Why the French don’t get heart disease despite eating a ton of butter and animal products

Why does the “French Paradox” exist?  Why can the French eat huge amounts of butter, full-fat dairy, and organ meat (all of which contain huge amounts of saturated fat) and yet not have high levels of heart disease in their population?

Besides the fact that saturated fat likely does not cause heart disease (at least, without reaching a simultaneous threshold in carb intake), a protective factor may exist in all of this fatty, animal goodness: Vitamin K2 (specifically, the MK-4, or menatetrenone variety).

It may be that Vitamin K2, found in copious amounts in certain types of butter, eggs, dairy, and meat (including organ meat like foie gras), works with Vitamins A and D to remove calcium from the bloodstream and therefore prevent calcium buildup in arterial plaques (which can lead to heart disease).  This may be why the French have (or had) such low rates of heart disease despite eating huge amounts of saturated fats from animal products.

According to this hypothesis, more Vitamin K2, in conjunction with Vitamins D and A, means less calcium in the blood, and less heart disease.

Dr. Stephan Guyenet, a PhD in Neurobiology, describes this potential link on his blog, Whole Health Source.  He’s crazy smart and crazy prolific so check out his site.

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