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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Pining for Vitamin D and Happiness

By Michael McBurney

In the United States, patients make 1 billion visits to physicians’ offices annually. If the US Census counter is right, that equates to 3 office visits per American. The estimated cost of these visits is $600 billion annually.

Depression is an important contributor to health care utilization and costs. Health care costs are 2.6 times higher for patients with depression (vs those without). People suffering from depressive symptoms require more 2-3 times more informal caregiving. Even among adolescents, depression is associated with behaviors that increase demand on health care services.

Nutrition may be a factor, especially in northern climates coming out of winter. Higher serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations may protect against depression. The relative odds (OR) among those with the lowest (26.7 nmol/L) vs highest (68.1 nmol/L) quartile for serum 25(OH)D3 was 0.56. The average serum 25(OH)D3 concentration for the 5,371 persons living in Finland was 45.6 nmol/L.

Vitamin D status varies more seasonally with the lowest serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations being found in February (in the northern hemisphere). Lower vitamin D status is related to lower quality of life and self-rated health scores.

It is no wonder that people in northeastern continental America are pining for spring rains, flowers, and warm, sunny days.

Main Citations

Ganguli I, Wasfy JH, Ferris TG. What is the right number of clinic appointments? Visit frequency and the accountable care organization. 2015 JAMA doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.3356

Jaaskelainen T, Knekt P, Suvisaari J, Mannisto S, Partonen T, Saaksjarvi K, Kaartinen KE, Lindfors O. Higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations are related to a reduced risk of depression. 2015 Br J Nutr doi: 10.1017/S0007114515000689

Other Citations

Bock J-O, Luppa M, Brettschneider C, Riedel-Heller S, Bickel H, Fuchs A, Gensichen J, Maier W, Mergenthal K, Schafer I, Schon G, Weyerer S, Wiesse B, van den Bussche H, Scherer M, Konig H-M. Impact of depression on health care utilization and costs among multimorbid patients – Results from the MultiCare Cohort Study. 2014 PLoSONE doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091973

Langa KM, Valenstein MA, Fendrick AM, Kabeto MU, Vijan S. Extent and cost of informal caregiving for older Americans with symptoms of depression. 2005 Am J Psychiatry doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.161.5.857

Asarnow JR, Zeledon LR, D’Amico E, LaBorde A, Anderson M, Avina C, Arslanian T, Do M-C, Harwood J, Shoptaw S. Depression and health risk behaviors: Towards optimizing primary care service strategies for addressing risk. 2014 Prim Health Care doi: 10.4172/2167-1079.1000152

Van Schoor NM, Knol DL, Deeg DJH, Peters EPAMN, Heijboer AC, Lips P. Longitudinal changes and seasonal variations in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in different age groups: results of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. 2014 Osteoporos Int doi: 10.1007/s00198-014-2651-3

Rafiq R, Swart KMA, van Schoor NM, Deeg DJ, Lips P, de Jongh RT. Associations of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations with quality of life and self-rated health in an older population. 2014 JCEM doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-4431