Is Butter Healthy?

Is butter a health food

Without going all Paula Dean on you, there are a lot of (health) reasons to like butter and to eat it often.

There has been some a lot of anti-butter propaganda in the past, and even a time when margarine and vegetable oils were considered healthier options (not so much).

1. Help Avoid Heart Disease

But doesn’t butter (and other saturated fats) cause heart disease? Again, not so much…

As this article explains:

Heart disease was rare in America at the turn of the century. Between 1920 and 1960, the incidence of heart disease rose precipitously to become America’s number one killer. During the same period butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in statistics to conclude that butter is not a cause. Actually butter contains many nutrients that protect us from heart disease. First among these is vitamin A which is needed for the health of the thyroid and adrenal glands, both of which play a role in maintaining the proper functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system. Abnormalities of the heart and larger blood vessels occur in babies born to vitamin A deficient mothers. Butter is America’s best and most easily absorbed source of vitamin A.

and

Butter is also a good dietary source cholesterol. What?? Cholesterol an anti-oxidant?? Yes indeed, cholesterol is a potent anti-oxidant that is flooded into the blood when we take in too many harmful free-radicals–usually from damaged and rancid fats in margarine and highly processed vegetable oils.3 A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.4″

2. Butter and Joints

Butter is the only source of a unique “anti-stiffness” factor that helps avoid or reduce problems like arthritis in the joints. This same nutrient helps prevent calcification in other parts of the body (hello arteries).

The catch? This special “anti-stiffness” factor is only found in raw, un-pasteurized butter. Eat much of that lately?

3. Butter and Tooth Health

Turns out teeth can heal.. (say what?)

Butter contains many important fat soluble vitamins that are necessary for many aspects of health, including oral health. It is necessary for the teeth to remineralize (from the inside out) and it contains a nutrient known as “Activator X” (now known as Vitamin K2) which Weston A. Price found was instrumental in oral health.

This post talks about how to boost oral health from the inside out and this post shows my daily routine for improving oral health.

4. Butter for Children

Most kids love butter, and I’ve seen many kids go so far as to take a bite out of a stick of butter. Turns out, they are on to something important as butter is a source of many nutrients that kids need for proper growth.

“Chief among them is vitamin A. Individuals who have been deprived of sufficient vitamin A during gestation tend to have narrow faces and skeletal structure, small palates and crowded teeth.16 Extreme vitamin A deprivation results in blindness, skeletal problems and other birth defects.17Individuals receiving optimal vitamin A from the time of conception have broad handsome faces, strong straight teeth, and excellent bone structure. Vitamin A also plays an important role in the development of the sex characteristics. Calves fed butter substitutes sicken and die before reaching maturity.18″

5. Butter for the Thyroid

Many people these days struggle with underlying thyroid problems and it turns out that the movement away from butter (along with some other factors) could be contributing to the problem.

The specialized medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil make it a superfood for the thyroid and when combined with butter, it creates a powerful support for the thyroid. Butter contains Vitamin A and a highly absorbable form of Iodine, both of which support healthy throid function.

6. Butter and Cancer

The Weston A. Price foundation covered this in depth:

“In the 1940’s research indicated that increased fat intake caused cancer.5 The abandonment of butter accelerated; margarine–formerly a poor man’s food– was accepted by the well-to-do. But there was a small problem with the way this research was presented to the public. The popular press neglected to stress that fact that the “saturated” fats used in these experiments were not naturally saturated fats but partially hydrogenated or hardened fats–the kind found mostly in margarine but not in butter. Researchers stated–they may have even believed it–that there was no difference between naturally saturated fats in butter and artificially hardened fats in margarine and shortening. So butter was tarred with the black brush of the fabricated fats, and in such a way that the villains got passed off as heroes.

Actually many of the saturated fats in butter have strong anti-cancer properties. Butter is rich in short and medium chain fatty acid chains that have strong anti-tumor effects.6 Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid which gives excellent protection against cancer.7

Vitamin A and the anti-oxidants in butter–vitamin E, selenium and cholesterol–protect against cancer as well as heart disease.”

