6 Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter

6 Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter

Grass-fed Butter Cover

6 Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter

We have all been trained by modern society to believe that saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for the body. Studies have shown that both saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet actually help reduce inflammation and prevent heart disease. Grass-fed butter has incredible health benefits and should be used as a staple part of our diet.

Heart Disease was considered a very rare disease in the early 20th century. However, as food processing began to take off so did the occurrence of heart disease. By the 1950′s, it was considered a major health threat. Today, despite trillions of dollars of research and the best medical equipment available, the American Heart Association said in 2012 that Americans have a greater than 50% chance of developing heart disease during the course of their lives.


The Lipid Hypothesis:

Developed by Ancel Keys in the 1950′s, this theory states that there is a direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of coronary heart disease. With questionable evidence, Keys’ went about writing articles and promoting this hypothesis throughout the medical world.

Meanwhile, hundreds of subsequent studies testing this hypothesis have found differing conclusions. Despite the lack of evidence, this notion took off throughout the healthcare world and was fueled by the vegetable oil and food processing industries that sought to benefit from this finding.

1. Saturated Fat Has Extraordinary Benefits

Butter has been vilified due its high content of saturated fat and cholesterol. It contains roughly 63% saturated fat and 31 mg of cholesterol in a tbsp. While most in society are still trained to believe this is bad for the body the studies show the opposite.

Dietary saturated fat and cholesterol have been shown to improve hormone regulation and cell membrane function. They also have been shown too:

Raise HDL Levels – the good protective lipoprotein (1)

Change LDL Particles – From the dangerous small dense particles to the benign, large buoyant particles (2)

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2. Profound Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Controlling inflammation is the key to good health and disease prevention. Because fatty acids make up the outer layer of every cell in our body and they are the precursers to the formation of major sex hormones, they have a very critical role in cell signaling and controlling inflammation. A diet rich in omega 6 fats and low in omega 3 fats has been shown to promote inflammation and hormonal alterations. A diet with ideal omega 6:3 ratio (around 2:1 or 1:1) seems to be the best way to reduce cellular inflammation.

Grass-fed Butter contains the ideal ratio of omega 6: omega 3 fatty acids, which is especially important for optimizing cell membrane function and reducing inflammation. Grain-fed butter has a high omega 6:3 ratio which will promote inflammatory conditions in the body. Grass-fed butter also has significantly more anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants than grain-fed butter.


3. Grass-Fed Butter is Rich in Butyrate

Butyrate is a 4 carbon chain saturated fatty acid. It is called a small chain fatty acid (SCFA) and it has a profound benefit on energy production and digestive health. Butyrate is actually produced by intestinal bacteria when they metabolize cellulose and other prebiotic fibers. Butyrate is the major reason why fiber is so beneficial to our health.

Butyrate is the preferred fuel source for our large intestinal cells. This is especially important because it helps prevent and heal leaky gut syndrome. Intestinal permeability is considered by many the leading source of inflammation in the body. This is most likely the rationale by how butyrate helps reduce auto-immunity and prevent cancer cell development.(3)

Many scientists are suggesting that inflammatory bowel disorders may be caused or aggravated by a deficiency of butyrate. Butyrate also is a great energy source for our skeletal muscle and our heart and has anti-inflammatory effects on the entire body. (4)

While fiber is an indirect source of butyrate, grass-fed butter contains tons of immediate butyrate that is readily available for our body. The SCFA’s and medium chain fats that butter is so rich in are easy on our digestive tract as well and do not depend upon strong enzymes or bile production. This conserves energy and vital resources while getting all the nutritional benefits that butter has to offer.

4. Rev Up Your Metabolism & Fight Cancer

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a long-chain fatty acid that has significant health benefits. Meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals can produce 300-500% more CLA than those of cattle fed the usual diet of hay and grains.

Back in 1979, University of Wisconsin researchers found that beef extract had a significant anti-carcinogenic function. It wasn’t until 1987 that scientists discovered it was the CLA that provided these benefits. It was shown that CLA helps to upregulate the tumor suppressing gene PTPRG.

