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Short-chain fatty acids: nutritional strategies to modulate intestinal microbiota

Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control
Marcos Porto Arrais de Souza,1 Morgana Andrade Freitas,1 Carla Braga Campelo de Oliveira,Lorena Almeida Brito,1 Júlio César Chaves Nunes Filho,3,5 Marilia Porto Oliveira Nunes,4–6 Juliana Magalhães da Cunha Rego,3,4 Richele Janaina de Araujo Machado2,5


Introduction: The intestinal microbiota has been the subject of research due to its association in physiological and pathological conditions. The production of short chain fatty acids obtained by fermentation of the intestinal microbiota has shown important effects on the gastrointestinal tract, adipose tissue, immune system and nervous system.

Objective: This literature review aims to present different nutritional strategies with the potential to modulate the intestinal microbiota by increasing the production of short chain fatty acids.

Methods: The research was considered a review work, through a bibliographic survey carried out from the collection of articles in English, published in the PubMed database, in the period from 2013 to 2020. The articles were selected from the descriptors: gut microbiota, soluble fiber, resistent starch, pectin, dietary fiber, short chain fatty acids (SCFA) with the combinations of the Boolean operators “and” and “or”. Studies considered as gray literature were excluded, as well as studies in which the titles were not related to the theme of the proposed research.

Results: There are many benefits to consuming foods that may favor the increase of short chain fatty acids. This increase in the gastrointestinal tract is of fundamental importance for the maintenance of intestinal microbiota and prevention of diseases. Some nutritional strategies can be used in clinical therapy, such as increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains that are plant foods and important sources of fiber. The type of food must be observed, since each one can contain fibers of diverse types. Soluble fiber is the basis for the metabolization of short chain fatty acids and is found in various foods that can be inserted into the food plan, such as: bananas, apples, oats, barley, cooked and cooled potatoes, partially ground seeds, corn, morning cereal, agave, artichoke, asparagus, chicory root, garlic, onion, leeks and wheat.

Conclusion: Scientific evidence of the relationship between nutrition, intestinal microbiota and short-chain fatty acid production demonstrates the importance of implementing simple nutritional strategies by health professionals, which can contribute to the modulation of the intestinal microbiota and the development of new perspectives in the development of therapies for prevention and treatment of diseases


microbiota intestinal, soluble fibers, butyrate, starch resistant