This study measured the relationship between Vitamin D and clinical symptoms in people experiencing a first episode of psychosis. Researchers found that 80% of individuals in the study had suboptimal levels of the vitamin. Moreover, a higher baseline level of vitamin D was associated with lower symptom scores in follow-up tests.
A longitudinal study, recently published in Schizophrenia Research, measures the relationship between Vitamin D and clinical symptoms in persons experiencing a first episode of psychosis (FEP). After following persons diagnosed with FEP over 12 months, the researchers found that, at baseline, 80% of individuals with FEP had suboptimal levels of vitamin D. Moreover, a higher baseline level of vitamin D was associated with lower symptom scores at follow-up.
“Suboptimal vitamin D is highly prevalent in FEP, and remains so 12 months after first contact for psychosis,” they write. “We found that higher baseline vitamin D levels were associated with fewer total and negative psychotic symptoms at one year after first contact for psychosis, suggesting that vitamin D may have relevance to the course of psychotic disorders.”
One-hundred sixty-eight adults with FEP were recruited and followed across 12-months. Data was collected on vitamin D levels, age, sex, ethnicity, diagnoses, positive and negative symptoms, functioning, and mood symptoms. Participants were administered a battery of cognitive assessments to measure cognitive functioning.
The few significant findings presented in this paper shed light on the existence of the relationship between vitamin D and symptoms of psychosis. However, the mixed results reveal the need for further clarity in our understanding of the role of nutrients play in the development of mental health difficulties (e.g., psychosis and depression). Despite the mixed findings, the relationship between baseline vitamin D levels and clinical state at 12 months as well as the improvement seen in negative symptoms in 12 months in those with higher levels of vitamin D are notable.