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J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2018 Nov 20. pii: S1525-8610(18)30579-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2018.10.006. [Epub ahead of print]

Vitamin D Deficiency Is Associated With an Increased Likelihood of Incident Depression in Community-Dwelling Older Adults.

Author information

1
The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; Mercer's Institute for Successful Aging, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address: briggsr@tcd.ie.
2
Mercer's Institute for Successful Aging, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
3
The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
4
Department of Biochemistry and Clinical Pathology, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
5
The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; Mercer's Institute for Successful Aging, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the prospective relationship between vitamin D status and incident depression in a large cohort of nondepressed community-dwelling older people.

DESIGN:

Longitudinal study examining the relationship between vitamin D levels at baseline (wave 1) and incident depression at 2 and 4 years (waves 2 and 3), embedded within the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging. Participants with depression at wave 1 were excluded. Logistic regression models reporting odds ratios were used to analyze the longitudinal association of vitamin D categories with incident depression. Analysis was weighted for attrition.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

Almost 4000 community-dwelling people aged ≥50 years.

MEASURES:

A score ≥9 on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-8 at wave 2 or 3 was indicative of incident depression. Vitamin D analysis was performed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and deficiency, insufficiency, and sufficiency were defined as <30, 30-50, and >50 nmol/L, respectively.

RESULTS:

The incident depression group (400/3965) had a higher likelihood of baseline vitamin D deficiency (proportional estimation 19.4) [95% confidence interval (CI) 15.1-24.7] vs [12.4 (95% CI 11.1-14.0); Z = 3.93; P < .001]. Logistic regression models demonstrated that participants with vitamin D deficiency had a significantly higher likelihood of incident depression (odds ratio 1.75, 95% CI 1.24-2.46; t = 3.21; P = .001). This finding remained robust after controlling for relevant covariates including physical activity, chronic disease burden, cardiovascular disease and antidepressant use.

CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS:

This study demonstrates that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a significant increase in the likelihood of developing depression in later life. These findings are important, given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among older people, the fact that supplementation has a low risk of toxicity or side effects, as well as the significant adverse effect depression can have on functional status and longevity in later life.

KEYWORDS:

Depression; affect; longevity; vitamin D; vitamin D deficiency

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