What Are Short-Chain Fatty Acids?

Short-chain fatty acids (written SCFA for short) are a group of small molecules that are naturally produced by bacteria in your gut. The three SCFAs that we are studying are acetate (the main component of vinegar), propionate (responsible for the smell of Swiss cheese), and butyrate (responsible for the smell of parmesan cheese). These SCFAs are produced as metabolites by the bacteria as they grow and divide. Prebiotics are thought to increase the production of these SCFAs in your intestinal tract. SCFAs are important for the health of your intestines, particularly the large intestines, where they serve as a food source and anti-inflammatory signal for your body.

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