Vitamin D & Schizophrenia (2021)

Vitamin D deficiency is more common in patients with schizophrenia. This is due to factors such as social isolation, lack of movement, smoking, spending less time outside, malnutrition, and disruption of vitamin D synthesis by antipsychotic drugs.

The study looked into the relationship between sunlight exposure and positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms. 52 patients were invited to take part and 40 completed the study.

Patients had their serum 25OHD levels measured in order to understand their current vitamin D level in the blood.

The following clinical assessment scales were used pre and post replacement of Vitamin D:

  • SANS – scale for the assessment of negative symptoms
  • SAPS – Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms
  • WCST-CV- Wisconsin Card Sorting Test used to evaluate executive function

Vitamin D deficiency was found in 65.4% of the patients with vitamin D values below the normal limit.

Various levels of oral vitamin D was given once a week for eight weeks to the patients according to their initial levels. Vitamin D levels were measured again eight weeks after the initiation of the treatment. Additionally, patients whose serum vitamin D level could not reach > 30 ng/mL within the eight weeks were given additional doses until the optimal level was reached.

Results showed that the mean SANS score was statistically significantly lower after replacement of vitamin D and the total attention score was also significantly improved. The study therefore concluded that addressing vitamin D deficiency in schizophrenic patients (together with antipsychotic treatment) can improve the total attention span and positive and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

The abstract can be accessed here.

Neriman A, Hakan Y, Ozge U. The psychotropic effect of vitamin D supplementation on schizophrenia symptoms. BMC psychiatry. 2021 Dec;21(1):1-0.