Deficiency in Vitamin D has been linked to various health problems and
risks including bone mass loss in women. Researchers at the Queensland
Brain Institute have now linked low levels of Vitamin D during pregnancy
to an increased risk of schizophrenia.
The study involved taking small blood samples from new born babies and testing the blood for Vitamin D levels. Infants who tested low for Vitamin D were two times more likely to suffer from schizophrenia later in life.
While no changes have been made to pregnancy vitamin recommendations, changes could soon be encouraged through public health messages.
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine hormone” as the body can produce huge amounts of Vitamin D during skin exposure to sunlight. People with light complexions and fair skin need less sun exposure than people with darker skin.
Sunscreen inhibits cells ability to produce Vitamin D, so sun exposure is suggested without sunscreen and with shorts and a tank top. In the summer months, a fair skinned person can stand or sit outside for 10 minutes and produce 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D. In winter, any cities north of Atlanta, GA do not receive enough UV-B rays to produce Vitamin D and thus supplementation may be required.
Experts who advocate Vitamin D supplementation suggest 2,000 IUs daily in the winter and lots of healthy sunshine in the summer. For pregnant women, some recommendations exceed the 2,000 IU mark and aim more for 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D.
Source: John McGrath, Darryl Eyles MD. General Psychiatry. 10 September 2010.