OBJECTIVES: Earlier studies on the association between plasma lipid profiles and functional somatic disorders (FSD) are mainly small case control studies hampered by selection bias and do not consider the great overlap between the various FSDs. The aim of the present study was to investigate the associations between various FSDs and plasma lipid profiles (total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol and triglycerides) in a large, unselected population.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional general population-based study.

SETTING: The Danish Study of Functional Somatic Disorders (DanFunD) conducted in 2011-2015 in 10 municipalities in the western part of greater Copenhagen, Denmark.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 8,608 men and women aged 18-76 years were included in the analyses. Various delimitations of FSD such as chronic fatigue, chronic widespread pain, irritable bowel, and bodily distress syndrome were measured using validated self-administrated questionnaires. Lipid parameters were measured from fasting plasma samples using colorimetric slide methods with Vitros 4600/5600 Ortho Clinical Diagnostics.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Logistic regression analyses were used to calculate possible associations between plasma lipids and the various delimitations of FSD. Associations are presented by OR (95% CI) and shown in boxplots.

RESULTS: We found a positive association between bodily distress syndrome and triglycerides and non-HDL cholesterol and a negative association with HDL-cholesterol, but no consistent association with total cholesterol. A similar pattern was observed for persons with chronic fatigue, and to some degree for persons with chronic widespread pain, whereas persons with irritable bowel did not show a clear association with the lipid profiles.

CONCLUSION: This is the first major study on plasma lipid profiles and FSD indicating an association between some delimitations of FSD and an unfavorable lipid profile. Due to the cross-sectional design, it cannot be determined whether the findings are consequences or determinants of FSD. Further studies-preferable prospective studies-are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0296799
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)e0296799
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Male
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/epidemiology
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Prospective Studies
  • Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Chronic Pain
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Fatigue


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