Probiotic Ghee: lower cholesterol, lose weight, enhance immunity, boost brain power, longevity, fertility, and more!

Hello, my name is Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum.  I have a very busy Ayurvedic practice in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, about 15 minutes from Philadelphia.

We are successfully treating every ailment that walks into our door, from MS to autism to food allergies, auto-immune diseases and more.

On the first visit I check the patient to see what is out of balance and write up a detailed protocol for them to follow over the course of the next several months.

On the second visit we sit and discuss dietary guidelines in very great detail.  As I have sat with so many thousands of patients through the years, I see that everyone is afraid to eat ghee (or clarified butter) because it contains cholesterol and they are trying to keep their cholesterol down.

So in this article I would like to educate the public on the importance of eating ghee in the diet and discuss the common misconceptions about the whole cholesterol issue.

In general, ghee is made from simmering butter, leaving behind the casein (the protein in the milk), whey and lactose (the sugar in the milk). Thus, people who are allergic to dairy can usually digest ghee since the most allergenic components, the casein and the lactose, are now missing.

But there actually are two ways to make ghee:  one way is simmering the butter for about a half hour, skimming off the foam that comes to the top until you can see through the melted butter and it starts to crackle.  This is then strained and kept in a glass container.

The second way, and this is the traditional recommended way, is where you take heavy cream and make yogurt out of it using a good yogurt starter culture.  You then churn this yogurt cream into butter and make ghee from that cultured butter.

We will talk about the benefits of ghee in both of these forms, however the friendly bacteria in the yogurt culture breaks the fat down into smaller particles so the second type of ghee can be more readily absorbed across the cell walls.  There are also some other benefits to this yogurt ghee which we will discuss later.

Ghee is considered to be one of the most health-promoting of all foods.

It pacifies all 3 doshas, strengthens the body, improves memory and mental functions, and promotes longevity and fertility.

The brain is made of cholesterol and the reproductive hormones which keep us young are both made of cholesterol, which is why the ancient doctors who wrote the textbooks on Ayurveda said that children who ate ghee would be highly intelligent and women would be very fertile if they ate ghee.

Also, the cholesterol residing in the various layers of the skin is converted into Vitamin D when the sun hits the skin.

Vitamin D prevents auto-immune diseases, like MS, prevents colds and flus, aids in the absorption of calcium from the intestines.  Thyroid hormones cannot work inside the cell unless there is adequate levels of Vitamin D there.  This is why many people I see have normal thyroid hormone production, but present with all thyroid symptoms, such as hair loss, arrhythmias, weight gain, poor circulation and fatigue.

Ghee has numerous medical applications:  it is useful applied topically on burns, it is helpful to the eyes, it is used in many herbal mixtures, such as Chyawan Prash since it serves as a vehicle that carries the nutrients across the lipid-permeable cell membranes and into our cells.  All the cell walls in our bodies are made of cholesterol.

It has one of the highest flash points (485 degrees fahrenheit) of any cooking oil, thus the creation of free radicals and oxidized molecules from high temperature cooking is prevented.

Butter got its name from butyric acid and ghee, which is concentrated butter, is the highest known food source of butyric acid (a short-chain fatty acid).

So let’s take a deeper look at butyric acid and see why it is so good for us:

Butyric acid is the primary fuel for cells of the colon, it feeds the friendly bacteria which helps to boost our immunity and blocks the growth of bad bacteria in the gut.

It is a monounsaturated fatty acid that reduces inflammatory conditions, not only in the gut,  such as found in Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, but also in the lining of the arteries, thus preventing damage to the artery and consequent plaque formation.  It not only reduces inflammation, but aids in repair of the mucous layer in the gut.

It reduces leakage of undigested food particles, otherwise known as leaky gut, which is epidemic in our modern society from pharmaceuticals, such as antibiotics, birth control pills, steroids and immunizations.  These medications damage the friendly bacteria, thus creating the leaky gut scenario.

Let’s take a further look now at the chemical makeup of fats and oils:

Fats fall into two categories:  saturated and unsaturated.  Up until now, modern medicine has taught us that saturated is bad and unsaturated is better for us.  Actually, this is not entirely true.

While it may be that some saturated fats are bad, such as the fat in red meat or hard cheeses, which are channel-clogging and can clog the arteries and other physical channels in the body, it does not mean that ALL saturated fats are bad.  In fact the opposite is true.  Some are extremely good for your health.

There are two types of saturated fats:  long-chain and short-chain fatty acids.  Short-chain fatty acids are easily digested, absorbed and then metabolized so they release energy.  Most of ghee’s saturated fats are short chain.

Long chain fatty acids are very difficult to digest and are thus not completely metabolized and can damage the lining of the arteries, cause cancer and auto-immune diseases and diabetes as they damage the liver.  Everything we swallow has to go through the liver, and these fats are extremely toxic to the liver and create a fatty liver.  In this case, the liver can no longer perform all of its many functions well.

Every oil contains a strand of carbon atoms.  These atoms like to attach to hydrogen.

