Why You Should Know About Short-Chain Fatty Acids and Fermented Foods

Short-Chain Fatty Acids

I'm constantly learning new things about the benefits of bacteria. It's been almost two decades of eating fermented foods and the new discoveries have never stopped. I really believe in wellness and the body's ability to heal never ceases to amaze me; however, I do realize many do not feel this way. The years I've spent eating and making cultured foods has given me a confidence that has convinced me of the body's power. Nobody and no one can change my mind about this. I've had too much life experience and seen the evidence in my own family and the 225,000 people I help on my website and social media channels.

I have over one hundred articles I've written on my site about health and wellness and It's mostly to encourage and inspire you to master your health and mind. It will change your life and you'll feel so good you'll want to help others too. I want you to love your body and embrace it in a whole new way. It does so much for you and you are mostly unaware of it. So here's something else you should know about: short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). They will help you and your body to become a force of wellness in this world and we need you to be a beacon of light for others. The best way to do that is to change yourself. Two decades ago I never would have thought that by eating cultured foods I would help thousands of others do the same. But I'm so glad I did! It is a reciprocal love I feel for you. Here is more first-hand info that I think will help you, so let's get to it.


The Three Short-Chain Fatty Acids

The most common short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are these three organic compounds: acetate, butyrate, and propionate although there are a few others of lesser importance. SCFAs are produced by bacteria in the gut during fermentation and they’re essential for your gut, body, and even your brain health. I think you need to know about all of their health benefits. Fermented foods generally contain the bacterial fermentation by-products of these compounds along with probiotics. Acetate is one of the most commonly found SCFAs and is the main organic acid responsible for the sour taste of many fermented foods. There are many ways to make more SCFAs. When combined with fermented foods (and lots of prebiotic foods and supplements) you will be on your way to having a lot of SCFAs and preventing all manner of diseases as well as controlling your blood sugar, weight, and brain health.



Acetate is one of the most abundant SCFAs in the body. It helps control the pH of the gut which helps protect the gut against pathogens. It also helps control appetite and nourishes butyrate-producing bacteria. It binds to receptors in the gut lining where it works to control appetite and regulate the storage of fat. Acetate helps to keep your gut environment stable and nourishes other beneficial bacteria species in your colon. It is mostly produced by Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli in your gut and is abundant in kombucha. Kombucha contains substantial  amounts of acetic acid, ethyl acetate, glucuronic acid, and lactic acid. But there are other ways to get more acetate acids. Eating lots of fiber allows gut bacteria such as bifidobacteria to turn it into acetate. Apple cider vinegar has acetate too.

The acetate produced by your bacteria also helps to nourish the butyrate-producing microbes in your gut. This makes for a lot of different beneficial species of microbes. You want a wide variety of species of these in your gut to keep you healthy.

Check out these recipes to make more Acetate

Kefir kombucha smoothie


One of the health benefits of butyric acid (butyrate is the formal name for the conjugate base of butyric acid) is its ability to provide your colon cells with energy. Butyric acid provides your colon cells with about 70 percent of their total energy needs. Researchers are finding that increasing butyric acid is important for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease. [1]

Other researchers found that sodium butyrate blocked the growth of colorectal cancer cells. The same study also found it increased the rate of cell death. [2]

Researchers found those with type 2 diabetes[3] often have low amounts of butyric acid–producing bacteria in their gut. Adding more dietary fiber (prebiotics which provide food for bacteria) improves insulin sensitivity and also helps with obesity which often accompanies type 2 diabetes.

Butyric acid helps to preserve the integrity of the gut lining. Your gut lining is super important because it acts as a barrier between your intestinal environment and the rest of your body. By having an abundance of butyrate producers, you will have an increased production of this all-important SCFA which means you’ll be protected from leaky gut and you'll absorb more vitamins and minerals and allow them to make their way to various parts of the body that need them.

Butyrate is great for the brain too. Butyrate works via the gut-brain axis, a two-way communication system between the two organs. It targets many of the same pathways associated with brain-related conditions and is thought to have many neuroprotective effects. This could help defend against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s as well as mental health disorders and autism.[4]

Researchers found that fermented milk products like yogurt and kefir increase potential butyrate producers such as Clostridiales, a highly polyphyletic class of Firmicutes.[5]

Butyrate can also be found in foods like kefir, yogurt, ghee, cow’s milk, butter, sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, breast milk, sauerkraut, and resistant starches such as potatoes, rice, oats, and beans.

Check out these recipes to make more Butyrate


Propionate is another byproduct of the bacterial breakdown of dietary fiber and has many health benefits. Propionate forms when carbohydrates are broken down by bacteria from the BacteroidetesFirmicutes, and Lachnospiraceae phyla species.

These SCFAs produced in your gut also have anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body. They can protect you from diseases that can harm the body such as atherosclerosis and colon cancer. Studies have shown that propionate is also able to make cancerous cells commit suicide, in effect preventing cancer from developing. Therefore, alongside butyrate, it is regarded as a potent SCFA. [6] 

To make more propionate SCFA production, eating resistant starches such as oat bran, wheat bran, cellulose, guar gum, pectin, and also inulin - which can be taken in supplement form such as Prebio Plus - are important for feeding those bacteria species which in turn will make more beneficial bacteria and SCFAs.[7]

Inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber, may also help to control appetite by increasing feelings of fullness. It is thought that this occurs due to the short-chain fatty acids and their ability to increase appetite suppressing hormones such as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). I myself have witnessed this and also weight loss from taking Prebio Plus in my smoothies and coffee each day. Go slowly as it creates more good bacteria in your gut and you'll hear and feel the difference.

Check out these recipes to make more Propionate

blueberry kraut

Increase your SCFAs

The great thing is, it’s super easy to increase the production of these health-promoting metabolites. You just need to eat probiotic cultured foods along with lots and lots of prebiotic fibers. Most people are really low in fiber and yet your body is crying out for more. Check out all my recipes and give your body what it needs. I gave you a bunch to try but I have lots more on my recipe page.

Check out my probiotic cultured vegetables that have tons of prebiotic fibers to allow your body to make tons of short-chain fatty acids. Then watch as your body starts to feel better and act better.

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