With so much emphasis on sun related skin cancers and the increased hours we spend indoors, it’s easy to forget the health benefits of adequate sun exposure. When several vague, undiagnosed health issues arose in her grandson, Carlson began researching the sun’s role in maintaining good health. Sunlight is key to enabling the body to produce vitamin D, which plays a vital role in regulating calcium levels helping maintain bone density. Sunlight has long been known to have a positive affect on the body’s circadian rhythms and lack of sunlight in the northern latitudes winter months is responsible for seasonal affective disorder or SAD.
Carlson’s research showed how lack of sunlight played an important role in the health of early factory workers, coal miners and others who spent long hours in artificial or low light. This fascinating read takes a historical look at the major causes of death during childbirth, the rise of cesarean sections, the health of slave women and girls and more. It also demonstrates links between the lack of sunlight and obesity, certain cancers, hormone production as well as the effects of air pollution on natural light levels.
This is a thought provoking read for parents and health care providers concerned about how much sun is too much and the benefits derived from adequate exposure. The historical references are interesting as are the conclusions, which, on the surface may seem circumstantial yet are compelling enough to warrant further thought.