Link Between Vitamin D Levels and Intracranial Volume in Schizophrenia

vitamin D test
vitamin D test
Investigators assess whether vitamin D and folate levels are associated with intracranial volume and neurodevelopment.

Vitamin D levels are associated with intracranial volume (ICV) in adults, according to results published in Scientific Reports.

These results warrant further study to confirm the findings and determine possible mechanisms and genetic associations.

The study included participants with severe mental disorders (n=90; 24 with schizophrenia, 1 with schizophreniform, 9 with schizoaffective disorder, 24 with bipolar I, 13 with bipolar II, 3 with bipolar not otherwise specified, 2 with major depressive disorder with psychosis, and 14 with other psychotic disorders) and healthy controls (n=91). Each participant underwent 3T magnetic resonance imaging and serum sampling. The researchers used multiple linear regression to assess the contribution of serum vitamin D, folate, and patient-control status on ICV.

The results indicated a significant positive association between vitamin D and ICV for both participants with mental disorders and healthy controls (P =.003, r =.22). Folate was associated with ICV and there was a significant association between vitamin D and folate (P =.0001, r =.28). These associations were present in both participant groups.

The researchers did not find significant differences between participants with mental disorders and healthy controls.

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“This is, to our knowledge, is the first study to report independent and positive associations of [vitamin D] on ICV in both patients with severe mental disorders and healthy controls,” the researchers wrote. “However, these results are contrary to two previous studies that indicate an inverse association between [vitamin D] and ICV in healthy female students and in older adults with memory complaints.”


Gurholt TP, Osnes K, Nerhus M, et al. Vitamin D, folate and the intracranial volume in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and healthy controls. Sci Rep. 2018; 8(1):10817.