Role of Sodium Butyrate in Depression


What is Sodium Butyrate?

With the formula Na(C3H7COO), Sodium Butyrate is butyric acid’s sodium salt which is said to have various effects on cultured mammalian cells including depression or induction of gene expression, induction of differentiation, and inhibition of proliferation of gene expression. Sodium butyrate is a salt of butyric acid that is commonly used as a food additive and ingredient in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. It is a short-chain fatty acid that is produced in the gut by the fermentation of dietary fiber by gut bacteria. Sodium butyrate has been shown to have several potential health benefits, including improving gut health, reducing inflammation, and promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria. It is also being studied for its potential to improve neurological conditions such as Huntington’s disease and autism. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of sodium butyrate on health.

Some Health Benefits of Sodium Butyrate

Sodium butyrate has got several health benefits, especially affecting the gut. These benefits are as follows:

  1. Fueling the gut cells of a human body

The human body’s gut cells, known as colonocytes, are powered by the butyrate found in Sodium Butyrate (NaB). This butyrate serves as the main energy source for these gut lining cells, rather than the typical energy source of sugar (glucose) used by other cells in the body. The presence of butyrate in Sodium Butyrate helps maintain the proper functioning of these cells. Butyrate is produced by a type of bacteria called Firmicutes genus. Prebiotics such as dietary fiber provide the necessary environment for bacteria like Eubacterium, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, and Roseburia spp. to produce butyrate. This creates a symbiotic relationship between the bacteria, the oxygen-free environment provided by the butyrate-fueled colonocytes, and the maintenance of gut cell health and reduced inflammation.

  1. The antioxidant powers are harnessed

The gut is kept disease-free and healthy by butyrate present in Sodium Butyrate which defends the cells from harmful substances. The antioxidants are the body’s defence system which fight against or defend the body from free radicals which are waste products from the chemical reactions in the body. The body is repair system is sometimes damaged or overwhelmed by the free radicals if it becomes large in number and the situation is called oxidative stress. Sodium Butyrate often fights with these free radicals and restore order in the system.

  1. Fighting against depression

Chronic mild stress and maternal deprivation are neurotrophic expressions which are enhanced in the cognition, are improved with the use of sodium butyrate, which functions as an anti-depressant.

  1. Obesity and diabetes is prevented

The use of sodium butyrate leads to a substantial increase in the production of gut hormones that improve blood sugar balance, potentially benefiting individuals with type II diabetes and obesity. When blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas releases insulin. However, if insulin levels in the bloodstream are low, the liver releases glucagon to release glucose into the bloodstream. Sodium butyrate enhances the secretion of gut hormones such as glucagon, reducing its production while increasing insulin production to regulate and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Additionally, sodium butyrate also helps control the secretion of fatty acids.

  1. Protection for the brain.

Brain health can be supported with the use of sodium butyrate which is due to the neuro-protective effects (that benefits the nervous system and the brain). The diseases like autism, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease can be targeted with the use of sodium butyrate which reduces the chance of these occurrings.


Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest.

  • Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, can negatively impact an individual’s thinking, behavior, and emotions, leading to physical and emotional problems.
  • Symptoms of depression may include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, self-blame, changes in appetite and weight, loss of energy and interest in activities, and thoughts of suicide.
  • Depression is not a weakness and cannot be overcome simply by “snapping out of it.” Psychotherapy and/or medication are the main treatments for depression. It is estimated that 1 in 7 adults will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.
  • If experiencing symptoms of depression, it is recommended to seek help from a mental health professional or doctor.

 Types of Depression

The major types of depression can be classified as follows:

  • Major Depressive Disorder: Major depression (clinical depression) has intense or overwhelming symptoms lasting longer than two weeks
  • Bipolar depression: Bipolar disorder has alternating periods of low mood and extremely high-energy (manic) periods.
  • Perinatal and postpartum depression: “Perinatal” means around birth. Many people refer to this type as postpartum depression. Perinatal depression can occur during pregnancy and up to one year after having a baby.
  • Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): PDD is also known as dysthymia. Symptoms of PDD are less severe than major depression.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual disorder (PMS). It affects women in the days or weeks leading up to their menstrual period.
  • Psychotic Depression: People with psychotic depression have severe depressive symptoms and delusions or hallucinations.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, usually starts in late fall and early winter. It often goes away during the spring and summer.


An individual can be diagnosed with major depression, which is a complex disease without any exact cause, but a variety of reasons that might be causing it. These varieties of reasons for depression range from a serious medical illness to a moving death of a loved one or a family history of depression or overwhelming loneliness or sadness for an unknown reason. Some of the reasons that are found to be most common among individuals diagnosed with depression are as follows.

