A brief guide to BCFAs

A brief guide to BCFAs

Branched-Chain Fatty Acids, or BCFAs as they are often referred to, are metabolites produced by bacteria in the gut. However, BCFAs are linked to protein fermentation, so the lower levels of these chemicals in your gut, the better.

A lack of fibre in the diet and excessive protein consumption is often a cause of a shift in our microbiota towards an unhealthy state; this leads to an increase in BCFA levels. In addition, by having unnecessary amounts of protein in our diet, our gut will begin a process known as bacterial protein fermentation. This process is associated with the production of ammonia, phenol, p-cresol and other compounds that can cause cell damage, inflammation and cancer.

If you aim to decrease BCFAs in your gut, diet is crucial. Firstly, it is worth calculating your protein requirements. Typically, the recommended dietary allowance for protein is 0.75g per kg of body weight. For example, if you weigh 75kg, your protein recommendation for the day would be 56.25g; this is an excellent general rule to follow, although your lifestyle and activity levels should be factored in.

Secondly, dietary fibre should complement your protein consumption. Eating plenty of vegetables and wholemeal grains will help stimulate the production of Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs have a rebalancing effect on the gut.

The aim should be to have fewer BCFAs and an abundance of SCFAs in our gut. An unhealthy balance between the two has been associated with specific gut-related issues, including high cholesterol and mental health issues, particularly depression. By aiming for an abundance of SCFAs and limiting the BCFAs, we can create a healthier gut balance and help reduce potential health issues.

Our Functional Gut Test not only gives you a gut health score but also offers detailed information about the SCFAs and BCFAs in your gut. The report will also provide you with personalised recommendations on how to improve your gut health. Shop the test here.

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