7. Butter for CLA

This article summed it up perfectly:

“CLA is a newly discovered good fat called “conjugated linoleic acid” that may be a potent cancer fighter. In animal studies, very small amounts of CLA have blocked all three stages of cancer: 1) initiation, 2) promotion, and 3) metastasis. Most anti-cancer agents block only one of these stages. What’s more, CLA has slowed the growth of an unusually wide variety of tumors, including cancers of the skin, breast, prostate, and colon. (1) …

Few people realize that CLA is also found in nature, and this natural form does not have any known negative side effects. The most abundant source of natural CLA is the meat and dairy products of grassfed animals. Research conducted since 1999 shows that grazing animals have from 3-5 times more CLA than animals fattened on grain in a feedlot. Simply switching from grainfed to grassfed products can greatly increase your intake of CLA. (4)

Source Matters:

Pasteurized store bought butter is certainly a step up from any type of vegetable oil product, but grass-fed raw butter is the best choice when it is available. I get Kalona brand butter (from here) and use it in our cooking and even in my coffee.

Do you love butter? How do you eat it? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. I take CLO for vit D.

  2. I take a D3 supplement, plus I don’t use sunscreen walking around the city. I probably only get 10-15 minutes or so of sun on my mostly covered body. I am low on D (tested at 27), so I’m not worried about going over.

    I do need to get back into my FCLO habit.

  3. I take two of the butter oil/FCLO capsules daily, as well as 8000 IU of D3 (Carlson Solar Gems) daily.  The 8000 IU was on a doctor’s advice because my levels were low, but when I’ve tried to take less, the levels decrease.  I get some sun, but not so regularly this time of year because of the heat.

  4. I’ve increased the time I spend outside.  I’m still looking for a public pool so I can get more exposure.  No swimming in the chlorine, though.

  5. We spend lots of time outside.

  6. I take 2,000 IU of D3 a day, and I also am trying to increase my consumption of coconut oil.  Also, I try to get time in the sun without sunblock as often as I can for short periods (I’m in Oregon, the sun is scarce a lot of the year).

  7. I take  iu a day of D3 , walk 6-9 miles a week. I also tale 1500mg of Krill oil.

  8. I take a vitamin D cream in the winter, well a small amount is rubbed into skin and in the summer I am outside for at least 2 hours in the sun weather permitting. Working 9-5 every other weekday limits some time outside but we always go when my husband and I get off work. My little guy loves the beach!

  9. I take a supplement and do not wear sunscreen, but limit my exposure to about 15 minutes a day,.

  10. I take a daily supplement that contains 5000 IU. The biggest difference I’ve noticed since taking it is a brighter mood and affect. I’m so grateful to have this during the dreary gray winter months.

  11. I am taking vitamin D, but I need to up my dose and also have my levels checked.  Do you give your kids the liquid Fermented Cod Liver/Butter Oil?  Which flavor?  I have a 10month old that I want to get started on this supplement.

    I need to spend more time in the sun each day!

    • I give my kids the FCLO/Butter oil either unflavored or chocolate and sometimes mix it with a little honey or maple syrup to get it down. I do also sometimes bribe them with a dark chocolate chip to just drink it…

  12. We live in AZ, so it’s not like we lack sunshine. I am going to order some the fermented cod liver oil.

  13. I’ve been spending lots of time outside by the pool without sunscreen, and going to start taking a supplement. I’m loving how well I’m tanning!

  14. I spend time outside & take a supplement.

  15. I try to get it from the sun, but on days that the kids and I don’t get enough sun or during the Winter months we take a supplement.

  16. I work outside all day.  Coconut oil on my skin and in my mouth and fish oil everyday.  Despite 8-10 hours a day in the sun since April, no sunburns yet.

  17. Great post! I currently take cod liver oil but have not yet bought a high quality coconut oil. Hope to get some soon.

