It is always an exciting day when something entirely new about metabolism begins to emerge. Of course it will be decades before innovation is agreed upon by the tortoise-moving FDA, medical profession, and other "health authorities" who have done nothing but watch as their "solutions" have either allowed or directly contributed to a societal epidemic of obesity.
One of my hobbies is taking emerging science and predicting what it means - and then comparing it to my many years of hands-on clinical experience to see if the idea possibly has merit as well as practical application to better the human condition. I must say that a little animal study on butyric acid has me quite excited.
Nutritionists have known for decades that butyric acid is the most important fatty acid to the health of your colon. Your colon produces butyric acid as a result of fiber fermentation, with the help of friendly flora. Hostile bacteria and Candida albicans are likely to get in the way of this process. Restoring health and balance to this system has always been a priority for alternative health practitioners.
It has also been known for some time that dietary fiber has other benefits to GI health and metabolic health. Fiber is known to enhance absorption of food, clearance of cholesterol, clearance of toxins, reduction of appetite, and stabilization of blood sugar based on a more consistent rate of absorption of calories out of the digestive tract.
However, the idea that the butyric acid produced in your lower colon may be absorbed into your body and facilitate direct changing of genes involved with overall fat metabolism is new - and the possibilities of what this means to anyone trying to lose weight is exciting.
It has been known for many decades that butyric acid activates cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate). cAMP is what is known as a second messenger, meaning that it takes the first message from a hormone landing on a cell and, since the hormone can't enter the cell, acts to transfer the message of the hormone to parts of the cell to carry out metabolic directions. cAMP is normally produced from your ATP (energy) and butyric acid helps activate this process. cAMP is intimately involved with how cells metabolize blood sugar and fat. And that is why this new finding is exciting.
The new animal study is unique in that it shows butyric acid is absorbed into the body and once there has a rather profound effect on turning on genes that are favorable to blood glucose and fatty acid metabolism. Human studies on absorption are lacking, primarily because testing levels of a nutrient in the portal circulation is not done due to dangers involved, although pig testing has shown that fiber increases butyric acid levels in the portal circulation.
I have observed in many cases the increase in energy in those taking more fiber. I have always assigned that benefit to improved detoxification, improved digestion, or improved blood sugar function based on digestive mechanisms. In retrospect, improved gene function at the cellular level could just as easily explain what I have observed - certainly as a part of what was going on. I have also observed fatigue and weight gain more easily in an individual once they quit a higher fiber routine - which always struck me as a bit odd but now makes me consider the idea that the lowering of fiber may actually be turning off fat burning genes.
Yes, of course, this is a theory. But I think it will prove to be correct based on what is currently known and what I have observed these many years. Furthermore, it is quite easy to test for yourself. Simply consume an extra 25 grams of fiber per day and see what difference it makes to your metabolism. You may wish to gradually build up to this amount so you don't get unpleasant gas forming, but you can usually get to the extra 25 grams within a week. I would suggest trying it for a few months. And then, if you want to compare, lower it back down and see what difference it makes to your energy and metabolism over the next few months.
Most people take extra fiber because of digestive problems, especially regularity. This suggestion is for anyone regardless of their digestive status, simply to see if metabolism is benefited.
I might also point out that butyric acid is also a component of one of the primary relaxant neurotransmitters in your brain called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Thus, elevating blood levels of butyric acid by increasing fiber intake may help to calm your nerves. This could be helpful for anyone on the anxious or irritable side, whether they are overweight or not. Again, this is a theory that you can easily put to the test.