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Vitamin D and depression in geriatric primary care patients

Authors Lapid MI, Cha S, Takahashi PY

Received 16 January 2013

Accepted for publication 26 February 2013

Published 3 May 2013 Volume 2013:8 Pages 509—514


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Maria I Lapid,1 Stephen S Cha,2 Paul Y Takahashi3

1Division of Outpatient Consultation, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, 2Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Department of Health Sciences Research, 3Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Purpose: Vitamin D deficiency is common in the elderly. Vitamin D deficiency may affect the mood of people who are deficient. We investigated vitamin D status in older primary care patients and explored associations with depression.
Patients and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted and association analyses were performed. Primary care patients at a single academic medical center who were ≥60 years with serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels were included in the analysis. The primary outcome was a diagnosis of depression. Frailty scores and medical comorbidity burden scores were collected as predictors.
Results: There were 1618 patients with a mean age of 73.8 years (±8.48). The majority (81%) had optimal (≥25 ng/mL) 25(OH)D range, but 17% met mild-moderate (10–24 ng/mL) and 3% met severe (<10 ng/mL) deficiencies. Those with severe deficiency were older (P < 0.001), more frail (P < 0.001), had higher medical comorbidity burden (P < 0.001), and more frequent depression (P = 0.013). The 694 (43%) with depression had a lower 25(OH)D than the nondepressed group (32.7 vs 35.0, P = 0.002). 25(OH)D was negatively correlated with age (r = −0.070, P = 0.005), frailty (r = −0.113, P < 0.001), and medical comorbidity burden (r = −0.101, P < 0.001). A 25(OH)D level was correlated with depression (odds ratio = 0.990 and 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.983–0.998, P = 0.012). Those with severe vitamin D deficiency were twice as likely to have depression (odds ratio = 2.093 with 95% CI 1.092–4.011, P = 0.026).
Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency was present in a fifth of this older primary care population. Lower vitamin D levels were associated with depression. Those with severe deficiency were older and more likely had depression.

Keywords: elderly, frailty, hydroxyvitamin D, mood

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