Correlation between total vitamin D levels and psychotic psychopathology in patients with schizophrenia: Therapeutic implications for add-on vitamin D augmentation

Yuksel R. N., Altunsoy N., Tikir B., Yirun Cingi M., ÜNAL K., Goka S., ...More

Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, vol.4, no.6, pp.268-275, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/2045125314553612
  • Journal Name: Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, EMBASE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.268-275
  • Keywords: Schizophrenia, vitamin D, vitamin D deficiency, psychosis, total vitamin D, 25-OH vitamin D
  • Gazi University Affiliated: No


Vitamin D deficiency is one of the implicated factors in ethio-pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Low serum vitamin D levels have been reported in many schizophrenia studies. However, the question is still not answered: Is there a correlation between disease activity and serum vitamin D levels? This is the first study evaluating the relationship between serum total vitamin D levels and disease activity, by comparing total vitamin D levels in two schizophrenia groups abruptly different in terms of disease activity. 41 patients with schizophrenia in remission, 40 patients with schizophrenia those in an acute episode and 40 age- and sex -matched controls with no major psychopatology were recruited in this study. Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and the Clinical Global Impression – Severety scale (CGI-S) were used to evaluate disease activity. A demographic data form that included entries on age, gender, ethnicity, weight, skin color, daily duration of sun exposure and nutritional assessment were used. Blood samples were taken from all patients and controls. Total vitamin D (D2+D3), calcium, phosphor, parathyroid hormone values were measured. Patients in an acute episode had significantly lower vitamin D levels compared to patients in remission and to healthy controls (in terms of median values respectively, 7.18, 15.03, 15.02, p < 0.001). We observed negative and moderate correlations between vitamin D levels and CGI scores (r = −0.624, p < 0.001), vitamin D levels and PANNS scores (r = −0.508, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between groups in terms of serum P, Ca and PTH levels (p = 0.099, p = 0.943, p = 0.762). We could not detect any significant impact of weekly duration of sun exposure, skin color, ethnicity or nutrition on total vitamin D levels. Even though important factors for vitamin D synthesis were similar, there was severe vitamin D deficiency in patients presenting with an acute episode, significantly different from those in remission. Is vitamin D deficiency the result or the cause of an acute episode? Our results contribute to the idea that vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia may have interactions with an unknown pathway. Present data points out a possible influence at a genomic level. Future trials may investigate this association with longer follow up. We recommend that, serum vitamin D levels should be measured in patients with schizophrenia especially in long term care. Appropriate further treatment with add-on vitamin D supplements and diets that are rich in vitamin D should be considered. © 2014, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.