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Delusions of deficiency

Delusions of deficiency
People who are vitamin D deficient are two times as likely to have schizophrenia as people with sufficient levels of the vitamin.

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

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.

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