Ghee lowers cholesterol

In my prior post, I related my experience with consuming ghee for a year. At the end of the year, my heart health improved in every way (including a lower level of "bad" plasma cholesterol).

I just ran across a study that confirms my experience. (UPDATE: this study also answers the question I raised in my prior post.) Here is the abstract and reference:

J Nutr Biochem. 2000 Feb;11(2):69-75. 
Hypocholesterolemic effect of anhydrous milk fat ghee is mediated by increasing the secretion of biliary lipids.

Kumar MV, Sambaiah K, Lokesh BR.

Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, Karnataka, India

The anhydrous milk fat ghee is one of the important sources of fat in the Indian diet. Our earlier studies showed that rats fed diets containing greater than 2.5 wt% of ghee had lower levels of serum cholesterol compared with rats fed diets containing groundnut oil. To evaluate the mechanism of the hypocholesterolemic effect of ghee, male Wistar rats were fed a diet containing 2.5 or 5.0 wt% ghee for a period of 8 weeks. The diets were made isocaloric with groundnut oil. Both native and ghee heated at 120 degrees C containing oxidized lipids were included in the diet. The ghee in the diet did not affect the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase activity in the liver microsomes, but it significantly increased biliary excretion of cholesterol, bile acids, uronic acid, and phospholipids. The rats fed ghee had lower levels of cholesterol esters in the serum as well as in the intestinal mucosa. Both native and oxidized ghee influenced cholesterol metabolism. These results indicate that supplementation of diets with ghee lipids would increase the excretion of bile constituents and lower serum cholesterol levels.

I don't have the full text of this article yet, but a careful reading of the abstract seems to indicate that there is some ghee without oxidized lipids and some ghee (heated at 120 degrees C) with oxidized lipids. That is one more step toward a good answer to my prior post.

UPDATE : I have the full text article now. The way they prepared the heated ghee was as follows:

Ghee (1 kg) was heated in an electric oven in a stainless steel mug at 120°C for 50 hours to a peroxide value of 25.0 6 1.0 mEq of oxygen/kg fat.

And here is a pretty good answer to my prior post from the full text of the above cited study:

The unheated ghee contained 0.16% cholesterol, of which 1.0% of total sterols were oxysterols ; the corresponding values in oxidized ghee were 0.051% and 17.2%, respectively.

This indicates to me that normal ghee is indeed relatively free of oxidized cholesterol. I'm sure my favorite ghee is even better than an average ghee. Furthermore, from the free radical point of view, ghee is a much safer cooking oil than any polyunsaturated oil. I also have the personal confirmation of improved heart health after ghee was added to my diet as I explained in my prior post. (For any skeptics reading this, I had no intention of showing that adding ghee to my diet would improve my heart health. I added the ghee for an entirely different reason - allergies. I was as surprised as anyone when all my parameters of cardiac health improved. I only became favorably impressed with ghee after all that happened and after I noticed how good I felt from a year of eating ghee.)


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Hello, Quite interesting. I


Quite interesting. I have had similar result with using quality ghee (Purity Farms) ordered from

I wonder what your opinion about Ghee vs. Raw Butter in terms of Price's "x-factor" theory.


@Chris: Congrats on getting

@Chris: Congrats on getting those good results. It's nice to hear your experiences.

I have been thinking a lot about ghee vs Price's centrifuged butter oil. I have not completed all my research on that subject. However, I have a preliminary opinion. Ghee is the more "sophisticated" of the two products in terms theory and knowledge. I suspect that means ghee will end up being found to be the better product after much research by the scientific community. Of course that research is not on the horizon, so it may be a long, long time before mainstream science even attempts to address this question. I'm working on answering it in more detail for my own satisfaction. I'll have more to say on this in the near future.

You may want to take a look at my Ghee Comparision table here on the blog in the July 2006 archives. The link is I will also have an updated version of this comparision with a lot more detail.

Saturated fats are not

Saturated fats are not necessarily bad for us. Cholesteral is, in fact, an essential molecule for our brain, nerves, and tissues.

To learn more of the truth about fats (good versus bad fats), I strongly recommend "Know Your Fats: the Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol" by Mary G. Enig, PhD.

Or you can read "Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill" by Udo Erasmus.

Though it is best to start

Though it is best to start from scratch to get the best ghee at home.

But for the ease and simplicity the next best option is to make it from the ready made butter.

It is hard to get butter out of the cows milk which is sold in the western countries. So try to get the best available Organic Butter to get the best outcome.

i used to fear about my

i used to fear about my mother who prepares food items with my douts are clarified.

