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According to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, there is a potential link between vitamin D intake and mental health. Researchers suggest that low levels of vitamin D in early childhood may contribute to an increased risk of mental health issues later in life. The study sheds light on this association, providing new insights into the relationship between vitamin D and mental health.

Vitamin D3 supplements lower the risk of psychiatric symptoms

Finnish researchers conducted a study to determine if a higher-than-recommended daily dose of vitamin D3 in early childhood can lower the risk of psychiatric symptoms later in school age. The study is part of the Vitamin D Intervention in Infants (VIDI) clinical trial, which examines the effects of early vitamin D3 intervention on children’s growth and development. Children were divided into two groups: one received the standard daily dose of 10 micrograms, while the other received triple the amount (30 µg) of vitamin D.

Researchers monitored children in the study until the ages of 6 to 8, and parents assessed their child’s psychiatric symptoms using a questionnaire. The study revealed that providing a higher dose of daily vitamin D3 supplementation reduced the risk of internalizing problems in school-aged children. Children who received the higher dose exhibited fewer symptoms of depressed mood, anxiety, and withdrawn behaviour compared to those on a standard dose.

Children on standard doses of vitamin D had internalizing problems

Findings indicate that there were significant internalizing problems in 11.8% of children given the standard dose of vitamin D supplement until age 2. In contrast, only 5.6% of children receiving a higher vitamin D dose had similar problems.

According to Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Tampere University, Samuel Sandboge, the research suggests that increasing vitamin D3 supplementation during early childhood may lower the risk of internalizing psychiatric symptoms in late preschool and early school age. Samuel emphasized the potential benefits of higher vitamin D doses in reducing these symptoms. He added that although the findings have huge implications, it should be noted that researchers studied psychiatric symptoms as reported by parents.