HELP: re the cholesterol > serotonin question

Syd Baumel ravel at
Tue Dec 24 20:54:22 EST 1996

 CNL> This is all very nice theory, but the latest research on cholesterol
 CNL> failed to show an increase in violent death or suicide. Look up through
 CNL> medline to all the more recent data  on the subject

Thanks for your suggestion.  Let me quote from a reply I just gave to another
respondent in another newsgroup to show you where I'm at now.  Perhaps you can
comment further.  (I should add that while the clinical research, as you point
out, shows that lowering cholesterol can at times significantly reduce overall
mortality, the epidemiologic and preclinical evidence continues to send the
message that low cholesterol -- most likely by virtue of its association
with low serotonin -- increases the incidence of hyposerotonergic phenomena,
such as violence, depression, and suicide.)

On the advice of a couple other people who also answered my query I've looked at
some abstracts of recent trials of 'statins, and yes, the "curse of cholesterol-
lowering" (if I may coin a phrase) seems to be lifting with the 'statin
generation.  Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to look as deeply at the
research as I need to in order to continue pursuing the answer to my question.
What has struck me is that in the one abstract of a 'statin trial where the
effect on HDL cholesterol was given (the "4S" trial), there was an 8% increase,
associated with a 33% decrease in all-cause mortality. This is consistent with
my speculation that "the curse" may only be associated with anti-cholesterol
regimes that lower HDLC too.  Which leads me to my next question: Could it be
that cholesterol's central serotonergic effect could be mediated more by some
cholesterol fractions than by others -- by HDLC, say?  It would be nice to think
that this is the case; but I don't really have the time to try and find out,
short of tracking down some expert who might know (perhaps you?).  In your work,
does it seem to you that patients whose LDL/VLDL cholesterol falls sharply, but
whose HDLC is preserved or raised, fare better psychologically/behaviourally
than those whose HDLC falls too?


                                     Syd Baumel
        Dealing With Depression Naturally  (Keats Publishing Inc., 1995)

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