  18. Thank you for a great post! I recently started taking FCLO/butter oil caps and get out in the sun for few minutes through out the day. I have made my own body butter with coconut oil, Shea butter, almond and jojoba oils.

  19. i’ve been fortunate to have skin that really likes the sun. i tan really easily and only burn if i’m direct sun for wayyyy too long. i eat lots of veggies, healthy proteins and fats and i also take fermented cod liver oil/royal butter blend. i also avoid eating starchy foods as much as i can. oh! and i’m also signed up for your email!

  20. I take a supplement.

  21. I do take a D supplement & am beginning to plant a garden, so more sun exposure is on the way!

  22. I spend time outside when I get home from work….in the garden or on a good walk!

  23. D3 supplements and daily beach time in the summer. 🙂

  24. I take Vit. D3, but I would love to FCLO.  It is always paired with Butter?  I cannot have Dairy?  any advice??

    • There is a plan FCLO with no butter and you could just take at around the same time with coconut oil to get the boost of good fats with the fat soluble vitamins. It is actually cheaper too…

      • Thank you so much!  This is on Amazon?  I can give this to my children, too, correct?  Preschool/kindergarten age..

        • I give it to all of mine, even nursing babies starting at 4 months..

  25. I spend time outside every day

  26. Plain ‘Ol sunshine. I take coconut oil and also apply liberally, and usually do not burn despite Irish heritage. I am dying go try the FCLO but unfortunately is too expensive right now for me.

  27. I take a vitamin D3 supplement, and try to get outside for at least 15 minutes a day, in the early morning or evening, sans sunscreen.

  28. I’ve been slowing exposing myself and the kids to sunlight without sunscreen. We also take a daily vitamin d supplement. I think we need to try fermented cod liver oil!

  29. I supplement and get time outside in the sun daily.

  30. I get plenty from the sun! I’m in a place where we say “The sun always shines!” … Which at the moment is a bad thing because we have fire restriction warnings everywhere due to no rain lol.

  31. I live in Alaska, and I have a friend who says it’s nearly impossible to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure here, but I still try to garden and do yoga in the nude whenever we do get sunshine.  I supplement with 2000 I.U.s every morning too….as sunshine can at times be less than a weekly occurrence.

  32. I take vitamin d gelcaps and try to sit in the sun a little each day.

  33. I spend about 4 hours a day outside, as a minimum. I don’t use any sunscreen. I love the sun!

  34. I take supplements. Go for a short period of time without sunscreen on the arms. Face has to have always sunscreen though

  35. We try to spend a lot of time outdoors, but I really want to get my family on fermented cod liver oil & butter blend.  I’m trying to figure out how to fit it in our budget (we have 9 children, so it would add up quickly!)

  36. Just this month I started supplementing with coconut oil, but I’m ordering my CLO RIGHT NOW! 😀 Thanks for the great info!

  37. Never had my D levels tested, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. I live in TX with pretty much year-round sun, so I think I get a lot of natural vitamin D production.

    I’m about to order some fermented CLO as I’ve been interested in trying that for months.

    Also wanted to note that I don’t get sunburned as easily as I did prior to eating paleo. And when I do happen to get burned, it goes away much faster than it used to.

  38. I live pretty far north, in an infamously cloudy/rainy area… so I definitely need to supplement. I take FCLO, as well as liquid vitamin D. Tested previously as fairly deficient, and was prescribed 10k IU per day! Shooting for 5k daily now — but I’m also pregnant so gotta get extra. 🙂

  39. I take FCLO and get plenty of sunshine every afternoon I can!

  40. I take Carlson vitamin d drops

  41. I take 5000 IU vitamin D3 daily as well as the FCLO/Butter oil blend, use lots of coconut oil internally and externally, and don’t wear sunscreen unless I’ll be out for hours. I’m signed up for your newsletter, a fan on facebook, and will share on my facebook page.

  42. Which of those supplements do you give to your kids my twins are 7 years old. I try to give them lots of veggies but they are more fruit eaters.

