A 2016 study in the Netherlands found that people with bipolar disorder are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency than the general population. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to other psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and unipolar depression. Poor diet and lack of exposure to sunlight can put someone at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
30% had low levels of vitamin D
The study, led by Remco Boerman and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, included 118 adults with bipolar disorder, 149 with schizophrenia, and 53 with schizoaffective disorder. More than 30% of these participants had deficient levels of vitamin D. Only 15% had optimum levels of the vitamin. More than 22% of the participants with bipolar disorder were deficient in vitamin D, while close to 35% of those with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder were deficient.
Study participants had vitamin D levels that were 25% lower than those of the white Dutch population, and vitamin D deficiency was 4.7 times more common in those with psychiatric disorders than the general Dutch population.
The authors suggested screening people with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder for low levels of vitamin D.