The role of vitamin D in bipolar disorder: Epidemiology and influence on disease activity

Guido Cereda, Paolo Enrico, Valentina Ciappolino, Giuseppe Delvecchio, Paolo Brambilla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Although many studies found an association between psychiatric disorders, especially major depressive disorder, and vitamin D deficiency, little is still known about the association between vitamin D and bipolar disorder (BD). Therefore, the present review aims at providing an overview of the available literature exploring the role of vitamin D in BD patients in different phases of the disease. Methods: From a bibliographic research in PubMed until April 2020, we collected ten original studies that fulfilled our inclusion criteria. Results: No significant differences in vitamin D levels between BD patients and other psychiatric disorders were found by most of the studies. In the majority of the studies, the average values of vitamin D in BD population were sub-threshold for vitamin D deficiency. Moreover, although an association between vitamin D levels and clinical symptomatology was observed in BD patients, it cannot be considered a specific marker of this disorder but a common characteristic shared with other psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. Finally, vitamin D supplementation was associated with a reduction in both depressive and manic symptoms. Limitations: Few studies with small and heterogeneous populations. Methodological heterogeneity in terms of vitamin D measurement and threshold. Conclusions: The results showed that vitamin D status does not differ between BD and other psychiatric conditions. However, given the correlation between vitamin D levels and depressive or manic symptoms, we could hypothesize that an adequate vitamin D status could positively affect the mood balance thanks to its immunomodulatory activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Mania
  • Micronutrient
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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