purified it to characterize it by 1818. Instead of publishing his early research on butyric acid, he deposited his findings in manuscript form with secretary of Academy of Sciences in Paris, France. A French chemist, Henri Braconnot was researching composition of butter and published his findings which led disputes about priority. As early as 1815, Chevreul declared that he had found substance which is responsible for the smell of butter. He published some findings on properties of butyric acid and named it by 1817. Until 1823, he did not presented properties of butyric acid in detail. The term butyric acid was derived from Latin word for butter “butyrum”, a substance in which butyric acid was found.

Foods That Contain Butyric Acid

Food name Weight (g) Butyric acid (g)
Parmesan cheese 100 1.509
Monterey cheese 132 1.426
Muenster cheese 132 1.375
Feta cheese 150 1.071
Swiss cheese 132 0.899
Ice cream 148 0.765
Goat cheese 28.35 0.506
Sheep’s milk 245 0.500
Whipped cream 60 0.433
Goat cheese 28.35 0.424
Romano cheese 28.35 0.384
Eggnog 254 0.328
Edam cheese 28.35 0.284
Caraway cheese 28.35 0.261
Pizza 81 0.223
Blue cheese 28.35 0.187
Neufchatel cheese 28.35 0.173
Butter croissants 28.35 0.169
Butter 5 0.161
Greek yogurt 200 0.094


Health Benefits of Butyric acid

Here are some health benefits discussed on Butyric acid:

  1. Lose weight

Butyric acid is capable to shed unwanted pounds. Evidence has shown that obese people vary in composition of gut bacteria. With probiotics, short chain fatty acids have positive role in preventing metabolic syndrome including abdominal obesity. Short chain fatty acids such as butyric acid help to regulate balance between fatty acid synthesis and fat breakdown. Animal study shows that obese mice lost 10.2 percent of body weight after five weeks of treatment and body fat was lowered by 10 percent. It helps to improve insulin sensitivity that prevents weight gain.

  1. Treat colorectal cancer

Study have shown the ability of butyric acid to combat cancer particularly colon cancer. It enhances death of colon cancer cells. This is a valid reason why increase in intake of fiber is associated with lowering cancer since high intake of fiber could equate to more butyric acid found in colon. A laboratory study shows that treatment with butyrate helps to enhance programmed cell death of colon cancer cells. High fiber diet prevents the chances of colorectal tumors in microbiota and butyrate dependent manner.

  1. Relieve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Generally, Butyric acid has positive impact on gut health which greatly affects entire health. Butyric aicd helps to keep gut lining healthy and sealed preventing leaky gut syndrome and other issues associated to leaky gut such as IBS symptoms. It is a digestive disorder characterized by common symptoms such as change in bowel movements and abdominal pain. Study shows that butyric acid helps to lower abdominal pain during bowel movements.

  1. Treatment for Crohn’s

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which is characterized by lining of GI tract, severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, malnutrition, weight loss and fatigue. This disease is associated with leaky gut. Study shows that butyric acid helps to lower pain during inflammation in gut and bowel movements. It is helpful for Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel problems. Butyric acid helps to combat leaky gut and avoid Crohn’s.

  1. Insulin resistance

Study shows the effect of butyric acid’s effect on regulating insulin sensitivity in mice which consumes high fat diet. Also concluded that butyrate’s dietary supplementation helps to treat diet induced insulin resistance in mouse. Research shows that mice treated with Butyrate did not have increase in body fat and supplement of butyrate helps to prevent obesity. More studies are required to be conducted to discover effects of butyrate on insulin levels in humans.

  1. Lower inflammation

Study shows the anti-inflammatory effects of butyric acid. It is regarded that BTA helps to lower inflammatory problems and helps to manage immune responses. Inflammation is the major cause for most diseases so more butyric acid in the body benefits people with inflammatory conditions.

Side Effects of Butyric Acid Supplements

  • Side effects if experienced then one should discontinue using and seeking for immediate medical attention.
  • Pregnant and nursing women should consult the doctor before taking butyric acid supplement.









  • User Ratings (0 Votes)

About Author

Comments are closed.