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Vitamin D deficiency can double the risk of mental disorder schizophrenia, says a new study.
Schizophrenia, according to the Mayo Clinic in US, is a condition that leads to an abnormal interpretation of reality with symptoms like delusions, hallucinations and change of behaviour. Nearly 24 million people in the world live with this condition, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Vitamin D is one of the vital nutrients needed for maintaining health and strength of bones. Exposing body to sunlight is one of the easiest ways of getting vitamin D.
In the new study, researchers looked at 2,804 participants from 19 previous studies and found a higher prevalence of the mental condition in high latitude areas and cold places. Blood samples collected from participants were tested for vitamin D levels. Result showed a direct link between the mental disorder and vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency prevailed in 65 percent of the schizophrenia patients.
“This is the first comprehensive meta-analysis to study the relationship between the two conditions,” researcher Dr Ahmad Esmaillzadeh, of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, Iran, said in a news release. “When we examined the findings of several observational studies on vitamin D and schizophrenia, we found people with schizophrenia have lower vitamin D levels than healthy people. Vitamin D deficiency is quite common among people with schizophrenia.”
“Our findings support the theory that vitamin D may have a significant impact on psychiatric health,” Esmaillzadeh, added later.
The study has been reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Apart from making bones strong, vitamin D helps body with many other ways, including improving muscle strength, immunity and brain development; keeping heart, lungs and airways healthy. According to Vitamin D Council, it also has the power to protect body against the risks of developing cancer.