Gut Microbial Metabolite Butyrate and Its Therapeutic Role in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Literature Review

Nutrients. 2023 May 11;15(10):2275. doi: 10.3390/nu15102275.


Neeraja Recharla 1Ramasatyaveni Geesala 1Xuan-Zheng Shi 1


Author information

1Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd, 4.106 Basic Science Building, Galveston, TX 77555-0655, USA.


Background and objective: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by aberrant immune responses and compromised barrier function in the gastrointestinal tract. IBD is associated with altered gut microbiota and their metabolites in the colon. Butyrate, a gut microbial metabolite, plays a crucial role in regulating immune function, epithelial barrier function, and intestinal homeostasis. In this review, we aim to present an overview of butyrate synthesis and metabolism and the mechanism of action of butyrate in maintaining intestinal homeostasis and to discuss the therapeutic implications of butyrate in IBD. Methods: We searched the literature up to March 2023 through PubMed, Web of Science, and other sources using search terms such as butyrate, inflammation, IBD, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. Clinical studies in patients and preclinical studies in rodent models of IBD were included in the summary of the therapeutic implications of butyrate. Results: Research in the last two decades has shown the beneficial effects of butyrate on gut immune function and epithelial barrier function. Most of the preclinical and clinical studies have shown the positive effect of butyrate oral supplements in reducing inflammation and maintaining remission in colitis animal models and IBD patients. However, butyrate enema showed mixed effects. Butyrogenic diets, including germinated barley foodstuff and oat bran, are found to increase fecal butyrate concentrations and reduce the disease activity index in both animal models and IBD patients. Conclusions: The current literature suggests that butyrate is a potential add-on therapy to reduce inflammation and maintain IBD remission. Further clinical studies are needed to determine if butyrate administration alone is an effective therapeutic treatment for IBD.

© Copyright 2013-2024 GI Health Foundation. All rights reserved.
This site is maintained as an educational resource for US healthcare providers only. Use of this website is governed by the GIHF terms of use and privacy statement.