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Post-traumatic stress disorder and Vitamin D

Is post-traumatic stress disorder related to Vitamin D? - asked Perplexity AI June 2024

Yes, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is related to vitamin D levels. Multiple studies have found associations between PTSD and reduced levels of vitamin D, as well as vitamin D deficiency.

  1. Reduced Vitamin D Levels in PTSD Patients:
    • A study published in ScienceDirect found that PTSD is associated with reduced vitamin D levels and vitamin D deficiency. The study measured serum levels of total 25(OH)D in a general-population sample and found that lower levels of vitamin D were inversely associated with PTSD (OR: 0.96; p = 0.044), while vitamin D deficiency was positively associated with PTSD (OR = 2.02; p = 0.028).
  2. Genetic Polymorphisms and Vitamin D:
    • The same study also investigated the role of the vitamin D-binding protein (Gc) by testing two functional polymorphisms (rs4588 and rs7041). It was found that carriers of the CC-genotype of rs4588 had significantly higher 25(OH)D levels and lower odds for PTSD compared to the AA-genotype. Similarly, carriers of the TT-allele of rs7041 had lower 25(OH)D levels and increased odds for PTSD compared to the GG-genotype.
  3. Vitamin D and Mental Health:
    • Another study highlighted that vitamin D deficiency might contribute to resistance to treatment in psychiatric conditions, including PTSD. The study suggested that vitamin D's role in neuro-inflammatory and neuro-immunological regulation could be implicated in the pathogenesis of PTSD.
  4. Vitamin D Supplementation:
    • Supplementing with vitamin D has been suggested as a potential intervention for PTSD. It is noted that vitamin D supplementation may help address depressive symptoms associated with PTSD, although it is not a cure-all and should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
  5. Broader Implications:
    • The relationship between vitamin D and PTSD is part of a broader context where vitamin D levels are linked to various mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. This suggests that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels could be beneficial for overall mental health.

The evidence indicates a significant relationship between PTSD and vitamin D levels. Reduced vitamin D levels and vitamin D deficiency are associated with higher odds of developing PTSD. Genetic factors related to the vitamin D-binding protein also play a role in this association. While vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial, it should be considered as part of a broader, comprehensive treatment strategy for PTSD.
12 references

PTSD 2X more likely if low Vitamin D - Jan 2020

Posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with reduced vitamin D levels and functional polymorphisms of the vitamin D binding-protein in a population-based sample
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry Vol 96, 10 Jan 2020, 109760https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2019.109760
Jan Terock a b, Anke Hannemann c g, Sandra Van der Auwera b d, Deborah Janowitz b, Carsten Spitzer e, Sarah Bonk b, Henry Völzke f, Hans Jörgen Grabe b d


  • PTSD is associated with reduced vitamin D levels and vitamin D deficiency.
  • rs4588 and rs7041 of the vitamin D-binding protein are associated with vitamin D levels.
  • rs4588 and rs7041 are associated with PTSD, even after adjusting for vitamin D levels.
  • Homozygous carriers of the Gc2 genotype showed an increased risk for PTSD.

Low levels of vitamin D were found to be associated with different mental disorders. However, the role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of PTSD is unclear. In this study, we aimed at investigating whether PTSD is linked to reduced vitamin D levels and vitamin D deficiency. Moreover, we sought to investigate the role of the vitamin D-binding protein (also group-specific component or Gc) by testing if two functional polymorphisms (rs4588 and rs7041) were associated with vitamin D levels and PTSD.

Serum levels of total 25(OH)D were measured in a general-population sample of the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-1). The number of traumatic events and status of PTSD were assessed using the PTSD module of the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV. Study participants were genotyped for rs4588 and rs7041. Associations of 25(OH)D levels and the genotypes with PTSD were tested in subjects with at least one traumatic event (n = 1653).

25(OH)D levels were inversely (OR: 0.96; p = 0.044) and vitamin D deficiency was positively (OR = 2.02; p = 0.028) associated with PTSD. Both polymorphisms of the Gc were associated with 25(OH)D levels and PTSD: Carriers of the CC-genotype of rs4588 showed significantly higher 25(OH)D levels (ß = 0.179, p < 0.001) and lower odds for PTSD (OR = 0.35; p = 0.023) compared to the AA-genotype. Likewise, carriers of the TT-allele of rs7041 showed lower 25(OH)D levels (−0.122; p < 0.001) and increased odds for PTSD (OR = 2.80; p = 0.015) compared to the GG-genotype.

Our results suggest that an altered vitamin D metabolism may be involved in the pathophysiology of PTSD. Also, genotypes of the Gc and thus Gc serum levels may impact on PTSD development over and above the effects of 25(OH)D. Our findings contribute to explain the associations of PTSD with different mental and physical disorders.

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PTSD Has Surged Among College Students - NYT June 2024

NYT The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among college students rose to 7.5 percent in 2022, more than double the rate five years earlier, researchers found.

  • "PTSD was introduced as an official diagnosis in 1980, as it became clear that combat experiences had imprinted on many Vietnam veterans, making it difficult for them to work or participate in family life. Over the decades that followed, the definition was revised to encompass a larger range of injury, violence and abuse, as well as indirect exposure to traumatic events."

Wonder when COVID will be considered as a source of trauma

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Post-traumatic stress disorder and Vitamin D        
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