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Vitamin D levels were lower in cities 300 years ago too – Dec 2020

A joint medico-historical and paleopathological perspective on vitamin D deficiency prevalence in post-Medieval Netherlands

Int J Paleopathol. 2020 Dec 1;32:41-49. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2020.10.010
Barbara Veselka 1, Megan B Brickley 2, Andrea L Waters-Rist 3


People living in cities are less likely to be outdoors

  1. Air Pollution - which both reduces UVB and makes being outdoors less desirable
  2. Feel less personaly safe in cities
  3. Recently cities are hotter than rural - another reason to be indoors

Air Pollution reduces Vitamin D has the following:
Fact: Pollution reduces the amount of time that people are outdoors
Fact: Pollution is often associated with hot temperatures - another reason to not go outdoors
Fact: Less time outdoors results in lower Vitamin D levels
Fact: Pollution attenuates the amount of UVB getting to the skin (but by only a few percent)
Fact:The body's ability to fight Irritation/Inflammation is aided by vitamin D
Fact: All of the types of PM2.5 deaths are also associated with low vitamin D
       Most air pollutions reduce Vitamin D (PM2.5 is worst) – June 2021
Conclusion: Vitamin D supplementation helps the body fight the effects of pollution.

  • There were 60+ references in Air Pollution reduces Vitamin D page as of June 2023
  • Inhaled vitamin D might turn out to be especially good form as it goes directly to the lungs.

Objective: By applying a joint medico-historical and paleopathological perspective, this paper aims to improve our understanding of factors influencing past vitamin D deficiency in ten Dutch 17th to 19th-century communities of varying socioeconomic status and settlement type.

Materials: Vitamin D deficiency is evaluated in 733 individuals of both sexes and all age groups: Silvolde (n = 16), Rotterdam (n = 23), Rhenen (n = 24), Noordwijkerhout (n = 27), Gouda1and 2 (n = 40; n = 59), Roosendaal (n = 51), Den Haag (n = 93), Hattem (n = 113), and Beemster (n = 287).

Methods: Rickets and residual rickets are macroscopically assessed using established criteria. Hypotheses formulated based on medico-historical texts are investigated via multivariate statistical analysis of vitamin D deficiency prevalence.

Results: Vitamin D deficiency prevalence ranges from 13.7 % (7/51) in Roosendaal to 48.1 % (13/27) in Noordwijkerhout, with an onset of < 4 years, and higher rates in cities, conforming to medico-historical texts. Patterns of child labor are likely key. In contrast, socioeconomic status did not statistically significantly influence vitamin D deficiency prevalence rates.

Conclusion: Systematically collected paleopathological data enabled evaluation of medico-historical texts and provided insights into the role that socioeconomic status and settlement type played on the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency.

Significance: Combining medico-historical texts and large-scale paleopathological data enables disease patterning to be embedded in a comprehensive biocultural perspective.

Limitations: Comparisons may be limited by the small sample size of high socioeconomic status nonadults and some of the collections.

Suggestions for future research: Analysis of more individuals and sites would improve our understanding of disease patterns.

Created by admin. Last Modification: Saturday December 5, 2020 14:19:34 GMT-0000 by admin. (Version 3)
Vitamin D levels were lower in cities 300 years ago too – Dec 2020        
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