Low Vitamin D Permeates All Stages of Psychosis – MedPage Today
British researchers have found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and poorer function and mood in first-onset psychosis patients after 1 year.
Among 166 patients at first onset of psychosis (64% male), about 19% had sufficient vitamin D levels (>20 ng/mL), 40% had insufficient levels, (10 to 20 ng/mL) and 42% were deficient (<10 ng/mL), according to Fiona Gaughran, MD, at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and colleagues.
Low levels at presentation were found to be associated with Global Assessment of Function (GAF) scores (r=.29, P=0.02), with poorer function (r=0.33, P=0.05), and with higher Calgary Depression scores (r=-0.43, P=0.01), they reported at the 2015 International Congress on Schizophrenia Research in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Also, when levels were measured at 12 months, low levels were correlated with Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) positive scores (r=-0.34, P=0.03) and quality of life (r=0.33, P=0.02) using the EQ-5D measurement.
“Vitamin D levels are extremely low at all stages of psychosis,” the authors wrote. “Low vitamin D is linked to quality of life, mood, and cardiometabolic risk in established psychosis and highlights the need for holistic management of psychosis.”
Previous research has linked low vitamin D levels with psychosis, the authors explained, but it’s not clear how the two factors interact with each other. “Importantly, given the high rates of early death in psychosis, low vitamin D is also a cardiovascular risk factor,” they noted.
They also measured vitamin D levels in a separate sample of 324 community patients who had established psychosis, and all samples were adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, and season.
For those patients with established psychosis, there was no correlation between vitamin D and PANSS or GAF, but quality of life was lower in those who were deficient. In addition, vitamin D levels were negatively correlated with body mass index (r=-0.133, P=0.03), triglycerides (r=-0.203, P=0.001), total cholesterol (r=-0.140, P=0.03), obesity (r=-0.136, P=0.03), and hypertension (r=-0.135, P=0.03).
Gaughran and colleagues also noted that vitamin D levels were similar in smokers and nonsmokers, but levels were lower for those who engaged in low-intensity exercise versus those who did moderate or high-intensity exercise (P=0.002).
“While a more chronic premorbid course may result in lower vitamin D at presentation and poorer outcomes perpetuate the problem, the idea of vitamin D as potentially neuroprotective in psychosis deserves exploration,” they concluded.
Fiona Gaughran disclosed receiving honoraria from Roche, BMS, Lundbeck and Sunovion. She also has a family member with professional links to Lilly and GSK.