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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board Member: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Furniss, Tilman / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie

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Vitamin D: a potential role in reducing suicide risk?

Muhammad M. Tariq1, 2 / Elizabeth A. Streeten3 / Helen A. Smith1 / Aamar Sleemi1 / Baharak Khabazghazvini1 / Dipika Vaswani1 / 1, 2

1Mood and Anxiety Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

2St Elizabeth’s Hospital Residency Training Program, Washington, DC, USA

3Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

Corresponding author: Teodor T. Postolache, MD, Mood and Anxiety Program (MAP), Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 685 West Baltimore Street, MSTF Building Room 930, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health. Volume 23, Issue 3, Pages 157–165, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, ISSN (Print) 0334-0139, DOI: 10.1515/ijamh.2011.038, June 2011

Publication History

Published Online:


Suicide attempts are known to peak in the spring, overlapping with the time of year when 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels are at their nadir in the northern hemisphere because of negligible skin production of vitamin D owing to low levels of ultraviolet B radiation. Low levels of 25(OH)D, the vitamin D metabolite used to diagnose vitamin D deficiency, have been associated with certain pro-suicidal factors such as exacerbation of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and certain medical conditions. Therefore, we hypothesize that vitamin D deficiency could also be associated with increased risk of completed suicides. Here, we briefly review the literature on vitamin D, its deficiency, and its reported association with certain risk factors for suicide.

Keywords: mental health; suicide; suicide risk factors; vitamin D

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