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Concept: Butyric acid


BACKGROUND: Little evidence is available for the validity of dietary fish and polyunsaturated fatty acid intake derived from interviewer-administered questionnaires and plasma docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) concentration. METHODS: We estimated the correlation of DHA and EPA intake from both questionnaires and biochemical measurements. Ethnic Chinese adults with a mean (+/- SD) age of 59.8 (+/-12.8) years (n = 297) (47% women) who completed a 38-item semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire and provided a plasma sample were enrolled. Plasma fatty acids were analyzed by capillary gas chromatography. RESULTS: The Spearmen rank correlation coefficients between the intake of various types of fish and marine n-3 fatty acids as well as plasma DHA were significant, ranging from 0.20 to 0.33 (P < 0.001). In addition, dietary EPA, C22:5 n-3 and DHA were significantly correlated with the levels of marine n-3 fatty acids and DHA, with the Spearman rank correlation coefficients ranging from 0.26 to 0.35 (P < 0.001). Moreover, compared with those in the lowest fish intake quintile, participants in the highest quintile had a significantly higher DHA level (adjusted mean difference, 0.99 +/- 0.10%, test for trend, P < 0.001). Similar patterns between dietary DHA intake and plasma DHA levels were found. However, the association between dietary fish intake and plasma EPA was not significant (test for trend, P = 0.69). CONCLUSIONS: The dietary intakes of fish and of long chain n-3 fatty acids, as determined by the food frequency questionnaire, were correlated with the percentages of these fatty acids in plasma, and in particular with plasma DHA. Plasma DHA levels were correlated to dietary intake of long-chain n-3 fatty acids.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acids, Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, Essential fatty acid, Omega-3 fatty acid, Eicosapentaenoic acid, Docosahexaenoic acid, Butyric acid


Currently, there is a search for substances that would be very well tolerated by an organism and which could contribute to the activation of the growth of Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria strains, with simultaneous inhibition of the growth of Firmicutes. High expectations in this regard are raised with the use of fiber preparations from starch - resistant corn dextrins, branched dextrins, resistant maltodextrins and soluble corn fiber. In this paper, the influence of fiber preparations made from corn starch was evaluated on growth and activity of Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Firmicutes strains isolated from obese children. It was demonstrated that in the stool of obese children Firmicutes strains predominate, while Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria strains were in the minority. A supplementation of fecal culture with fiber preparations did not cause any significant changes in the number of strains of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Addition of fiber preparations to the fecal samples of obese children increased the amount of short-chain fatty acids, especially acetic (p < 0.01), propionic, butyric (p = 0.05) and lactic acid (p < 0.01).

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Nutrition, Starch, Carboxylic acid, Maize, Butyric acid, Cornstarch


Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), metabolites produced through the microbial fermentation of nondigestible dietary components, have key roles in energy homeostasis. Animal research suggests that colon-derived SCFAs modulate feeding behavior via central mechanisms. In humans, increased colonic production of the SCFA propionate acutely reduces energy intake. However, evidence of an effect of colonic propionate on the human brain or reward-based eating behavior is currently unavailable.

Concepts: Brain, Human, Metabolism, Nutrition, Fat, Human brain, Butyric acid, Carnivore


The incidence of food allergies in western countries has increased dramatically in recent decades. Tolerance to food antigens relies on mucosal CD103(+) dendritic cells (DCs), which promote differentiation of regulatory T (Treg) cells. We show that high-fiber feeding in mice improved oral tolerance and protected from food allergy. High-fiber feeding reshaped gut microbial ecology and increased the release of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), particularly acetate and butyrate. High-fiber feeding enhanced oral tolerance and protected against food allergy by enhancing retinal dehydrogenase activity in CD103(+) DC. This protection depended on vitamin A in the diet. This feeding regimen also boosted IgA production and enhanced T follicular helper and mucosal germinal center responses. Mice lacking GPR43 or GPR109A, receptors for SCFAs, showed exacerbated food allergy and fewer CD103(+) DCs. Dietary elements, including fiber and vitamin A, therefore regulate numerous protective pathways in the gastrointestinal tract, necessary for immune non-responsiveness to food antigens.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Bacteria, Nutrition, Fat, Allergy, Protection, Butyric acid


The colonic microbiota ferment dietary fibres, producing short chain fatty acids. Recent evidence suggests that the short chain fatty acid propionate may play an important role in appetite regulation. We hypothesised that colonic delivery of propionate would increase peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) secretion in humans, and reduce energy intake and weight gain in overweight adults.

