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Watch the Human Family Tree documentary and why are Inuits dark and Scandanavians light and how do you explain the Vit D and diet for both?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 13, 2010 at 2:45 PM

The show is about how we all started in Africa and migrated north then one group heads west and another group goes east. We lightened up the further north we went to be able to get the most amount of Vit D with shorter days I guess. But then how do you explain why the Inuit were darker in hair and skin and eyes?

Another point is when you are so far north it is very cold and you are bundled up and very little skin is open to the sun. So someplace along the way the lighter pigmented tribes survived better up north because they could now take in more Vitamin D through their skin while others with dark pigments further south could take in vitamin D much better and to screen out too much light. If our genetics could change for Vitamin D, then what else changed to adapt? Does one diet really fit all genetic differences?

I am of Scandinavian decent and have always been on the heavy side and docs would look at my stats and shake their head like they didn't understand why my heart rate was low, blood pressure low, cholesterol was good, no thyroid issues. They would try to find a reason to tell my why I should take off weight but the numbers were good. I wonder if I am designed to be more insulated than others for extreme cold and to survive long harsh cold spells/winters like a bear does.

Maybe down the road they will take a blood test of folks and new babies and from the genetic info they will be able to prescribe the optimum diet for you specifically based on your immune system and the way you process nutrients. Maybe they will be able to create a diet that changes during the different stages of your life that is tailored to your genetics. One size fits all never has worked for me in so many ways.

Medium avatar

(2169)

on July 18, 2011
at 05:18 PM

there are probably fewer redheads because red hair, blue or green eyes and freckles are recessive. In order for a redhead to have redhead offspring, they have to mate with someone who is also a redhead, or has those recessive genes hidden and get lucky. There are probably lots of people out there that still carry the recessive gene you just don't know it because the dominant overrides the recessive. Even two parents with dark hair and dark eyes can have ginger kids if they both carry the recessive genes.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:54 PM

Good to know Eva. Thanks for trying. Moving on.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 15, 2010
at 06:08 AM

If 5 people who have reputation over 3000 vote to reopen it, they can override the closure. The prob is this board is new and very few people have yet gathered enough reputation to be allowed to vote. I think there are only 11 and I'm guessing many have not been watching the thread that closely to have even noticed in the first place.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 14, 2010
at 03:52 PM

I guess anyone who has been doing this a long time can arbitrarily close a question. I do not feel this is fair since the person who closed this asks questions like "what is your favorite cupcake?" on paleo diet website. She is young too and maybe this is not hip enough question. I am rethinking this site entirely. I was going to recommend this to tv producer who does cooking shows too. Never mind.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on November 14, 2010
at 03:04 AM

I agree with Eva: why was this thread closed?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 14, 2010
at 02:41 AM

Good point. There does tend to be some selective pressure towards things that are both unusual and pretty. If that thing is both unusual, pretty, and also not a major disadvantage in any other way, I could see how it could easily be spread preferentially.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 14, 2010
at 01:53 AM

Darkstar, I agree, there probably has been some evolution all along. The problem we face is trying to find a diet that is most likely to work for most. I think that diet will be something like paleo. And then that diet would probably need individual additional tweeking for some people. Or at least that is the best we can do until genetics and nutrition research and knowledge make some reasonable further progress.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 14, 2010
at 01:49 AM

I don't understand why "Why are inuits dark and Scandinavians light and how do you explain the vit D and diet for both?" is not a real question. Granted, it might have been nice to reiterate the question in the body, but then again, there are two other questions in the second paragraph. Seems like there are, if anything, too many questions, not lack of questions.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 08:24 PM

Here is the link to the explorer and the low carb diet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilhjalmur_Stefansson

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 08:23 PM

It is this explorer who called them the blond Inuit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blond_Eskimos Also about a hundred years ago he noticed how the men in his expedition with the Inuit guides did very well on the Inuit diet up there and then the Journal of Medicine asked him and others to go on the diet for like a year and they must have published their findings not sure how to locate them. But even then it was obvious that you can live on a very low carb diet and thrive. But he was Icelandic and maybe he did better because of his genetics and being used to extreme cold temps and short days.