Im from India. My father who

Im from India. My father who is a religious person always used to tell me that Ghee is good for health and had it cumpolasrily in the meal while i used to avoid it citing higher amounts of saturated fats. But reading you analysis i feel my father might be right. Pls do mail me any further information about the scientific evaluation of ghees health results to me as

Thanks a lot.

Why buying expensive Ghee

Why buying expensive Ghee instead of buying a pound of cheap organic butter and making Ghee at home in less than 15 minutes? How can something be better and more genuine than that?

@Danny: this is just my

@Danny: this is just my opinion, but I don't think an average person such as me can make the same quality of ghee at home that a trained Ayurvedic professional can make. For example, I seriously doubt there are many people that can make ghee as well as Ancient Organics or several of the other top quality ghees listed in my comparison table. A "Vedic organic" ghee has special qualities that one would miss unless one knows all the secrets. See for example.

I am investigating the effect

I am investigating the effect of ghee on the optic nerve for gluacoma patients. If anyone is interested in this topic, please see my blog at

Ghee is said to be beneficial for the brain and nerves.

i do'nt know sure

i do'nt know sure confused,wether to follow doctors advice and shun 'ghee' or follow the saying of wise old healthy people ascribing there good health to nothing but 'ghee'.see,i have had a "cabg op."in 2004,and following my doctors advice has cutdown drastically on fat am a eye-surgeon in india and most of my surgical pt's are old-i have yet to come across a healthy old from villages who is nt fond of ghee.infact they cn't imagine being fit without liberal intake of ghee.

Do you mean "coronary artery

Do you mean "coronary artery bypass grafting" operation?

It sounds to me like you have much of the answer already:

1. you are seeing that the healthy old people you meet consume ghee liberally.
2. as you see from this website (and others), the modern research is starting to support the health benefits of ghee.

That should encourage you to investigate further, and it sounds like you are doing so.

What you might want to do next is research the true success rate for heart patients who follow the standard advice, including drastically reduced fat intake. I think you'll find that it's a mixed situation.

In my own opinion, that "standard program" of treating/preventing heart disease falls far short of the newest approaches that incorporate meditation (stress reduction), yoga, a nutritent-dense vegetarian diet and herbal supplements.

Many of those programs come from western doctors. However, as you can tell, this approach parallels the basic approach of Ayurveda.

I think Ayurveda needs to be revitalized as a true science with things like high quality peer review journals, and some people are working toward this already. However, Ayurveda does have answers that modern medicine is still struggling to catch up with. One of those is an understanding of the subtle qualities of ghee.

Being that it sounds like you are from India, you may want to try to find a heart doctor who is trained in western medicine and who also has deep knowledge and experience with Ayurveda. Such a doctor could probably help you decide how much ghee to consume.

Don't forget - stress and other lifestyle factors are just as important for heart disease.

I can also recommend the HeartMath tools. You can find out more here:

Final note- watch out for vegetable ghee. Based on one old study of Indias in the London area, one can speculate that vegetable ghee (used by most Indian restaurants instead of cow ghee) is very unhealthy. (As much as I love Indian food, I have had to stop eating at Indian restaurants. Instead I cook my own food at home with real cow ghee now.

Here are the various ghee brands I have evaluated:

Pure ghee made from COW's

Pure ghee made from COW's milk when taken in appropriate quantity is like elixir ! it improves health, helps quick oxidation of bad elements in the body & promotes health & is good fo rthe brain too!

I don't know who is right and

I don't know who is right and who is wrong.But I know one thing from experience. My grand father used one small cup of ghee in his rice.
It was made traditionally by my mother or my aunt. He was so strong and was strong enough to weave a tight rope at the age of 85. He lived till he was 97.
So I think ghee has some good effects too.

pl do send me some more

pl do send me some more information on clarified butter I have high cholestrol
& cow milk is not available here how about
clarified butter made from cream or dairy
buffalo milk


For anyone who already has

For anyone who already has high cholesterol, I don't think I'd recommend ghee as the primary means of lowering it. My position is that, for people with normal cholesterol, ghee probably isn't going to raise it (and could even lower it). For people with high cholesterol, I would suggest considering a vegetarian diet (with whole natural foods and little or no junk food), increasing exercise, reducing stress and consulting with an alternative medicine physician. Garlic is worth serious consideration. Some clinical trials have shown that fresh garlic and garlic supplements may lower cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots, and remove plaque deposits already in the arteries. In one trial, when people with high blood pressure were given one clove of garlic a day for twelve weeks, their diastolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels were reduced.

