25 July 2012
New research from Children of the 90s published today shows that participants who had good levels of vitamin D when they were children were less likely to have what are known as non-clinical psychotic experiences when they were older.
Non-clinical psychotic experiences can affect a person’s mind and change the way they think, feel and behave. They may be unable to tell the difference between reality and imagination. They may have hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) or delusions (believing things that are untrue). They may, for example, think that insects are crawling all over their skin or that their mobile phone is a mind-control device.
At some stage in their lives, many people who have not been diagnosed with a mental illness have non-clinical psychotic experiences. For most people they are short-lived and they do not go on to develop a mental illness.
What our researchers did, was look at the vitamin levels of 3,182 participants and they found that those who had good levels of vitamin D when they were 9 years old, were 5 to 24 per cent less likely to experience non-clinical psychotic symptoms by the age of 12.
This was the case even when other things, like the amount of time a person spent outdoors or their family history of mental health, were taken into account.
This new discovery is in line with other recent research from Children of the 90s that links good vitamin D levels to good health.
The main source of vitamin D is from the sun but we also get some in our diet, from foods like oily fish and fortified breakfast cereals.
Our researchers say that although this is an important discovery and one of the first of its kind, there is no clinical evidence yet to support using vitamin D supplements to treat mental-health problems.
Please contact Dara O'Hare for further information.