¿Qué es un Posbiótico?

What is a Postbiotic?

Lately, we have been unraveling a crucial part of what happens in our gut. This new understanding is fascinating because it has a significant impact on various aspects of our health. Some of these aspects, which we did not previously associate with our gut, include our mood, brain function, immune system, physical performance, and the health of our skin, among others. In this article, we will delve into the topic of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid generated from the fermentation of fibers present in our diet, specifically in the lower digestive tract. For this reason, it is considered a postbiotic, since it is produced by certain saprophytic bacteria that depend on the fiber we consume and that should live in our terminal ileum and colon.

These butyrate-producing bacteria are essential to maintaining our intestinal health and, consequently, our general health. The compound generated by these bacteria in our gut, the postbiotic known as butyrate, plays a crucial role in multiple aspects of our physiology.

The gut microbiome, anchored in our intestine, is a complex universe of trillions of bacteria, viruses, archaea, phages and fungi that work in harmony to break down food, produce vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids, and regulate our immune system, thus protecting us. of pathogenic agents. Given the importance of our intestinal health, this field has seen a boom in research in recent decades.

Butyrate, as we mentioned, is a short-chain fatty acid produced from the fermentation of dietary fibers in the gastrointestinal tract. In addition to being a crucial source of energy for colon cells, butyrate improves energy expenditure, insulin sensitivity and strengthens the intestinal barrier, thus helping to protect against intestinal dysbiosis.

Now, where can we find butyrate? Although it is not found directly in food, by consuming certain types of fiber, we provide our intestinal bacteria with the materials necessary to produce it. Some foods rich in these types of fiber include resistant starch, inulin, pectin, fructooligosaccharides and arabinoxylan, present in a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Despite the availability of these foods, many people still have low levels of butyrate due to insufficient intake of plant fibers. In such cases, butyrate supplementation may be essential to restore intestinal balance and promote overall health.

Determining whether we have low levels of butyrate usually requires a stool analysis, although certain symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems, mood changes, and reduced insulin sensitivity may indicate its deficiency.

To increase butyrate levels, it is essential to consume a diet rich in fiber, but when this is not possible, butyrate supplements may be an option. However, not all supplements are created equal, so it is important to opt for those that contain bioavailable forms of butyrate.

If you are looking to increase butyrate levels in your colon, consider adding these foods to your diet:

  • Apples
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Whole grains such as cold-soaked oats for 8-12 hours for a breakfast that encourages butyrate production by bacteria.
  • Underripe bananas (greenish)
  • Chilled brown rice
  • Plantain or cassava flour

In short, butyrate plays a crucial role in intestinal and overall health. Through a balanced diet and, in some cases, appropriate supplementation, we can ensure optimal levels of this important compound to promote our well-being.

References:

  1. Gao Z, Yin J, Zhang J, et al. Butyrate improves insulin sensitivity and increases energy expenditure in mice . Diabetes. 2009; 58 (7): 1509-17.
  2. Peng L, Li ZR, Green RS, Holzman IR, Lin J. Butyrate improves the intestinal barrier by facilitating tight junction assembly through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase in Caco-2 cell monolayers . J Nutr. 2009; 139 (9): 1619-25.
  3. den Besten G, van Eunen K, Groen AK, Venema K, Reijngoud DJ, Bakker BM. The role of short-chain fatty acids in the interaction between diet, intestinal microbiota and host energy metabolism . J Lipid Res. 2013; 54 (9): 2325-40.
  4. Bourassa MW, Alim I, Bultman SJ, Ratan RR. Butyrate, neuroepigenetics, and the gut microbiome: Can a high-fiber diet improve brain health?. Neurosci Lett. 2016; 625: 56-63. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2016.02.009
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