In the case of ghee, there are only 4 carbon atoms, which is the shortest chain of all (many fats and oils have long chains of carbon, sometimes up to 18 or 25 carbons long.  The longer the carbon chain, the harder it is for the liver and gall bladder to digest).  In fact, the chain of carbons is so short in ghee that it gets absorbed as soon as it enters the body – it does not even have to be processed by the gall bladder!

If all the carbon chains are holding onto hydrogen, this is called saturated, meaning that each carbon in the chain is holding onto the maximum amount of hydrogens it can possibly hold onto.  This is the case of ghee.  Each of the 4 carbons is saturated with hydrogen.  This means that when you cook with it, it is highly stable and can’t take on more hydrogens, which is called hydrogenation.

Olive oil is monounsaturated.  This means that one of the carbons is not holding onto a hydrogen.  Thus, it creates just a little instability, meaning that it can take on a hydrogen if you cook with it.  Thus, in Mediterranean countries, olive oil is mainly used for finishing the dish – pouring the oil on at the end of the cooking process.  If you do want to cook with it, put a little water in with it during the cooking process and cook only on a light heat to prevent the hydrogenation process.

All the other vegetable oils, such as canola, sunflower, safflower, and corn oil are polyunsaturated.  These long carbon chains, which are hard for the liver to digest in the first place, have many carbons which have NOT attached to hydrogens, thus creating the potential for these oils to hydrogenate, or accept hydrogen onto the empty carbons.  Hydrogenated fats are extremely bad for us.  They create trans fats, are highly damaging, not only to the liver, but to the walls of the arteries.  They damage the lining of the artery, creating severe inflammation there, then calcium will deposit, creating plaque formation, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The generation of free radicals caused by the cooking of these oils can also cause cancer and other serious diseases.

I see many patients who were either raised in India or are still living in India.  When we sit down to discuss the diet, I ask them what they are eating:  they usually tell me they are vegetarian and are cooking their food at home – they make chapatis, dahls, vegetables and home-made yogurt.

This is a wonderful diet, yet India has the highest rate of diabetes of any country in the world.  And many of the Indians I see have suffered heart attacks and strokes or have clogged arteries.

When I ask them what type of fats and oils they are eating they always tell me they are eating vegetable oils and stay away from ghee because they know ghee has cholesterol in it.  Or, in many cases, the ghee that they are using has been made in ghee factories in India from hydrogenated vegetable oils and margarine.

So just this one mistake in their diet is wreaking havoc in their health.  I mention this because most Americans are eating vegetable oils high in polyunsaturates as well.

So now, modern medicine is saying that they have in fact, made a mistake, that saturated fat is good for you.  The only fat we know in America that is saturated is coconut oil – so now there is a big push for everyone to eat coconut oil.  This fat is too cold and heavy and hard to digest.  Unless you have a strong digestive fire you probably cannot digest this oil well.

Ghee is saturated and much easier to digest.

Another health benefit of ghee is that it contains conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA), an omega 6 fatty acid important to our health.  We get CLA from our diets, primarily in milk and butter in a vegetarian diet and in beef and lamb in a meat-eating diet.  However, we do not recommend eating beef, since it is too heavy to digest and channel-clogging.

So what does CLA do?  It prevents inflammation in the walls of the arteries and hardening of the arteries.  Don’t forget, the arteries get hard as the calcium deposits into the artery wall after the bad oils inflame it as they course through.

CLA increases the metabolic rate, enhances muscle growth and since muscle burns fat it contributes to weight loss.  This explains why many of the patients told me they lost weight after introducing ghee into their diet.

CLA lowers cholesterol and triglycerides.  This was another interesting thing I took note of through the years – that after introducing ghee into our patients’ diets, their cholesterol and triglycerides went down!

CLA lowers insulin resistance, therefore preventing diabetes.  Don’t forget, diabetes comes when the liver function is poor, usually from eating the bad fats.

CLA improves lean mass to body fat ratio and decreases fat deposition, especially on the abdomen and enhances muscle growth.  This is why body builders take CLA in supplement form.  However, synthetically made CLA is made by chemically altering safflower and sunflower oils, forming a CLA which is not found in nature and does not have the same health benefits as CLA from ghee.  CLA supplements can therefore cause a fatty liver and the resulting problems associated with that, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Now – cows have to be grass fed for optimal CLA production.  CLA from grass-fed cows contains 300-500% more CLA than grain fed cows.  Contemporary Americans are deficient in CLA due to changes that have occurred in feeding cattle grains rather than grass.

And listen very carefully to this:  ghee made from yogurt produces almost twice as much CLA as ghee made from melting butter and removing the water and dairy solids!

In closing, I would like to tell you about Dr. Weston Price.  He was a dentist, who, in the 1930’s decided to search the world to examine societies that were living to a very old age with excellent health.

His studies took him to isolated so-called primitive groups of people, living entirely on indigenous foods.  He traveled to remote Swiss villages, windswept islands off the coast of Scotland and idyllic South Sea islands.  He visited Eskimos in Alaska, traditional American Indians, African tribes and Australian Aborigines.

