Health & wellbeing

A new study conducted by Finnish researchers has shed light on the potential benefits of higher vitamin D intake in reducing psychiatric symptoms during school-age years. The study, which is part of the Vitamin D Intervention in Infants (VIDI) clinical trial, aimed to examine the impact of increased vitamin D3 supplementation on children's mental health outcomes.

The research focused on children who were randomly assigned to two groups: one group received the standard daily dose of 10 micrograms of vitamin D3, while the other group received a triple dose of 30 micrograms. The supplementation was administered from the age of two weeks to two years.

The children's mental health was assessed when they reached 6 to 8 years of age, with parents completing a questionnaire to report their child's psychiatric symptoms. The findings revealed that children who received the higher dose of vitamin D3 had a lower risk of internalizing problems at school age compared to those who received the standard dose. Specifically, parents reported fewer instances of depressed mood, anxiety, and withdrawn behavior among children in the higher dose group.

The study highlighted that parents reported clinically significant internalizing problems in 11.8% of children who received the standard dose, whereas only 5.6% of children who received the triple vitamin D supplement exhibited similar problems.

Samuel Sandboge, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Tampere University, emphasized the potential implications of the results but noted the need for further research to validate the findings. It is important to consider that the study relied solely on parent-reported psychiatric symptoms and focused on children of Nordic ancestry living in Finland who already had adequate vitamin D levels.

The researchers did not observe significant differences in externalizing problems, such as aggressive behavior and rule-breaking, between the two groups. Additionally, there were no overall variations in the extent of psychiatric symptoms among the children.

The collaborative study involved researchers from Tampere University, Helsinki University Hospital, the University of Helsinki, and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). Led by Kati Heinonen, associate professor of developmental psychology at Tampere University, the study was carried out to expand knowledge in this field. Samuel Sandboge, a physician specialized in general medicine and rheumatology, played a significant role in the research.

While the results are promising, further investigations are required to confirm the correlation between higher vitamin D intake in early childhood and reduced risk of psychiatric symptoms. Nonetheless, this study contributes valuable insights to the growing body of research exploring the potential impact of vitamin D on mental health outcomes.