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.)