    • Fermented Cod Liver Oil and probiotics are the main two I try to get in everyday…

      • Thank you I will try to start them on those 2.

  43. I try to get out in the sun, but I’m sure I’m deficient so I’ve been looking into taking a supplement.

  44. I eat FCLO/butter oil every day, and take D3 supplements… also make sure to spend some time out in the sun as often as possible (though unfortunately we’ve had a very cold rainy summer so far!). So far, no burns, just a lovely golden colour 🙂

  45. I am already signed up for the newsletter and receive your feeds in my FB timeline as well.

    On most sunny days I lay out on my terrace balcony in bra and panty so that I can maximize my sun exposure.  I do 15-20 minutes per side.  I am a fair-skinned red head and find that this works great without burning me.  I had a nice little tan last year and hope to get the same this year.  I live in Germany and the weather can go back and forth between cloudy and sunny.  So if I see the chance to get a bit of sun I jump on it!

    •  Forgot to add that I add coconut oil to my coffee in the morning, do my best to eat clean and I use coconut oil as my main moisturizer.

  46. We have rarely used sunscreen because we have some Asian in us; so we are lucky to mostly tan with only the occasional burn.  Through the years, I have felt guilty for not slathering on the sunscreen on my kids and myself; so it is nice to have confirmation that we were doing the right thing by avoiding the sunscreen and enjoying the sunshine 🙂

  47. I’ve been taking Astaxanthin and it has been quite miraculous, I honestly notice a difference in my fine lines (I had very few to begin with though), my freckles completely disappeared and my face was COVERED in freckles! I know this is diet related too but I HIGHLY recommend Astaxanthin for any skin issues or hyper-pigmentation. I have a c-section scar that is brown from hyer-pigmentation and it has faded in one year of Astaxanthin more then in the whole 9 years. 

  48. We spend alot of time outside working in our garden or fishing on our boat.

  49. I get a lot of sun exposure and I am about to order the cod oil.

  50. In the summer, I get it naturally.  In the winter, I take 4,000 IU’s.

  51. This year I have decided to take time for myself and sunbathe to increase my vit D and just have some time away for myself. (I have 3 children)  I was amazed at the difference in my tan.  I actually have one.  Earlier in the year we made the switch to organic produce, cooking with coconut oil, grass-fed beef and no processed foods.  I recently went to the pool with my children expecting to be there for maybe 1 hour and we ended up being there for 2.5.  I did not burn at all and was in the water most of the time.  I am also Irish with some Scottish so very fair skinned!    

  52. I take a supplement (5000 iu). I work a 9-5  indoors desk job and try to get outside, but some days I just can’t. :-/

  53. I have also noticed since going grain-free that I no longer burn, but tan!  I take Vitamin D pills and spend time outside 🙂

  54. We get it from the sun!

  55. Right now I have no sun routine besides the stand by of toxic sunscreen. I’m very fair skinned and didn’t realize that I had another option. I’m very excited to work on a natural solution!

  56. We have always used sunscreen sporadically and my boys have never burned.

  57. I’ve been working hard to get out in the sun every day – a little bit difficult with the weather we’ve been having in the pacific nw lately. I haven’t used sunscreen all summer, and I take vitamin D (5000 IU) when I don’t get sun, if I can remember to. I also take fermented cod liver oil, again when I remember it.

  58. I live in Scotland, where there isn’t much sun. I take a 5000IU supplement of Vitamin D daily. I also try to take a walk outside at lunchtime to take advantage of what sun there is. I roll my shirtsleeves right up to my shoulders.

  59. I am on your e-mail list.

    Right now we get vit D from the sun mostly. I don’t think we get enough though and I thinking about starting the Fermented Cod Liver Oil for a lot of different reasons. Just working up to it as I am worried about the taste/aftertaste.

  60. I had my Vitamin D levels recently tested for the first time. I take Vitamine D supplements, astaxanthin, eat a paleo diet with lots of coconut oil. I’m also going to get the fermented cod liver oil, Thanks!

