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Low vitamin D linked to adolescent behavior problems

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

low vitamin d linked to behavior problems

Story at-a-glance -

  • Children with vitamin D deficiency between the ages of 5 and 12 years were 1.8 times as likely to display behavior problems in later childhood, when they were 11 to 18 years old
  • “Externalizing” problems, such as aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors, were more common in adolescents who were vitamin D deficient as children
  • Low levels of vitamin D binding protein, which transport vitamin D in the blood, were also linked to aggressive behavior and symptoms of anxiety and depressive mood compared to higher levels
  • In separate research, lower vitamin D status was associated with increased emotional problems, peer relationship issues and behavioral difficulties among children

Vitamin D was once regarded as a nutrient important for bone health, but it's now known that this steroid hormone influences virtually every cell in your body, including those in your brain. Far from just influencing your physical health, vitamin D plays a role in mental health and may influence behavior — even years down the road.

As such, ensuring children's vitamin D levels are optimized is also important, as a deficiency in childhood may affect their behavior in adolescence, according to a University of Michigan study.


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