How SCFAs impact our health
SCFAs produced in the gut (including acetate, propionate, and butyrate) are shown to have a number of beneficial effects throughout the human body. It is well known that microbial butyrate is the primary energy source for colon cells, and helps to maintain the integrity of the intestinal epithelium (gut lining). A healthy gut lining increases your ability to absorb nutrients, prevent potentially harmful substances from entering the bloodstream, and reduce the risk of colon cancer. SCFAs also exert their beneficial effects by interacting with specific receptors located on the intestinal epithelium. These receptors facilitate rapid communication between the gut and other systems in the body, including the central nervous system. Perhaps the most interesting action of SCFAs is their ability to alter gene expression (acting as histone deacetylase inhibitors) in human cells. This ability has linked microbial SCFAs with a growing list of clinical indications, including regulating inflammation and human metabolism.