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Prenatal Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Increased Risk for Schizophrenia

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

vitamin d deficiency linked to schizophrenia

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  • Schizophrenia has a physiological basis, beginning with improperly distributed neural progenitor cells in the developing brain. As a result, few mature neurons appear in the cortex — an area associated with memory, attention and processing of language — in the schizophrenic brain
  • There is a lifelong impact for children born of vitamin D deficient mothers, ranging from childhood allergies and more frequent colds and flu, to a greater risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and, as recently confirmed, schizophrenia
  • Children who were vitamin D deficient at birth had a 44 percent increased risk of developing schizophrenia as adults; vitamin D status could account for 8 percent of the schizophrenia cases in Denmark
  • Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has also been shown to increase autism-related traits in 6-year-old children
  • To optimize your and your child’s health, get your vitamin D level tested — ideally before you get pregnant and routinely during pregnancy and breastfeeding — and take whatever amount of vitamin D3 you need to reach and maintain a level of 60 to 80 ng/mL

Despite being simple and inexpensive to address, vitamin D deficiency is epidemic around the world, and evidence suggests vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy plays an important role in the development of several chronic health problems, and raises the risk of complications for the mother as well.

For example, research by GrassrootsHealth shows 40 to 60 percent of preterm births could be prevented by raising pregnant women's vitamin D to a level of 40 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Vitamin D optimization also reduces the mother's risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and prenatal infections by approximately 50 percent.

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