Columbus, OH—Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression seasonal affective disorder and schizophrenia in adults. But what about teens?

In an alarming study conducted by Barbara Gracious, M.D., of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and her colleagues, conclusions showed that vitamin D deficiencies in adolescents could lead to an increased risk of psychosis, or a loss of touch with reality. This is a characteristic of mood disorders

Gracious and her team (from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the University of Rochester Medical Center and Irwin Army Community Hospital Behavioral Health) assessed 104 teenagers at an acute mental health clinic over a 16-month period. They observed their vitamin D levels and the severity of their psychotic episodes.

The results were astounding. Some 72% of observed adolescents had vitamin D levels lower than 30 ng/ml; included in this group were 34% with levels lower than 20 ng/ml. Those with vitamin D deficiencies were four times more likely exhibit psychotic tendencies. Of the teens with normal vitamin D levels, 79% did not have psychotic features.

These findings, said to be the first to associate vitamin D deficiency in adolescents and the severity of mental illness, are published in published in BMC Psychiatry.


Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2012 (online 6/29/12)