Observations From the Heart

Saturated fat is not the major issue

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f6340 (Published 22 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6340

Re: Saturated fat is not the major issue

It is disappointing to see so many letters in the BMJ clinging to the outdated notion that saturated fat is bad and vegetable fat is good. I would therefore like to draw attention to two little known points about animal fat.

Firstly, vegetable oil induces fatty liver disease and saturated fat reverses it. This has been demonstrated by comparing rats fed on corn oil and rats fed on beef fat [1].

Secondly, the mistaken advice to avoid saturated fat from animals has made most people short of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K2. Vitamin K2 is distinct from vitamin K1 which is present in vegetables and is responsible for blood clotting. Vitamins A, D and K2 are needed together for normal calcium metabolism. Vitamins A and D are necessary for the production of the proteins osteocalcin and matrix gla protein (MGP). Osteocalcin attracts calcium into bones and teeth. MGP sweeps calcium out of soft tissues. To become active these proteins have to be switched on by vitamin K2 using gamma-carboxylation.

Vitamin K2 prevents osteoporosis and tooth decay through the action of osteocalcin. Fat soluble vitamins can be use to heal dental cavities. Vitamin K2 prevents coronary artery calcification and heart disease though the action of MGP. Lack of active MGP in the first trimester causes early calcification of the nasal septum and a hypoplastic maxilla which in turn causes crowded teeth and impacted wisdom teeth. Lack of vitamin K2 makes bones long and thin so increasing height through generations is due to poor nutrition not improving nutrition. Low levels of vitamin K2 result in calcification of elastin, the cause of double chins, piles and varicose veins. Another action of osteocalcin is to attach to Leydig cells and stimulate production of testosterone. This is why sperm counts are deteriorating.

Matters are made worse by the current fashion of treating people with high dose of vitamin D alone. This rapidly uses up meagre levels of vitamin K2. MGP remains inactive and coronary artery calcification results.

Francis Pottenger fed a vitamin K2 deficient diet to cats [2]. Due to an epigenetic effect successive generations became sicker and by the third generation they were so sick they could not reproduce. Humans will head the same way as Pottenger’s cats unless we realise that saturated fat and cholesterol are good for us [3].


1. Beef fat prevents alcoholic liver disease in the rat, Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1989 Feb;13(1):15-9
2. Pottenger’s Cats by Francis M Pottenger Jr MD
3. Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You by Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD
4. Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr Kate Rheaume-Bleue
5. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston Price

Competing interests: No competing interests

04 December 2013
William T Neville
General Practitioner
Abbey Road Surgery
63 Abbey Road, Waltham Cross, EN8 7LJ