Butyrate and Ghee
By Peter D’Adamo
Butyric acid is a small (four carbon) fatty acid normally made in the gut from the fermentation of the fiber in our diet. Butyrate is the name for the stabilized form of butyric acid. Butyrates have an intense ‘stinky’ smell, not unlike ripe cheese or your teenage son’s sneakers, both of which can reek from butyrate. Despite its smell, butyrate is a highly desired source of energy for the cells of the intestinal lining, and several studies suggest that it is this action of butyrate which actually gives dietary fiber its anti-cancer effects: cells incubated in high butyrate environments tend to not mutate as frequently. One function of butyrate that is well studied is its ability to control gene expression through a mechanism called epigenetics. Unlike genetic dominance, epigenetic regulation involves controlling the gene post-genomically; i.e. you might have the dominant or fully functional version of a gene, but still not experience its effects because other things are controlling whether or not the gene is capable of being ‘read.’ Butyrate influences the action of histones, spools by which DNA is coiled into chromosomes. When DNA is tightly wrapped around histones, the genetic code can’t be read.
There were companies marketing commercial preparations of “calcium/magnesium butyrate” however, most have stopped doing so. Our Intrinsa formula is one of the few butyrate products still on the market. The NAP ARA6 preparation can increase butyrate concentrations in the intestines, but not directly (it can be broken down by the gut bacteria into butyrate).
A tasty way to increase butyrate in your diet is to make “ghee,” an Ayurvedic preparation of clarified butter. Loaded with short chain fatty acids, including some butyric acid. Ghee OK for all types.
What is ghee? It’s is basically butter that has the milk solids and water removed. According to Ayurveda, Ghee (clarified butter) is the best oil for cooking. This is because when used in moderation it stimulates the digestion (Agni) better than any other oil. It also has the ability to increase one’s immunity (called Ojas in Ayurveda). Give it a try. It is very tasty and without the side effects of plain butter. Note: Ghee does not require refrigeration if you keep moisture out of it; for example, don’t dip a wet spoon into the ghee jar.
I found this recipe on the internet:
Preparation time: less then 30 minutes
1 Pound High Quality Butter (Organic is best)
Bring the butter to boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered until done. There are a couple of ways to determine when it is done. One way is after the butter turns a clear golden color, dip a strip of paper into the butter, then move away from the butter and all other flammables and light the strip of paper on fire, if the paper sputters, crackles and pops, then the water has not been completely cooked-out and the ghee is not yet done. After using this method a time or two you can easily tell by the smell and color when the ghee has been properly cooked. Note when the butter first starts to boil there will be alot of bubbling and gurgling, then this action will subside, next the ghee will begin to develop a foam at the top, at this point the ghee is done. Once you make Ghee a time or two it becomes easy to tell when it is done.
Image: Jessica Merz from Novato, USA