Is grass the missing link to fighting inflammation with butter? In the last article, we showed that pasture raised, grass eating cows are producing far superior dairy byproduct than conventionally raised, grain fed cows. It’s clear that all aspects of the cow’s life have a direct impact on the quality of milk they create, but how does the higher quality equate to lowered inflammation in humans?
The buttery trifecta of course! Vitamin K2, omega 3 fatty acids and butyrate are all drastically increased in grass fed cows, and are known to lower inflammation in humans.
Grass fed butter is one of the few naturally occurring foods where Vitamin K2 can be found in high supply. There is a growing body of research supporting Vitamin K2 as a protective nutrient against chronic aging conditions and diseases, such as inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis. Aging is considered a chronic low-grade pro-inflammatory state, and Vitamin K suppresses production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thus lowering systemic inflammation. (1)
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to lower the chances of several inflammatory and autoimmune diseases in humans, ranging from Crohn's disease to migraines. However, grass fed butter is rich in ALA (alpha linoleic acid) which needs to be converted to EPA and DHA before being utilized by the human body. So the take home message here is to include grass fed butter as part of your omega 3 fatty acid intake, but be sure to supplement it with plenty of wild caught omega 3 rich fish like salmon, mackerel or sardines.
The last nutrient of the trifecta is a short chain fatty acid called butyrate (or butyric acid) which has been shown to fight against inflammation (3). Butyrate works as an inhibitor of inflammatory gene expression, and thus can be defined as a down regulator of inflammatory proteins. Butyrate can either be ingested or created as a byproduct of intestinal microbial fermentation of dietary fiber (4). So make sure that you are cooking your fiber rich vegetables in grass fed butter to double up your anti-inflammatory defenses.
What did we learn:
- Vitamin K2 is hard to find, use grass fed butter to get it
- Butter shouldn’t be your only source of Omega 3s, eat some fatty fish
- Butyrate can be consumed via grass fed butter or created by eating fiber, do both to lower inflammation