  61. I work in the office for 9 hours, but I get outside for 15-20 minutes during my lunch break every day. Not only does it help with the vitamin D, it’s also therapudic just to get outside!

  62. I let the sun get on my arms during my midday walk (with no sunscreen on), take fermented cod liver/high vitamin butter oil, and almost always cook with coconut oil. I got my level tested a few months ago and I was low, hence the removal of sunscreen. It would be good to retest to see where I am now.

  63. Have changed my diet to include more real foods and healthy fats and have been spending more time outside.  Thanks!

  64. I probably get enough Vitamin D during the spring- fall months because I am outside with my kids or in my garden ALOT.  However, I think I will start taking vitamin D this winter and see if I can tell a difference.  I am also considering starting the Fermented Cod Liver Oil soon, just hedging bec of the cost involved- yikes! 

  65. I take fermented CLO especially in the winter months and try to get outside in the sun. It has been so hot lately that that has been harder to do but I’m trying!

  66. I take FCLO and spend plenty of time outside in the hot, Texas sun.  🙂

  67. I take 4000 IUs of liquid D3 daily. I also spend a little time outside gardening but not daily. It’s been so hot this summer, and I have a new baby at home so haven’t gotten as much sun as usual. As for your post, I agree with much of it. However, couldn’t the breakdown of our ozone layer (due to global warming) contribute to the increase in melanoma. The intensity of sun that we’re exposed to now is more significant than 50 years ago.

  68. I take a supplements which includes vitamin D and I also spend a lot of time outdoors

  69. I use CLO and try to play with my dog for at least 15 minutes a day when possible. 

  70. I am taking my kids to the pool tomorrow to soak up some sun! From them on, I plan to be outside every day! In the winter months, I take fish oil fortified with vit. d. 

  71. I’ve definitely noticed a change in sun tolerance since I went primal. Not even a sniff of a sunburn this year despite much gardening and fishing. And all the dark spots from previous years’ of damage are fading away.

  72. I try to walk outside most days and don’t wear sunscreen, just a hat. I get a good amount of sun exposure on my arms and legs.

  73. We live in sunny San Diego so we’re outside every day getting our vitamin D. I also take a supplement to increase my levels and just ordered some FCLO to try!

  74. I don’t get much sun during the week, but I spend every weekend on the lake!

  75. I get my vit D from the sun and from a calcium + D supplement.

  76. I was told by my neurologist that I am deficient in vitamin D, and he recommended that I take 4,000 IUs daily, empirically, as it is something that many with autoimmune diseases like MS lack.  I do this, but I also spend a good deal of time in the sun lately, as I’ve begun to have less heat sensitivity than I have had in previous years.

    I also love fish, and make it a regular part of my nutritional profile, and it’s so yummy, too!

  77. Sun and Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil Blend!

  78. I take 5000 IUs of Vitamin D3 every day that I don’t get out in the sun. If i am taking my kids to the pool after work, I skip the Vit D supplement (and the sunscreen) and get some wonderful late-day sun exposure. Since starting this regimen, I have managed to avoid sunburn entirely, even after 3 straight days in beating sun on a lake! The regular coconut oil intake in my diet surely helps too. 🙂

  79. I started a 5,ooo IU daily dose of vitamin D3 almost five years ago. I tested incredibly low with my vitamin d levels and I haven’t been without it in my supplements. The one thing I noticed after I upped my vitamin D3 was it completely cleared up my skin. 

  80. I live in Hawaii so plenty of vitamin D here.  I also swim 2-3 times a week.

  81. I love being outdoors. One way is to keep up with my garden – weeding and harvesting seems like just the right amount of time daily.

  82. I eat healthy, take a vitamin d supplement, and spend a little time out by the pool each day. 🙂

  83. I get my Vitamin D from the sun!! Would love to try eating more coconut oil too.

  84. I take 4000 IU of D3 per my doctor’s advice and I spend shorter but more frequent amounts of time in the sun (without sunscreen) in order to get the benefit of the sun without prolonged exposure to the damaging rays.

