• Schizophrenia and Vitamins

    Posted March 5, 2012: by Bill Sardi

    Comment: the news yesterday that researchers found antibiotics alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia should not be surprising, only unexpected to the medical profession that is in denial that diseases are caused and cured by vitamin deficiency and replenishment. The vast majority of schizophrenics are smokers or substance abusers. Modern medicine won’t declare schizophrenia part of the spectrum of morbidities and mortalities associated with scurvy. It maintains schizophrenia is a co-morbidity among smokers, with the primary origin of schizophrenia still undefined. Vitamin C deficiency leaves white blood cells paralyzed to respond to pathogenic germs. Schizophrenia has also been linked with vitamin D deficiency, another player in the human immune response. Vitamin D activates neutrophils, the first responders to infection among white blood cells, and is key in defending against infection. Suffice to say, modern medicine is treating schizophrenia, other mental disorders associated with substance abuse and smoking itself in an inappropriate fashion. All smokers need vitamin C and D supplements. A research file of pertinent studies is presented below. -Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc. March 2012


    Scientists shocked to find antibiotics alleviate symptoms of schizophrenia

    Chance discovery of link between acne drug and psychosis may unlock secrets of mental illness


    FRIDAY 02 MARCH 2012

    A cheap antibiotic normally prescribed to teenagers for acne is to be tested as a treatment to alleviate the symptoms of psychosis in patients with schizophrenia, in a trial that could advance scientific understanding of the causes of mental illness.

    The National Institute for Health Research is funding a £1.9m trial of minocycline, which will begin recruiting patients in the UK next month. The research follows case reports from Japan in which the drug was prescribed to patients with schizophrenia who had infections and led to dramatic improvements in their psychotic symptoms.

    The chance observation caused researchers to test the drug in patients with schizophrenia around the world. Trials in Israel, Pakistan and Brazil have shown significant improvement in patients treated with the drug.

    Scientists believe that schizophrenia and other mental illnesses including depression and Alzheimer’s disease may result from inflammatory processes in the brain. Minocycline has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects which they believe could account for the positive findings.

    Details of the trial were presented to the independent Schizophrenia Commission by Bill Deakin, professor of psychiatry at the University of Manchester, who is the lead investigator. The 12-member commission, set up by the mental health charity Rethink, is looking into the treatment and care of people with schizophrenia, and is due to report in the summer.

    The first account of minocycline’s effects appeared in 2007 when a 23-year-old Japanese man was admitted to hospital suffering from persecutory delusions and paranoid ideas. He had no previous psychiatric history but became agitated and suffered auditory hallucinations, anxiety and insomnia.

    Blood tests and brain scans showed no abnormality and he was started on the powerful anti-psychotic drug halperidol. The treatment had no effect and he was still suffering from psychotic symptoms a week later when he developed severe pneumonia.

    He was prescribed minocycline to treat the pneumonia and within two weeks the infection was cleared and the psychosis resolved. Minocycline was stopped and his psychiatric symptoms worsened. Treatment with the drug was resumed and within three days he was better again. Halperidol was reduced but he remained on minocycline. Two years after his psychotic episode, he was still well.

    The UK trial aims to recruit 175 patients recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, half of whom will be randomly allocated to take minocycline with their standard anti-psychotic treatment while the remainder take a placebo.

    Brain scans will be carried out at the start and end of the 12 month trial to compare loss of grey matter – an effect of schizophrenia – in the two groups. Tests will also measure inflammatory markers in the blood.

    Professor Sir Robin Murray, chair of the Schizophrenia Commission said: “Infection or inflammation might be involved in a minority of people with acute psychosis and minocycline might counter this. In depression inflammatory markers go up and in Alzheimer’s too.”

    Jeremy Laurance is a member of the Schizophrenia Commission

    Neuropharmacology. 2012 Mar;62(3):1564-73. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

    Schizophrenia and tobacco smoking comorbidity: nAChR agonists in the treatment of schizophrenia-associated cognitive deficits.

    D’Souza MS, Markou A.


