Low Cholesterol, Depression Linked in Young Women

Duke University Medical Center researchers contend that women with low cholesterol levels may be twice as likely as women with normal or high cholesterol levels to suffer from depression and anxiety.

Researchers studied the personality traits of 121 women aged 18 to 27 and found that 39% of the women with low cholesterol levels were prone to depression, compared to 19% among women with high or normal cholesterol levels. Women with low cholesterol were also more likely to suffer from anxiety. Approximately 1 in 3 showed signs of anxiety, compared to about 1 in 5 among women with higher cholesterol levels.

Lead researcher Dr. Edward Suarez concluded, “There is now a compelling body of evidence in both men and women that low cholesterol is a potential predictor for depression and anxiety in certain individuals.” Suarez recommended that women try to maximize their levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) without increasing their levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which can cause arterial blockage and contribute to heart disease.

Good sources of HDL include fish and fish oils. Sources of LDL which should be avoided include fatty cuts of meat, poultry with the skin, whole-milk dairy products, lard, and some types of vegetable oils like coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils.

Earlier studies on men showed that cholesterol-reducing drugs caused “mood disturbances” in men, leading to higher rates of suicide and violent death.


BBC - May 25, 1999

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