A new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has found that vitamin-D deficient individuals are twice as likely to have schizophrenia. It is estimated that more than one billion people worldwide have deficient levels of Vitamin D. Researchers hypothesized that there is a link between lack of vitamin D and the development of schizophrenia as the condition is more prevalent in high latitudes and colder climates.
The study investigated the findings of 19 observational studies that examined the link between vitamin D and schizophrenia. Combined, the studies looked at vitamin D levels and the mental health of 2,804 adult participants. The studies used blood tests to determine each participant’s vitamin D levels.
“This is the first comprehensive meta-analysis to study the relationship between the two conditions,” said one of the study’s authors, Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, PhD, of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, Iran. “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 findings conclusively demonstrated a link between schizophrenia and vitamin D, with schizophrenic patients exhibiting a substantially lower level of Vitamin D in their blood. People with vitamin D deficiency were 2.16 times more likely to have schizophrenia than those with sufficient vitamin D in their bloodstreams.
“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.”
Ghazaleh Valipour, Parvane Saneei, Ahmad Esmaillzadeh. Serum Vitamin D Levels in Relation to Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2014; jc.2014-1887 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2014-1887