How Is Vitamin D Related to Schizophrenia Experiences?

Rob Wipond
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People who are actively having schizophrenia experiences have significantly lowered Vitamin D levels compared to people “in remission,” according to research in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology.

“Vitamin D deficiency is one of the implicated factors in ethio-pathogenesis of schizophrenia,” wrote a team of Turkish psychiatric researchers. “However, the question is still not answered: Is there a correlation between disease activity and serum vitamin D levels?”

The researchers examined 41 people “with schizophrenia in remission,” 40 patients undergoing an “acute episode,” and 40 matched controls “with no major psychopathology.” They found that the people having an acute episode on average had less than half the levels of Vitamin D as patients in remission or healthy controls.

They attempted to find causes for the differences such as sun exposure or nutrition, but could not detect any.

“Even though important factors for vitamin D synthesis were similar, there was severe vitamin D deficiency in patients presenting with an acute episode, significantly different from those in remission,” concluded the researchers. “Is vitamin D deficiency the result or the cause of an acute episode? Our results contribute to the idea that vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia may have interactions with an unknown pathway… Appropriate further treatment with add-on vitamin D supplements and diets that are rich in vitamin D should be considered.”

(Abstract) Correlation between total vitamin D levels and psychotic psychopathology in patients with schizophrenia: therapeutic implications for add-on vitamin D augmentation (Yüksel, Rabia Nazik et al. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology. Published online before print October 20, 2014. doi: 10.1177/2045125314553612)

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Rob Wipond
Rob Wipond is a Victoria, British Columbia-based freelance journalist who has been writing on mental health issues for fifteen years. His research has particularly focused on the interfaces between psychiatry, the justice system, and civil rights. His articles have been nominated for three Canadian National Magazine Awards, six Western Magazine Awards, and four Jack Webster Awards for journalism. He can be contacted through his website.

10 COMMENTS

      • John,

        In a study on the same topic of the connection between “schizophrenia” and Vitamin D posted at MIA in August 2014, the authors admitted they didn’t distinguish between those on or off psychiatric drugs. The authors also point out that the lack of Vitamin D is being recognized as a contributing factor to many diseases/illnesses including diabetes and heart disease while it is even being linked to Alzheimer’s by others, so it wouldn’t be surprising if it also contributes to so called “schizophrenia” and other symptoms.

        Here is a link to the previous article on this topic posted at MIA discussing the issue you cited:

        https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/08/vitamin-d-deficiency-linked-schizophrenia-diagnosis/

          • I agree. But, whether “schizophrenic symptoms” or toxic neuroleptics cause the lower, inadequate Vitamin D levels, it seems that encouraging such people to take Vitamin D supplements would be of great benefit until the cause of their deficit is sorted out since this can happen with anyone and not just those stigmatized by psychiatry.

            It would be great to find out that “schizophrenic symptoms” could be improved, healed or eliminated just by increasing one’s Vitamin D levels, but healthy habits apply to all whether one is stigmatized with bogus DSM labels or not. Vitamin D is crucial for everyone’s health and well being, so it is good to see that certain researchers are focusing on this health threat.