Low Vitamin D levels predict clinical features of schizophrenia

Kristina Cieslak, Jordyn Feingold, Daniel Antonius, Julie Walsh-Messinger, Roberta Dracxler, Mary Rosedale, Nicole Aujero, David Keefe, Deborah Goetz, Raymond Goetz, Dolores Malaspina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vitamin D plays crucial roles in neuroprotection and neurodevelopment, and low levels are commonly associated with schizophrenia. We considered if the association was spurious or causal by examining the association of Vitamin D with Leukocyte Telomere Length (LTL), a marker of cellular aging. Vitamin D levels in 22 well-characterized schizophrenia cases were examined with respect to symptoms, cognition, and functioning. LTL was assessed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The results showed that 91% (20) had deficient or insufficient Vitamin D levels, which were associated with excitement and grandiosity, social anhedonia, and poverty of speech. Sex-specific analyses showed strong associations of hypovitamintosis D to negative symptoms and decreased premorbid adjustment in males, and to lesser hallucinations and emotional withdrawal, but increased anti-social aggression in females. In females LTL was furthermore associated with Vitamin D levels. This study demonstrates a relationship of low vitamin D levels with increased cellular aging in females. It is also the first study to demonstrate potential sex-specific profiles among schizophrenia cases with hypovitaminosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-545
Number of pages3
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Aggression
  • Hypovitaminosis D
  • Negative symptoms
  • Schizophrenia
  • Telomere length
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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