  85. I have stopped using sunscreen (this is my first summer and so far so good). I take FCLO off and on as I work on building up my stash of supplements I budget for this when I can. I had my levels checked at my last annual w/my midwife and she said they were within normal range but I thought she said my levels were around 34. Is higher better?

  86. I get my Vitamin D by taking walks around the neighborhood with my girls and working in the garden.

  87. I spend as much time outside as possible, although with the recent heat waves and a 6-month old baby it’s been difficult! I also take Nature’s Sunshine Vitamin D3 tablets, one 4,000 IU per day.

  88. I
    spend as much time outside as possible, although with the recent heat
    waves and a 6-month old baby it’s been difficult! I also take Nature’s
    Sunshine Vitamin D3 tablets, one 4,000 IU per day.

     

  89. Supplement with Vitamin D3 and spend time daily outside sans sunscreen.

  90. I take a twenty to thirty minute walk every afternoon, but I am planning on adding FCLO once school starts and I am getting paychecks regularly again 🙂

  91. I plan to start getting a little of unprotected sun exposure each day. 🙂

  92. I was feeling extremely down in March and had my 25(OH)D levels tested and they were 15! I was vegan for 10 years and about 11 months post partum and nursing on demand. I took my vegan multi-vitamin and 2000 IU vegan D2 and whatever was fortified added to that number… my body wasn’t synthesizing the D2 well at all. So I’ve since transitioned to vegetarianism and have noticed an improvement. Were taking a D3 supplement and have noticed a huge difference!

  93. Your source, tropical traditions cannot sell raw butter (thanks to the government). Your post indicated that if it’s pasteurized, it doesn’t have all those benefits. For the sake of those who don’t have access to raw dairy, can you clarify the difference between grass-fed (pasteurized) butter and regular old butter? I can buy grass-fed cultured butter at HEB here in Houston, is it even worth it since it’s made from pasteurized milk?

    • I would also like to know that!!!

  94. Were you paid by the dairy industry to write this article or something? I can’t believe that the words “healthy” and “butter” can actually be in the same sentence. You might as well write an article that talks about the “health” benefits of smoking. Oh wait. People actually used to believe that smoking was healthy because the tobacco industry had used medical doctors to promote smoking as healthy for decades and people smoked like there was no tomorrow only to die of cancer just like people are eating dairy today like there is no tomorrow only to die of breast, prostate cancer and so many other diet-related and preventable diseases.

    I recommend that you visit these links by medical doctors who do NOT get paid by the dairy industry in order to get an idea of the truth the dairy industry tries so hard to keep hidden and successes to do so because they have millions of dollars:

    youtube.com/watch?v=Rm9Cu_cVFfg

    nutritionfacts.org/topics/dairy/

    youtube.com/watch?v=FjTXnmea5Pc

    youtube.com/watch?v=8m6VErjH5VY

    I also recommend that you read the book “The China Study” (written by Dr. Campbell who grew up on a dairy farm) and watch the documentary “Forks Over Knives” where medical doctors expose the dangers of animal products to our health.

    Plus, you shouldn’t be consuming dairy for ethical reasons anyway.

  95. Hi everyone, I finally found grass fed butter in my city.. but it’s $11 for 1/2 lb ! I bought some anyway, and tried Katie’s gingerbread Latte recipe (amazing), but I just can’t spend that type of money on butter when I use it so often. I live in Canada (Edmonton). Does anyone have any advice on where I can find some that might be a few dollars cheaper, or anywhere online that would ship here? Thanks!

  96. I’m not sure how else to connect with you other than to comment here – hopefully you get the message as I know you are have many followers! I am looking for research on the Weston A. Price diet. Obviously, he did his own research while traveling and that is what the diet is based on. But I wondered if you could point me in the direction of studies that support his view, specifically ones that would show better outcomes for those who eat meat products from healthy animals versus industrialized meat. Thanks so much for your time!