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Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Statement of Diet-Heart Proponents

“The inherited disorders, (that is familial hypercholesterolemia,)prove that high blood cholesterol by itself can induce coronary heart disease”. This is the first statement made by the proponents of coronary heart disease (CHD) to defend their cholesterol-saturated fat cause of heart disease, as presented by Uffe Ravnskov in his book The Cholesterol Myths. But is this statement true?

A little less than 1% of humans are afflicted with familial hypercholesterolemia. These people have an inherited disorder in the LDL (low density lipoprotein) receptor in the cell membrane. This means that the carrier of low density lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood (LDL) cannot release cholesterol to the cell which has this inherited disorder.

Cells continue to “cry” for cholesterol to meet a need that only cholesterol can fill. So the liver continues to make cholesterol and send it out in the LDL “submarines”.

It is known that atherosclerosis is more widespread and severe in hypercholesterolemia-afflicted individuals. But is it true atherosclerosis?

Cholesterol Processing in Individuals With Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Those who have inherited only one gene (heterozygous for the abnormal LDL receptor) may process cholesterol in different ways. Processing cholesterol in heterozygous individuals must be due to some authentic atherosclerosis, and some due to the inherited disorder.

How would one differentiate what is normal atherosclerosis in humans and what is because of the faulty LDL receptor? This is a valid question for the serious researcher.

Those who have inherited the faulty LDL receptor from both parents (homozygous for the disorder) have cholesterol in many organs, including blood vessels, and throughout their bodies, similar to the way rabbits, who are obligate vegetarians, react when fed an unnatural diet containing cholesterol.

Animal Feeding Experiments

The vascular findings in animals do not look like normal human atherosclerosis. And it is impossible to produce cardiovascular disease in animals by feeding experiments alone.

Animals fed unnatural diets that raise their blood cholesterol cause changes that disappear when the diet is terminated. It is not possible to produce a heart attack, or coronary heart disease, by raising blood cholesterol in animals by diet alone.

Contrary to what the cholesterol-saturated fat proponents claim, animal feeding experiments say nothing about atherosclerosis in humans.

Drug Studies in Genetic Diseases

In studies that included mostly people afflicted with familial hypercholesterolemia, large reductions in blood cholesterol were not followed by a reduction in their vascular obstructions. This may mean that vascular obstructions are independent of the cholesterol level.

There also is a difference in the way atherosclerosis develops in familial hypercholesterolemia individuals, and the way atherosclerosis develops in normal people.

Familial hypercholesterolemia does not prove cholesterol is a culprit in heart disease. It can also be used to draw faulty conclusions in experiments.

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