Lipid Levels in Anorexia Nervosa

February 21, 1998

Published By ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders

Anorexia nervosa is a chronic disorder characterized by the patient's refusal to maintain body weight and a myriad of medical complications. Two frequently cited and poorly understood complications are hypercholesterolemia and hypercarotenemia. We therefore measured fasting cholesterol and beta-carotene levels in a cohort of moderately severe anorectics. Method: All subjects were female and met DSM-IV criteria for anorexia nervosa. Lipid profiles and beta-carotene levels were determined in 23 female anorexics.

Results: The mean total cholesterol for this group of anorectics was 179.3 mg/dl. Low-density lipoprotein values (LDL) ranged from 47 to 173, with a mean of 104.1 mg/dl. The mean high‚Äźdensity lipoprotein value (HDL) was 51.5 mg/dl. Beta-carotene levels were all normal.

We conclude that total and LDL cholesterol in anorexia are well within the range of normal, and HDL levels are favorably high. Further, hypercarotenemia was not associated with anorexia nervosa.

Read the full article in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.


  1. Mehler PS, Lezotte D, Eckel R. Lipid Levels in Anorexia Nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders 24(2):217-221, 1998. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199809)24:2<217::AID-EAT11>3.0.CO;2-W