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Case Study

Functional Medicine Practitioner helps client address familial cholesterol risk

Essential Takeaways

Client “J.Q.” had high cholesterol despite maintaining a healthy weight and BMI.
The Functional Medicine Practitioner was able to identify a genetic variant at the root of this issue.
Practitioner made recommendations that address this variant. The client’s cholesterol levels are back to the normal range.

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The client went to a Functional Medicine Practitioner to address her high cholesterol. She has no obvious risk factors: maintains a healthy weight and BMI, eats a healthy diet, and doesn’t smoke or abuse alcohol. But a family history of high cholesterol suggests the issue may be genetic.

The Functional Medicine Practitioner uses the client’s lab results alongside DNA analysis to identify the genes at the root of her issue.

The client carries a rare HMGCR gene linked to high cholesterol. Identifying the problem gene made it easy for the practitioner to recommend an action plan to his client to address that gene, and in turn address her cholesterol issue right at the source. 


The client “J.Q.” seeks to manage her high cholesterol. Because of her family history of high cholesterol, she believes the issue is linked to her genetics.

J.Q. ordered a DNA test through 23andMe which warned her of an increased genetic risk for Familial Hypercholesterolemia. But unfortunately, it didn’t give her any actionable information. Now, she is seeking expert help.

J.Q. scheduled an appointment with a Functional Medicine Practitioner who partners with SelfDecode Pro. 

Important Background Information

J.Q. is a 40-year-old-woman with a healthy weight and BMI. She drinks a reasonable two to three glasses of wine per week and does not smoke. Her diet doesn’t show signs that indicate cholesterol risk.

However, the client’s mother has a history of high cholesterol among other heart health issues. 

J.Q. recently began taking cholesterol medication and has seen minimal improvement, but experienced unwanted side effects like digestive problems and muscle pain. This is one of the reasons she sought help from a Functional Medicine practitioner.

She doesn’t normally exercise but walks a lot – typical for the city she lives in. She doesn’t abide by any strict diet but maintains a healthy weight by eating three simple meals a day with very limited snacks. 

The Findings

The practitioner began by evaluating J.Q.’s cholesterol lab report. The client brought in her last three labs, which revealed her cholesterol levels had increased slightly from the normal range to the high end of the normal range and now approaching the critical range.

Among the top recommendations on her Lab report was for the Mediterranean Diet, which is linked to improving cholesterol. Since the practitioner already wanted to recommend a stricter diet, he added this recommendation to his client’s regimen.

After adding recommendations to improve her lab levels, the practitioner looked to the Cholesterol DNA Report. As he and the client both suspected, J.Q. had an above-average risk for high cholesterol – higher than 89 percent of the population.

Upon further investigation, the practitioner discovered an HMGCR gene that he suspected to be at the root of her cholesterol issues.

J.Q. carries an uncommon HMGCR gene variant linked to higher cholesterol levels (shared by 16% of the population). The variant increases the activity of an enzyme that makes cholesterol. SelfDecode recommended she supplement with black seed which helps by blocking his enzyme, and the practitioner added this to his client’s regimen. 

The Results

The client was able to correct her high cholesterol by following the Mediterranean diet and supplementing Black Seed. Her levels fell back to the normal range within the next few blood tests, but her practitioner continues to track any changes.  

Using lab and DNA analysis, the Functional Medicine Practitioner identified the root cause of her health issue. This made it much easier to create an action plan, which has worked to manage J.Q.’s high cholesterol.

If you’d like to see how you can use SelfDecode Pro to improve your own practice, book a free 30-minute demo call.

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