Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common liver diseases worldwide with universally accepted treatments still lacking. Oral supplementation of sodium butyrate (SoB) has been suggested to attenuate liver damage of various aetiologies. Our study aimed to further delineate mechanisms involved in the SoB-dependent hepatic protection using a mouse model of fructose-induced NAFLD and in in vitro models. C57BL/6J mice were either pair-fed a fructose-enriched liquid diet ±0·6 g/kg body weight per d SoB or standard chow for 6 weeks. Markers of liver damage, intestinal barrier function, glucose metabolism, toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4) and melatonin signalling were determined in mice. Differentiated human carcinoma colon-2 (Caco-2) and J774A.1 cells were used to determine molecular mechanisms involved in the effects of SoB. Despite having no effects on markers of intestinal barrier function and glucose metabolism or body weight gain, SoB supplementation significantly attenuated fructose-induced hepatic TAG accumulation and inflammation. The protective effects of SoB were associated with significantly lower expression of markers of the TLR-4-dependent signalling cascade, concentrations of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein and 4-hydroxynonenal protein adducts in liver. Treatment with SoB increased melatonin levels and expression of enzymes involved in melatonin synthesis in duodenal tissue and Caco-2 cells. Moreover, treatment with melatonin significantly attenuated lipopolysaccharide-induced expression of iNOS and nitrate levels in J774A.1 cells. Taken together, our results indicated that the protective effects of SoB on the development of fructose-induced NAFLD in mice are associated with an increased duodenal melatonin synthesis and attenuation of iNOS induction in liver.