Inadequate vitamin D level is associated with various adverse medical outcomes. There is a growing concern that insufficient vitamin D may play a role in the development of psychiatric symptoms. This study aims to answer the question: do children with mental disorders have a higher prevalence of hypovitaminosis D? A retrospective chart review examined 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels in youth ages 7 to 17 (n=67) at two Oregon psychiatric residential facilities. Vitamin D deficiency is defined as <20 ng/ml and insufficiency as <30 ng/ml. Diagnoses were organized into six categories. 25(OH)D levels were compared across genders and diagnostic groups using a two-sample t-test and ANOVA, respectively. Statistical differences in prevalence across diagnostic categories were calculated using a Pearson chi-square test. Using the data from Saintonge’s NHANES III study on healthy US children for comparison, 21% of our cohorts were found to be vitamin D deficient and 64% insufficient, in contrast to 14% and 48%, respectively. While our results are not statistically significant, mainly because of small sample size, the overall mean 25(OH)D level in our cohort was insufficient (27.59 ± 9.35 ng/ml), compared to a sufficient mean value of 32.1 ng/ml in the general population.
No statistical significant difference was found in the prevalence across diagnostic categories.
This study found that children with psychiatric disorders might have a higher prevalence of hypovitaminosis D than the general pediatric population.
Although a causal relationship between hypovitaminosis D and psychiatric disorders cannot be derived based on the study design, our study provides initial descriptive data on the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in children with psychiatric disorders, which has not been previously reported to our knowledge. Prospective studies with a larger sample size and controlled variables would allow more precise analysis of the relationship between hypovitaminosis D and childhood mental disorders.
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- 99 percent of psychiatric population had less than 30 ng of vitamin D – June 2013
- Mental health problems cut in half when have adequate level of vitamin D – Jan 2013
- Hypothesis: Some Mental Illness could be treated or prevented with vitamin D
- Autism treated by Vitamin D: Dr. Cannell - video June 2013
- Premature or low birth weight resulted in children 3X more likely to be anxious – meta-analysis May 2011