Research published this past week is the first to report that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk for suicide in US military personnel.
John C. Umhau, MD, and colleagues in Bethesda, Maryland conducted a prospective, case-control study using serum samples stored in the Department of Defense Serum Repository. The researchers matched 495 verified suicide cases to 495 controls by rank, age and sex.
The researchers found that more than 30% of all participants had vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml. The subjects with the lowest vitamin D status (<15.5 ng/ml) had the highest risk of suicide, while participants with higher 25(OH)D status showed a decreased risk. The authors conclude,
“Future studies could determine if additional sunlight exposure and vitamin D supplementation might reduce suicide by increasing 25(OH) D levels.”