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on November 13, 2010
at 07:27 PM

What are the copper haired or blond Inuit? I have never seen Inuit with anything other than jet black hair.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 13, 2010
at 06:26 PM

Even anecdotally I feel like I never see red heads. Growing up I feel like there more. That's just 30 years on the east coast of the US but I really feel they're going bye bye. Sucks cuz red hair is purdy:)

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 05:46 PM

Yeah I can see that. I have heard that they think red heads (real ones) will be gone in about a hundred years. I have no idea how they base that prediction but I can see where traits can be part of the answer.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 05:41 PM

Yes I agree about the different strategies that evolved and maybe some of those strategies are how we process nutrients and what kinds we do well with. For instance many Black Americans have high blood pressure due to the fact that their ancestors whose systems could retain salt in their bodies survived the journey to the U.S.. Here is clear case of what happens when one trait helps move the group along but the affects of this can have a harmful affect if they eat the wrong diet.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 03:52 PM

My daughter is Celiac and I do think that the further north you went the less chance for grains to flourish well. They first noticed and documented Celiac formally in Holland during WWII when they ran out of bread. Then Celiac was considered a northern European disease. But the more they looked they are finding it all over. I think grains were added way too late down the pike in order to feed the non nomadic larger populations where the weather wasn't so extreme.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 03:35 PM

It seem like the obvious answer but how do you explain the copper haired or Blond Inuit? Also if Inuits are further north lets say all the more reason they should be the lighter ones since they have even less sun. Wouldn't it have been an advantage to have both diet and pigments to provide Vitamin D? Would there really be that much more Vitamin D in Inuit's diet than a bit further south? What was the source of the Vitamin D in Inuit's diet and why wouldn't Norse people kill seals as well?

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4 Answers

5
E9214b7dfa3352f4e559555f87311287

on November 13, 2010
at 05:24 PM

There's also evidence that European light skin and different colors of hair might have a lot to do with sexual selection in addition to issues with vitamin D.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 05:46 PM

Yeah I can see that. I have heard that they think red heads (real ones) will be gone in about a hundred years. I have no idea how they base that prediction but I can see where traits can be part of the answer.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 14, 2010
at 02:41 AM

Good point. There does tend to be some selective pressure towards things that are both unusual and pretty. If that thing is both unusual, pretty, and also not a major disadvantage in any other way, I could see how it could easily be spread preferentially.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on November 13, 2010
at 06:26 PM

Even anecdotally I feel like I never see red heads. Growing up I feel like there more. That's just 30 years on the east coast of the US but I really feel they're going bye bye. Sucks cuz red hair is purdy:)

Medium avatar

(2169)

on July 18, 2011
at 05:18 PM

there are probably fewer redheads because red hair, blue or green eyes and freckles are recessive. In order for a redhead to have redhead offspring, they have to mate with someone who is also a redhead, or has those recessive genes hidden and get lucky. There are probably lots of people out there that still carry the recessive gene you just don't know it because the dominant overrides the recessive. Even two parents with dark hair and dark eyes can have ginger kids if they both carry the recessive genes.

2
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 13, 2010
at 04:39 PM

The inuit in the snow recieve large doses of reflected long wave ultraviolet radiation. Supposedly, the snow glare can be quite bad and even result in 'snow blindness' which is damage to the eyes from the snow glare. It is believed the dark inuit skin helped protect them from that and since they consumed enough vitamin D through their diet, there was less pressure to have light skin for D production. It should also be considered that some experts believe that natural skin oil (sebum) that is excreted outside the skin is also able to create vitamin D (tests show skin oil is full of D) and then the skin is able to reabsorb the oil and D with it. If this is the case, then skin oil would be a mechanism to bypass dark skin and still get access to D production.

