An eight-year Finnish study of 29,133 men aged 50 to 69, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that those reporting depression had significantly lower average blood cholesterol levels than those who did not. After eight years, they found that 280 had been hospitalized for major depression and 111 had committed suicide.
They reported a link between low levels of blood cholesterol and a fall in levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin is thought to control moods and low levels have been linked to depression and aggression.
A team from St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin, compared 100 patients admitted to the hospital with self-inflicted injuries, including drug overdoses, with psychiatric patients and patients not suffering from any mental health problems.
The patients were rated on their level of depression, impulsivity and suicidal intent.
It was found that cholesterol levels in the patients who had deliberately harmed themselves were significantly lower than the other patients.
Cholesterol levels were also low in all patients who were rated as being impulsive. Lead researcher Dr Malcolm Garland said people who deliberately harmed themselves often had no intention of killing themselves.Dr Garland said impulsivity stimulated by low cholesterol levels could be responsible for many types of dangerous behavior. For instance impulsive people might be more prone to road traffic accidents.
Statins may produce irritability or short temper in some people, a problem that occurs with statin therapy and resolves with its discontinuation (Golomb et al., 2004).
Low cholesterol linked to depression
Suicide link to cholesterol
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