Due to the volatile and pungent nature of the substance, butyric acid products are normally used in the form of sodium salt. Butyric acid is a short-chain fatty acid, sometimes referred to as butanoic acid. It is found in small quantities in some foods (especially dairy products) and in the human body is produced in the large intestine by resident bacteria. Despite the bad smell, rancid and pungent, butyric acid is a precious ally of human health. It represents an important source of energy for colonocytes (the cells of the colon) and tends to improve immunity and general health of the intestine. Some research suggests that butyric acid and other short-chain fatty acids could reduce the risk of bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other conditions.

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