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Can Geriatr J. 2012 Sep;15(3):80-4. doi: 10.5770/cgj.15.39. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Hypovitaminosis d: a contributor to psychiatric disorders in elderly?

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON;



Hypovitaminosis D is unrecognized and remarkably common in geriatric patients, with various clinical manifestations. The purpose of this study was to prospectively assess the vitamin D (VD) status in newly admitted psychogeriatric patients, and to study the correlation of VD status with indicators of calcium metabolism.


A valid VD sample, as measured by serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD), was obtained from nine consecutive psycogeriatric inpatients (66% women), during a one-month period in 2011. The Research Ethics Boards at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton approved this project.


All participants showed VD inadequacy (defined as 25-OHD ≤ 75 nmol/L) with a mean level of serum 25-OHD of 45.5 ± 14.6 (range 28.5-73.4) nmol/L. None of the patients in the sample met criteria for VD deficiency (currently defined by expert consensus as 25-OHD < 25 nmol/L). Mean serum VD levels were lower in females (38.8 ± 9.8 nmol/L) than in males (59.0 ± 14.3 nmol/L), p = .03. Magnesium and PTH were both higher in females (p = .03 and .02, respectively). Univariate linear regression analysis showed that VD levels were strongly negatively associated with magnesium (p = .001) and PTH (p = .02).


Since research links VD deficiency to psychiatric conditions, high rates of insufficiency in this population is very common and routine supplements are strongly suggested, regardless of patients' living environment.


acute inpatient; geriatric; psychiatric disorders; vitamin D; vitamin D insufficiency

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