Short-chain fatty acids

When you consume dietary fibers, it is not your body that breaks them down—it’s the bacteria in your large intestine! Important molecules produced by this bacterial activity are called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which comprise a maximum of six carbon atoms along with atoms of oxygen and hydrogen. Your body absorbs around 95% of these SCFAs and puts them to work. Could fiber’s beneficial effects – including weight control, blood sugar balance, and a decreased risk of certain diseases – be attributed to the activities of SCFAs? Research is revealing more about how these molecules benefit your health as they travel around the body.





Slavin J. (2013) Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients 5(4), 1417-1435; doi:10.3390/nu5041417

den Besten G, et al. (2013) The role of short-chain fatty acids in the interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and host energy metabolism. Journal of Lipid Research 54(9): 2325–2340. doi:  10.1194/jlr.R036012 den Besten G, et al. (See above)

Wong JMW, et al. (2006) Colonic Health: Fermentation and Short Chain Fatty Acids. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 40(3):235-243

O’Keefe SJD, et al. (2015) Fat, fibre and cancer risk in African Americans and rural Africans. Nature Communications 6:6342 doi: 10.1038/ncomms7342 den besten G, et al. (See above)

Soret R, et al. (2010) Short-chain fatty acids regulate the enteric neurons and control gastrointestinal motility in rats. Gastroenterology. 138(5): 1772-1782.

GMFH Editing Team
GMFH Editing Team