Cholesterol Levels & Suicide / Mental Disorders

Tempest63

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My cholesterol level is very low, under 2.0 and doesn’t register on the instant read machines at the GP so it has to be sent off to the lab. I asked the practice nurse if there was any adverse effects to low cholesterol and she said it was associated with increased risk of suicide. Must admit it has never had that effect on me but I wonder, if she wasn’t winding me up, how the research would have been done? Do they do a full blood analysis during post-mortems?
 

Tempest63

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So by moving this from the Lithium in water curbs suicide thread, are you questioning my mental stability?

In hindsight you probably wouldn’t be the first.
 

EnolaGaia

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This subject has been debated for years. This 2012 article provides an overview of the research up until then and recommends more and better research to clarify whether - and to what degree- there's a correlation.

ISRN Psychiatry.
2012; 2012: 387901.
Published online 2012 Dec 23.
doi: 10.5402/2012/387901
PMCID: PMC3671696
PMID: 23762765

The Relationships between Cholesterol and Suicide: An Update
Domenico De Berardis, Stefano Marini, Monica Piersanti, Marilde Cavuto, Giampaolo Perna, Alessandro Valchera, Monica Mazza, Michele Fornaro, Felice Iasevoli, Giovanni Martinotti, and Massimo Di Giannantonio
Abstract
Cholesterol is a core component of the central nervous system, essential for the cell membrane stability and the correct functioning of neurotransmission. It has been observed that cholesterol may be somewhat associated with suicidal behaviours. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to elucidate current facts and views about the role of cholesterol levels in mood disorders. The majority of the studies reviewed in the present paper suggest an interesting relationship between cholesterol (especially lower levels) and suicidality. On the other hand, particularly during the last years, relationships between serum cholesterol and suicidality were doubted on the basis of some recent studies that have not found any correlation. However, the debate on relationships between cholesterol and suicide is open and longitudinal studies on a larger sample of patients are needed to further clarify this important issue.
FULL ARTICLE:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671696/
 

Tempest63

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How do you know this stuff?
 

EnolaGaia

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Later - and better designed / controlled - studies tended to confirm a correlation between abnormally low cholesterol levels and suicidal behaviors / mental health disorders.

Ann Gen Psychiatry
.2017 Apr 17;16:20.

Is low total cholesterol levels associated with suicide attempt in depressive patients?

A Messaoud, R Mensi , A Mrad, A Mhalla, I Azizi, B Amemou, I Trabelsi, M H Grissa N Haj Salem, A Chadly, W Douki, M F Najjar, L Gaha

PMID: 28428806 PMCID: PMC5392998
DOI: 10.1186/s12991-017-0144-4
Abstract

Background
: Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) have a high risk of suicide. Many pathophysiological factors involved in MDD and suicide such us a low cholesterol levels have been associated with MDD and increased vulnerability to suicide. In this study, we investigate the relation between lipid parameters and suicide risk in patients with MDD.

Methods: Plasma levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) were determined in 160 patients meeting the DSM-IV-TR criteria for MDD (110 patients without suicidal behavior and 52 suicidal attempters) and 151 healthy controls.

Results: A significant decrease in plasma cholesterol levels was observed in the group of suicidal depressive patients compared to those without suicidal behavior (p < 0.001). For the other lipid levels (triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol), there were no significant differences between suicidal and non-suicidal patients.

Conclusions: Our study showed a significant decrease in plasma cholesterol levels in suicidal patients. This result support the hypothesis of the association of low plasma cholesterol level and suicidal behavior in patients with major depressive disorder.
SOURCE: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28428806/
 

EnolaGaia

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This 2018 Psychology Today article notes the trend toward confirming a correlation and spotlights a (then-) recent Mexican study that suggets a biochemical basis for the correlation.
Low Cholesterol and Suicide (Again)

Another study links low cholesterol to depression and suicide attempts.

While cardiologists have been racing to lower serum cholesterol more and more (and drug companies keep coming up with fancy new cholesterol-lowering drugs*), the importance of cholesterol in the brain relative to cholesterol and heart health has been mostly ignored.

It was felt that lowering serum cholesterol wouldn't have much effect on the brain for a couple of reasons: Most of the cholesterol used in the brain is made in the brain (cholesterol from the blood doesn't really get into the brain, which is separated by the blood-brain barrier), and most of that has a pretty low turnover. The cholesterol that wraps around nerve sheaths tends to stay where it is and not float around and be recycled like the cholesterol-carrying particles in the blood.

Despite these reasonable suppositions, many studies over decades have (for the most part) consistently linked low total serum cholesterol with suicide, violence, and depression. Total cholesterol levels below 160, and especially below 130, correlate with a higher risk of mental problems. And despite the blood-brain barrier and the little movement of cholesterol from the blood into the brain, brain and serum cholesterol do tend to go up and down at the same time. There are other curious findings as well... Cholesterol tends to be lower in Alzheimer's Disease**, and cholesterol has been found to be lower during a manic episode in bipolar disorder, and tends to pop up again when the episode gets better. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/...atry/201803/low-cholesterol-and-suicide-again
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's the 2018 Mexican study cited in the Psychology Today article. The full research article is accessible at the link below.

