According to the current state of research short-chain fatty acids such as propionic acid serve those intestinal bacteria as "food", which have a special protective function for humans. The adequate availability of soluble fiber is a requirement for sufficient short-chain fatty acids to be available to the organism.
According to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung e.V. (German Society for Nutrition) a balanced diet includes a sufficient intake of fiber in adults of at least 30 g a day. For example about 1000 g of broccoli or about 200 g of dried plums or about 100 g of flaxseed contain 30 g of fibre.
Unfortunately modern diet often prevents intake of 30 g of fiber per day. In a large-scale study of 4.600 probands, scientists now found that in most countries dietary fiber consumption was well below 20 g per day and only about 10 % of the probands actually consumed 30 g of fiber per day.
The addition of dietary supplements with short-chain fatty acids may help if the appropriate amount of fiber is not completely with the usual nutrition. Scientists of the “Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung (German Institute for Nutrition Research) in Potsdam-Rehbrücke have shown: The intake of salts of short-chain fatty acids, in this case propionate (PROPICUM®) has similar positive effects as the consumption of dietary fiber. Based on the study work of several scientists it is recommended to take 500 mg propionate twice daily, one capsule per meal each morning and evening. With a daily intake of the recommended 30 grams of fiber, the intestinal bacteria of a healthy human will itself produce about 4 to 5 grams of propionic acid/propionate.
Food supplements are not a substitute for a balanced and diversified diet.