Genova Diagnostics Blog

Exploring Health and Healing with Laboratory Testing


Your Short Chain Fatty Acids told me...

How well are the predominate bacteria are functioning?

Whenever I get a GI Effects test I look at the predominate bacteria and then I look at the Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) to see how well the predominate bacteria are functioning. SCFA have certainly become a more popular topic with the emergence of prebiotics and probiotics.

SCFA are made by intestinal bacterial action on undigested carbohydrates, mostly soluble fibers. They are absorbed by the colonic mucosa and affect regulatory systems, such as blood glucose, lipid levels, the colonic environment, and intestinal immune functions.

Studies in the 1990s found that people with higher fecal SCFA had lower rates of colon cancer and that SCFA levels correlated to overall fiber intake. SCFA have also been associated with reduced risk of gastrointestinal disorders and cardiovascular disease. The major SCFA in humans are butyrate, propionate, and acetate.

Soluble fiber is a rising star in the ingredient world

Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including:

  • Legumes (peas, soybeans, and other beans)
  • Oats, rye, chia, and barley fruits and fruit juices (including prune juice, plums, berries, bananas, and the insides of apples and pears)
  • Vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, and Jerusalem artichokes)
  • Skins of root vegetables (such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions)
  • Psyllium seed husk

When someone has low SCFA, have them increase soluble fiber in their diet. It will increase their SCFA and their predominate bacteria. Plus it has all sorts of other health benefits.

Here is a great start, Apple Barley Pilaf

  • 2 Tbsp. organic butter
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large Fuji apples, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked barley
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

In large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and barley; cook, stirring until golden. Add broth, raisins, and thyme to barley mixture. Heat to boil; reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 40 to 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Fold apples and parsley into barley mixture; cook 5 minutes and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: Calories, 241; Fat, 7 g; Fiber, 6 g; Sodium, 87 mg

Your questions or comments are always welcome, and you can use the comment area provided below. Enjoy! –Dr. Redmond

Your Gut Health – Additional Resources:

Comments (1) -

I happen to enter your blog with the help of Google search. To my sheer luck I got what I was searching for. Thanks


Pingbacks and trackbacks (2)+

Add comment

  Country flag

  • Comment
  • Preview