Associations Between Hypovitaminosis D and Poorer Outcomes in Schizophrenia

blood test for Vitamin D
blood test for Vitamin D
Future studies should investigate how supplementation with vitamin D may improve symptoms and outcomes.

Hypovitaminosis D, defined by vitamin D blood level <25 nM, is common in patients with schizophrenia and is associated with increased antidepressant consumption, agoraphobia, and suicide risk, according to research published in The European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience.

Hypovitaminosis D has been associated with cognitive disorders, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder in the general population. The current study sought to determine hypovitaminosis D prevalence and its associated factors in a stable, outpatient sample of schizophrenia patients (N=251, 72.1% male). Level of functioning was measured using the Functional Remission of General Schizophrenia Scale. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale Score and the Calgary Depression Rating Scale Score. Suicide risk and anxiety disorders were measured using the Structured Clinical Interview for Mental Disorders.

Hypovitaminosis D prevalence was 27.5% in the study population. After multivariate analysis, hypovitaminosis D was most significantly associated with a higher risk for suicide (aOR=2.67 [1.31-5.46], P =.01), followed by agoraphobia (aOR=3.37 [1.66-6.85], P <.0001), and increased consumption of antidepressants (aOR=0.97 [0.95-0.99], P =.01). Hypovitaminosis D was also associated with decreased functioning (aOR=0.97 [0.95-0.99], P =.01) and negative symptoms (aOR=1.04 [1.01-1.07], P =.04). These associations were found independent of gender and age. There were no associations found with metabolic syndrome, alcohol use disorder, or a specific antipsychotic, mood stabilizer, or antidepressant, and only slight abnormalities related to cognitive impairment were found.

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Study investigators concluded that because impaired recovery and increased negative symptoms, anxiety, and antidepressant consumption is associated with hypovitaminosis D in stable outpatients with schizophrenia, future studies should investigate how supplementation with vitamin D may improve symptoms and outcomes.


Fond G, Faugere M, Faget-Agius C, et al. Hypovitaminosis D is associated with negative symptoms, suicide risk, agoraphobia, impaired functional remission, and antidepressant consumption in schizophrenia [published online August 4, 2018]. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. doi:10.1007/s00406-018-0932-0