Objective: Vitamin D has been proposed to have beneficial effects in a wide range of contexts. We investigate the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency, caused by both aversion to sunlight and unwholesome diet, could also be a significant contributor to the triumph of good over evil in fantasy literature.
Design: Data on the dietary habits, moral attributes and martial prowess of various inhabitants of Middle Earth were systematically extracted from J R R Tolkien’s novel The hobbit.Main outcome measures: Goodness and victoriousness of characters were scored with binary scales, and dietary intake and habitual sun exposure were used to calculate a vitamin D score (range, 0–4).
Results: The vitamin D score was significantly higher among the good and victorious characters (mean, 3.4; SD, 0.5) than the evil and defeated ones (mean, 0.2; SD, 0.4; P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Further work is needed to see if these pilot results can be extrapolated to other fantastic situations and whether randomised intervention trials need to be imagined.
- 1. Jackson AS, Hopkinson NS. Vitamin D in COPD - a pleiotropic micronutrient in a multisystem disease. Curr Respir Med Rev 2011; 7: 414-420.
- 2. Martineau AR, Wilkinson RJ, Wilkinson KA, et al. A single dose of vitamin D enhances immunity to mycobacteria. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2007; 176: 208-213.
- 3. Barnard K, Colon-Emeric C. Extraskeletal effects of vitamin D in older adults: cardiovascular disease, mortality, mood, and cognition. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother 2010; 8: 4-33.
- 4. Jackson AS, Shrikrishna D, Kelly JL, et al. Vitamin D and skeletal muscle strength and endurance in COPD. Eur Respir J 2013; 41: 309-316.
- 5. Donaldson GC, Wilkinson TM, Hurst JR, et al. Exacerbations and time spent outdoors in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2005; 171: 446-452.
- 6. Montes de Oca M, Loeb E, Torres SH, et al. Peripheral muscle alterations in non-COPD smokers. Chest 2008; 133: 13-18.
- 7. Herodotus. The histories. c 430 BCE; Book Seven, Section 226.
- 8. Georgy ST, Widdicombe JG. The pyrophysiology and sexuality of dragons. Respir Physiol Neurobiol 2002; 133: 3-10.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.