Microbiota changes induced by microencapsulated sodium butyrate in patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2020 Oct;32(10):e13914. doi: 10.1111/nmo.13914. Epub 2020 May 31.


Background: Butyrate has shown anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties, providing symptomatic relief when orally supplemented in patients suffering from various colonic diseases. We investigated the effect of a colonic-delivery formulation of butyrate on the fecal microbiota of patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).

Methods: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot study, 49 IBD patients (n = 19 Crohn's disease, CD and n = 30 ulcerative colitis, UC) were randomized to oral administration of microencapsulated-sodium-butyrate (BLM) or placebo for 2 months, in addition to conventional therapy. Eighteen healthy volunteers (HVs) were recruited to provide a healthy microbiota model of the local people. Fecal microbiota from stool samples was assessed by 16S sequencing. Clinical disease activity and quality of life (QoL) were evaluated before and after treatment.

Key results: At baseline, HVs showed a different microbiota composition compared with IBD patients. Sodium-butyrate altered the gut microbiota of IBD patients by increasing bacteria able to produce SCFA in UC patients (Lachnospiraceae spp.) and the butyrogenic colonic bacteria in CD patients (Butyricicoccus). In UC patients, QoL was positively affected by treatment.

Conclusions and inferences: Sodium-butyrate supplementation increases the growth of bacteria able to produce SCFA with potentially anti-inflammatory action. The clinical impact of this finding requires further investigation.

Keywords: 16S metabarcoding; gut inflammation; inflammatory bowel disease; prebiotics; short-chain fatty acid.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Butyric Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Capsules
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Histamine Antagonists / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / microbiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Young Adult


  • Capsules
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Butyric Acid