Take a minute with me and let the amazement of how your body works inspire you. You may have heard me quote the phrase “we are fearfully and wonderfully made.” It’s true, and the lowly colon is no exception. The biochemistry that takes place in the colon is “stunning.” Let’s look at how we can keep the colon healthy and free of disease.
First let me share a quick story. A close friend and clinician shared with me about her sister Jenny who had bloody ulcerative colitis, and how she treated it successfully. An Osteopathic Wellness physician recommended using a compound called butyric acid in an enema form hoping to feed the cells in the colon.
Butyric acid occurs naturally in the colon but problems can occur if levels are low. Butyrate is manufactured by the healthy bacteria in our bowel and is the primary energy source for colonic cells. It also has anti-inflammatory properties as well as some anti-carcinogenic properties.
Because Jenny was experiencing severe symptoms, her Wellness physician felt by feeding the bowel with butyrate it would encourage healthy cellular function as well as reduce some of the inflammation which would slow down the transit time. My colleague took the program a step further. She ordered a stool test to measure butyric acid and found out her levels were undetectable.
Based on those findings she added Butyric-Cal-Mag from Biotics Research orally, 2 capsules three times a day. In 6 weeks when the test was repeated, Jenny’s levels were in the high end of normal; but best of all, the entire diarrhea process stopped and she has never had another bout of the bloody colitis. Encouraged by this result my colleague uses oral butyric acid with excellent results on many irritable bowel disease cases.
This story illustrates how well the body works when we give it what it wants. Now that I’ve got you thinking, let’s go over the definitions again. Butyric acid is a healthy metabolic byproduct of fermentation from indigestible fiber by the healthy bacteria in our bowel. It is the primary energy source for colonic cells.
Remember, “Butyric acid displays anti-inflammatory properties and has demonstrated anti-carcinogenic properties for the colon.” A diet of healthy fiber and complex carbohydrates encourage the fermentation process that makes butyric acid. So your low carb diet, while intended to drop pounds might also drop your levels of butyric acid.
We have strains of bacteria that through a fermentation process make healthy compounds called short-chain fatty acids of which butyric acid is the most important. Think of a “micro brewery of sorts” in our bowel; but instead of making beer, our bacteria make healthy fats–short chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids reduce inflammation, act as food for the healthy cells, aid in detoxification and encourage cancer cells in our bowel to commit “cell suicide” or apoptosis. It’s my belief that these short-chain fatty acids will have other effects that we might not even be aware of.
The primary inventor of oral butyrate salts, Dr. Torben Neesby, observed that patients with food sensitivities responded positively to butyric acid. Researchers are saying butyrates could be valuable in treating Crohn’s and other bowel diseases. I don’t know about you but if I can get those kinds of benefits from eating more fiber I am all ears.
With so many antibiotics being prescribed plus the typical American diet of refined foods and bad fats it’s no wonder the levels of butyric acid for many people are low. If you have experienced symptoms relating to the bowels or colon, ask Dr. Godo for help or send this video to someone you know who may be suffering with irritable bowel issues or Crohn’s disease. Encourage them to see a Wellness clinician to assess butyric acid levels. It could be the answer they’ve been hoping for.
You may not be experiencing symptoms but you want to keep your colon healthy; as you may have already guessed… fiber, fiber, fiber. Navy beans, bananas, apples, lentils, oatmeal, and barley are all good sources not to mention your favorite salads and really any fiber that you have to spend time chewing. It even puts a whole new importance on fruits and vegetables. Try giving your amazing body what it wants and I promise you’ll be amazed.
Dr. Jason Godo, DC