Posted on: December 20, 2018 at 7:46 pm
Last updated: January 16, 2019 at 10:16 am
Some research suggests a link between low vitamin D levels and a person’s risk of developing schizophrenia. New evidence indicates that this notion may be correct.

A new study has investigated the link between low vitamin D levels and schizophrenia risk.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.

Symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and cognitive problems characterize schizophrenia.


So far, however, researchers have been unable to find out exactly what causes this condition.

That being said, they have identified some likely risk factors — such as the presence of certain sets of genes, or exposure to some viruses.

Due to older research suggesting that schizophrenia might be more prevalent in regions with less sun, some scientists have hypothesized that vitamin D deficiency may also be a risk factor for this condition.

A recent study led by teams from Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, has found that newborn babies with low vitamin D levels are more at risk of developing schizophrenia later on.

Our newest fat-burning dessert recipe book just released and we’ve reserved a free digital copy for you! Click the button and simply let me know where you want us to email it and you’ll have it in your inbox today…

Grab my free copy

“Much of the attention in schizophrenia research has been focused on modifiable factors early in life with the goal of reducing the burden of this disease,” says lead study author Prof. John McGrath. Previous research identified an increased risk of schizophrenia associated with being born in winter or spring and living in a high-latitude country, such as Denmark.”

In the study paper, which appears in the journal Scientific Reports, the authors report that vitamin D deficiency in newborn babies may be responsible for approximately 8 percent of all schizophrenia cases in Denmark.

A 44 percent increase in risk

The new study assessed the data of 2,602 people in Denmark. The researchers analyzed vitamin D levels in blood samples from babies born in Denmark in 1981–2000. All of these eventually developed schizophrenia in early adulthood.


Prof. McGrath and his team compared these samples with additional ones from schizophrenia-free individuals whom scientists had matched by date of birth and biological sex to those in the initial cohort.

The team discovered that those born with a vitamin D deficiency had a 44 percent higher risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. Also, this deficiency in newborns could account for about 8 percent of all schizophrenia diagnoses in Denmark, the authors suggest.

“We hypothesized,” explains Prof. McGrath, “that low vitamin D levels in pregnant women due to a lack of sun exposure during winter months might underlie this risk, and [we] investigated the association between vitamin D deficiency and risk of schizophrenia.”

Preventing vitamin D deficiency in women who are pregnant, he says, may therefore also prevent childrens’ later risk of schizophrenia.

According to Prof. McGrath, “As the developing fetus is totally reliant on mother’s vitamin D stores, our findings suggest that ensuring pregnant women have adequate levels of vitamin D may result in the prevention of some schizophrenia cases in a manner comparable [with] the role [that] folate supplementation has played in the prevention of spina bifida.”


In the future, the researchers aim to organize a clinical trial assessing whether or not administering vitamin D supplements to women who are pregnant could effectively protect their children from exposure to neurodevelopmental conditions.

“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 [conditions] such as autism and schizophrenia,” says Prof. McGrath.

This article was written by Maria Cohut and shared with permission from our friends at Medical News Today.

Medical News Today
Health Expert
Medical News Today (MNT) is owned and operated by Healthline Media UK Ltd., a leading healthcare publishing company. There are offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan. MNT is in the top 260 United States sites and top 75 United Kingdom sites, as reported by Quantcast and receives more than 15 million monthly visits, 13 million monthly unique visitors, and 20 million monthly page views*.

A Special Message From Our Founders

Use Superfoods as Medicine e-book

Over the past few years of working with health experts all over the world, there’s one major insight we’ve learned.

You don’t have to rely on expensive medications for the rest of your lives.

Most health problems can often be resolved with a good diet, exercise and a few powerful superfoods. In fact, we’ve gone through hundreds of scientific papers and ‘superfood’ claims and only selected the top 5% that are:

  • Backed by scientific research
  • Affordable
  • Simple to use

We then put this valuable information into the Superfood as Medicine Guide: a 100+ page guide on the 7 most powerful superfoods available, including:

  • Exact dosages for every health ailment
  • DIY recipes to create your own products
  • Simple recipes