A recent study out of the journal Schizophrenia Research found that low vitamin D levels were associated with increased grandiosity, excitement, social anhedonia, and irregular speech among patients with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder that makes it hard to tell the difference between what is real and what is not. The symptoms are categorized into three types: positive, negative, and cognitive.
Positive symptoms refer to psychotic behaviors not seen in healthy people, such as hallucinations and delusions. Negative symptoms describe the loss of normal physical and mental functions, such as the lack of ability to sustain an activity or losing pleasure in everyday life.
Cognitive symptoms include trouble understanding and utilizing information to make decisions as well as problems with working memory.
Studies have shown a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among patients with schizophrenia, suggesting vitamin D may relate to the development of the disease. But there hasn’t been any research looking at the relationship between vitamin D status and specific symptoms of schizophrenia.
Researchers recently conducted a small study of 22 schizophrenia patients to determine if vitamin D status was separately related to any of the symptoms.
They measured the vitamin D levels of these patients and analyzed the various symptoms experienced by them.
The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency was in accordance to previous research findings, with 20 of the 22 patients considered vitamin D deficient or insufficient.
The researchers found that low vitamin D status was related to grandiosity, or an unrealistic sense of superiority. Low vitamin D status was also related to discomfort in social situations and irregular speech.
Worse pre-morbidity adjustment and negative symptoms were related to low vitamin D in men with schizophrenia. Pre-morbidity adjustments factored in the patients’ social skills, relationships, and education through four periods of the patients’ lives.
In women, low vitamin D levels were associated with less hallucinations and emotional withdrawal, and increased anti-social aggression.
The researchers conclude, “This is the ﬁrst study to demonstrate potential sex-speciﬁc symptom and feature proﬁles among individuals with schizophrenia and hypovitaminosis D.”