BMC Psychiatry.
2018; 18: 7.
Published online 2018 Jan 15.
doi: 10.1186/s12888-018-1596-z

Hypocholesterolemia is an independent risk factor for depression disorder and suicide attempt in Northern Mexican population
Marcela Segoviano-Mendoza, Manuel Cárdenas-de la Cruz, José Salas-Pacheco, Fernando Vázquez-Alaniz, Osmel La Llave-León, Francisco Castellanos-Juárez, Jazmín Méndez-Hernández, Marcelo Barraza-Salas, Ernesto Miranda-Morales, Oscar Arias-Carrión, and Edna Méndez-Hernández
Abstract

Background

Cholesterol has been associated as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Recently, however, there is growing evidence about crucial requirement of neuron membrane cholesterol in the organization and function of the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. For this, low cholesterol level has been reported to be associated with depression and suicidality. However there have been inconsistent reports about this finding and the exact relationship between these factors remains controversial. Therefore, we investigated the link between serum cholesterol and its fractions with depression disorder and suicide attempt in 467 adult subjects in Mexican mestizo population.

Methods
Plasma levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) were determined in 261 MDD patients meeting the DSM-5 criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD), 59 of whom had undergone an episode of suicide attempt, and 206 healthy controls.

Results
A significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, VLDL-cholesterol and triglyceride serum levels was observed in the groups of MDD patients and suicide attempt compared to those without suicidal behavior (p < 0.05). After adjusting for covariates, lower cholesterol levels were significantly associated with MDD (OR 4.229 CI 95% 2.555 – 7.000, p<.001) and suicide attempt (OR 5.540 CI 95% 2.825 – 10.866, p<.001)

Conclusions
These results support the hypothesis that lower levels of cholesterol are associated with mood disorders like MDD and suicidal behavior. More mechanistic studies are needed to further explain this association.
FULL ARTICLE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5769344/
 

EnolaGaia

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Tempest63

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I’m the one with the low cholesterol and I never knew half of this. Thanks. (I think!)
 

Tempest63

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I just discussed this with war office and she wonders whether the low Cholesterol could be a factor in my insomnia and, if it is, could it be the lack of sleep that contributes to increased suicide?
 

EnolaGaia

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I just discussed this with war office and she wonders whether the low Cholesterol could be a factor in my insomnia and, if it is, could it be the lack of sleep that contributes to increased suicide?
I can see how sleep deprivation could facilitate depression, mood disorders, etc. However ...

AFAIK insomnia is usually associated with high rather than low serum cholesterol levels.
 

Tempest63

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AFAIK insomnia is usually associated with high rather than low serum cholesterol levels.
You are the font of all knowledge..I genuflect in admiration. But I still don’t know why my brain turns itself into knots most nights and I get by on minimal sleep. Your postings on low cholesterol and the mental impacts it has sort of gave me a reason for it...for a few minutes.
 

EnolaGaia

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Thanks ...

I suppose it's possible that underlying stress from low cholesterol (and attendant depression, etc.) might induce or contribute to sleep problems like insomnia.

On the other hand ...

This case study describes insomnia and other sleep issues in a patient who (over?) reacted to antilipid medication (statins) by developing hypocholesterolemia.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22338462/

I haven't seen anything citing insomnia as a known symptom with innate hypocholesterolemia.
 

Tempest63

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Thanks ...

I suppose it's possible that underlying stress from low cholesterol (and attendant depression, etc.) might induce or contribute to sleep problems like insomnia.

On the other hand ...

This case study describes insomnia and other sleep issues in a patient who (over?) reacted to antilipid medication (statins) by developing hypocholesterolemia.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22338462/

I haven't seen anything citing insomnia as a known symptom with innate hypocholesterolemia.
The thing with me is that my small bowel is so shot to bits due to Crohn’s disease that I have a number of malabsorption problems, Iron, B12 anD possibly others, so insomnia could be down to something else that is lacking.
Luckily I have beer and codeine which helps if it drags on for too long.
 

Naughty_Felid

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I just discussed this with war office and she wonders whether the low Cholesterol could be a factor in my insomnia and, if it is, could it be the lack of sleep that contributes to increased suicide?
Ok so how are you feeling in yourself? There are a million factors that make us feel at any one point in time. I'd not just go with one nurses, questionable ideas on mental health.
 

Tempest63

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Ok so how are you feeling in yourself?
Perfectly normal. I have no inclination to jump in front of the 0500 in the morning, take an overdose of opiates or stick one of my shotguns in my mouth and remove my cranium with a 12 gauge 32g cartridge.
I can get a bit desperate at times laying awake and watch the hours tick by but I think that in my 57 years I have never felt the urge to “do myself in”
Funnily enough I’m a mental first aider at work and have met people who do want to self harm.
 

kamalktk

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From one of the cited articles:

"Cholesterol is a core component of the central nervous system, essential for the cell membrane stability and the correct functioning of neurotransmission"

I've seen it suggested that very low cholesterol means the body doesn't have enough for the above, and that a diet high in cholesterol like the paleo type diets can improve mood by making more cholesterol available for neurotransmission.

Whether that is true or not is up to science to determine.
 
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