Where is the Sun?

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May 31, 2013 by anelim

The doc said I’m OK, but my vitamin D is “quite low” and I need supplements, even though the summer is just around the corner.

So this vitamin D deficiency is actually a thing (and not merely a fad). While we can argue to no end over the sociological merit of something being “a thing” (whether a Durkheimian “a social fact”, a Bourdieuvian “social construction”, a Burgerian “self-fulfilling prophecy”, or one of the other numerous sociologically-tempered versions of “reality”), it is very much “a thing” in my life, because the symptoms are numerous, pesky, confusing, and a precursor to a staggering array of health problems… and because I’ve failed to wish/sunbathe/eat them away.

The lack of vitamin D is supposedly on the increase in Western Europe, or at least its diagnosis. It affects bones, teeth and gums; resistance to colds; mood and ability to concentrate; respiratory health; digestion; thyroid health; reproductive health; and other stuff. It basically puts your mind and body into a “hibernate” mode.

(you could read this article in the NYTimes about vit. D and its deficiency)

All sorts of questions arise of course. To what extent can chemical and physical processes in your body revamp your mind and character (I have some experience of both short and long-term character change linked with health problems including a mild form of disability anecdotally make me agree with this possibility). The issue of why we (do or don’t) trust blood tests and doctors, and how blood test analysis is performed, narrated and understood is also interesting – though of course it doesn’t at all invalidate tests, just like analysing the narratives surrounding the problem of abortion (to take an extreme example) doesn’t make abortion any less real. If anything, it adds a dimension. I want to invoke some Latour now but there are more urgent things to do this morning, so I won’t… Hey, hey, is anyone out there writing a PhD thesis on vitamin D as an actant ;-)?

For the mundane personal responsibility to decide what to do, it is helpful to “triangulate” among different sources: e.g. self-diagnosis by symptoms and formalised diagnosis by a professional using a different set of data (chemically analysed blood test). I suspected it for years, after moving to the UK, so although the test itself didn’t change anything, now I have not one but two obvious reasons to act (my suspicion AND the test).  It is only good that for this year’s summer I’ve already planned a whole month back home – first time since je ne sais pas quand (well, since 2006 and 2008 when I spent 3 weeks in September at the seaside).

And until then, tablet vitamin D and Rammstein it is for me:


Discuss research topic: “Rammstein’s song “Sonne”: possible antidote for vitamin D deficiency?”

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I will be no longer Berliner in..

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