Concepts: Protein, Alcohol, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Obesity, Fat, Butyric acid, Peptide hormones


Dietary modulation of the gut microbiota impacts human health. Here we investigated the hitherto unknown effects of resistant starch type 4 (RS4) enriched diet on gut microbiota composition and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations in parallel with host immunometabolic functions in twenty individuals with signs of metabolic syndrome (MetS). Cholesterols, fasting glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin, and proinflammatory markers in the blood as well as waist circumference and % body fat were lower post intervention in the RS4 group compared with the control group. 16S-rRNA gene sequencing revealed a differential abundance of 71 bacterial operational taxonomic units, including the enrichment of three Bacteroides species and one each of Parabacteroides, Oscillospira, Blautia, Ruminococcus, Eubacterium, and Christensenella species in the RS4 group. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry revealed higher faecal SCFAs, including butyrate, propionate, valerate, isovalerate, and hexanoate after RS4-intake. Bivariate analyses showed RS4-specific associations of the gut microbiota with the host metabolic functions and SCFA levels. Here we show that dietary RS4 induced changes in the gut microbiota are linked to its biological activity in individuals with signs of MetS. These findings have potential implications for dietary guidelines in metabolic health management.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Gut flora, Nutrition, Enzyme, Obesity, Fat, Butyric acid


Metabolites from intestinal microbiota are key determinants of host-microbe mutualism and, consequently, the health or disease of the intestinal tract. However, whether such host-microbe crosstalk influences inflammation in peripheral tissues, such as the lung, is poorly understood. We found that dietary fermentable fiber content changed the composition of the gut and lung microbiota, in particular by altering the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. The gut microbiota metabolized the fiber, consequently increasing the concentration of circulating short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Mice fed a high-fiber diet had increased circulating levels of SCFAs and were protected against allergic inflammation in the lung, whereas a low-fiber diet decreased levels of SCFAs and increased allergic airway disease. Treatment of mice with the SCFA propionate led to alterations in bone marrow hematopoiesis that were characterized by enhanced generation of macrophage and dendritic cell (DC) precursors and subsequent seeding of the lungs by DCs with high phagocytic capacity but an impaired ability to promote T helper type 2 (TH2) cell effector function. The effects of propionate on allergic inflammation were dependent on G protein-coupled receptor 41 (GPR41, also called free fatty acid receptor 3 or FFAR3), but not GPR43 (also called free fatty acid receptor 2 or FFAR2). Our results show that dietary fermentable fiber and SCFAs can shape the immunological environment in the lung and influence the severity of allergic inflammation.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Gut flora, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Fat, Allergy, Butyric acid


Background: Observational studies suggest an inverse association between whole-grain (WG) consumption and inflammation. However, evidence from interventional studies is limited, and few studies have included measurements of cell-mediated immunity.Objective: We assessed the effects of diets rich in WGs compared with refined grains (RGs) on immune and inflammatory responses, gut microbiota, and microbial products in healthy adults while maintaining subject body weights.Design: After a 2-wk provided-food run-in period of consuming a Western-style diet, 49 men and 32 postmenopausal women [age range: 40-65 y, body mass index (in kg/m(2)) <35] were assigned to consume 1 of 2 provided-food weight-maintenance diets for 6 wk.Results: Compared with the RG group, the WG group had increased plasma total alkyresorcinols (a measure of WG intake) (P < 0.0001), stool weight (P < 0.0001), stool frequency (P = 0.02), and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) producer Lachnospira [false-discovery rate (FDR)-corrected P = 0.25] but decreased pro-inflammatory Enterobacteriaceae (FDR-corrected P = 0.25). Changes in stool acetate (P = 0.02) and total SCFAs (P = 0.05) were higher in the WG group than in the RG group. A positive association was shown between Lachnospira and acetate (FDR-corrected P = 0.002) or butyrate (FDR-corrected P = 0.005). We also showed that there was a higher percentage of terminal effector memory T cells (P = 0.03) and LPS-stimulated ex vivo production of tumor necrosis factor-α (P = 0.04) in the WG group than in the RG group, which were positively associated with plasma alkylresorcinol concentrations.Conclusion: The short-term consumption of WGs in a weight-maintenance diet increases stool weight and frequency and has modest positive effects on gut microbiota, SCFAs, effector memory T cells, and the acute innate immune response and no effect on other markers of cell-mediated immunity or systemic and gut inflammation. This trial was registered at as NCT01902394.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Bacteria, Nutrition, Innate immune system, Humoral immunity, Immunity, Butyric acid


Rates of colon cancer are much higher in African Americans (65:100,000) than in rural South Africans (<5:100,000). The higher rates are associated with higher animal protein and fat, and lower fibre consumption, higher colonic secondary bile acids, lower colonic short-chain fatty acid quantities and higher mucosal proliferative biomarkers of cancer risk in otherwise healthy middle-aged volunteers. Here we investigate further the role of fat and fibre in this association. We performed 2-week food exchanges in subjects from the same populations, where African Americans were fed a high-fibre, low-fat African-style diet and rural Africans a high-fat, low-fibre western-style diet, under close supervision. In comparison with their usual diets, the food changes resulted in remarkable reciprocal changes in mucosal biomarkers of cancer risk and in aspects of the microbiota and metabolome known to affect cancer risk, best illustrated by increased saccharolytic fermentation and butyrogenesis, and suppressed secondary bile acid synthesis in the African Americans.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Protein, Metabolism, Nutrition, Fat, Bile acid, Caribbean, Butyric acid


The mechanisms linking obesity and osteoarthritis (OA) are not fully understood and have been generally attributed to increased weight, rather than metabolic or inflammatory factors. Here, we examined the influence of fatty acids, adipokines, and body weight on OA following joint injury in an obese mouse model.

Concepts: Protein, Nutrition, Obesity, Triglyceride, Fat, Osteoarthritis, Fatty acid metabolism, Butyric acid