Michael Pariza is the famed scientist who discovered CLA. He says, “few anti-carcinogens, and certainly no other known fatty acids, are as effective as CLA in inhibiting carcinogenesis.” A diet with as little as 0.5% CLA has been shown to reduce tumor growth by over 50%.(5)

One of the powerful attributes of CLA is its ability to suppress inflammatory prostaglandins such as PGE2. Blocking this substance reduces inflammation in the joints, muscles, bones, organs and brain. This allows for stronger and healthier brain and body. Chicks and rats fed CLA rich butterfat had significantly greater bone growth than animals fed other fats.

CLA has a powerful effect on enhancing cellular insulin sensitivity & stabilizing blood sugar. In fact, researchers say it mimics the effect of synthetic diabetic drugs without any negative side effects.

Testing has shown that consuming CLA for longer than 8 weeks has significant effect on circulating insulin and blood glucose. Additionally, CLA speeds up metabolism and increases the process of fat breakdown. Many researchers have hypothesized that a lack of CLA in the modern diet is a significant factor in the obesity epidemic.


5.  Great Source of Retinol:

When cows eat grass they concentrate anti-oxidants into their dairy. The major anti-oxidant that is concentrated is fat-soluble form of vitamin A called retinol. Retinol is especially important for healthy neurological function, immune coordination and vision.

It is also considered a beauty nutrient as it improves the texture of your skin, prevents the formation of acne and eczema and improves the shine of your hair. Many individuals are deficient in retinol because they have chosen to restrict animal fats. Retinol is only found in high amounts in grass-fed dairy fat, organ meats and pasture-fed egg yolk.

Grass-fed butter is also a rich source of various beneficial vitamin E tocopherols and other carotenoid anti-oxidants. These all have a positive effect at reducing oxidative stress in the arterioles and reducing risk of heart disease.

6.  Grass-Fed Butter is Rich in Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is a very critical nutrient for regulating calcium metabolism in the body. When an individual has poor calcium metabolism it will lead to calcium deposits being distributed throughout the body. This means the individual will have a greater risk of developing gall stones, kidney stones, osteoarthritis, and calcium plaques in the endothelial lining of their heart. (6)

Poor calcium metabolism is also a risk factor in the development of various forms of cancer. Vitamin K2 induces a mechanism called “oncosis,” which is a form of stress-activated ischemic cell death in tumor cells that are particularly susceptible. Many studies and articles have been written demonstrating the anti-cancer effects of K2.

When animals graze on vitamin K1 rich grasses the bacteria in their digestive system convert the K1 into bioactive K2. So there is significantly more of this beneficial K2 in grass-fed butter than in grain-fed butter.

Vitamin K2 works with vitamin D3 to act like a vacuum cleaner to suck the excess calcium out of our blood stream and into the bones where it belongs. This promotes healthy circulation, strong bones and a healthier immune system. Grass-fed butter contains a rich amount of valuable vitamin K2 and D3.

What if I Can’t Do Dairy?

Many individuals with certain genetics, leaky gut and auto-immunity are unable to tolerate dairy. This is typically due to lactose intolerance and casein sensitivities. Lactose is the major form of sugar in the dairy while casein is the major protein.

Butter is concentrated fats and does not contain lactose and only minimal amounts of casein. If someone has very serious reactions or does not feel good when they use grass-fed butter it is typically related to the very small amount of casein. Ghee, which is clarified butter, is completely free of the casein and will be my first recommendation for someone with casein sensitivities.


Where Can I Get Grass-Fed Butter or Ghee:

With the downfall of the saturated fat and cholesterol myth, grass-fed butter has become a popular food for the reasons discussed in this article. You should be able to find it in your local health food store or at Whole Foods. You can also order it online from several retailers including US Wellness Meats.

Be sure to read the label and make sure it says “grass-fed cows or pasture-raised cows.” Organic Valley is 99% grass-fed and Kerry Gold cows consume fresh grass for 10 months out of the year and hay (dried grass) for the 2 coldest winter months. This is also somewhat seasonal as they don’t produce the butter during the winter time and so some retailers are only able to carry it during the prime seasons. Purity Farms has a great grass-fed ghee that I use regularly too.

