Vitamin D deficiency and psychotic features in mentally ill adolescents: A cross-sectional study
Barbara L Gracious, Teresa L Finucane, Meriel Freidman-Campbell, Susan Messing and Melissa M Parkhurst
BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:38 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-38; Published: 9 May 2012
Background: Vitamin D deficiency is a re-emerging epidemic, especially in minority populations. Vitamin D is crucial not only for bone health but for proper brain development and functioning.
Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression, seasonal affective disorder, and schizophrenia in adults but little is known about vitamin D and mental health in the pediatric population.
Methods: One hundred four adolescents presenting for acute mental health treatment over a 16-month period were assessed for vitamin D status and the relationship of 25-OH vitamin D levels to severity of illness, defined by presence of psychotic features.
Results: Vitamin D deficiency (25-OH D levels <20 ng/ml) was present in 34%; vitamin D insufficiency (25-OH D levels 20-30 ng/ml) was present in 38%, with a remaining 28% in the normal range. Adolescents with psychotic features had lower vitamin D levels (20.4 ng/ml vs. 24.7 ng/ml; p=0.04, 1 df).
The association for vitamin D deficiency and psychotic features was substantial (OR 3.5; 95% CI 1.4-8.9; p <0.009).
Race was independently associated with vitamin D deficiency and independently associated with psychosis for those who were Asian or biracial vs. white (OR=3.8; 95% CI 1.113.4; p<0.04). Race was no longer associated with psychosis when the results were adjusted for vitamin D level.
Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency are both highly prevalent in adolescents with severe mental illness. The preliminary associations between vitamin D deficiency and presence of psychotic features warrant further investigation as to whether vitamin D deficiency is a mediator of illness severity, result of illness severity, or both. Higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency but no greater risk of psychosis in African Americans, if confirmed, may have special implications for health disparity and treatment outcome research.
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See also VitaminDWiki
- All items in Winter Blues/Depression and vitamin D
- First episode psychosis associated with a 33 percent lower vitamin D in 3 races – Sept 2013
- Teens no longer depressed after vitamin D raised to 36 ng – Feb 2012
- Pregnant blacks 50 % more likely to be depressed if 3 ng less vitamin D – July 2012Psychosis in dark skinned people 3.5 X higher if low level of vitamin D – May 2012
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