Butter oil vs Butter

by (337) Updated January 23, 2014 at 2:22 AM Created May 25, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Weston Price used butter oil as part of his diet recommendations, and I've seen a lot of people in the paleo community recommend it as well, so I recently bought a bottle from Green Pastures. The problem is that it's really expensive for the amount you get.

I would prefer to just use pastured butter (probably the Organic Valley brand unless I can find a local source). Does anyone know how much butter I would have to eat to provide similar levels of vitamins (especially K2) as a serving of butter oil? Is there some other reason why I would want to use butter oil instead of just eating a larger amount of pastured butter?

Total Views

Recent Activity

Last Activity
1557D AGO


Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

19 Replies

best answer

2593 · May 29, 2010 at 5:36 AM

Summarizing most of what's already been written into a single post:

1) There is conventional butter and pasture butter.

  • For the highest vitamin K2 content, the butter must be from cows fed grass in pasture. Silage and cut hay does not have the high K2 content that fresh, green feed butter has. Conventional butter from corn-fed cows is going to have very little K2 and an overall lipid profile likely higher in O6 and lower in O3 as well.

  • One can buy pasture butter specifically, or buy butter from a small, local source in season, or make it oneself from cream from a small, local dairy in season. Note, butter will keep well in a freezer.

2) There is butter, clarified butter/ghee, and "high vitamin butter oil".

  • Butter is fat precipitated from milk.

  • Further processing can yield clarified butter/ghee, which is butter that has been rendered to remove residual water and milk solids. Clarified butter is purely fat and fat soluble vitamins.

  • Still more processing can yield high vitamin butter oil (HVBO). HVBO was originally described by Weston Price, and today seems to be a product produced exclusively by Green Pastures. GP uses a patent pending process to produce their HVBO (yes, a patent medicine). The key differentiator between butter oil and clarified butter is separating (by centrifuge or decanting) the vitamin rich lipid layer from the rest of the butter "wax".

3) Obviously clarified butter can be made from any type of butter. Just as there are manufacturers that specifically sell pasture butter, there are manufacturers that sell pasture clarified butter. HVBO is inherently from pasture butter.

4) The last remaining issue is how concentrated is the GP HVBO? GP HVBO is rather expensive, $58 for a 1/2 lb jar. Depending on one's source, 8-12 lbs of unrefined butter could be purchased for the same sum of money. GP on their web site and in their patent application does not report the yield or concentration of butter oil from unrefined butter. Commenters on other threads at PaleoHacks and elsewhere on the internet have mentioned a 1:8 ratio of HVBO from butter. No one has cited a source however. GP may be treating this info as a trade secret.

5) As most Paleo folks are on a low carb, high fat diet anyway, for my money I'd simply eat pasture butter stockpiled from spring production or maybe try one of the pastured ghee products. However, for picky children, folks not on a high fat diet and those struggling with some chronic health conditions, eating 10 times the butter may be impractical.

I hope I've straightened it all out for folks. Feel free to comment if I've made a mistake or missed anything.

50 · May 26, 2010 at 7:55 AM

Ghee (butter oil) is easy to make. Slowly Heat up all the butter you want (in a pan, the oven works too) and skin off the water soluable goodies that float on the top. Eat this asap and store the ghee for cooking. Its great for frying because it doesn't burn as fast. More detailed recipes and refinements are to be found in almost any Indian cookbook.

4090 · May 25, 2010 at 8:37 PM

I heard that you get a yield of butter oil from butter in a ratio of 12:1, so 12 times as much.

But it is milk produced by cows fed exclusively on fast growing grass, so that ratio might go up in winter.

EDITED TO ADD: I have been using butter oil for a little while now and have noticed a big difference in my skin and teeth. I eat an awful lot of pastured butter too, I was born not an hour from where the Kerrygold cows are pastured! So I have been eating pastured butter all along and I have to say that butter oil is better. It is expensive but is the best way to get extra K2 if you don't eat much offal.

