Neonatal vitamin D deficiency linked to schizophrenia in study in Denmark

Dec. 6 (UPI) — Researchers in Denmark found that newborns with vitamin D deficiency have a 44 percent greater risk of developing schizophrenia.

The study, published Thursday in Nature, examined vitamin D concentration in blood samples from 2,602 newborns collected between 1981 and 2000 who later were diagnosed as schizophrenics.

“Schizophrenia is a group of poorly understood brain disorders characterized by symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and cognitive impairment,” John McGrath, a professor at The University of Queensland and study co-author, said in a news release.

Although McGrath acknowledges that schizophrenia has many different risk factors, both genetic and environmental, multiple studies point to a vitamin D deficiency as a primary cause.

In fact, McGrath thinks vitamin D deficiency could account for approximately 8 percent of Denmark’s schizophrenia cases.

In fact, another study from 2016 also connects vitamin D deficiency to schizophrenia, a condition that affects about 3.5 million people in the U.S.

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 5 percent of people diagnosed with schizophrenia die from suicide.

“The next step is to conduct randomized clinical trials of vitamin D supplements in pregnant women who are vitamin D deficient, in order to examine the impact on child brain development and risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia,” McGrath said.

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