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J Psychiatr Pract. 2013 Jul;19(4):296-300. doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000432599.24761.c1.

Vitamin D insufficiency in psychiatric inpatients.

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University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Denver Health, 777 Bannock St, Denver, CO 80204, USA.



The extraskeletal effects of vitamin D have gained increasing attention with the discovery of receptors in a variety of organ systems. Previous work has identified associations between vitamin D insufficiency and a variety of mental illnesses, including affective, cognitive, and psychotic spectrum disorders. We attempted to determine the point prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency among psychiatric inpatients and determine if there was a relationship between vitamin D insufficiency and specific diagnoses and pharmacological treatments.


This was a retrospective chart review of all adult patients (N=544) admitted to the psychiatric ward of a community hospital in central Illinois between December, 2010 and June, 2011.


The mean vitamin D level on admission was 22.3 ng/mL, with a range of 4-79.2 ng/mL. The incidence of vitamin D insufficiency (defined as levels < 30 ng/mL) was 75%. Of those with insufficient levels of vitamin D, only 37% received treatment. Vitamin D insufficiency was not correlated with age, gender, month of admission, length of stay, score on the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale at admission, diagnosis, or psychotropic medication usage.


Vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent in psychiatric inpatients. It is unclear whether this is the result of severe mental illness and resultant social isolation, or if vitamin D has a regulatory role on upstream genes involved in neural networks that influence affect, cognition, and perception.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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