What Is Butyric Acid (4:0) & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Butyric acid (4:0) (src)

Butyric acid, 4:0, is known as butanoic acid.

It is a common industrial chemical and is not that common in nature.

Butyric acid is a saturated short-chain fatty acid.

Butyric acid is a weak acid and has low toxicity.

Butyric acid is found in foods like milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and meat.

Table of Contents

Butyric Acid In Body

Butyric acid is a short-chain fatty acid formed in the human colon by bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates, including dietary fiber. (source )

Most butyric acid in our body is produced in the colon through microbial fermentation of dietary fiber and is primarily absorbed and metabolized by colonocytes and the liver.

Benefits Of Butyric Acid

Butyric acid has been used in health food to maintain intestinal function, such as an anti-inflammatory activity, and prevent intestinal diseases, such as a prevention of colorectal cancer.

Butyric acid is one of the most important energy sources for the colonocytes, and also has beneficial effects on the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis.

Butyric acid is also used as an inhibitor of cancer cell proliferation.

Good or bad

It has been suggested that butyric acid is beneficial in the treatment of IBS.

But on the other hand, has butyric acid been associated with side effects like abdominal cramping and loose stools.

Butyric Acid Not So Pleasant

When butter goes rancid, butyric acid is liberated from the glyceride by hydrolysis.

Butyric acid is a carboxylic acid found in rancid butter, parmesan cheese, and vomit.

It has an unpleasant odor and acrid taste, with a sweetish aftertaste, similar to ether. (source )

Other Uses Of Butyric Acid

is a potential candidate for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications, such as skin whitening and hair growth stimulator.

This is because butyric acid is a weak acid with low toxicity.

Foods You Can Find Butyric Acid (4:0) In

You find Butyric Acid (4:0) mostly in sausage and luncheon meat, dairy and egg, fats and oil, and sauce and gravy products.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Butyric Acid (4:0) we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top ranked list of foods that contain Butyric Acid (4:0).

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.