Butter for Gut Health
I often wonder if all those years of being scared off eating butter by the media and public health agencies has contributed to the general decline in gut health amongst the population. We now know after recent studies in 2016 (1) that there is no link between the consumption of butter and an increased risk of heart disease and that butter does in fact have many health benefits.
One the many benefits of butter is with gut health. Butter is a natural source of Butyric acid which is a short chain fatty acid that helps to maintain gut barrier integrity, keeping the gut lining healthy and sealed so can help to prevent leaky gut. Butyric acid is also an important source of fuel for the cells that line the wall of the intestines keeping them healthy and strong.
Butyric acid is reported to have anti-inflammatory and immune regulatory benefits in the gut and can be helpful for Inflammatory Bowel Disease sufferers. A 2013 study showed Butyric acid can reduce pain during bowel movements and inflammation in the gut (2).
Butter also contains Lauric acid, which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties so has an important role the in the treatment of candida overgrowth and other intestinal infections.
I love butter and we use it very regularly in our household. I find I can tolerate butter much more than other dairy products such as milk and cheese and many people do find the same. This is likely to be due to the low lactose content of butter.
It is important to look for organic butter from grass fed cows where possible for maximum health benefits.
(1) Is Butter Back? A systemic review and meta-analysis of butter consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and total mortality 29/6/16 www.journals.plos.org
(2) Butyric Acid in Functional Constipation, 2013 8 (5) 295 -8 Prz Gastroenterol.