Dr William Roberts – Causes of Heart Disease from an Expert

William Roberts is a leading cardiovascular pathologist. He is the current editor (at 2016) of the American Journal of Cardiology—a position he has held since 1982. He has published over 1,500 articles. Roberts served as the first head of the pathology service at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health from 1964 to 1993. He has been located at Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute and Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas since 1993. He is a genuine expert in heart disease.

Popular commentators disagree on the causes of heart disease—what they do have in common is that they know that it is not cholesterol in the blood or that it is related to saturated fats in the diet. Inflammation is often touted as an important factor, without specifying what causes the inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s result to injury. Infection may be involved but infection is not the same as inflammation. A sprained ankle results in inflammation.

Inflammation from heart disease is a result of cholesterol entering the arterial wall. Cholesterol becomes oxidised and at this point white blood cells (macrophages) recognize the oxidised cholesterol as a foreign entity and engulf the intruder, resulting in inflammation. High serum cholesterol always precedes the inflammatory process.

Dr Roberts wrote an editorial titled, We think we are one, we act as if we are one, but we are not one. He was referring to us thinking that we are “carnivores”. His conclusion is:

Although we think we are one and act as if we were one, human beings are not natural carnivores. When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us because their flesh was never intended for human beings. 1

Carnivores have claws to hunt prey, smaller stomach and intestines, synthesize vitamin C, lap water, have sharper teeth, and have stronger jaws. Try catching a buffalo or a mammoth with your bare hands and making a meal out of the carcass without tools.

Dr Roberts has also suggested cholesterol goals should be less than 150 mg/dL for total cholesterol and less than 60 mg/dL for LDL cholesterol. He also contends there is only one risk factor for heart disease—that is, It’s the cholesterol, stupid, 2 and that the HDL-cholesterol is largely irrelevant.

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  1. Roberts, W. C. (1991) We think we are one, we act as if we are one, but we are not one. American Journal of Cardiology. 66 (10), 896.
  2. Roberts, W. C. (2010) It’s the cholesterol, stupid! American Journal of Cardiology. 106 (9), 57.

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