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An Introduction To Short Chain Fatty Acids

Gut wellness, probiotic sources and inulin

An Introduction to Short Chain Fatty Acids

Article Summary:
Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) are important compounds produced during the fermentation of dietary fibres by gut bacteria.
The main SCFAs include acetate, propionate, and butyrate.
Acetate provides energy to various cells, propionate plays a role in regulating metabolism, and butyrate supports colon health.
These SCFAs primarily feed on undigested carbohydrates, such as dietary fibres.
Good food sources for SCFAs include whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods. They are produced by the fermentation of dietary fibre and resistant starch by the gut microbiota.
SCFAs are important for gut health and play a role in a variety of bodily functions, including digestion, metabolism, immunity, and inflammation.

The three most abundant SCFAs in the human gut are:

Acetate, propionate, and butyrate are the three most abundant short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the human gut. They are produced by the fermentation of dietary fiber and resistant starch by the gut microbiota. SCFAs play a number of important roles in human health, including:


  • Is the main energy source for colon cells.
  • Helps to maintain a healthy gut lining and protect against inflammation.
  • Regulates gut motility.
  • Boosts immunity.
  • Improves glucose metabolism.
  • Reduces inflammation.


  • Is an important substrate for the liver.
  • Regulates blood sugar levels.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Protects against the development of obesity and diabetes.


  • Is the most important SCFA for colon health.
  • Nourishes colon cells and protects against inflammation.
  • Boosts immunity.
  • Reduces the risk of colon cancer.
  • Improves glucose metabolism.

SCFAs are absorbed into the bloodstream from the colon and travel to various tissues throughout the body. They have a number of important functions, including:

  • Nourishing colon cells: SCFAs are the main energy source for colon cells. They help to maintain a healthy gut lining and protect against inflammation.
  • Regulating gut motility: SCFAs help to regulate the movement of food through the digestive tract. They can help to relieve constipation and diarrhea.
  • Boosting immunity: SCFAs help to strengthen the immune system and protect against infection.
  • Improving glucose metabolism: SCFAs can help to improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.
  • Reducing inflammation: SCFAs have anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body.

How to increase Short Chain Fatty Acid production in the gut

There are a number of things you can do to increase SCFA production in your gut, including:

  • Eating a high-fibre diet: Dietary fibre is the main food source for the gut microbiota. Eating a high-fiber diet can help to increase the production of SCFAs.
  • Taking prebiotics: Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that are fermented by the gut microbiota to produce SCFAs. Examples of prebiotics include inulin, oligosaccharides, and resistant starch.
  • Taking probiotics: Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial to the gut. Taking probiotics can help to increase the abundance of beneficial bacteria in the gut that produce SCFAs.

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