The Ayurvedic product called guggul can also lower blood cholesterol levels. One study showed it reduced cholesterol by 14-27% and triglycerides by 22-30%. Another study suggested that the effects of shuddha guggulu has on the blood cholesterol levels is comparable to prescription medications but with less side effects.

Arjuna bark (Terminalia arjuna) is another Ayurvedic herb worth considering. Arjuna bark comes from a tropical woody tree indigenous to India. Arjuna is often used traditionally as a general heart tonic and to ameliorate or prevent chest pain. Over 1,200 years ago, Ayurvedic physicians recommended the use of different preparations of arjuna bark for different types of heart disease. The biological active constituents isolated from arjuna bark include triterpene glycosides (arjunine, arjunetin, arjunosides-I, II, III, IV), a flavone (arjunolone), and tannins.

BTW, one source claims that the bark of Arjuna tree has been found to be rich in Co-enzyme Q-10 which is cardio-protective. I have not yet confirmed this.

use chavanaprasam

use chavanaprasam

I just made the most amazing

I just made the most amazing ghee at home for the first time with cultured organic unsalted butter. It took 20 minutes and tastes like caramel-butter. Amazing. Much cheaper and healthier than buying the stuff off the shelf.

"This study revealed that the

"This study revealed that the consumption of ghee up to a 10% level in the diet altered blood lipid profiles in such a manner as not to elevate the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases." See more below

Effect of dietary ghee—the anhydrous milk fat, on blood and liver lipids in rats .

The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry , Volume 10 , Issue 2 , Pages 96 - 104


Dairy products are important sources of dietary fat in India. Anhydrous milk fat, viz., ghee, is consumed as such in the diet and also is used for frying the dishes. Ghee contains high levels of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol, which are considered risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. In the present study, ghee, at levels ranging from 0.25 to 10%, was included in a nutritionally balanced AIN-76 diet fed to Wistar rats for a period of 8 weeks. The serum lipid profiles of these animals showed a dose dependent decrease in total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins and very low density lipoproteins cholesterol, and triglyceride levels when ghee was present at levels greater than 2.5% in the diet. Liver cholesterol and triglycerides also were decreased in these animals. When ghee was included as a sole source of fat at a 10% level, polyunsaturated fatty acids in the serum and liver lipids were reduced significantly. Similar results were observed when ghee was subjected to a higher temperature (120°C) to generate cholesterol oxidation products and fed to the animals. Although cholesterol oxidation products were not accumulated in serum, significant amounts were accumulated in liver only when ghee was fed as a sole source of fat at a 10% level. This study revealed that the consumption of ghee up to a 10% level in the diet altered blood lipid profiles in such a manner as not to elevate the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: ghee; saturated fatty acids; cholesterol oxidation products (COPS); blood lipids; liver lipids; essential fatty acids

Hi, Just wanted to ask one


Just wanted to ask one question that I have been looking for quite some time.

Does Ghee contain the legendary X Factor that Dr Weston Price referred to. It seems that was a part of the beginning of this post but I could not find the answer.

Would be great if someone can answer that.

Thanks to all who made this

Thanks to all who made this task of cholesterol reduction by ghee. Like me many heart patients would know the reality about the diet containing ghee is not as damgerous as is beleived.

Jagjeet - my opinion is that

Jagjeet - my opinion is that ghee contains the legendary X-factor and more. The best ghee is from grass-fed cows. And it should be Vedic organic ghee.

See this post:

I have been told by a trusted

I have been told by a trusted friend , that if I take one tsp of ghee with breakfast every morning, I will start to loose fat.

Ofcourse the exercising and walking , eating small meals frequenty and with large protien and minimum 3 ltr of water has to be continued.

I would like to ask you if its correct to expect fat loss with ghee intake in moderate amount every day.

Thanks in advance plus for the wonderful content on ghee, which is an eye opener.

At first I was skeptical

At first I was skeptical about this claim, but it turns out that ghee is a good source of short- and medium chain fatty acids (triglycerides). (These are often called MCT's.)

Many controlled studies have shown that MCT's can aid weight loss (and excess calorie burning). However, the lab conditions that produced these results in most studies are difficult to replicate in real life. Therefore, consuming ghee (or other medium chain triglycerides) in a regular diet may or may not be beneficial to weight loss. The subject is controversial still. Additional studies are being conducted.

In the mean time, I think the overall evidence of health benefits from consuming a moderate amount of ghee are enough reason to recommend consuming one teaspoon per day, as you suggested. If you get weight loss, consider that an extra benefit.

Short- and medium chain triglycerides have been shown to stimulate the metabolism, improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and protect against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. They also protect the heart and arteries from heart disease, according to Dr. Bhate and others.