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The low down on Short Chain Fatty Acids

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs) are a vital nutrient for intestinal health.

They are the dominant energy source for the large intestine, support healthy gut microbes, repair leaky gut, improve digestion and can decrease pain associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

What are SCFAs?

Short-chain fatty acids are produced by fermentation of mainly undigested dietary carbohydrates (dietary fibre and resistance starch) by gut bacteria.

There are 3 main types of SCFAs

  • Acetate

  • Propionate

  • Butyrate

The type of fibre you consume produces a different mix of these SCFAs. The key is to eat a wide variety of different prebiotic fibres.

Benefits of short-chain fatty acids include:.

  • Restores the balance between healthy bacteria and inflammatory bacteria.

  • Prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

  • Glucose homeostasis.

  • Improves intestinal permeability ‘leaky gut’.

  • Immune modulation.

  • Appetite regulation.

  • Reduce the risk of colonic cancer.

  • Studies suggest that SCFAs have an important role in the prevention and treatment of obesity-associated insulin resistance

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Both ‘biotics' support good digestive health by building and maintaining a healthy abundance of bacteria.

A diverse and robust microbiome supports healthy digestion, gut and immune function, brain and mental health, and vitamin synthesis – with powerful positive effects extending to your entire body.

Probiotics are live bacteria found naturally in the gut and can be increased by consuming probiotic-rich foods.

Probiotic-rich foods include natural yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread (the real stuff), and fermented cheese.

Probiotics need support from prebiotics to work effectively.

Prebiotics are the fuel for probiotics so they can flourish and diversify.

Prebiotic foods:

  • Fibre: Vegetables, fruit, whole grains and flaxseeds. Most soluble fibre is prebiotic. Though insoluble fibre also has many benefits.

  • Resistant starch is not technically fibre but behaves like it, as it is also fermented by our gut bugs. Resistant starch is a prebiotic found in oats, rice, legumes, white beans, cashews, bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes.

  • Polyphenols are antioxidant compounds found in certain foods. Whilst they don’t produce SCFAs like fibre, they do have a positive health effect. Polyphenols are found in blueberries, strawberries, peach, plum, grapeseed extract, cranberry extract, resveratrol, cocoa, green and black tea.

If you'd like to book a Naturopathic consult to improve your digestion and gut health, bookings can be made online at

Have a great day

Jules x


  1. Bulsiewica, W (20222) Fiber Fueled. Avery Publishing Group.

  2. Silva, Y.P, et al. The role of short-chain fatty acids from but microbiota in gut-brain connection. Frontiers in Endocrinology. available at

Casuarina Holistic Health is conveniently located on the Tweed Coast, South of the Gold Coast.

Naturopathic consultations can either be in the clinic or via Zoom or phone consults.

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