Vitamin D deficiency may increase schizophrenia risk
New research suggests that vitamin D deficiency could increase the risk for schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia affects around 2.4 million American adults and is characterized by hallucinations, delusions and agitated body movements. According to the researchers, schizophrenia is more prevalent in cold climates with high altitudes. The main source of vitamin D is sunlight.
For the study, researchers in Iran analyzed 19 observational studies that looked at the association between vitamin D and mental health conditions, including schizophrenia. All 2,804 study participants underwent testing that disclosed vitamin D levels in their blood. Researchers found that compared to healthy participants, those with schizophrenia had much lower levels of vitamin D. Around 65 percent of participants with schizophrenia were vitamin D deficient. Researchers calculated that participants with vitamin D deficiency were 2.16 times more likely to have schizophrenia compared to those with normal levels.
Researchers say it is possible that schizophrenia causes vitamin D deficiency but acknowledged that more research needs to be done. The next step is to look at the role of vitamin D supplementation in schizophrenia patients and also the link between maternal and neonatal vitamin D levels and the risk of schizophrenia later in life.
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