This study examines the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in a group of male psychiatric in-patients and follows 16 of them prospectively during treatment with calcium and ergocalciferol tablets.
Of 17 male patients, 15 had vitamin D deficiency and two had borderline deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with Black and minority ethnic background. Improvement in vitamin D status was observed following replacement therapy.
Vitamin D deficiency may be widespread in the psychiatric population particularly in Black and minority ethnic but also in White European in-patients. Vitamin D level should be routinely monitored in psychiatric in-patients. for those with vitamin D deficiency, replacement therapy can be commenced with calcium and ergocalciferol tablets (containing 10 μg of ergocalciferol), which is safe and well tolerated. All psychiatric in-patients should have adequate exposure to sunlight and attention to diet to ensure that they receive their recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals.
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