Vitamin D Supplements Reduce Depressive Symptoms, Cardiac Events

Vitamin D supplement use is linked to reduced depressive symptoms and cardiac events for patients with moderate to severe depressive symptoms, according to a study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing.

Eun Kyeung Song, from the Department of Nursing at the University of Ulsan, Korea, and colleagues conducted a prospective, observational study among patients enrolled from outpatient heart failure clinics in a university-affiliated hospital in Seoul, Korea from April 2012 to March 2014. Patients were eligible for inclusion if they had the following: (a) a diagnosis of heart failure for longer than 2 years; (b) no change in prescribed renin-angiotensin system inhibitors or beta-blockers for at least 3 months prior to enrollment; (c) depressive symptoms determined using a Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) score greater than 5 and (d) the ability to read, write, and speak Korean.

Patients then completed a 3-day food diary to determine dietary vitamin D deficiency, defined as an average daily intake of less than 10 mcg of vitamin D for people under 65 years of age, and 15 mcg for those over 65 years of age. Patients were split into 4 groups by dietary vitamin D adequacy vs deficiency and vitamin D supplement use vs non-use.  Depressive symptoms were assessed at baseline and reassessed 6 months later using by the PHQ-9.

After exclusion criteria, a total of 177 patients were included in the final analysis. About 30% of patients were females and 86 patients (48.6%) were older than 65 years (range of 32 to 89 years). Sixty-six patients (37.3%) had dietary vitamin D deficiency and 80 (45.2%) used vitamin D supplements. In patients with moderate to severe depressive symptoms, the group with dietary vitamin D deficiency and no supplements had the highest PHQ-9 score at 6 months (β=0.542) and shortest cardiac event-free survival among the 4 groups.

“The most compelling finding of this study was that patients with heart failure who had dietary vitamin D deficiency and did not use vitamin D supplements had the highest risk for depressive symptoms and hospitalization or death due to cardiac problems compared to other groups, but only when patients had moderate to severe depressive symptoms,” the authors concluded.

Song EK, Wu JR, Moser DK, et al. Vitamin D supplements reduce depressive symptoms and cardiac events in heart failure patients with moderate to severe depressive symptoms [published August 1, 2017]. Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. doi: 10.1177/1474515117727741
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