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Vitamin D levels in children with psychiatric disorders

Posted on: October 18, 2011   by  John Cannell, MD

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One by one, study by study, organized medicine is beginning to realize that low vitamin D levels may be contributing to the plague of psychiatric disorders that are laying our children low.

Researchers from Oregon’s medical school discovered that children with mental problems (psychosis, depression, autism, disruptive disorders, and bipolar disorder) were 50% more likely to have severe vitamin D deficiency. Indeed, 61% of the studied children had levels below 30 ng/ml. The authors, Dr. Keith Cheng and Ms. Mini Zhang, did not report the number of children with natural levels (> 40 ng/ml).

Caroline C. Medscape Medical News. 6/2/2011. Low Vitamin D: A Contributor to Mental Disorders in Children?

Interestingly, psychotic children had the lowest vitamin D levels, lower that the autistic children, although exact percentile breakdowns were not reported by the Medscape reporter. If you have never seen a flagrantly psychotic child, count yourself lucky.
Based on this study alone, the authors seemed to recommend that vitamin D deficiency in childhood be treated although they hedged when pressed to give a healthy 25(OH)D level. The Vitamin D Council does not hedge: healthy children need the same vitamin D levels as children who regularly play in the sun, around 50 ng/ml.

1 Response to Vitamin D levels in children with psychiatric disorders

  1. Gary

    This is a subject close to my heart as I had mental health problems through the later end of my childhood and into teens. Its the reason I became interest in what controls health and ultimately why I became a state registered dietitian here in the UK.
    Many people in the health professions fail to appreciate how important a simple mineral balance is to your health and mental stability. Calcium and magnesium in particular are very sedative minerals alongside zinc. With dietary intake of zinc and magnesium in particular at low levels in most diets its hardly suprising that many children and adults feel much more prone to anxiety. Combine this with a very low levels of Vitamin D and bingo, very poor absorption of calcium and magnesium are likely to seriously contribute to nervous, anxious individuals.
    This is only an observation and a theory of mine but I feel this exposure to anxiety due to chronic vitamin D deficiency is a seroius contributor to high alcohol intake. The alcohol is used to control and mask the anxiety.

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