He found that these groups of people had excellent health due to eating their home made foods.  Once family members moved away to the cities and began eating processed foods, their health declined.  He wrote a book showing pictures of family members who lived off the land, versus their siblings who had moved away.  In the pictures you can see the poor health that resulted in those who began eating foods out of cans and boxes.

But one of the most important things he found was that many of these cultures were eating what he called, “butter oil” from grass-fed cows.  This so-called butter oil was made from removing the whey, curds and water from the original butter.

He had teams of researchers try to see what was in this life-promoting butter oil.  He wanted to know why it contributed to a long healthy life.

He could see that there were fat soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin A, which is good for vision, Vitamin E, which is good for arterial health.

But there was another fat, which he thought was Vitamin D that gave great health benefits.  He researched it, but found that the butter oil did contain Vitamin D, but there was another Vitamin in there and he did not know what it was.

He called this other vitamin, Factor X.  Years later, future researchers named this Factor X  “Vitamin K2.”

It turns out this Vitamin K2 plays an important factor in our health.

Vitamin K2 is made by the friendly bacteria that line the GI tract.  K2 goes straight to your blood vessel walls, bones and soft tissues.

Vitamin K2 helps move calcium into the proper areas in your body, such as your bones and teeth.  It also helps remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be, such as in your arteries and soft tissues.

Now, take note of this as it is extremely important to your health:  it is important to maintain the proper balance between calcium, Vitamin K2, Vitamin D and calcium.  Lack of balance between these nutrients is why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

As we always say, do not take the synthetically produced vitamins, such as Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, or calcium.  These are lacking the prana and thus the intelligence of nature.  When they come into the body they have an unintelligent undesirable effect.

Taking Vitamin D dumps too much fat into the liver, creating a fatty liver and sludge in the gall bladder.  It also creates a greater need for Vitamin K2.  Synthetically made calcium gets stuck in the channels thus clogging the arteries and depositing in the lining of the arteries.

So in closing, you can see that it is of utmost importance to obtain these (and other) nutrients the way nature intended – get your Vitamin D from sunlight, get your calcium from good milk from grass-fed cows.

And above all, don’t be afraid to eat ghee – it is nature’s gift to us – it keeps the liver healthy, helps the gut maintain the delicate balance of friendly bacteria, keeps the heart healthy and provides a natural source of all the 4 fat-soluble Vitamins – Vitamin A, D, E and K.

And, Ayurvedically speaking, it cools the flames of pitta, even as it sharpens agni, or metabolism, and lubricates the dryness of Vata.  And ghee made from yogurt is good if you are a kapha type, as it is lighter and easier to digest and doesn’t create excess weight gain.

So I hope this article takes away any lingering confusion about the importance of ghee in the diet and why we need to avoid the polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Thank you.

Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum

Cinnaminson, New Jersey



The sole purpose of this blog is to provide information about the alternative healing modalities of Shaka Vansiya Ayurveda (SVA) as practiced in Vaidya Mishra's ancestral family tradition. The information contained herein is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a licensed health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. Otherwise, for more information, you may call Vaidya Mishra's Prana Center toll free in the USA at 1.888.3CHANDI (888.324.2634). or 1.818.709.1005 globally, or email us at: You may also visit:, or


  1. Marie Amram says

    Thank you Dr. Teitelbaum for this great article on ghee and fat. It feels great having access to your and Vaidya’s extensive knowledge and experience: it supports our own growth as individuals and practitioners.
    It is so important that we have a clear understanding of what we are promoting: it gives more efficiency to the message we are sharing with our communities, especially since it often feels like swimming agains a heavy mainstream current!.

  2. vrushali raikundalia says

    Wonderful article! Thank you Vaidyaji and Dr Teitelbaum!

  3. Thank you for this amazing explanation. It’s a great explanation and resonates very well with what I know and love about ghee! You’re work and writing is much appreciated. Thank you.

  4. Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum, thank you for an excellent, important article for anyone interested in understanding food. “The intelligence of nature” is a wonderful way to put it. With all the information floating around the W.W.Web, knowledge like this can get lost, I hope not.

  5. Vivek Jain says

    Dear Mr. Teitelbaum, thank you for the great insight on ghee.
    My question:
    Whats i the difference in ghee made from Milk Yoghurt and Cream Yoghurt ?

  6. In Vaidya’s book ( ) (newsletter #10) Vaidya answers a question from a reader saying “because Mum’s ghee is made from raw milk that is turned into yogurt and then churned to obtain butter that is cooked into ghee, the quality of the end product is much livelier than usual ghee due to the early active presence of probiotics. Thus the final result, Mum’s Ghee is called Probiotic Ghee to indicate that it was made through that process and is better for your health than regular ghee made from regular butter. Probiotic ghee is lighter thus less channel clogging, it is livelier thus more Agneya (helps with metabolism on all levels), and is also more delicious tasting, as you may have experienced!.” – SVA Customer Service Team

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