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Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs)

One of the primary ways that probiotic bacteria work their magic is by fermenting prebiotics and producing SCFAs (primarily acetate, butyrate, and propionate). Low carbohydrate diets can result in less fermentable material, thus lower SCFA levels, if you do not make a point to get adequate fiber. SCFAs primarily work by activating free fatty acid receptors, FFAR2 and FFRA3 and by decreasing inflammation and permeability in the gut.

Induction of FFA2/3 protects against obesity and insulin resistance by decreasing hunger and food intake, increasing energy expenditure, and improving glucose and lipid metabolism. Butyrate is also the preferred energy source, along with Glutamine, for maintenance and repair of epithelial cells in the colon. It increases tight junction assembly, thus improving barrier function, specifically through AMPK.

AMPK is basically the airbrakes on the runaway train of inflammation and “leaky gut” induced metabolic dysfunction caused by modern food processing, the Western diet, and microbial dysbiosis. In addition to its involvement in barrier function, AMPK activation is extremely positive for the great bacteria that we can’t get commercially. Its activation increases Akkermansia and Bacteroides levels, at least partially by elevating production of mucin, one of their favorite foods.

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