Saturday, January 03, 2009


Another Effect of Religion

As is often the case, here is another thing that becomes obvious ... once you think of it:

In recent years doctors and researchers have confronted an alarming consensus that billions of people, starting in infancy, are lacking Vitamin D and thus at risk for a host of health problems, including a shorter lifespan plagued with aches and pains. Women suffer from the deficiency more than men. People who are shielded from the sun in a nun's habit or in frigid regions, studies show, are vitamin deficient. Likewise, recent research in Turkey published intrenationally (sic) has shown that observant Muslim women who cover their heads and/or bodies are more susceptible to bone weakness and other problems than women who do not wear religious covering.

According to the 2007 study by Alper Hayirlioglu, ... the veiled clothing that is required of observant Muslim women in Turkey may have an adverse effect on BMD. Because sun exposure is thought to play a key role in the development of bone strength, these women are at a distinct risk for bone weakness, the study says. There was no observed [bone mineral density] loss in male individuals.

Vitamin D is created by exposure of the skin to ultraviolet light, with the diet providing only a tiny proportion of the body's requirements. Depletion of vitamin D causes a reduction in the absorption of calcium leading to bone-density loss.

Insufficient sun exposure plays a key role in the development of both osteoporosis and osteomalacia. "The women in Turkey choosing veiled-type clothing may have a risk for less sun exposure" ...

[I]n pregnant women this can put their babies at risk of diseases such as rickets.

This can, of course, be combated with Vitamin D supplements and dietary calcium but, since many of the strictly observant Muslims are among the poorest people in the world, that seems not to be a viable alternative for many sufferers of the effect.

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