Vitamin D is a potential antidepressant in psychiatric outpatients

Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2018 Dec;56(12):585-596. doi: 10.5414/CP203309.


Background: Anxiety and depression are globally-common disorders. In Jordan, the number of people visiting psychiatric clinics has been increasing over the past few years. Low level of vitamin D is associated with musculoskeletal pain (MSP) and is increasingly linked to the pathology of mental disorders.

Objective: To assess the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among psychiatric outpatients and their response to vitamin D supplementation.

Materials and methods: 74 outpatients and gender- and age-matched controls were involved. Outpatients were prediagnosed by a psychiatrist to have mental disorders (anxiety, depression, others). The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was used to assess psychological symptoms before and after treatment. Patients with low vitamin D received oral vitamin D supplementation.

Results: 83.8% had vitamin D deficiency, and 95.95% experienced MSP compared to 40.6% and 0.0% of the controls, respectively. There was a statistically significant difference in vitamin D level (p = 0.011) and the total number of pain sites (p = 0.032) among psychiatric outpatient subgroups. HADS-anxiety and HADS-depression were significantly and inversely associated with vitamin D level and total daily calcium intake, and positively associated with pain severity. Relative to baseline, all measured outcome parameters significantly improved after vitamin D supplementation plus dairy products in 40 psychiatric outpatients.

Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency and MSP were very common among Jordanian psychiatric outpatients independent of diagnostic categories. Vitamin D supplementation plus increased dairy-product intake had a significant positive impact on physical and mental health status in psychiatric outpatients. Screening for vitamin D deficiency and daily calcium intake could be routine for psychiatric evaluation. .

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dairy Products
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jordan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritive Value
  • Outpatients*
  • Prevalence
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Vitamin D