The Anti-inflammatory Effects of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Grass-fed Butter, and Grass-fed Ghee




Extra Virgin Coconut Oil:

  • Contains polyphenols that have been shown to decrease oxidative stress.1-4

  • Has been shown to lower pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNF-alpha and to increase the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10.5

  • Contains the medium-chain fatty acid lauric acid and has shown anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal activity.6-8

The cardiovascular effects of extra virgin coconut oil include:

  • Raising HDL cholesterol.9,10

  • Reducing LDL oxidation.11

  • Decreasing triglyceride levels.12

Grass-fed Butter:

  • Contains the short-chain fatty acid butyrate.13,14

  • Contains the fatty acid Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA.15

Cardiovascular effects of grass-fed butter:

  • A fatty acid in whole-fat dairy and butter is associated with lower triglycerides and a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.16

The benefits of butyrate include:

  • Has been shown to inhibit NF-kappa B in immune cells and decrease the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNF-alpha.17,18

  • Activates anti-inflammatory T regulatory cells and the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines including IL-10.19

  • Repairs and strengthens the intestinal cells of the gut lining.20

  • Supports mucus production on the surface of the gut lining leading to increased protection against harmful pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.21

  • Supports the production of tight junction proteins that hold intestinal cells of the gut lining tight together protecting against a leaky gut.22



The benefits of CLA include:

  • Shown to decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNF-alpha.23

  • Shown to increase the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10.24

Grass-fed Ghee:

  • Has been shown to lower levels of inflammatory chemicals.25

  • Contains antioxidants that combat free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.26

  • Contains the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, although in lower concentrations than in butter.27

  • Contains the fatty acid Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA.28



The cardiovascular effects of grass-fed ghee:

  • Ghee is a good source of oleic acid which is capable of protecting LDL particles from oxidation.29,30






1 Illam, S., Narayanankutty, A., & Raghavamenon, A. (2017). Polyphenols of Virgin Coconut Oil Prevent Pro-Oxidant Mediated Cell Death. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, (6), 442-450. DOI:10.1080/15376516.2017.1320458


2 Dosumu, O., Akinola, O., Akang, E. (2012). Alcohol-induced Testicular Oxidative Stress and Cholesterol Homeostasis in Rats - The Therapeutic Potential of Virgin Coconut Oil. Middle East Fertility Society Journal, 17(2), 122- 128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mefs.2011.12.005


3 Famurewa, A. C., Folawiyo, A. M., Enohnyaket, E. B., Azubuike-Osu, S. O., Abi, I., Obaje, S. G., & Famurewa, O. A. (2018). Beneficial Role of Virgin Coconut Oil Supplementation Against Acute Methotrexate Chemotherapy- Induced Oxidative Toxicity and Inflammation In Rats. Integrative Medicine Research, 7(3), 257–263. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2018.05.001


4 Fernando, W., Martins, I., Goozee, K.G., Brennan, C., Jayasena, V., Martins, R.N. (2015). The Role of Dietary Coconut for the Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease:Potential Mechanisms of Action. British Journal of Nutrition, 114(1), 1-14. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114515001452


5 Sadeghi, S., Wallace, F. A., & Calder, P. C. (1999). Dietary Lipids Modify The Cytokine Response to Bacterial Lipopolysaccharide in Mice. Immunology,

96(3), 404–410. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2567.1999.00701.x


6 Fernando, Martins, Goozee, Brennan, Jayasena, Martins, The Role of Dietary Coconut for the Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease:Potential Mechanisms of Action.


7 Peedikayil, F. C., Remy, V., John, S., Chandru, T. P., Sreenivasan, P., & Bijapur, G. A. (2016). Comparison of Antibacterial Efficacy of Coconut Oil and Chlorhexidine on Streptococcus mutans: An in vivo Study. Journal of

International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, 6(5), 447–452. doi:10.4103/2231-0762.192934

8 Khoramnia, A., Ebrahimpour, A., Ghanbari, R., Ajdari, Z., & Lai, O. M. (2013). Improvement Of Medium Chain Fatty Acid Content and Antimicrobial Activity of Coconut Oil Via Solid-State Fermentation Using A Malaysian

geotrichum candidum. Biomed Research International, 2013, 954542. doi:10.1155/2013/954542


9 Dosumu, Akinola, Akang, Alcohol-induced Testicular Oxidative Stress and Cholesterol Homeostasis in Rats - The Therapeutic Potential of Virgin Coconut Oil.


10 Fernando, Martins, Goozee, Brennan, Jayasena, Martins, The Role of Dietary Coconut for the Prevention and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease:Potential Mechanisms of Action.

11 Ibid.


12 Ibid.


13 Kwak, H., Ganesan, P., & Mijan, M. (2013). Butter, Ghee, and Cream Products.

Milk and Dairy Products in Human Nutrition, 390-411. DOI:10.1002/9781118534168.ch18


14 Bourassa, M. W., Alim, I., Bultman, S. J., & Ratan, R. R. (2016). Butyrate, Neuroepigenetics and the Gut Microbiome: Can a High Fiber Diet Improve Brain Health? Neuroscience Letters, 625, 56–63. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2016.02.009


15 Kwak, Ganesan, & Mijan, Butter, Ghee, and Cream Products.


16 de Oliveira Otto, M. C., Nettleton, J. A., Lemaitre, R. N., Steffen, L. M., Kromhout, D., Rich, S. S., … Mozaffarian, D. (2013). Biomarkers of Dairy Fatty Acids and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2(4), e000092. doi:10.1161/JAHA.113.000092


17 Segain, J. P., Raingeard de la Blétière, D., Bourreille, A., Leray, V., Gervois, N., Rosales, C., … Galmiche, J. P. (2000). Butyrate Inhibits Inflammatory Responses Through Nfkappab Inhibition: Implications For Crohn's Disease.

Gut, 47(3), 397–403. doi:10.1136/gut.47.3.397


18 Liu, H., Wang, J., He, T., Becker, S., Zhang, G., Li, D. & Ma, X. (2018). Butyrate: A Double-Edged Sword for Health? Advances in Nutrition, 9(1), 21–29. https://

doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx009


19 Ibid.


20 Ibid.


21 Ibid.


22 Ibid.


23 O'Shea, M., Bassaganya-Riera, J., Mohede, I. (2004). Immunomodulatory Properties of Conjugated Linoleic Acid. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,79(6), 1199S–1206S. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/79.6.1199S


24 Ibid.


25 Sharma, H., Zhang, X., & Dwivedi, C. (2010). The Effect of Ghee (Clarified Butter) on Serum Lipid Levels and Microsomal Lipid Peroxidation. Ayu,

31(2), 134–140. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.72361


26 Ibid.


27 Kwak, Ganesan, & Mijan, Butter, Ghee, and Cream Products.


28 Ibid.


29 Sharma, Zhang, & Dwivedi, The Effect of Ghee (Clarified Butter) on Serum Lipid Levels and Microsomal Lipid Peroxidation.


30 Mohammadifard, N., Hosseini, M., Sajjadi, F., Maghroun, M., Boshtam, M., & Nouri, F. (2013). Comparison of Effects Of Soft Margarine, Blended, Ghee, and Unhydrogenated Oil With Hydrogenated Oil on Serum Lipids: A Randomized Clinical Trial. ARYA Atherosclerosis, 9(6), 363–371.













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