Schizophrenia is a devastating mental condition.
The inability to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t drives many people to madness.
Schizophrenia is so harmful that those who treat the disease end up throwing quite a bit of medication at the disease to help treat it.
And while medications certainly help to regulate the disease, there’s new research showing a vitamin D deficiency might be what leads to schizophrenia in the first place.
For years the medical literature has noted that there are higher incidences of schizophrenia in areas where there’s shorter amounts of sun exposure.
This matters because sun exposure is the mechanism that causes the formation of vitamin D-3 in the human body.
And now, recent research seems to confirm the link between vitamin D and schizophrenia is real.
Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark teamed up with researchers at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia and discovered that when a child was born with low vitamin D levels it could lead to a greater chance of developing schizophrenia later
Based on this finding the Danish researchers wrote they believe as much as 8% diagnosed cases of schizophrenia could be from low vitamin D levels.
In their paper, which appears in journal Scientific Reports, they wrote:
“Much of the attention in schizophrenia research has been focused on modifiable factors early in life with the goal of reducing the burden of this disease,” says lead study author Prof. John McGrath.
“Previous research identified an increased risk of schizophrenia associated with being born in winter or spring and living in a high-latitude country, such as Denmark.”
The researchers discovered this after studying 2,602 people born in Denmark from 1981-2000. All of them had their blood analyzed to see just how much vitamin D was in their blood.
Every single person in the study was diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life.
The team took the schizophrenic individuals and compared them people who didn’t have schizophrenia.
They observed individuals who were born with a vitamin D deficiency had a 44 percent higher risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.
Also, this deficiency in newborns could account for about 8 percent of all schizophrenia diagnoses in Denmark, the authors suggest.
Why does this happen?
Prof. McGrath theorizes “As the developing fetus is totally reliant on mother’s vitamin D stores, our findings suggest that ensuring pregnant women have adequate levels of vitamin D may result in the prevention of some schizophrenia cases in a manner comparable [with] the role [that] folate supplementation has played in the prevention of spina bifida.”
Now that they understand this, they plan to study whether or not vitamin D supplementation by mothers will help to prevent the development of schizophrenia later in life.
“The next step is to conduct randomized clinical trials of vitamin D supplements in pregnant women who are vitamin D deficient, in order to examine the impact on child brain development and risk of neurodevelopmental [conditions] such as autism and schizophrenia,” says Prof. McGrath.