Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Schizophrenia Diagnosis

Rob Wipond
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People diagnosed with schizophrenia are twice as likely to have serious Vitamin D deficiencies, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Nutrition scientists from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran conducted a meta-analysis of 19 studies that had measured serum Vitamin D levels in 2,804 people. “The average difference in vitamin D levels between schizophrenic patients and control participants was -5.91 ng/ml,” summarized an Endocrine Society press release in ScienceDaily. “People with vitamin D deficiency were 2.16 times more likely to have schizophrenia than those with sufficient vitamin D in their bloodstreams. In addition, 65 percent of the participants who had schizophrenia also were vitamin D deficient.”

“There is a growing trend in the nutrition science field to consider vitamin D and its relationship to conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and depression,” study co-author Ahmad Esmaillzadeh said in the press release. “Our findings support the theory that vitamin D may have a significant impact on psychiatric health. More research is needed to determine how the growing problem of vitamin D deficiency may be affecting our overall health.”

In the body of the study, however, the authors clarifed that they did not distinguish between those people taking medication and those not taking any. “Another limitation that must be taken into account is that schizophrenic patients tend to gain a significant amount of weight after being on antipsychotic medications,” they wrote. “Therefore it is difficult to ascertain, based on the data presented in this study, whether the 25-vitamin D deficiency is the result of the treatment of the disease or potentially a causal factor.”

Vitamin D deficiency raises risk of schizophrenia diagnosis (Endocrine Society Press Release, Science Daily, July 22, 2014)

Serum Vitamin D Levels in Relation to Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies (Valipour, Ghazaleh et al. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Early release published online July 22, 2014. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2014-1887)

4 COMMENTS

      • Thanks for the link, one more depressing story for the day…
        I just wanted to add to my previous post and in reference to the article: there is one more confounding factor in that all – people who live under stress, experience abuse, migrant children, and people who live in poverty all have higher rates of “mental illness”. So even if you’d find that more blacks get diagnosed you still don’t know what’s the cause as African Americans tend to have more social problems as a group. Given that it seems pretty clear that “mental illness” comes from trauma and stress it’s not surprising that people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds have more of it.