Increased lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in anorexia nervosa: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Alia A Hussain, Christopher Hübel, Mathias Hindborg, Emilie Lindkvist, Annie M Kastrup, Zeynep Yilmaz, René K Støving, Cynthia M Bulik, Jan M Sjögren

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Alterations in blood lipid concentrations in anorexia nervosa (AN) has been reported; however, the extent, mechanism, and normalization with weight restoration remain unknown. We conducted a systematic review and a meta-analysis to evaluate changes in lipid concentrations in acutely-ill AN patients compared with healthy controls (HC) and to examine the effect of partial weight restoration.

METHOD: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (PROSPERO: CRD42017078014) were conducted for original peer-reviewed articles.

RESULTS: Forty-eight studies were eligible for review; 33 for meta-analyses calculating mean differences (MD). Total cholesterol (MD = 22.7 mg/dL, 95% CI = 12.5, 33.0), high-density lipoprotein (HDL; MD = 3.4 mg/dL, CI = 0.3, 7.0), low-density lipoprotein (LDL; MD = 12.2 mg/dL, CI = 4.4, 20.1), triglycerides (TG; MD = 8.1 mg/dL, CI = 1.7, 14.5), and apolipoprotein B (Apo B; MD = 11.8 mg/dL, CI = 2.3, 21.2) were significantly higher in acutely-ill AN than HC. Partially weight-restored AN patients had higher total cholesterol (MD = 14.8 mg/dL, CI = 2.1, 27.5) and LDL (MD = 16.1 mg/dL, CI = 2.3, 30.0). Pre- versus post-weight restoration differences in lipid concentrations did not differ significantly.

DISCUSSION: We report aggregate evidence for elevated lipid concentrations in acutely-ill AN patients compared with HC, some of which persist after partial weight restoration. This could signal an underlying adaptation or dysregulation not fully reversed by weight restoration. Although concentrations differed between AN and HC, most lipid concentrations remained within the reference range and meta-analyses were limited by the number of available studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-629
Number of pages19
JournalThe International journal of eating disorders
Issue number6
Early online date28 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • cholesterol
  • eating disorder
  • lipids
  • re-nutrition
  • weight restoration


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