Ancient Greeks used to pray to Apollo, the sun god, to stop epidemics and cure diseases. Turns out they weren’t far wrong: sunlight is vital to human health, as modern Canadians have learned to our cost.
For a whole generation—on doctors’ advice—we have slipped on shirts, slapped on hats, slopped on sunscreen and shirked the sunshine to avoid skin cancer. We have cut back on eggs and milk to reduce risk of heart disease, and we have curbed our appetite for cod-liver oil, mackerel and wild salmon.
We have cut ourselves off from the sources of vitamin D.
Result? It is estimated that 97 per cent of Canadians are vitamin D deficient in winter and most of us have insufficient levels even in summer. Some researchers believe lack of the “sunshine vitamin”—so-called because our bodies...