Vitamin D status of psychiatric inpatients at a community teaching hospital in the Midwest.

Qiang Zeng, Maine Medical Center
Timothy Dellenbaugh
Martin Maldonado
Joseph Moon
Rob Hornstra


BACKGROUND: Vitamin D deficiency is a re-emerging epidemic in North America. It is increasingly linked to the pathology of cognition and mental illness and is also common in psychiatric patients.

AIMS: This study was designed to determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among psychiatric inpatients in Kansas City, to explore the association between vitamin D status and clinical characteristics, and to identify the association of medical problems related to vitamin D deficiency in mental illness.

METHODS: In this descriptive study we recruited 52 psychiatric inpatients at a community teaching hospital in Kansas City between August and November 2013. A vitamin D-deficient state was defined as serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-(OH) D) level ≤ 20 ng/mL. In addition to descriptive statistics, the Student t-test and Pearson test were used in the study.

RESULTS: A total of 15 patients (28.8%) were classified as deficient, 20 patients (38.5%) had an insufficiency, 17 patients (32.7%) were categorized as sufficient. Interestingly, there was a statistically significant difference in 25-(OH) D levels between African Americans and Caucasians (t = -2.216, p = 0.03) but no significant relationship between 25-(OH) D level and gender, major psychiatric diagnoses, type 2 diabetes mellitus or obesity. There was also no correlation between 25-(OH) D level and age, body mass index or haemoglobin A1C.

CONCLUSIONS: Low 25-(OH) D level was found in a high percentage of psychiatric inpatients in Kansas City. Screening for vitamin D deficiency could be a routine work-up for psychiatric inpatients. Vitamin D supplement for African American inpatients with low vitamin D levels could be considered.