Short Chain Fatty Acids and You

Short Chain Fatty Acids = SCFA

You eat short chain fatty acids, make them in your gut and cells and they have many effects in your body.

  • Think of vinegar. Vinegar is acetic acid, which is actually the smallest of the fatty acids.
  • One of the reason’s behind the recommendation to have a high fibre (fiber) intake is that the bacteria in your lower intestine ferment certain of the fibre types to a mix of different short chain fatty acids.
  • different SCFA are being found to have important roles in metabolism and body signally systems
  • the SCFA include acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid

Admittedly, getting into the details of this topic is likely for those who like to geek-out or just are very curious. The practical meaning of the research findings is not clear yet – that is, what any of us should do about any of this is still up for grabs.

An extensive review article has just been published. Unfortunately, it is “behind a pay wall” which means that you have to pay to see the whole article. I mention it because the abstract includes some images that are useful and some readers might have access to the full article. In addition, there is a freely-visible extensive list of references (180 of them, with active links). Even just scrolling through the list of reference article titles reveals of lot about what is going on in the field.

“Short-chain fatty acids in control of body weight and insulin sensitivity.”

  • ” The connection between the gut microbiota and the aetiology of obesity and cardiometabolic disorders is increasingly being recognized by clinicians.
  • Our gut microbiota might affect the cardiometabolic phenotype by fermenting indigestible dietary components and thereby producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFA).
  • These SCFA are not only of importance in gut health and as signalling molecules, but might also enter the systemic circulation and directly affect metabolism or the function of peripheral tissues.
  • In this Review, we discuss the effects of three SCFA (acetate, propionate and butyrate) on energy homeostasis and metabolism, as well as how these SCFA can beneficially modulate adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and liver tissue function.
  • As a result, these SCFA contribute to improved glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. “

Emanuel E. Canfora, Johan W. Jocken & Ellen E. Blaak  Nature Reviews Endocrinology (2015) doi:10.1038/nrendo.2015.128 Published online August 12/15  LINK

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