Walk on the sunny side of life — Epidemiology of hypovitaminosis D and mental health in elderly nursing home residents
Old age is a well-known risk factor for both depression and hypovitaminosis D, and an association between both conditions has been postulated. We document the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in nursing home residents, and we examine the link with self-reported depressive symptoms and pharmacotherapy for depression.
Cross- sectional. Setting: nursing homes in Antwerp, Belgium.
Healthy elderly (n=589), with a mean age of 84 years.
We detected depressive symptoms by means of SF-36, a validated quality of life assessment; we registered the use of antidepressants and anxiolytics, and we measured serum 25(OH)D concentrations in all participants.
Almost our entire study population appeared to be vit D deficient. Comparison of the most severely and least deficient subgroups showed a consistent tendency towards more depressive symptoms and more use of antidepressants in the group with the lowest vit D level.
Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to preventable vit D deficiency. The relevance of the association with depressive symptoms and the possibilities for treatment are critically reviewed in the discussion.