Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA), also referred to as volatile fatty acids (VFAs), are a postbiotic fermentation product of non-digestible dietary fiber by microbiota in the intestine.
Highly-fermentable fiber residues, such as those from resistant starch, oat bran, pectin, and guar are transformed by colonic bacteria into short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) including butyrate, producing more SCFA than less fermentable fibers such as celluloses. One study found that resistant starch consistently produces more butyrate than other types of dietary fiber. The production of SCFA from fibers in ruminant animals such as cattle is responsible for the butyrate content of milk and butter.
Fructans are another source of prebiotic soluble dietary fibers which can be digested to produce butyrate. They are often found in the soluble fibers of foods which are high in sulfur, such as the allium and cruciferous vegetables. Sources of fructans include wheat (although some wheat strains such as spelt contain lower amounts), rye, barley, onion, garlic, Jerusalem and globe artichoke, asparagus, beetroot, chicory, dandelion leaves, leek, radicchio, the white part of spring onion, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, fennel and prebiotics, such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS), oligofructose, and inulin.
List of SCFAs:
- Formic acid (Methanoic acid)
- Acetic acid (Ethanoic acid)
- Propionic acid (Propanoic acid)
- Butyric acid (Butanoic acid)
- Isobutyric acid (2-Methylpropanoic acid)
- Valeric acid (Pentanoic acid)
- Isovaleric acid (3-Methylbutanoic acid)
- Antiinflammatory: SCFA have anti-inflammatory properties
- Microbiome Modulation:
- Immunomodulator: SCFA have immune modulatory properties
Disease / Symptom Treatment
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: (COPD) The SCFA produced from dietary fiber has been found to protect against COPD.