J Lipid Atheroscler.  2014 Jun;3(1):11-19. 10.12997/jla.2014.3.1.11.

The Relationship Between Serum Lipids and Depression

  • 1Department of Public Health, Graduate School, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Institute for Health Promotion, Graduate School of Public Health Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. jsunha@yuhs.ac
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, Ulsan University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 5Health Insurance Policy Research Institute, National Health Insurance Service, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.


Low cholesterol is associated with depression among western countries. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between cholesterol and depression in Korean population with low levels of serum cholesterol.
The data of about 740,000 individuals, aged 30-64 years at entry in the Korean Cancer Prevention Study, were used. Total cholesterol levels were measured in 1992. Depression was measured using the modified DSM-IV (Diagnostic Criteria of Major Depressive Episode in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV) scale. Total cholesterol was classified into four groups (quartile). Odds Ratios of low level of cholesterol were evaluated using multi-variable logistic models.
The prevalence of major depression was 7.7% in men and 10.4% in women. After adjustment for various confounding variables, an inverse association was detected between cholesterol levels and depression intensity among men and women. The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of the lowest quartile of cholesterol was 1.16 (1.13-1.20) on major depression compared with the highest quartile of cholesterol in men. The corresponding odds ratio among women was 1.09 (1.04-1.15). The strongest association among 9 items of depression was found at "decreased appetite and lost weight" in both men (OR=1.68) and women (OR=1.43).
Low cholesterol is associated with major depression in men and women. Further studies are necessary to evaluate the cross-validation, to explore the biological mechanism, and to identify the clinical implication.


Cholesterol; Depression; Epidemiology

MeSH Terms

Confounding Factors (Epidemiology)
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Logistic Models
Odds Ratio


  • Fig. 1 The relationship between serum total cholesterol and depression.

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