Boerman R, Cohen D, Schulte PF, Nugter A. (2016) J Clin Psychopharmacol. 36(6): 588-592
Several studies show an association between schizophrenia and low levels of vitamin D. To date, there are only few studies about the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with bipolar disorder. We hypothesized that vitamin D deficiency is less common among patients with bipolar disorder than among patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. A second hypothesis is that vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent among patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorders than among the general Dutch population.Most studies have been conducted with hospitalized patients; in this study, we only included outpatients.
All outpatients of a center for bipolar disorders and all outpatients of 3 flexible assertive community treatment teams were asked to participate in this cross-sectional study.
We included 118 patients with bipolar disorder and 202 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Vitamin D levels were deficient in 30.3% (95% confidence interval, 25.5-35.6) of the cases. The type of psychiatric disorder was not a predictor of vitamin D deficiency. The absolute difference in risk of deficiency between the study population and the Dutch Caucasian population was 23.8% (95% confidence interval, 18.3%-29.3%).
In this study, vitamin D deficiency was 4.7 times more common among outpatients with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder than among the Dutch general population. Given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, we believe that outpatients with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder should be considered at risk of having low levels of vitamin D. Annual measurement of vitamin D levels in psychiatric outpatients with these disorders seems to be justified to maintain bone health, muscle strength, and to prevent osteoporosis.