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SAGE Open Med Case Rep. 2014 Dec 4;2:2050313X14561570. doi: 10.1177/2050313X14561570. eCollection 2014.

Vitamin D and depression: A case series.

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Department of Psychiatry, Kingston General Hospital, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada.
Psychiatry Resident, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada.



Over two-thirds of Canadians are deficient in vitamin D. Clinical overlap can compound diagnosis of depression in vitamin D deficient individuals. Citing high costs, the Ministry of Health has restricted routine vitamin D screening and hence is not feasible.


The current case series is an attempt to recognise the clinical overlap between depression and vitamin D deficiency in order to avoid unnecessary antidepressant prescriptions and to demonstrate the role of collaborative care in such patients.


After appropriate ethics approval 62 patients from an outpatient clinic were screened for the diagnosis of treatment resistant depression. Those who had predominant somatic complaints were further screened for organic factors and those with inadequate vitamin D levels were referred to family physicians for supplementation with vitamin D.


More than 50% were detected deficient in vitamin D after our evaluation. They showed subjective improvement with vitamin D supplements. No modification of antidepressants was needed.


Vitamin D deficiency should be suspected in depressed patients with prominent somatic symptoms and their treatment resistance should be reconsidered to avoid unnecessary exposure to mood stabilisers. Collaborating with primary care is advocated.


Co-prescription of an antidepressant is a confounder in our case series, and we propose more organised studies with objective rating scales.


Treatment-resistant depression; somatic symptoms; vitamin D

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