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Original Research

A Cross-Sectional Study of Serum Folate and Vitamin B12 Levels in Psychiatric Inpatients

Rashmi Prakash, MD; Nitin Aggarwal, MD; and Nimmi Jose, MD

Published: October 10, 2019

Article Abstract

Objective: To assess the pattern of serum folate and vitamin B12 levels in psychiatric inpatients compared with nonpsychiatric controls.

Methods: An observational cross-sectional study was conducted with 100 psychiatric inpatients diagnosed with psychiatric illness for the first time per ICD-10 criteria and their age-matched caregivers at a super-specialty center in northern India (from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2012). Complete blood counts and serum levels of vitamin B12, folate, and homocysteine were measured in all patients and caregivers, who were sharing the same kitchen as that of the patients.

Results: Twenty-five percent of the patients were found to have low levels of serum vitamin B12, which was significant compared with healthy controls (P < .001). Similarly, the difference in homocysteine levels between the patient and control groups was significant (35% vs 13%, P = .012).

Conclusions: A significant proportion of psychiatric patients were found to be vitamin B12 deficient. In-depth studies are required to establish the cause-effect relationship between vitamin B12 deficiency and psychiatric illness and the effect of vitamin B12 replacement.

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