Delusions, hallucinations and… low vitamin D levels?
A new review of research finds that people deficient in vitamin D are twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia as people with sufficient levels of the vitamin.
The study was published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and noted on sciencedaily.com.
More than 3.5 million Americans have schizophrenia, according to the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America. It's not known what causes schizophrenia, but researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environment contributes to development of the disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“This is the first comprehensive meta-analysis to study the relationship between the two conditions,” Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, PhD, of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, Iran, one of the study’s authors, said in a release from The Endocrine Society. “When we examined the findings of several observational studies on vitamin D and schizophrenia, we found people with schizophrenia have lower vitamin D levels than healthy people. Vitamin D deficiency is quite common among people with schizophrenia.”
The researchers reviewed the findings of 19 observational studies that examined the link between vitamin D and schizophrenia, including a total of 2,804 adult participants. The studies used blood tests to determine each participant’s vitamin D levels.
“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,” Esmaillzadeh said. “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.”
Other recent vitamin D research suggests that cancer patients with higher levels of the vitamin when diagnosed have better survival rates and remain in remission longer than patients who are vitamin D deficient.