Let’s start with the basics. SCFAs are produced when bacteria—the good kind—ferment fiber in the gut, thereby providing your body with energy, keeping your metabolism humming, and even thwarting a wide range of digestive disorders.
There are three main types of SCFAs: butyrate, acetate, and propionate. If you haven’t heard of them, that’s in large part because we’ve been ignoring fiber like it’s the nerdy kid from high school. But that’s all starting to change.
You see, fiber isn’t just “in one end and out the other” as we’d once been taught. Instead, prebiotic fiber—which boosts the healthy bacteria that are already living in your gut—reaches the colon and sends our probiotic bacteria into an absolute feeding frenzy. Jonesin’ for their favorite food, probiotics go to town, and what results is postbiotic short-chain fatty acids.
You’ve heard of prebiotics and probiotics, but did you realize that the entire point of these is to make postbiotics, or SCFAs? These underrated byproducts of fiber fermentation have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and loads of other health benefits in the gut and beyond.