20 · December 13, 2011 at 7:43 AM

"If you buy USDA certified then you are sure about what you are buying"

The USDA represents the "free market" big food cartels. They are NOT regulators and don't protect consumers but only protect profit. Don't trust one thing they say or certify. Justs go with principled suppliers (as a general rule for anything you buy). Oscar Meyer hot dogs are "USDA certified". So there.

I'd stick with butter or ghee. This idea of a private, for profit centerfuge patent by Green Pasture puts me off. They are way over priced and have a monopoly on their products. But I do buy their FCLO.

I like the taste of butter and since when did traditional cultures use a "centerfuge"? We don't need a technilogical fix for everything do we?

10 · April 01, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Some have estimated that the concentration of vitamin K2 in butter oil is 8 times the concentration in butter, but no one really knows. If it is that high (which I doubt) then the daily dosage of butter oil recommended by Nigel of 3/4 teaspoon will contain 9 mcg of vitamin K2, or 9% of the suggested daily K2 intake of 100 mcg. An ounce of cheese will supply twice that much vitamin K2 (19 mcg), costs less and tastes better. So taking butter oil makes no sense to me.

77348 · May 25, 2010 at 9:24 PM

Weston A Price recommends "nutrient rich butters" for places where nutrition was lacking. I don't believe it's regarded as a staple, but fix for deficiencies.

I can agree with this - pastured butter (like Kerrygold) can give you some pretty good vitamins if you're lacking.

But I think it's silly to assume everyone is lacking in Vitamin A, D, and E, which is what you'd get from butter.

tl;dr: Butter is just fine. Butter oil is silly. But I don't think you need either.

880 · August 25, 2013 at 12:41 AM

Sarah Pope is the next step down from Sally Fallon. On her blog "the healthy home economist" she says that clarified butter/ghee is the same as the butter oil pills. I think your plan to eat plenty of grass fed butter is just fine! Just make sure its pastured.

0 · August 24, 2013 at 11:13 PM

The food with the highest amount of vitamin k2 is natto, but I hear it tastes pretty bad.

0 · May 12, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Jeremiah, thank you for your message. I read somewhere that the HVBO is made from ghee. Ghee first made via low heat process at max 150 degrees. i know this can easily be done in an oven or using a food warmer. I usually make ghee on the stovetop but now am considering this cooler temp. method if it would preserve more fat soluble vitamins. next, the same text said that the ghee is then centrifuged at a controlled temperature to separate HVBo from butter wax. I have no way of centrifuging anything except using the standatd food processor - but doubt that such primitive eguipment would do the trick. I am curious if you would be interested to try this ghee centrifuging method in your lab and let us all know what you find?

I have easy access to raw grass fed butter but this GP butter oil is way too expensive for me to order from EU. The shipping cost is almost the same as the product! So I wonder if there is hope for us here to save our teeth even without the HVBO...:-). I have a friend (from USA) who grew up on a vegetarian diet with whole grains and butter and veggies, fruit etc and had no cavities even in his thirties! His parents never let him eat SUGAR. So his teeth remained perfect.

Thank you all for helpful comments. Much love, L

0 · August 20, 2012 at 12:08 AM

What is this "butter wax" of which they keep referring to? I work in a lab with a refrigerated high-speed centrifuge and I personally tried centrifuging the floating fat layer of unpasteurized cow milk at 15,000g for 30 minutes and all I got was essentially two layers: water & solids (~30%) and pure butter oil(~70%), which looks just like clarified butter, no "wax" to speak of. Assuming there are no free fatty acids in the cream (all triglycerides), there won't be any significant separation of lipid layers because they are all miscible, and because butter is about 70% fat, there was no concentration of fat-soluble vitamins. Even if Green Pastures uses a winterization process, which systematically separates lower melting-point triglycerides (which I imagine could be considered a wax because it is solid) the concentration of fat soluble vitamins would be the same in all lipid components because they are equally soluble in all lipid components.

I imagine there still may be benefits from their butter oil because it is heated only at 150 degrees instead of 250 degrees typical of conventional ghee, but the concentration of fat-soluble vitamins won't be significantly different than any other clarified grass-fed butter (unless the quality of grass is different).

Thanks for reading.