    Department of Psychiatry, M/C 0603, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


    Tobacco smoking is a preventable cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Very high rates of tobacco smoking are seen in patients with schizophrenia. Importantly, smokers with schizophrenia generally have higher nicotine dependence scores, experience more severe withdrawal symptoms upon smoking cessation, have lower cessation rates than healthy individuals, and suffer from significant smoking-related morbidity and premature mortality compared with the general population. Interestingly, significant disturbances in cholinergic function are reported in schizophrenia patients. The high smoking-schizophrenia comorbidity observed in schizophrenia patients may be an attempt to compensate for this cholinergic dysfunction. Cholinergic neurotransmission plays an important role in cognition and is hypothesized to play an important role in schizophrenia-associated cognitive deficits. In this review, preclinical evidence highlighting the beneficial effects of nicotine and subtype-selective nicotinic receptor agonists in schizophrenia-associated cognitive deficits, such as working memory and attention, is discussed. Furthermore, some of the challenges involved in the development of procognitive medications, particularly subtype-selective nicotinic receptor agonists, are also discussed. Amelioration of schizophrenia-associated cognitive deficits may help in the treatment of schizophrenia-smoking comorbidity by promoting smoking cessation and thus help in the better management of schizophrenia patients.

    Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Harefuah. 2010 Aug;149(8):508-11, 551.

    [Schizophrenia–a life shortening disease].

    [Article in Hebrew]

    Munitz H.


    The life expectancy of schizophrenic patients is shortened by about 20%. This alarming finding is mainly caused by an increased rate of the metabolic syndrome which is inherent in schizophrenic patients and is increased by the use of antipsychotic drugs, mainly second generation drugs. Another reason is a high rate of suicide and violent death. There is a controversy about the relationship of malignant disease and schizophrenia. Problems in the health behavior of patients should also be considered, mainly lack of exercise, high smoking rate, inappropriate diet and overweight. Psychiatrists and family physicians tend to be passive in dealing with this problem. This article proposes activism of the medical profession aimed at improving health behavior, early detection of physical problems and increased awareness of the medical profession, patients and their families.


    Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005 Nov;182(4):494-8. Epub 2005 Oct 19.

    Supplementation of vitamin C with atypical antipsychotics reduces oxidative stress and improves the outcome of schizophrenia.

    Dakhale GN, Khanzode SD, Khanzode SS, Saoji A.


    Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, Nagpur, India.



    Several investigators implicated role of free radical-mediated pathology in schizophrenia. No study has ever examined the effect of vitamin C with atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of schizophrenia.


    The aim of this study was to examine the effect of oral vitamin C with atypical antipsychotics on serum malondialdehyde (MDA), plasma ascorbic acid levels, and brief psychiatric rating scale (BPRS) score in schizophrenic patients.


    Forty schizophrenic patients participated in a prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled, noncrossover, 8-week study. The patients with schizophrenia were divided randomly into placebo and vitamin C group of 20 each. Serum MDA and plasma ascorbic acid were estimated by methods of Nischal and Aye, respectively.


    Increased serum MDA and decreased plasma ascorbic acid levels were found in schizophrenic patients. These levels were reversed significantly after treatment with vitamin C along with atypical antipsychotics compared to placebo with atypical antipsychotics. BPRS change scores at 8 weeks improved statistically significant with vitamin C as compared to placebo.


    Oral supplementation of vitamin C with atypical antipsychotic reverses ascorbic acid levels, reduces oxidative stress, and improves BPRS score, hence both the drugs in combination can be used in the treatment of schizophrenia.



    CMAJ. 2011 Aug 9;183(11):E760. Epub 2011 May 9.

    Scurvy in a man with schizophrenia.

    Dubé M.


    Clinical Sciences Division, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Sudbury, Ont., Canada. markdubemd@gmail.com



    Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1252-63. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

    Serum vitamin C and the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in the United States: 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

    Schleicher RL, Carroll MD, Ford ES, Lacher DA.


    Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA. rschleicher@cdc.gov



    Vitamin C (ascorbicacid) may be the most important water-soluble antioxidant in human plasma. In the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-1994), approximately 13% of the US population was vitamin C deficient (serum concentrations <11.4 micromol/L).


    The aim was to determine the most current distribution of serum vitamin C concentrations in the United States and the prevalence of deficiency in selected subgroups.


