Talk about backfiring. In our quest for longer, healthier, and more comfortable lives, we’ve removed ourselves so far from our evolutionary history that we’re perversely making ourselves less healthy.
Yes, pollution is an obvious culprit. We’ve known for decades that toxic chemicals used for modern conveniences can cause cancer, birth defects, and reproductive problems.
But I’m talking about something much simpler: sunshine. We don’t get it anymore. At least not enough of it according to Dr. Michael Holick, a medical doctor and researcher responsible for much of what we know about vitamin D and health. In his 2010 book The Vitamin D Solution, Holick presents compelling evidence that most Americans have insufficient levels of vitamin D, that this insufficiency contributes substantially to serious health problems such as cancer and heart disease, and that just 15 minutes or so a day of sunlight a few times a week can prevent the onset of health problems in many people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released its own report on vitamin D levels (with a lower standard for what's considered acceptable levels), and reported that one-third of Americans have insufficient vitamin D levels.