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Brewer Science Library
Phone: (608) 647-6513
The following article is published by the Brewer Science Library. Single copies of the article may be printed for the reader's personal research and study. Reproduction in any other manner, format or location is expressly prohibited.
BUTYRIC ACID (butyrate) & CANCER RESEARCH:
Butyric acid is a natural substance that is found in butter. Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) that is formed in the colon when colonocytes act on undigested fiber in the colon. These short chain fatty acids that are formed stimulate the bifidobacterium in the large intestine. Many positive health results can occur, including an increase in the body’s immune response.
Previous research with butyric acid, and derivatives of butyric acid, has demonstrated that it is a potent anti-neoplastic agent. A search on PubMed will bring up hundreds of cancer research abstracts that mention butyric acid (several are listed at the end of this article). The action of butyric acid against many kinds of cancer cells is primarily through differentiation, not apoptosis (cellular self-suicide). Differentiation is the process that has the action of “taming” cancer cells, and causing them to behave more normally. Another natural substance that acts in this way in the body is IP6. One of the problems with using butyric acid as a cancer agent is that it is rapidly metabolized and removed from the body.
The specific mechanism of action of sodium butyrate with cancer cells is its action as a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDAC), which is associated with repression of genes that are activated in cancer cells. Growth inhibition and differentiation of the cancer cells are the result.
TRIBUTYRIN: A BUTYRATE ANALOG
More recent research on Tributyrin was reported in the Journal of Nutrition. 2001; 131;1839-1843, (link at: www.jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/abstract/131/6/1839). This test tube research was carried out on human colon cancer cells to determine the effects of Tributyrin on growth, differentiation and vitamin D receptor expression. Interestingly, the researchers concluded that at least part of the beneficial results demonstrating differentiation and reduced cancer growth was due to the upregulation of the vitamin D receptor by Tributyrin. Research over the last several years has discovered that Vitamin D has not only a protective effect against the development of several cancers, such as colon, breast and prostate, but also has an anti-proliferative effect against cancer cells that are already established. (Link to Vitamin D and cancer: posted here when Vitamin D article is done).
SYNERGISM of ARTEMISININ and BUTRIC ACID:
One website (www.herbological.com/herblog/?cat=6) commented that the plasma levels that would be needed to approximate the above experiments would be 1.0 millmolar, and that would require 10,000 mg a day (10 grams). It was also mentioned that in brain tumors more has been used, even up to 20 grams a day. That would require about 16 caps a day for the 10 grams and 30 for the 20 grams.
Since butyrate is a completely natural substance and non-toxic, this article mentions that the main side effect would be body odor. It is possible that some people might develop diarrhea from such a high dose, and it would always be best to start with a low dose, as suggested on the label, or perhaps even lower, and gradually work up to a higher dosage. Although it is a non-toxic substance, it does beneficially change the bowel bacteria, which could result in some of the bad bacteria, like candida, dying off in large numbers, which could cause diarrhea.
Natural supplements of butyric acid are available from:
BUTYRATE and HYALURONIC ACID (HA):
2007 NEWS: BUTYRATE-SUGAR COMBINATION MOLECULE CAUSES CANCER CELL DEATH:
DOCTORS UTILIZING ARTEMISININ COMPOUNDS:
SOME BUTRIC ACID RESEARCH ABSTRACTS & ARTICLES OF INTEREST:
The histone deacetylase inhibitor sodium butyrate induces breast cancer cell apoptosis through diverse cytotoxic actions including glutathione depletion and oxidative stress; International Journal of Oncology, 2004 Dec; 25(6): 1701-11.
Bcl-2 expression regulates sodium butyrate-induced apoptosis in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells; Cell Growth Differ; 1996 Mar; 7(3):311-8.
Anti-cancer effects of butyrate: use of micro-array technology to investigate mechanisms; Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2003), 62, 197-115.
Butyrate Therapy for Poorly Differentiated Breast Cancer; Life Sciences & Biotechnology Update, Dec, 2000.
Augmentation of Sodium Butyrate-induced Apoptosis by Phosphatidylinositol 3’-Kinase Inhibition in the KM20 Human Colon Cancer Cell Line, Clinical Cancer Research Vol 8, 1940-1947, June 2002.
Short-chain fatty acid-hexosamine cancer prodrugs: The sugar matters! Drugs of the Future, 2006, ISSN 0377-8282.
Butyrate-Induced Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer Cell Lines, Defense Technical Information Center, Aug 2001.
Leptin counteracts sodium butyrate-induced apoptosis in human colon cancer HT-29 cells via Nfkappa-B signaling, J. Biol. Chem, 10.1074/jbc.M312999200, Jan, 2004.
Valproic acid and butyrate induce apoptosis in human cancer cells through inhibition of gene expression of Akt/protein kinase B, Molecular Cancer, 2006, 5:71.
A novel role of sodium butyrate in cancer-associated aromatase promoter I.3 and II by disrupting a transcriptional complex in breast adipose fibroblasts, J. Biol. Chem, 10.1074/jbc.M508498200, Nov, 2005.
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