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Teens able to think better after vitamin D levels raised to just 25 nanograms – RCT April 2017

Linking vitamin D status, executive functioning and self-perceived mental health in adolescents through multivariate analysis: A randomized double-blind placebo control trial.

Scand J Psychol. 2017 Apr;58(2):123-130. doi: 10.1111/sjop.12353.

Grung B1, Sandvik AM2, Hjelle K3, Dahl L4, Frøyland L4, Nygård I5, Hansen AL3,6.
1 Department of Chemistry, University of Bergen, Allégaten 41, 5007, Bergen, Norway.
2 Norwegian Police University College, Helgeroveien 9, 3291, Stavern, Norway.
3 Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Bergen, Christiesgt. 12, 5015, Bergen, Norway.
4 National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), PO Box 2029, Nordnes, 5817, Bergen, Norway.
5 Department of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences and Chemical Engineering, Bergen University College.
6 Centre for Research and Education in Forensic Psychiatry, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.

The aim of the present randomized double-blind placebo control trial was to investigate if vitamin D supplementation had an effect on vitamin D status, executive functioning and self-perceived mental health in a group of Norwegian adolescents during winter time.
Fifty adolescents were randomly assigned into an intervention group (vitamin D pearls) or a control group (placebo pearls). Before (pre-test in December/January) and after (post-test in April/May) the intervention period the participants were exposed to a test procedure, consisting of blood draw, completion of cognitive tests (Tower of Hanoi and Tower of London), and the Youth Self-report version of the Child Behavior Checklist. Multivariate data analysis showed that participants with low vitamin D status scored worse on the Tower of London tests and the more difficult sub-tasks on the Tower of Hanoi tests. They also had a tendency to report higher frequency of externalizing behavior problems and attention deficit. At pre-test, the overall mean vitamin D status measured as 25-hydroxy vitamin D was 42 nmol/L, defining deficiency (Intervention group = 44 nmol/L, Control group = 39 nmol/L).
However, vitamin D supplementation caused a significant increase in vitamin D status resulting in a sufficient level in the Intervention group at post-test (mean 62 nmol/L). The results also revealed that the intervention group improved their performance on the most demanding sub-tasks on the ToH. Overall, the study indicates that vitamin D status in adolescents may be important for both executive functioning and mental health.

PMID: 28252190 DOI: 10.1111/sjop.12353

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