Vitamin D Deficiency
According to a new study, a vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk for developing schizophrenia, a serious mental illness that, although incurable, can be treated with powerful antipsychotic medications. Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Medicine, the study is the first meta-analysis to investigate the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia. Deriving data from multiple observational studies, this meta-analysis found that people lacking sufficient vitamin D levels were twice as likely to suffer from schizophrenia as those who had adequate amounts. One of the study’s authors remarked that a growing trend exists within the nutritional science field that views vitamin D as vital to the reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and psychiatric ailments.
The specific kind of vitamin D we get when skin cells chemically transform ultraviolet energy (sunlight) is necessary to promote absorption of calcium by the body to maintain muscle, bone and teeth health. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that over one billion people suffer from varying degrees of vitamin D deficiency because they have limited exposure to sunlight.
Schizophrenia, a mental illness defined by delusions, hallucinations and the inability to distinguish reality from fantasy, appears to be more prevalent in those living in colder climates (Alaska and Scandinavian countries) and in high latitudes (Russia, Japan, Korea) – both examples of climates that may make it more difficult to receive adequate sunlight exposure. In addition, vitamin D deficiency is associated with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). SAD is a cyclic depression affecting people during fall and winter, when sunlight is less abundant and there is more darkness than daylight.
Additional Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Sunlight-driven vitamin D production may also be important for preventing preeclampsia, a serious medical issue that sometimes develops during pregnancy. Signs of preeclampsia include proteinuria (excess protein in urine), thrombocytopenia (insufficient blood platelet levels), decreased liver functioning and fluid buildup in the lungs. Unless treated, preeclampsia could cause rickets in the fetus, low birth weight and possibly even miscarriage if left untreated. French ob-gyns are so certain that lack of vitamin D is detrimental to pregnancy that they routinely prescribe vitamin D3 supplements to women when they reach their sixth month of pregnancy.
Several long-term studies have found that menopausal women may reduce their risk of osteoporosis by taking calcium and vitamin D supplements and eating calcium-rich foods. Vitamin D seems to also help some women with the anxiety, moodiness and irritability caused by estrogen loss and hormonal fluctuations during menopause.
Ovarian cancer is considered one of several cancers sensitive to a vitamin D deficiency. Studies consistently indicate that mortality rates in women suffering ovarian cancer are lower in places presenting normal to higher than normal amounts of sunlight.
Could You Need Vitamin D Supplements?
Call us at Advanced OB GYN Associates to ask about vitamin D deficiency or any other women’s health issue. Women living in Dallas, Texas depend on their Dallas OB GYN at our facility to provide them with compassionate and professional care necessary to keep them healthy throughout all the stages of a woman’s life. If you would like more information about vitamin D’s benefits and how you can find out if you suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, contact our office today to speak to one of our staff.