Tributyrin is a short-chain fatty acid. It is a triglyceride of butanoic acid (sometimes called butyric acid or butyrate). Tributyrin is present in butter.
Short-chain fatty acids (acetic, propionic and butyric) are produced in the intestine during the digestion of fibres and carbohydrates.
Butyric acid is an energy source for epithelial cells (colonocytes) and has an anti-inflammatory action.
90 -95% of the short-chain fatty acids present in the colon are acetic acid (C2), propionic acid (C3) and butyric acid (C4).
These are “postbiotic” metabolites derived from the microbiota.
Indeed, these fatty acids are produced in the intestine during the digestion of fibres and carbohydrates.
The colon epithelium consumes almost all butyric acid, the main source of energy for colonocytes.
However, acetic acid and propionic acid pass into the blood (portal vein) and are used as precursors in the liver or peripheral tissues for gluconeogenesis and hepatic lipogenesis.
Butyric acid salts are quickly absorbed in the intestine.
In order to have a prolonged and active action on the colon, the ELie laboratory (Spain) has developed a microencapsulated form of tributyrin.