New Study: Butter Protects Your Heart

Do you avoid “artery-clogging” butter because it’s pure saturated fat and a “recipe for a heart attack?”

Since the 1920s when margarine and vegetable oils started replacing butter, Americans have slashed their butter consumption from an average of 19 pounds per year to about 4 pounds. 

At the same time, heart disease – which was extremely rare before 1926 – has skyrocketed to the number one cause of death. Every year heart disease now kills more than 600,000 Americans and heart attacks strike about 935,000.

It seems pretty clear that butter isn’t causing this heart disease epidemic. We’re eating less butter and getting more heart disease.

Could more butter actually protect our hearts? It might sound crazy but that’s exactly what scientists are now suggesting.

Does Butter Protect Your Heart?


A study from the University of Cincinnati shows that splurging on high fat meals can actually protect your heart.1

For about two weeks, researchers fed one group of mice a diet that was 60% saturated fats.  Another group of mice received a regular, grain and vegetable diet. 

From everything you see in the news, you might expect the high fat mice to die first from a heart attack. But that’s not what happened.

In fact, when it came to a heart attack, the mice that ate the high saturated fat diet had 70% less damage to their hearts than those on the lower fat diet. They were protected against the heart attack and suffered less cardiac tissue damage.

The University of Cincinnati researchers had an inkling that might happen because prior research showed that animals on a longer term high fat diet improved their heart function.

But let’s not get carried away. You already know that not all fats are good for your heart.  Artificial trans fats are deadly. That’s why in Britain a survey taken by the Medical Research Council showed that men eating butter had half the risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to men eating margarine.2 

And you might have heard that olive oil and canola oil are heart healthy. But are oils better for us than butter? 

Not really. One Swedish study shows that, after a meal, butter raises the level of fat in your blood much less compared with olive oil, flaxseed oil or canola oil.3 Why?

The reason has to do with the quality of butter’s fat. Researchers say that 20% of the fat in butter consists of short and medium-length fatty acids that we burn up as energy more quickly than the long-chain fatty acids in vegetable oils. 

Because butter burns more quickly, it doesn’t hang around in your blood, become oxidized, and create free radicals. In other words, it doesn’t gunk up your cardiovascular system.

Butter’s Secret Ingredient that Keeps Your Arteries Clear


In fact, butter contains a unique compound that protects against the kind of hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart attacks. It’s called the Wulzen Factor. 

A University of Oregon professor and researcher, Rosalind Wulzen, fed guinea pigs a pasteurized skim milk diet and found that they developed stiffness in their wrists that spread throughout their bodies.

Eventually, their blood vessels calcified and they died.  But when the pigs were fed raw butterfat their symptoms reversed.4

What Wulzen discovered was a hormone-like substance in butterfat that has “anti-stiffness” properties. It works by making sure calcium gets into your bones rather than your joints, blood vessels or other tissues. In addition to preventing hardening of the arteries, the Wulzen Factor can help prevent arthritis, joint stiffness and cataracts. 

How to Get the Heart Health Benefits of Butter

The Wulzen Factor is sensitive to heat, and pasteurization destroys the benefits. You’ll want to look for raw butter and cream from grass-fed cows. That’s not always easy to find. 

Some states prohibit the sale of any kind of raw dairy and others prohibit just some forms of raw dairy like raw butter. What can you do? 

If you don’t have access to raw butter or cream, you can supplement with high vitamin butter oil. This is made by centrifuging raw butter from the milk of grass-fed cows. The process separates milk proteins from fats and produces a pure oil with concentrated amounts of vitamins A, D and K2, as well as the Wulzen Factor. 

High vitamin butter oil is available as a capsule or as a liquid and you can find it online.  Green Pasture is a reputable producer and you can find more information at

1 Lauren Lynn Haar, Jack Rubinstein, Michael Tranter, Min Jiang and W Keith Jones, Myocardial TRPV activation associated with high fat diet and cardioprotection, FASEB J. April 2010 24 (Meeting Abstract Supplement) 573.14

2 Nutr Week 22 Mar 1991; 21: 12: 2-3

3 Expertanswer. “Butter leads to lower blood fats than olive oil, study finds.” ScienceDaily, 10 Feb. 2010. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.

4 Lansbury, J., Smith, L. W., Wulzen, R., and Wagtendonk, W. J. van, Ann.Rheumatic Diseases, 9, 97-108 (1950)

© Copyright 2012 Discovery Health Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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