The Loh Down On Science

Why would a doctor study the Hobbit?

Can you fight evil with ... vitamin D?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying:

That's just fantasy.  —Literally! 

Meet British physician Joseph Hopkinson.  He says that in fantasy literature, good always triumphs over evil. Why—because heroes have the moral high ground?  Weeeelll ... not so much that as ... villains have a vitamin D deficiency! 

Come again?

Well, vitamin D strengthens bones and immunity.  To make it, our bodies need exposure to sunlight, or certain foods in our diets.  Eggs, say.  Or fish.  A deficiency leads to weakness and a sickly constitution.

With this in mind, Hopkinson and his teenage son, Nicholas, analyzed characters in the fantasy novel The Hobbit.  They rated them on sun exposure, diet, and battle prowess.

They say evil characters like orcs and trolls avoid sunlight.  They also eat gross, unwholesome things—like each other.  But good characters, like hobbits and elves, spend plenty of time outdoors.  And they eat a varied, healthful diet—especially the foodie Bilbo Baggins.

We all know which group won in the end.  

It's quite a theory.   Some might call it D-light-ful!  My Precious.  As long as I have My Precious.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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