The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 September 2005

Sunshine on my shoulder

And elsewhere, today being World Naked Gardening Day.

Discover magazine (October) asked Dr Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, "Why aren't people getting enough Vitamin D these days?" His response:

Vitamin D is unusual in that we don't get it from our food: we synthesize it by being out in the sun. But our whole cultural evolution has been to remove us from sunlight. We live in houses, drive cars, work inside, watch television inside. In the northern part of the United States, even if you do go outside in the winter, the sun isn't high enough on the horizon to activate the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. Meanwhile, we've also learned that skin cancer can result from excessive radiation, so we're now covering ourselves and putting on lotion to avoid sunburn. That further reduces the amount of vitamin D we can make. The truth is that we were made to run around in warm weather without our clothes on.

And, occasionally, to bend over and pull a weed or two.

Posted at 7:52 AM to Birthday Suitable

When I was born I had jaundice. The treatment the doctor recommended was putting me out in the sun once a day. This was in Miami, Florida, mind you. I got plenty of Vitamin D!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 12:21 PM on 10 September 2005

And way cheaper than those supplements they vend in a rack at the supermarket (or, worse, at "health-food" outlets).

Posted by: CGHill at 12:27 PM on 10 September 2005