Tributyrin (or butyrin, or tri-butyrate) is a triglyceride of the short-chain fatty acid called butyrate (sometimes called butyric acid or butanoic acid). Butyrin makes up 3 to 4% of the butter. Short-chain fatty acids (acetate, propionate and butyrate) are produced in the intestine during the digestion of fibre and carbohydrates.
Butyrate is the main source of energy for colon epithelial cells (colonocytes).
Butyrate contributes to the proper functioning of colon cells and regulates intestinal transit.
90 -95% of the short-chain fatty acids present in the colon are acetic acid (C2), propionic acid (C3) and butyrate / 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.
The bacteria that colonize the digestive tract, especially the colon, feed on the prebiotics we eat to reproduce. Prebiotics are food substances generally composed of carbohydrates (oligosaccharides and polysaccharides) with a short chain, but which are essential to the intestinal microbiota.
Indeed, these fibres are transformed by the microbiota into short chain fatty acid (SCFAs). Among them, butyrate plays a key role in intestinal physiology, as it is one of the preferred sources of carbon in colon epithelial cells. Without butyrate, these cells would be in energy “deficiency”.
Several bacteria transforming fibres into butyrate have been identified: Anaerostipes spp. (A, L), Coprococcus catus (A), Eubacterium rectale (A), Eubacterium hallii (A, L), Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (A), Roseburia spp. (A) (Canani 2011; Koh 2016)
SCFAs are produced during colonic fermentation by bacteria from incompletely digested cellulosic residues and starches. The amount of SCFAs produced by this fermentation process is therefore dependent on the type of food individuals eat and the bacterial pool maintained in the colon.
Low prebiotic consumption or antibiotic use reduces the production of SCFAs, especially butyrate.
First, SCFAs have effects on the gastrointestinal tract and ensure proper intestinal function. Their main function is to serve as an energy source for the cells in the colon. Butyrate is the main source of energy for colonocytes or the cells that form the colon wall. It allows them to multiply and function normally. Without these compounds, these cells undergo autophagy and eventually enter apoptosis, and die.
Butyrate has an anti-inflammatory action, acts on intestinal motility (constipation and diarrhea), stimulates the absorption of water and sodium, helps to maintain the protective mucus layer of the intestine, and helps combat leaky gut. (Canani 2011)
The microencapsulation of tributyrin (granules) not only overcomes the bad organoleptic characteristics of this substance, but also allows a delayed action to act on the colon. One sachet of Butycaps contains 900mg of tributyrin, equivalent to 787 mg of butyric acid
Directions for use: 1 sachet per day. Pour over yoghurt or pureed food, or pour directly into the mouth and swallow in one or more portions of the bag with a glass of water. Do not chew. Do not heat.
There are on the market some butyric acid salts. This form is however quickly absorbed in the small intestine.
In order to have a prolonged and active action on the colon, the ELie laboratory (Spain) has developed a microencapsulated form of tributyrin, Butycaps.
Butyric acid being a metabolite of fibre fermentation is considered very safe.
In a clinical study with patients with Crohn’s disease, taking twice 2 grams per day (4 g) for 8 weeks was well tolerated and considered safe.
Di Sabatino A, Morera R, Ciccociocioppo R, Cazzola P, Gotti S, Tinozzi FP, et al Oral butyrate for mildly to moderately active Crohn’s disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2005;22(9):789-94.
Butycaps contains butyrin triglycerides (tributyrin) and lipids for microencapsulation. It is therefore preferable to take Butycaps with a meal to facilitate digestion (production of bile and pancreatic enzymes) and the hydrolysis of triglycerides to fatty acids (butyric acid).
Prebiotics are non-digestible substances that serve as a substrate for colon flora. (oligosaccharides and short-chain polysaccharides)
Probiotics are living microorganisms (bacteria or yeasts). We speak of intestinal flora (or intestinal microbiota), i.e. all the micro-organisms (archaea, bacteria, eukaryotes) that are found in the digestive tract. This includes bacteria in the intestine and stomach. The intestinal flora is a good example of mutualism: cooperation between different kinds of organisms implying an advantage for everyone.
Butyric acid (butyrate) is produced by the intestinal microbiota from the fibers. Its production is enhanced by prebiotic agents (soluble fibres).
Butycaps is lactose-free and gluten-free.
Glutamine is an amino acid that acts as a very important nutrient for various organs and tissues, such as muscles, immune cells and also intestinal cells.
It is said to be an essential amino acid under certain conditions: in case of metabolic stress, for example, its consumption is very high by immune system cells. Therefore, in these situations, it is advisable to supplement with glutamine.
Glutamine is also interesting for the intestine because when there is metabolic stress, some organs consume glutamine in large quantities and there is a deficit in the intestine, which causes an increase in intestinal permeability.
The fundamental difference is that butyrate is a specific nutrient of the intestine, while glutamine is a nutrient of the intestine but also of many other organs and tissues.
Therefore, for glutamine to have an effect on the intestine, very large amounts are required.
On the other hand, butyrate and glutamine are more synergistic than competitors.
Canani RB, Costanzo MD, Leone L, Pedata M, Meli R, Calignano A. Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World J Gastroenterol. 2011 28;17(12):1519-28.
Koh A, De Vadder F, Kovatcheva-Datchary P, Bäckhed F. From Dietary Fiber to Host Physiology: Short-Chain Fatty Acids as Key Bacterial Metabolites. Cell. 2016 Jun 2;165(6):1332-1345.
Papillon E, Bonaz B, Fournet J. [Short chain fatty acids: effects on gastrointestinal function and therapeutic potential in gastroenterology]. Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 1999 Jun-Jul;23(6-7):761-9. Review.