Mutant Amish Superhearts.

Yes, maybe these simple farm folk *do* have better hearts than the rest of us. That’s what the BBC seems to be saying about new research that finds the Amish are genetically protected from heart disease:

They found a mutation in the APOC3 gene, which encodes a protein – apoC-III – that inhibits the breakdown of triglycerides.

As part of the study, participants drank a high-fat milkshake and were monitored for the next six hours.

Individuals with the mutation produced half the normal amount of apoC-III and had the lowest blood triglyceride levels – seemingly because they could break down more fat.

They also had relatively low levels of artery-hardening – a sign of cardiovascular disease.

Study leader Dr Toni Pollin, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said: “Our findings suggest that having a lifelong deficiency of apoC-III helps to protect people from developing cardiovascular disease.

“The discovery of this mutation may eventually help us to develop new therapies to lower triglycerides and prevent cardiovascular disease,” she added.

The researchers believe the mutation was first introduced into the Amish community in Lancaster County by a person who was born in the mid-1700s.

I’ve had Amish cooking, and suddenly things like shoofly pie make sense. Hale and hearty. These people are indeed hale and hearty.