Low vitamin D levels predict clinical features of schizophrenia

Schizophr Res. 2014 Nov;159(2-3):543-5. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2014.08.031. Epub 2014 Oct 11.


Vitamin D plays crucial roles in neuroprotection and neurodevelopment, and low levels are commonly associated with schizophrenia. We considered if the association was spurious or causal by examining the association of Vitamin D with Leukocyte Telomere Length (LTL), a marker of cellular aging. Vitamin D levels in 22 well-characterized schizophrenia cases were examined with respect to symptoms, cognition, and functioning. LTL was assessed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The results showed that 91% (20) had deficient or insufficient Vitamin D levels, which were associated with excitement and grandiosity, social anhedonia, and poverty of speech. Sex-specific analyses showed strong associations of hypovitamintosis D to negative symptoms and decreased premorbid adjustment in males, and to lesser hallucinations and emotional withdrawal, but increased anti-social aggression in females. In females LTL was furthermore associated with Vitamin D levels. This study demonstrates a relationship of low vitamin D levels with increased cellular aging in females. It is also the first study to demonstrate potential sex-specific profiles among schizophrenia cases with hypovitaminosis.

Keywords: Aggression; Hypovitaminosis D; Negative symptoms; Schizophrenia; Telomere length; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / physiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / cytology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotic Disorders / blood
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenia / blood
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Telomere Shortening / physiology*
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology


  • Vitamin D