A team of doctors and researchers out of Israel have recently reported on the vitamin D levels of schizophrenic patients at the Ness Ziona Mental Health Center in Israel.
They collected data from 50 schizophrenic patients and compared them to 33 patients with depression and 50 controls (personnel from health center with no mental health condition).
Schizophrenic patients had significantly lower vitamin D levels, with a mean level of 15 ng/ml, compared to patients with depression at 19.6 ng/ml and controls at 20.2 ng/ml.
To investigate whether any specific medications induced deficiency, the researchers grouped patients and their vitamin D levels by type of medication. These included: antipsychotics, antidepressants, sedatives, and mood stabilizers. However, they did not find a relationship between vitamin D levels and type of medication.
The simplest explanation for the low vitamin D levels is that the schizophrenic patients were confined to stay inside the health center. However, as we have reported before, some studies show an intriguing relationship between vitamin D and schizophrenia.
In one past study out of Denmark, researchers found that low levels of vitamin D in infancy increased risk of developing schizophrenia by twofold. Other observational studies have noted that people born in winter, when vitamin D levels are lowest, have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia.
While this study does not offer insight into the etiology of schizophrenia, it does point out that patients with schizophrenia and/or patients restricted to staying inside hospitals are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, these patients’ vitamin D levels should be monitored and treated to avoid onset of other diseases linked with vitamin D deficiency.