20 · June 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Does anyone know anything about buying a centrifuge machine? If it's not very expensive, that could be a good way to make raw HVBO at home. Seems like the obvious solution, as both products on the market are pasteurized.

10 · April 02, 2012 at 11:23 PM


The article by Chris Masterjohn in the Spring 2007 issue of the Weston Price Journal includes a list of vitamin K2 content of common foods.


Hard cheeses have about 75 mcg/100 ml compared to 15 mcg/100 ml for butter

Jack C.

10 · April 01, 2012 at 8:11 PM

CORRECTION In my previous post (above) I erred by a factor of two. The recommendation by Nigel of 3/4 teaspoon of butter oil is 3.75 grams or 1/8 of one ounce. Assuming that the vitamin K2 is concentrated by a factor of 8, the recommended 3/4 teaspoon of butter oil will contain the same amount of vitamin K2 as one ounce of butter, or 4.5 mcg of vitamin K2 which is 4.5% of the recommended daily intake of 100 mcg per day.

The average daily intake vitamin K2 in the U.S.is about 25 mcg/day or 25% of the suggested intake of 100 mcg per day, so the dose of butter oil recommended by Nigel won't do much to overcome vitamin K2 deficiency.

The cost of organic pastured butter to my door is $10 per pound, or $0.625 per ounce. The cost of butter oil containing the same amount of vitamin K2 as an ounce of butter is about $1.00. The cost of an equivalent amount of vitamin K2 in organic raw milk cheese is about $.065 at $7.00 per pound for the cheese. Why take butter oil?

Many studies have shown that cheese consumption is associated with caries prevention. example pubmed 17167256

Cheese is the only food that can come close to providing needed vitamin K2.

1881 · October 27, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Natures Valley does carry a limited edition pastured organic butter. It's only available part of the year. It is pasteurized but fat in butter is not as negatively impacted by pasteurization heat than proteins are as in cheese.

0 · October 15, 2010 at 1:43 AM

Grass fed butter and Butter oil both are high in Vitamins. Butter oil is a purified oil form the Butter. There are different ways to purify. The objective is to make it a pure oil. Most of the time it is 99.0% oil weather you use centrifugation or other methods. The phospholipids that some call GUM is only 1% of total fat in butter oil. Phospholipids are essential for human health. The bottom line is find a butter oil that is certified organic and is made from milk of cows grazing on green grasses. If you buy USDA certified then you are sure about what you are buying. It is Vitamins A and D, and antioxidants that are high in Grass fed butter oil. K2 vitamin is is an advertisement. Vitamin K deficiency in humans is rare. For more information please read: link text

link text

0 · October 11, 2010 at 7:13 PM

What is high vitamin butter oil? Green grasses are rich in precursors of vitamin E. Cows grazing on GREEN Pastures consume grasses that are rich in precursors of Vitamins A and E. Vitamin A and E are a fat soluble vitamins and stays with fat portion of the milk. Using milk from cows grazing in lush GREEN pastures gives butter oil that is naturally rich in VITAMINS A and E, anti-oxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids and Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The CLA is a healthy fat. Why is Grass-fed Butter Oil of deep yellow color? Grass-fed Butter Oil is made from the milk of cows which are fed only grass. The green grasses are rich in precursors of Vitamins A . The yellow color is due to the high level of Beta-carotene (a precursor of Vitamin A) present in the Grass-Fed Butter Oil


966 · May 27, 2010 at 7:48 AM

Green Pastures did do nutritional testing on their butter oil and blogged about it. I can't find the link. Email the guy and ask.

77348 · May 25, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Sarah-Ann: One pound (16 oz) of butter will give you about 12 oz of butter Oil

Please check this website for difference between Butter and Butter Oil.

22 · August 23, 2010 at 12:14 PM

There is no need to buy butter oil if you already eat plenty of butter. That Butter Oil is ONE HUGE MLM SCAM perpetrated by the cheese slave blogger person!! She gets royalties for plugging that nonsense.

YOU HAVE BEEN FORWARNED. You might as well spend your money on cigs!

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account