My guess would be that population characteristics according to a complex combo of chance (as far as which mutations occured) mixed with subtle pressures in the environment and diet. THings like more or less snow, more or less D in the diet, sunlight, weather, etc would all compete for determining which strategy was best for survival. In addition, although there are clear patterns for body type and world location, there may have been more than one successful path to take in the same situation and which path was taken may have depended in part by chance and preexisting genetics before the population arrived in that area. If you look in any lake or stream, there are many different kinds of fish in there because each has developed a different survival tactic. There isn't just one survival option for each environmental challenge. The inuit might have developed one strategy and the Scandinavians might have developed another.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 05:41 PM

Yes I agree about the different strategies that evolved and maybe some of those strategies are how we process nutrients and what kinds we do well with. For instance many Black Americans have high blood pressure due to the fact that their ancestors whose systems could retain salt in their bodies survived the journey to the U.S.. Here is clear case of what happens when one trait helps move the group along but the affects of this can have a harmful affect if they eat the wrong diet.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 14, 2010
at 01:53 AM

Darkstar, I agree, there probably has been some evolution all along. The problem we face is trying to find a diet that is most likely to work for most. I think that diet will be something like paleo. And then that diet would probably need individual additional tweeking for some people. Or at least that is the best we can do until genetics and nutrition research and knowledge make some reasonable further progress.

1
A0843083b9642a8af1005af99b09ce42

on November 13, 2010
at 03:22 PM

I had similar questions for many years about following the diet of your ancestors. Have you read Dr. Weston A Price's book Nutrtition and Physical Degeneration? He was a dentist in the 30's? that traveled the world studying primitive and traditional cultures and and how their diets affected their health. When they stayed on their traditional diets they were healthy. When they added white flour/sugar/processed foods their health changed and in their children it showed up first in the teeth and jaw structure. Fascinating book with tons of pics showing both affects. He briefly talks about what each of these cultures ate, so, if you are interested you might read up on that and follow that diet for a while and see how you feel. Also, Sally Fallon (now Sally Fallon Morrell) wrote a cookbook with tons of research based on Price's work.... "Nourishing Traditions" which allows grains, but only when soaked and fermented which neutralizes the phytic acid. I know its not "paleo". I promote and lean towards paleo, but am strongly pulled to eating what your ancestors ate too. They learned how to prepare the foods for optimal nutrition. And the whole focus in on animal based fats/protein too. The cultures that lived chiefly as vegetarians did not fare well. Sorry if you already knew all this, I hope it helped answer part of your question. ~~~s

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 03:52 PM

My daughter is Celiac and I do think that the further north you went the less chance for grains to flourish well. They first noticed and documented Celiac formally in Holland during WWII when they ran out of bread. Then Celiac was considered a northern European disease. But the more they looked they are finding it all over. I think grains were added way too late down the pike in order to feed the non nomadic larger populations where the weather wasn't so extreme.

1
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 13, 2010
at 03:13 PM

Inuit were able to get lots of vitamin D through their diets, so there was not a selection advantage to getting fair skin and the resultant increased vitamin D from the sun.

587538a2db229b2ec884ea04cc3dc75e

(462)

on November 13, 2010
at 07:27 PM

What are the copper haired or blond Inuit? I have never seen Inuit with anything other than jet black hair.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 08:23 PM

It is this explorer who called them the blond Inuit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blond_Eskimos Also about a hundred years ago he noticed how the men in his expedition with the Inuit guides did very well on the Inuit diet up there and then the Journal of Medicine asked him and others to go on the diet for like a year and they must have published their findings not sure how to locate them. But even then it was obvious that you can live on a very low carb diet and thrive. But he was Icelandic and maybe he did better because of his genetics and being used to extreme cold temps and short days.

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 03:35 PM

It seem like the obvious answer but how do you explain the copper haired or Blond Inuit? Also if Inuits are further north lets say all the more reason they should be the lighter ones since they have even less sun. Wouldn't it have been an advantage to have both diet and pigments to provide Vitamin D? Would there really be that much more Vitamin D in Inuit's diet than a bit further south? What was the source of the Vitamin D in Inuit's diet and why wouldn't Norse people kill seals as well?

55a546fd4e8b2b0dcba4cb5d3c81d65d

(50)

on November 13, 2010
at 08:24 PM

Here is the link to the explorer and the low carb diet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilhjalmur_Stefansson

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