So how do you like to use grass-fed butter or ghee? Leave a comment below!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Hayek T, Ito Y, Azrolan N, et al. Dietary fat increases high density lipoprotein (HDL) levels both by increasing the transport rates and decreasing the fractional catabolic rates of HDL cholesterol ester and apolipoprotein (Apo) A-I. Presentation of a new animal model and mechanistic studies in human Apo A-I transgenic and control mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1993;91(4):1665-1671.
2. Clifton PM, Noakes M, Nestel PJ. LDL particle size and LDL and HDL cholesterol changes with dietary fat and cholesterol in healthy subjects. J Lipid Res. 1998 Sep;39(9):1799-804. PMID: 9741692
3. Williams EA, Coxhead JM, Mathers JC. Anti-cancer effects of butyrate: use of micro-array technology to investigate mechanisms. Proc Nutr Soc. 2003 Feb;62(1):107-15. PMID: 12740065
4. Segain JP, Raingeard de la Blétière D, Bourreille A, Leray V, Gervois N, Rosales C, Ferrier L, Bonnet C, Blottière HM, Galmiche JP. Butyrate inhibits inflammatory responses through NFkappaB inhibition: implications for Crohn’s disease. Gut. 2000 Sep;47(3):397-403. PMID: 10940278
5. Women’s Health Matters – Nutrition & Breast Cancer Link Here
6. Life Extension Magazine – Protecting Bone and Arterial Health with Vitamin K2 Link Here

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30 Responses to 6 Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter

  1. Christine April 30, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    Thank you for this great information! I usually buy the Kerry Gold Irish butter (and their wonderful Dubliner cheese) at Costco. Trader Joe’s also carries the butter. The flavor is unmatched and absolutely delicious – exceeding organic butter by a country mile. It’s somewhat of a craving for me; my favorite consumption methods are straight off of a spoon or on a small crunchy rice cracker – just dip in and scoop up a chunk! It’s a daily treat. I knew it was good for me, and I appreciate knowing more of the specifics. I always recommend it to others, but now I can sound more adequately informed and less like a simple grass-fed butter addict!

    • jb January 25, 2015 at 9:39 am #

      Trader Joe’s has the best price on Kerry Gold. The unsalted variety is good for making your own Ghee.

      Wish there was a reasonable outlet for Organic Valley’s butter.

      • jb January 25, 2015 at 9:40 am #

        Don’t make the mistake of buying Kerrygold in the plastic tubs. Tastes like plastic.

      • James Sola March 18, 2017 at 8:21 am #

        Costco has much better pricing.

  2. Dr. Jockers April 30, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    That is fantastic! Keep enjoying your grass-fed butter Christine!

  3. Deon June 30, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Dr.Jockers what are your thoughts on Bulletproof Coffee?

    • Dr. Jockers June 30, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

      I think it is very good Deon!

    • jb January 25, 2015 at 9:37 am #

      What is Bulletproof coffee? Where do you buy it?

  4. jb January 25, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    Great article pointing out the health advantages of real butter. I bet raw butter has even higher values.
    The best reason to consume real butter is taste. Nothing compares to homemade, freshly baked bread & real butter.
    Real food is the way to go!

  5. william January 25, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

    Scientific research with humans proves ALL OIL is not heart healthy for your endothelium in veins.
    Oil is fat and it collects in the endothelium.
    I guess you have to show me your scientific evidence that oil is good for veins and does not collect in the endothelium.

  6. Dr Prakash May 6, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    Dear Dr Jockers
    Interesting article. Sometime we are not sure whether we are getting / eating Grass feed butter or grass feed or grain feed Ghee? Particularly I am writing in context of my country India where good quality of Ghee available in a plenty.
    So my question to you ” Is ghee made from cows who are grain feed is OK or not so good”?

    Your clarification would be much appreciated.
    Dr Prakash Chhajed

  7. Dr. Jockers May 7, 2015 at 5:56 am #

    Hey Dr Prakash,

    Grain fed butter/ghee will have significantly lower CLA, anti-oxidant and omega 3 content. It will still have a lot of butyrate so there is some health benefit. But it will also have a lot of inflammatory omega 6 and low omega 3 so it won’t be the best for you. Look for grass-fed.

