• Saba Irfan FMH College of Medicine& Dentistry, Lahore
  • M. H Qazi University of Lahore



Vitamin D, major depressive disorder, neurotransmitter deficiency


Introduction: Depression is a leading source of disability world-wide with
prevalence ranging from 8.8% to 18.3% in people aged 60 years or older. Depression is a not a
simple term but has been used to describe a variety of infirmities, ranging from minor to debilitating.
It is a multi-symptom disease and can even lead to suicidal attempt. Major depressive disorder
(MDD), although one of the most common psychiatric illnesses, has an unknown etiology.
Decreased serum levels of vitamin D have been implicated in the pathogenesis of MDD. Case
control studies have supported a relationship between low vitamin D as possible predictors
of depression. We designed a study to determine relationship, if any, between low vitamin
D deficiency with depression and with severity of disease in our local population. Objective:
The aim of this study to see any association of vitamin D deficiency in depressed Pakistani
patients. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Fatima Memorial Hospital, Shadman,
Lahore. Period: 2013-2015. Methods: Total of 150 diagnosed patients of 18-75 years of age
was enrolled for this study, after a written consent. Depressed patients were further categorized
into three groups depending on severity of disease i.e.; mild, moderate and severely depressed
patients. Blood measures included serum vitamin D levels and data was recorded on structured
data collection form. Results: In this study, we investigated the association between vitamin D
status and depression in our local Pakistani population. Out of 150 depressed patients, 84.7%
were vitamin D deficient. In our study, Out of 44 male depressed patients 9 (20.5%) had mild
depression, 8 (18.2%) had moderate depression and 27 (61.4%) had severe depression. Out
of 106 depressed female patients 42 (39.6%) had mild depression, 26 (24.5%) had moderate
depression and 38 (35.8%) had severe depression symptoms. A negative correlation of vitamin
D with severity of disease was also found in female depressed patients in our study.A significant
negative correlation of vitamin D in all 44 male subjects with severity of disease was observed
in our study. Higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was found in both males and females in
our study. Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of developing
depression, but more prospective observational studies may be needed. Efficacy of vitamin D
supplementation for preventing onset of depressive disorder is unknown. Efficacy of vitamin D
supplementation for reducing depressive symptoms is largely unstudied. The study suggests
dietary intervention with vitamin D would boost brain serotonin concentrations and help prevent
and possibly relieve some of the symptoms associated with depression without side effects.

Author Biographies

Saba Irfan, FMH College of Medicine& Dentistry, Lahore

Prof. Dr. Saba Khalid
Professor of Physiology

M. H Qazi, University of Lahore

Vice chancellor