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Vitamin Deficiencies Associated With First Episode Psychosis

Early or first-episode psychosis (FEP) refers to when a person first shows signs of beginning to lose contact with reality.  A recent study suggests that FEP is associated with folate and vitamin D deficiencies.


For this analysis, researchers looked at 28 studies that examined the blood levels of six different vitamins and 10 different minerals in 2,612 total participants. All of the participants were assessed immediately after showing signs of psychosis and before or in the early stages of treatment.


After examining the data, the researchers found that FEP was associated with deficiencies in vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin D, compared to healthy controls. The association was stronger in young people with FEP.


The researchers noted that while no associations were found between psychosis and other vitamin deficiencies, the research was limited. Therefore, more research would need to be conducted to determine whether or not other nutritional deficiencies are associated with psychosis.


Researchers from the University of Western Sydney led the study. It was published on November 30, 2017, in Schizophrenia Bulletin.


Folate is a B vitamin that plays an essential role in the necessary functions of the human body, including nervous system function, red blood cell formation, and hormone function. Previous studies have found a potential link between folate and reductions in the risk of stroke, hearing loss and birth defects.


Previous studies have associated vitamin D with improved lipid profiles in diabetics, lower risk of asthma and allergies in children, reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, lower risk of cognitive decline, and improving age-related macular degeneration.

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