    • Dr Prakash May 7, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

      Tremendous Thanks Dr David for important information. Could please manage to send any article or pertinent link in this context. I will be grateful to you.
      Dr Prakash

      • Robert November 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm #

        Robert Jordan
        Be aware that last year when Organic Valley bought Purity Farms they took grass fed off of the label and the ghee became very light yellow. It did not digest well for me. Bulletproof ghee, though more costly, is truly worth it.

        • Dr. Jockers November 8, 2017 at 9:59 am #

          The label I have seen still says “Pasture-raised” which typically implies grass-fed as well. Thrive market (online grocery store) also has a great ghee that is at a good value.

  8. stenelle May 7, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    I love a hunk of butter in my organic coffee What is that coffee above that some one mentioned

  9. Laurie January 31, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    I love to add it to bone broth! It gives it delicious body and extra yummy

    • Dr. Jockers January 31, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

      Absolutely!! I totally agree Laurie!

  10. Allan Cortzen May 23, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    Butter is POOR donor of Omega 3.
    Omega 3 of total weight: Butter contain 0,3 % and flax seeds 23 %

    • Dr. Jockers May 24, 2017 at 8:42 am #

      Hey Allan thanks for your input! I wouldn’t count it as a main source of Omega-3 but definitely a great source of additional omega-3 in the diet. Also, flax seeds contain ALA omega 3 while butter contains the long chain omega 3s DHA and EPA that are important for brain health!


  11. Judy Taylor June 28, 2017 at 3:40 am #

    Dr. Jockers , does grass feed butter like Kerry Gold
    Stop up blood veins. I am.also a diabetic and trying to lose weight by including healthy fats and so.far it is working pretty good

    • Dr. Jockers June 29, 2017 at 4:08 am #

      No Judy Grass fed butter is great for you as long as you are limiting your sugar intake and controlling your inflammation. Great to hear you are making good progress!

  12. Rita friel October 9, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    Question can you eat grass-fed butter if you have a cow dairy allergy? I have no problem with goat cheddar goat cheese goat mozzarella Buffalo mozzarella Etc. But when I eat Cow Dairy my throat closes up I get chest pains and I do not see the bathroom for at least 3 to 4 days, kind of the opposite of an intolerance. I was in Mexico a few months back and had no problem eating anything with cheese. Therefore I’m assuming the Cow Dairy Farmers other than antibiotics steroids and hormones are adding something else to extend the quantity of the milk they get just to make a buck. Is this grass-fed butter different than your average cow Dairy processing America please advise cuz I’m very interested in the coffee thank you for your input also I have no problems eating !/ghee clarified butter

    • Dr. Jockers October 9, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

      Hey Rita! Yes grass-fed butter is much better than conventional dairy. If you do better with Ghee then there is no problem just using that instead! You are likely responding to a certain protein in the milk that is not present in goat dairy or ghee called A1 Beta Casein. Ghee is processed to remove this protein, leaving behind only pure fat from the butter so this is probably a better option for you!

  13. Linda January 16, 2018 at 2:13 am #

    what about coconut oil?

    • Dr. Jockers January 16, 2018 at 11:28 am #

      Also a great choice Linda! Doesn’t contain the same nutrients as butter but is great for ketone formation!

  14. Kiara Woodsland January 30, 2018 at 1:35 am #

    I never knew that poor calcium metabolism can increase an individual’s risk of gallstones, kidney stones, osteoarthritis, and others. My husband and I always want to make sure that our food choices for our children always beneficial to their health. Since they love butter since they were little kids, it will make sense for us to be mindful of how the butter that they consume is made of. I will make sure to consider grass-fed butter for my children. Thanks for the tips!

  15. Kay February 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm #

    Hi Dr. Jockers- I just started a low histamine diet and today I got some grass fed butter which is delicious!!! I am wondering, though, because right now after eating dinner I have a bit of a stomachache, is it ok to eat this butter if grass makes me itch like crazy when I sit on it???

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