    Serum concentrations of total vitamin C were measured in 7277 noninstitutionalized civilians aged > or =6 y during the cross-sectional, nationally representative NHANES 2003-2004. The prevalence of deficiency was compared with results from NHANES III.


    The overall age-adjusted mean from the square-root transformed (SM) concentration was 51.4 micromol/L (95% CI: 48.4, 54.6). The highest concentrations were found in children and older persons. Within each race-ethnic group, women had higher concentrations than did men (P < 0.05). Mean concentrations of adult smokers were one-third lower than those of nonsmokers (SM: 35.2 compared with 50.7 micromol/L and 38.6 compared with 58.0 micromol/L in men and women, respectively). The overall prevalence (+/-SE) of age-adjusted vitamin C deficiency was 7.1 +/- 0.9%. Mean vitamin C concentrations increased (P < 0.05) and the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency decreased (P < 0.01) with increasing socioeconomic status. Recent vitamin C supplement use or adequate dietary intake decreased the risk of vitamin C deficiency (P < 0.05).


    In NHANES 2003-2004, vitamin C status improved, and the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency was significantly lower than that during NHANES III, but smokers and low-income persons were among those at increased risk of deficiency.


    Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1993 May 28;686:335-45; discussion 345-6.

    Estimating ascorbicacid requirements for cigarette smokers.

    Schectman G.


    Division of General Internal Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226.


    This analysis of a large, population based, cross-sectional survey demonstrates that the association of smoking with decreased serum ascorbicacid (AA) levels is independent of the reduced AA intake found in smokers. Smokers have a threefold higher incidence of low serum AA levels (< or = 11 mumol/L) which could place them at increased risk for the clinical manifestations of AA deficiency. Smokers not taking vitamin supplements who consumed less than 15 servings weekly of fruits and vegetables were especially prone to have serum AA levels less than 11 mumol/L. An AA intake of > or = 200 mg was necessary to provide smokers with equivalent protection from hypovitaminosis AA as had nonsmokers whose AA intake exceeded the recommended dietary allowance (RDA [60 mg]). This level of dietary AA intake is considerably higher than the newly increased RDA for smokers of 100 mg. Although the simplest and most direct method to increase the low serum vitamin C levels found in many smokers would be to stop smoking, markedly increasing dietary AA consumption is appropriate when this is unsuccessful. However, if dietary modification fails to sufficiently increase AA intake, then vitamin supplementation may be necessary to significantly reduce the high prevalence of hypovitaminosis AA present in smokers.


    Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2005 Aug 6;149(32):1769-72.

    [Bruises, loose teeth and fatigue in a patient with schizophrenia].

    [Article in Dutch]

    de Boer J, Kalk WW, van Assen S, van der Wouden EJ.


    Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen, Groningen. j.de.boer@int.umcg.nl


    A 53-year-old woman was referred because of progressive haematomas of the lower extremities and fatigue. Her medical history included hyperplastic gums and tooth loss. Scurvy was diagnosed; this was the result of an insufficient diet due to a paranoid psychosis. There was a dramatic improvement within a few days after addition of vitamin C and starting highly nutritious food. Scurvy is easily treated, but is not a disease of the past.

    Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jan;14(1):7-14.

    Vitamin D, neurocognitive functioning and immunocompetence.

    Nimitphong H, Holick MF.


    Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Nutrition, Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



    Vitamin D deficiency is recognized as one of the most common medical conditions in children and adults. The major causes are inadequate sun exposure and inadequate intakes of dietary and supplemental vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency defined as a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level less than 20 and 21-29 ng/ml, respectively, have been linked to increased risk for a variety of medical conditions including cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, metabolic bone diseases and neurological disorders.


    The skeletal muscle and brain have a vitamin D receptor and the central nervous system has a capacity to activate vitamin D. Low vitamin D status has been linked to poor performance in neurocognitive testing in elderly. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with muscle weakness, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and a lower motor neuron-induced muscle atrophy.


    Correcting vitamin D deficiency and preventing vitamin D deficiency in children and adults should be a high priority for healthcare professionals to reduce risk for a wide variety of neurological disorders. Children and adults should take at least 400 international unit IU and 2000 IU vitamin D/day, respectively, to prevent vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency.


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