Butyrate, a short chain fatty acid (C4), is produced by microbial fermentation in the large intestine of humans and animals. It serves not only as a primary nutrient that provides energy to colonocytes, but also as a cellular mediator regulating multiple functions of gut cells and beyond, including gene expression, cell differentiation, gut tissue development, immune modulation, oxidative stress reduction, and diarrhea control.
For decades butyric acid has been used in the feed industry to improve gut health and animal performance. Today the market is dominated by well protected butyric acid salts. Feed producers working with these additives have no problems with smell issues and the effect of the additives on gut health and performance is better.
Butyric acid based products in general are used as a salt (sodium or calcium) or as glyceride because of the volatile and pungent nature of butyric acid. Butyrate is easily absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract when fed in the free salt form. To exert its antimicrobial effect, butyric acid salt needs to be in an un-dissociated state before reaching the hindgut, therefore the butyrate salt is encapsulated in palm stearin or another vegetable fat for protection.
Conventional coated products found on the market however can be low in concentration of butyric acid, showing concentration from 25 to 35% butyric acid, which is very low.
To increase this butyric acid concentration, Sanluc International has developed a coating-process allowing to produce well encapsulated calcium-butyrate products allowing butyric acid levels of around 65%.
Compared to several other players in the market, Sanluc International produces and markets calcium butyrate and NOT sodium butyrate and this for following reasons:
- By using calcium butyrate, the slow-release effect is further enhanced (1: coating, 2: slower solubility compared to sodium butyrate). Because of the lower hygroscopicity of Calcium butyrate compared to sodium butyrate, coated calcium butyrate products are more concentrated in active ingredient (butyric acid). As a result of the slow-release effect and the high concentration, the butyric acid can reach the distal part of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Calcium butyrate does not really influence the ionic balance resulting in lower water intake and drier droppings compared to sodium butyrate.
- Calcium butyrate is not hygroscopic, making it easier to handle during production