It is increasingly recognized that there is a connection between diet, intestinal microbiota, intestinal barrier function and the low-grade inflammation that characterizes the progression from obesity to metabolic disturbances, making dietary strategies to modulate the intestinal environment relevant. In this context, the ability of some Gram-positive anaerobic bacteria to produce the short-chain fatty acid butyrate is interesting. A lower abundance of butyrate-producing bacteria has been associated with metabolic risk in humans, and recent studies suggest that butyrate might have an anti-inflammatory potential that can alleviate obesity-related metabolic complications, possibly due to its ability to enhance the intestinal barrier function. Here, we review and discuss the potential of butyrate as an anti-inflammatory mediator in metabolic diseases, and the potential for dietary interventions increasing the intestinal availability of butyrate.
Keywords: Butyrate; butyrate-producing bacteria; intestinal microbiota; obesity-related diseases.
© 2013 The Authors. obesity reviews © 2013 International Association for the Study of Obesity.