BACKGROUND It has been suggested that low serum total cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of suicide.
AIMS To study the association between serum total cholesterol, depression and suicide using versatile, prospective data.
METHOD A total of 29,133 men aged 50-69 years were followed up for 5-8 years. Baseline blood samples were analysed for serum total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. Self-reported depression was recorded, data on hospital treatments due to depressive disorders were derived from the National Hospital Discharge Register and deaths from suicide were identified from death certificates.
RESULTS Low serum total cholesterol was associated with low mood and subsequently a heightened risk of hospital treatment due to major depressive disorder and of death from suicide.
CONCLUSIONS Our results suggest that low serum total cholesterol appears to be associated with low mood and thus to predict its serious consequences.