  1. Gender. Women are more prone to becoming depressed as much as twice as likely as men. The possible role that is played for this factor might be the hormonal changes a woman goes through throughout her life.
  2. Conflicts. Personal conflicts are disputes with friends or family members might be the reason for depression in an individual who has the biological vulnerability to the disease.
  3. Certain medications. The risk of depression can be increased for individuals due to the use of some drugs like corticosteroids, interferon-alpha which is an antiviral drug and medicine used to treat acne called isotretinoin.
  4. Age. Elderly people are at a higher risk of depression which can be proved by factors like a lack of social support or living alone.
  5. Loss or death. The factor of grief or sadness often boosts the risk of depression in an individual due to the death or loss of a loved one.
  6. Serious illness. Depression can be triggered by some medical conditions or a major illness in an individual.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression symptoms include:

  •         Feeling very sad, hopeless or worried.
  •         Not enjoying things that used to give you joy.
  •         Being easily irritated or frustrated.
  •         Eating too much or too little.
  •         Changes in how much you sleep.
  •         Having a difficult time concentrating or remembering things.
  •         Experiencing physical problems like headache, stomach ache or sexual dysfunction.
  •         Thinking about hurting or killing yourself, suicidal thoughts.

 Sodium Butyrate’s role in treating depression

Sodium Butyrate has been studied for its potential role in treating depression. The butyrate present in Sodium Butyrate has been found to play a role in regulating gene expression in the brain, which is involved in the development of depression. Studies in animal models have shown that Sodium Butyrate may have anti-depressant effects, reducing symptoms of depression, and improving overall mood.

However, while the results of these studies are promising, further research is needed to fully understand the effects of Sodium Butyrate on depression in humans. It is also important to note that Sodium Butyrate should not be used as a substitute for established treatments for depression, such as psychotherapy or medication. It is always recommended to speak to a doctor or mental health professional before starting any new treatment for depression.

Sodium butyrate is an established and widely-used HDACi (histone deacetylase inhibitor) that exerts antidepressant-like effects while simultaneously increasing the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a neurotrophin that promotes neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, and there is strong evidence for its involvement in psychiatric disorders like depression.

While most research has mainly focused on its role as a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi), there is also evidence that Sodium Butyrate affects DNA methylation. It has been seen that Sodium Butyrate’s antidepressant-like effects are associated with increased levels of TET1 in the Prefrontal Cortex. The TET1 upregulation is associated with increased Hydroxymethylation and gene-expression levels of Bdnf. Ghe increase in Bdnf levels would finally help in reduction and reversion of depression.


  1. What are the four main causes of depression?

The four leading causes of depression are stated as follows:

  • Individuals with specific personalities are somewhat more prone to experience depression. These personality traits include sensitivity to criticism, being a perfectionist, having low self-esteem, and having a tendency to hold in stress and worries.
  • Alcohol, drugs, and medication. There is an unfortunate side of depression with the intake of several different medications. The side effects should be researched and doctors should be consulted if an individual experiences depression after the starting of a new medication. Depression can be also triggered or worsened by the use of alcohol and recreational drugs. The symptoms of depression are initially helped by recreational drugs and alcohol but eventually, the situations get worse.
  • Illness and health issues. The mental health of an individual is significantly impacted by any physical injuries or illness. Depression can be caused by a drastic change in an individual’s lifestyle due to physical health issues, long-term health issues, or chronic health issues. The impact can also be caused by issues connected to sleep problems, low blood sugar, menopause or menstrual cycle, hormones, or the brain.
  • Family history. The tracing of depression hasn’t been possible by the research on any specific genes. An individual is more likely to be prone to depression if his family has any records of depression.
  1. Is depression temporary or permanent?

The range in which depression persists can be as high as from a mild temporary episode of sadness to persistent and severe depression. Major depression can be cured with the help of medications like Sodium Butyrate (NaB) or psychotherapy.

  1. What exactly happens in depression?

An individual suffers from a loss of interest in activities that he once enjoyed and often has a persistent feeling of sadness when he/she is diagnosed with depression. Depression can cause difficulties in performing simple day-to-day activities and decrease the ability to function at home or work along with several physical and emotional problems.

  1. What are the types of depression?

Depression can be of several types such as seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, bipolar depression, and clinical depression. Complementary therapies, brain stimulation medications, and counseling are the treatment options that are available to an individual who is diagnosed with depression.

  1. What is sodium butyrate used for?

Sodium butyrate can prevent AIDS, control inflammation in the bowel system and support digestive health by producing butyrate, which is an important short-chain fatty acid. Butyrate is naturally produced by gut bacteria. Sodium buti rate can also help in the diagnosis of clinical depression, dysthymia, bipolar depression and chronic depression. This is due to the support that is provided by Sodium Butyrate leading to neuro protective which in turn supports brain health. Asheimer’s disease, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and autism can be prevented by the proper maintenance of doses of sodium butyrate. The sodium butyrate plays an important role in maintenance of brain health.


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