Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)

What is BHT?

BHT properties, benefits, remedies

How to take BHT

BHT for Herpes

BHT side-effects


What is BHT?

BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is widely used as a food preservative (E321) for fats. It preserves fats (stops them going rancid) because it is an antioxidant.

Since the 1970s it has been used to treat herpes because of its anti-viral properties. BHT seems to work by disrupting the lipid membrane of viruses. It can be used for protection from and treatment of other viruses (see below).

BHT may also be used as a preventative, when there is a risk of viral infection.

The US FDA has only approved BHT for use as a food preservative. It has banned its investigation for medical use. It is a non-patentable substance, so it is not possible to make large profits from its use. Pharmaceutical companies actively try to discredit its use and effectiveness.

BHT properties, benefits, remedy for

How to take BHT

BHT is available to purchase in capsules, as a powder, or in granular form. Many chemists / pharmacies stock it, also suppliers of food additives, and it is widely available on the internet.

BHT is produced by a number of micro-organisms. A study in 2017 (11) examined 14 fungal strains isolated from olives during their pre-processing storage. A wide range of volatile compounds were detected among them, and BHT was produced at levels ranging between 0.3 and 13.1%. It is possible that one factor causing olive oil's health benefits is the existence of BHT. BHT should be considered by the food industry as a natural antioxidant to substitute the synthetic ones used for ameliorating the stability of olive oil and other fatty food products.

BHT is usually taken orally, but it can also be taken topically (by dissolving BHT in oil and applying it to the skin) or as a suppository. The latter two methods may increase the amount that reaches the deep tissues of the body and works its antiviral effect.

Any oil will dissolve BHT. However, I emphasise throughout Grow Youthful that you should avoid using polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Coconut oil is a good choice because of its other health benefits, and because it is mostly saturated and so is stable. Warm the oil, but no warmer than is comfortable to keep your finger in it (40C / 100F). Add 10 or 15% BHT by weight, and stir until it dissolves.

Some people get better results by taking BHT on an empty stomach, usually before bed. Others prefer to take it with oil, either pre-dissolving it in fat, or taking it with fat-containing food.

To use it to treat a viral outbreak, start with a daily dose of 350mg, and keep at that dose for perhaps six weeks. If that does not achieve viral suppression, the dose can then be doubled to 700mg per day. An adult can safely take that dose continually. Higher doses should be limited to short-term use only, such as during an outbreak.

BHT for Herpes

Start with 250mg per day. If you have herpes sores when you begin taking BHT, they should disappear within a couple of days, if not, double the dosage to 500 mg. If there is still no improvement, double the dosage again to 1,000 mg. Most people respond to doses up to this level. At doses above 1,000 mg, medical monitoring of liver function is warranted.

Some people continue this dosage for two weeks after the herpes lesions have healed to ensure that the viral infection is completely cleared. They only start taking BHT again when any symptoms recur. Others prefer to take a maintenance dose on a continuous basis, so that viral replication is inhibited continuously. You will need to experiment to discover which approach works best for you.

BHT is taken daily by some people who don't have herpes, but have a partner who does. It provides some protection and reduces the chance of contracting herpes. Of course, you should abstain / use barriers during viral shedding.

When taking BHT the number of herpes viral outbreaks will gradually reduce, usually over a period of months, until eventually the outbreaks stop completely. BHT works at least as well as any of the anti-viral drugs, and it is much easier and safer to take.

BHT side-effects

In low doses BHT seems to have no side effects. High doses can cause hives, dizziness or disorientation in some people. These effects stop when the dose is reduced, and cause no permanent harm. If a consumption of 1 gram per day is never exceeded there should be no adverse affects.

BHT slows down the liver's ability to metabolise alcohol. Therefore anyone taking BHT should not drink alcohol. No alcoholic beverages or medications containing alcohol. Those suffering candida overgrowth should avoid sugars and get it under control, because the yeast produces alcohol. If you have a history of liver pathology (jaundice, hepatitis, cirrhosis, etc.) your should only use BHT under medical supervision and take regular liver function tests.

It is possible that BHT may also slow the liver's ability to metabolise fructose. I could not find any research to directly support this hypothesis, but as it is your liver that has to dispose of the fructose you consume (cells cannot use it directly) it makes sense. Fructose is toxic in excess of a small daily quantity, so I always recommend limiting your daily consumption of fructose. When you are taking BHT it seems a sensible precaution to further limit your fructose intake. This means avoiding fruit juices and dried fruit, limiting the quantity of fruit you eat (especially sweet fruits), and avoiding processed and restaurant food. Sugar is added to most foods today, especially HFCS, catering to the sugar addiction of the majority of people.

BHT is not carcinogenic, nor does it cause birth defects. (10)

BHT can also change the rate at which other drugs you may be taking are metabolised. Discuss possible adjustment of dosage with your pharmacist.

Some people experience brief lightheadedness within a half an hour after taking BHT on an empty stomach.

A very few people have an allergic reaction that manifest as a skin rash or dry, flaky skin. It is possible that this is caused by a reaction to low-grade industrial BHT that contains impurities. If these symptoms continue, stop taking BHT.


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9. Mann J.A., Fowkes S.W. Wipe Out Herpes with BHT. Manhattan Beach, Calif: MegaHealth Society; 1983.

10. Steven W. Fowkes. The BHT Book. Free ebook, 2010.

11. Ines Gharbi, Manel Issaoui, Sinda El Gharbi, Nour-Eddine Gazzeh, Meriem Tekeya, Beligh Mechri, Guido Flamini, Mohamed Hammami. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) emitted by fungi naturally occurring in olives during their pre-processing storage for improving olive oil stability. Volume 119, Issue 11, November 2017. 1600343 European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology.

12. Harman D. Free radical theory of aging: effect of free radical reaction inhibitors on the mortality rate of male LAF1 mice.J Gerontology. 1968;23:476-82.