Study title and authors:
Depressive symptoms, social support, and lipid profile in healthy middle-aged women.
Horsten M, Wamala SP, Vingerhoets A, Orth-Gomer K.
Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9316185
This study investigated the relationship between cholesterol levels and depressive symptoms in women. The study included 300 healthy women aged 31 to 65 years.
The study found:
(a) Women with cholesterol levels below 4.7 mmol/L (181 mg/dL) had nearly twice as many depressive symptoms as women with cholesterol levels above 4.7 mmol/L (181 mg/dL).
(b) Women with higher levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol also had significantly less depressive symptoms.
(c) Vital exhaustion was significantly associated with low cholesterol levels. (Vital Exhaustion has three defining characteristics: (i) feelings of excessive fatigue and lack of energy, (ii) increasing irritability, and (iii) feelings of demoralization).
(d) Low social support was significantly associated with low cholesterol levels.
(e) Stressful life events were associated with low cholesterol levels.
Horsten concludes: "The findings may suggest that cholesterol constitutes a vital source of energy and that low levels have adverse psychosocial correlates such as depression and lack of social support".