STUDY OBJECTIVE--To explore the link between serum cholesterol and suicide by investigating the relation between serum lipids and depressive symptoms. DESIGN--This was a cross sectional study of the relation between serum cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides on the one hand and depressive symptoms as expressed in a questionnaire on the other. SETTING--An organisational development programme in industry with assistance from occupational health care. PARTICIPANTS--A total of 644 male and 261 female employees (mainly white-collar workers) participated. MAIN RESULTS--Total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol values were lower in those men who, sometimes, often, or very often, had experienced low mood or glumness during the past month compared with those who had not. Serum triglyceride concentrations did not differ between the groups. In women, however, the serum triglyceride value, but not the total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol, was lower in those who reported low mood, depression, or anxiety during the past six months. CONCLUSIONS--Decreasing appetite as a consequence of depression in men would probably lead to both decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations. Thus, these data indicate the presence of some other explanation for the relation between the level of LDL cholesterol and depressive symptoms in men.
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