Sunlight is a vital component of good health. Like plants that thrive in the sun, we humans too depend on sunlight, in our case for the production of vitamin D. In the past few decades, however, cultural trends have steered us away from sun exposure. From fear of the potential dangers of UV radiation and the heavy promotion of sunscreen products to artificial work and recreational environments centered on virtual reality, we are all spending much more time indoors and away from the sun. In THE SUNLIGHT SOLUTION: WHY MORE SUN EXPOSURE AND VITAMIN D ARE ESSENTIAL TO YOUR HEALTH (Prometheus Books, $19.98), Laurie Winn Carlson delves into benefits of sunlight and the consequences we would face without it.
In this informative overview of an often-neglected topic, Carlson examines the historical and cultural factors that have created our indoor lifestyles and the medical evidence that suggests we need to get out in the sun.
"The Sunlight Solution is a wealth of knowledge about the history of vitamin D," says Bruce W. Hollis, Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director of Pediatric Nutritional Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. He adds, "Even I, who have studied this topic my whole career, learned a significant amount about the history. Also, the practical knowledge in this text will aid in maintaining the health of the general public."
Carlson begins by tracing the behavior patterns that have caused a shift indoors. She notes that it was common decades ago for children to spend hours playing outside. The lure of video games and computers has changed all that. Adults also live and work in the perpetual twilight of electric lighting. Though we feel comfortable, there is evidence that our bodies have not really adjusted to a lifestyle that is less than a century old. In fact, we may be suffering from the unnatural hours we work and sleep. The sun was once our
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