Hack familial hypocholesterolemia in an evolution context

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 07, 2013 at 2:30 AM

So one argument that vegans bring up when saying (dietary) cholesterol is bad is that people who have familial hypocholesterolemia, a familial condition of low cholesterol have an average life span that is 7 to 9 years longer than an average person.

While I don't want to argue about this thing, it got me curious.

So familial hypocholesterolemia is a condition that promotes longevity. If such a condition is good, why isn't it more advantageous in an evolution context? It should have been more common and become a common trait, instead of a 'familial condition'.

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on March 07, 2013
at 03:17 AM

Evolution doesn't select for longevity, it selects for reproductive fitness. Familial hypocholesterolemia (and hypercholesterolemia for that matter) don't affect reproductive fitness.



on March 07, 2013
at 03:20 AM

My immediate guess would be that in our evolutionary environment infection was more of a pressing concern and lipoproteins are protective against infection. One of the main causes of familial hypocholesterolemia is hypobetalipoproteinemia where ApoB particles in the blood are very low, likely due to a gene mutation. Here's a paper on the direct role of ApoB particles on attenuating Staph infection in mice:


And a review paper on the protective role of lipoproteins (like LDL) on endotoxemia:


But thanks to better sanitation, antibiotics, and modern life in general microbes are less of a pressing concern than they were.

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on March 07, 2013
at 03:12 AM

They live longer not because cholesterol poisons us but because our modern world poisons our cholesterol. Simply avoid those things that oxidize your cholesterol like transfats, seed oils, and the oxidative stress brought on by smoking and breathing heavy pollution and you're most of the way there. Ensure that you are not deficient in antioxidants like vitamins C and E or the constitutents of glutathione. Additionally, most people now are deficient in menaquinones, so they are prone to arterial calcification, which is an important part of CHD etiology.



on March 08, 2013
at 02:38 PM

What is the test

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