Vitamins for Schizophrenia
Vitamins and supplements are good for schizophrenia. In fact, they are generally good for those experiencing psychosis. Living with schizophrenia is tough. When I hear about how vitamins can be helpful for schizophrenia, I’m all ears. This excites me!
But, what is the real science behind it? This article explores the different studies on vitamins that have been proven to specifically help schizophrenics. Vitamins naturally help lessen or manage negative symptoms better.
The risk of schizophrenia does increase with low amounts of specific vitamins such as vitamin D or B12. Vitamins proven to be suitable for schizophrenia may include Folic Acid supplements. As documented in this article published by the Cambridge University Press, other vitamins such as B6, B8 and B12 have been proven to may have reduced “psychiatric symptoms significantly”.
Can Lack Vitamin Cause Schizophrenia?
Recent studies have shown that there may be a link between a lack of vitamins and an increased risk for developing schizophrenia. Vitamin B deficiency has been particularly linked to the onset of symptoms of schizophrenia.
Many studies show the connection between low levels of vitamin D and schizophrenia. In this August 2020 study, it reports that 80% of schizophrenics has below average levels of vitamin D.
So, research is still ongoing. Vitamin deficiency and the benefit of vitamins aren’t studied well enough yet. It does seem like it is possible to reduce one’s risk factors for psychotic disorder by receiving proper supplements.
Although the studies prove the increment of risks with schizophrenia, it’s important to note that the lack of vitamins does not cause schizophrenia.
Can Vitamins Help Psychosis?
As we have seen from the studies above, of course! Vitamins do help with psychosis and the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Here is another example. This study published in 2020 reviews the link between Omega-3 fatty acids and schizophrenia. The results acknowledge the direct benefits of managing symptoms using the supplement.
Of course, each body is different. There are also so many vitamins out there. Choosing which vitamins to take is a bit tricky. Some vitamins may work for certain people while others may not have an effect. So you’ll always hear debating opinions about the effectiveness of vitamins.
What Vitamins or Supplements to Take?
Now we know that it helps, where should you start? In no particular order, this is a list of vitamins that is useful in managing schizophrenics.
B Vitamins (Folic Acid & L-Methylfolate): Commonly found naturally in food, it includes B3, B6, B9 (Folic Acid), and B12 (L-Methylfolate). High dosages of B vitamins alongside other vitamins have reduced psychiatric symptoms.
Citicoline: Natural occurring compound found in the neuronal cell membrane that stimulates a brain chemical called phosphatidylcholine. It is beneficial in memory and behaviour function.
D-Alanine: Helps to improve the function of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) which is important in regulating a wide variety of neurological activities.
D-Serine: Amino acid that is found in the brain is needed to regulate the activities of neurons.
Vitamin D: A nutrient and hormone produced naturally by our body. Helps to control infection, reduce inflammation and regulate critical genes in the brain.
Vitamin E: Fat-soluble vitamin that has antioxidant values and helps with maintaining brain cell membrane function.
N-Acetyl cysteine (NAC): A form of amino acid L-cysteine that has antioxidant properties which is useful for mental health issues.
Melatonin: Hormone produced naturally by the body to regulate sleep.
Probiotics: Good bacteria and/or yeast that are important for the digestive system. Since mental health is often associated with the health of the gut, having enough good bacteria is important.
Sarcosine: Also known as N-methylgycine and Methylglycine, Sarcosine supplement helps to improve the quality of sleep.
Omega-3: Fatty acid that is highly important in brain health. It also helps to improve mood.
Choline: Taken during pregnancy (for prevention), Choline is said to lessen the possibility of the gene development which is associated with schizophrenia.
Which Vitamins Are Best for Schizophrenia?
There isn’t a specific combination of vitamins one must take for a guaranteed positive result. Vitamins should be an extension to medication.
I personally take probiotics daily. Studies have shown that a healthy gut would help to promote a healthy mind. My psychiatrist has also told me that it is good to consume probiotics in the long term. A healthy gut makes the health of your brain improve overall. I noticed that it helps me with my levels of mood.
Fish Oil and My Schizophrenia Symptoms
The other supplement I consume every day is fish oil which is high in Omega-3 to be very useful for my memory. It has been over a year since I started taking fish oil, and I have no plans to stop.
After adding the supplement to my diet, I am able to carry out my daily tasks more efficiently. It improves my attention span. I can also focus on activities to run errands smoothly.
Otherwise, I find myself frustrated whenever I’m unable to perform even simple tasks.
Why I Stopped N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
NAC was a supplement that I took for 4 months. I consumed 600mg tablets, once daily during the day. Initially, I was pleasantly surprised with its efficacy as it made me focus more. It also helps me to reduce rumination. I had better focus.
However, after a few months, I realised how I felt very much more agitated. The feeling was worse compared to when before.
Despite having the potential to improve mood and even control irritability, NAC didn’t work for me.
Vitamin D Improves Schizophrenia Symptoms
Vitamin D can cause a huge positive effect on both the positive and negative symptoms of neurodivergence.
Low vitamin D levels are said to cause abnormalities in various neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin and Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) levels of the brain. GABA produces a calming effect. It helps to control stress, anxiety and fear.
Thus, good sunlight exposure may increase the production of vitamin D levels in schizophrenic patients.
This is something I try to do daily. I personally recommend going outdoors to get the sunlight whenever necessary. It may be tough for schizophrenics to do so but keep doing it, and we will gradually get used to getting comfortable just being outdoors in the long term.
It took me around 2 years to get comfortable to even exercise outside, although it’s within the compound of my home. I exercise almost daily for about 20 minutes. The sunlight makes me feel alive and gives me the energy that I need!
Vitamins Complements Schizophrenia Therapy
Vitamins on their own aren’t the cure to schizophrenia. The holistic approach is needed to build an effective schizophrenia treatment. You might be overwhelmed at the moment with the amount of information and supplements out there.
Take your time to read through each of them. Always check with your doctor before adding any of these to your diet.