Vitamin D deficiency and depression among women from an urban community in a tropical country

Public Health Nutr. 2017 Jul;20(10):1844-1850. doi: 10.1017/S1368980016000811. Epub 2016 Apr 18.


Objective: To determine the association of vitamin D status with depression and health-related quality of life among women.

Design: This was a cross-sectional study conducted among women in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sociodemographic characteristics, physical activity status, perceived depression and health-related quality of life were assessed via a self-administered questionnaire. Fasting blood samples were taken for the analysis of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, parathyroid hormone, fasting blood glucose and full lipid profile. Complex samples multiple logistic regression analysis was performed.

Setting: Public secondary schools in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Subjects: Seven hundred and seventy female teachers were included.

Results: The mean age of participants was 41·15 (95 % CI 40·51, 41·78) years and the majority were ethnic Malays. Over 70 % of them had vitamin D deficiency (<20 ng/ml or <50 nmol/l) and two-thirds were at risk for depression. In the multivariate analysis, ethnic Malays (adjusted OR (aOR)=14·72; 95 % CI 2·12, 102·21) and Indians (aOR=14·02; 95 % CI 2·27, 86·59), those at risk for depression (aOR=1·88, 95 % CI 1·27, 2·79) and those with higher parathyroid hormone level (aOR=1·13; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·26) were associated with vitamin D deficiency, while vitamin D deficiency was negatively associated with mental health-related quality of life (Mental Component Summary) scores (aOR=0·98; 95 % CI 0·97, 0·99).

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is significantly associated with depression and mental health-related quality of life among women in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Keywords: Depression; Quality of life; Tropical country; Vitamin D deficiency; Women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / blood
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaysia / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / psychology
  • Young Adult