The present study investigated if a causal relation exists between serum concentrations of precursors and metabolites of cholesterol and cognitive performance in a healthy aging population. Cognitive function addressing four domains of 144 individuals (30-80 years) was tested at baseline and after 6 years of follow-up. Serum concentrations of different sterols related to cholesterol were measured. Serum levels of lathosterol and lanosterol correlated negatively with cognitive performance on the Word Learning tests for verbal learning and memory. This was observed at baseline and follow-up and was independent of age, sex and educational level. Furthermore, the levels of lathosterol and lanosterol at baseline correlated with performance on the Stroop test and Word Learning tests over the 6-year follow-up period. Serum levels of 27-hydroxycholesterol and 24S-hydroxycholesterol showed inconsistent correlations, while cholesterol, desmosterol, sitosterol and campesterol were not related to cognitive performance. Thus, relative high serum ratios of the cholesterol precursors lanosterol and lathosterol, indicative for a high rate of endogenous cholesterol synthesis, are associated with relatively low memory performance in this aging population.