The bipolar diagnostic test: search for vitamin D

By Alexander Pan

Researchers at Ohio State University investigated a protein associated with vitamin D in children diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The vitamin D binding protein is responsible for brain inflammation, resulting in potential mood fluctuations. In a study of 36 young adults, those with bipolar disorder had a 36% higher concentration of the vitamin D binding protein as opposed to those without bipolar disorder. As a result, these researchers proposed a diagnostic test for bipolar disorder in children through a blood test that determines the concentration level of this specific protein. It is often difficult to diagnosis children with bipolar disorder early in their lives due to the social stigma and ambiguous early symptoms. Therefore, this proposed diagnostic test would lead to better prognosis as this test can detect bipolar disorder early in a child’s life. This objective blood test that measures protein concentration on a cellular level is a more accurate predictor earlier on as opposed to later in life when the child experiences exacerbated mood swings. More research needs to be done in order to support the causal relationship between higher levels of the vitamin D binding protein and bipolar disorder. However, this proposed diagnostic test has a promising outlook that can improve treatment of bipolar disorder patients early in their lives. 


Brawnie Petrov, Ayat Aldoori, Cindy James, Kefeng Yang, Guillermo Perez Algorta, Aejin Lee, Liwen Zhang, Tao Lin, Reem Al Awadhi, Jonathan R. Parquette, Arpad Samogyi, L. Eugene Arnold, Mary A. Fristad, Barbara Gracious, Ouliana Ziouzenkova. Bipolar disorder in youth is associated with increased levels of vitamin D-binding protein. Translational Psychiatry, 2018; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41398-018-0109-7

Ohio State University. (2018, April 5). Vitamin D blood test may one day speed bipolar diagnosis in kids: Finding a reliable blood marker could offer help to doctors and parents, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 13, 2018 from