What effect does the wearing of clothing have on our health and wellbeing? I'm not promoting nudity (well, most of the time...), but can't help but think that in many parts of the world our paleolithic ancestors would have worn much less clothing or possibly even nothing. I suspect wearing clothes would mean lower Vitamin D intake, some sort of change in the conditions of the skin due to decreased air circulation, etc, but wondered what else?
Should we be promoting a bit more bare skin along with our bare feet?
asked byCT (2614)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on July 16, 2010
at 02:35 PM
clothes also protect us, as we do not have body hair anymore to do the job. and as much as vit. D is necessary and needed, direct long exposure to strong sun light is not that great either.
the clothing (of variety of styles - skins in the early times, or plant-made coverings) is the first line protection from various "attacks" - from scratches or animal teeth, through possibly poisonous plants to parasites or insects.
There is a reason why the clothing (depending on climate) always at least protects the most important and vulnerable parts of our bodies.
on July 17, 2010
at 05:20 AM
I read some interesting info at the vitamin D council website about body oils and vitamin D. Turns out that natural human body oils are full of vitamin D. When the sun hits the oil, vit D is created in the oil, even when it is on the surface of the body. It has also been discovered that vit D is easily reabsorbed into the body. What might this mean? Skin oil gets secreted to the outside of you, past any tans or dark skin that might block UVB, then vit D is created, and then you can reabsorb the vit D into your skin. Basically, you can still get your D even if you have dark skin.
I also find it rather interesting that the areas that are least likely to be covered by clothing and are most out in the sun, ie hair and face, tend to be the areas that get the most oily. I have wondered if maybe those areas are also the most efficient vit D producers because of this. It would make a lot of sense, but I don't know of much research on it.
As an aside, interesting to note that the vitamin D council feels it may be possible to literally wash off a lot of vitamin D via regular bathing with soap, especially if you do so right after your sun exposure. They feel this problem may account for some people who get a lot of sun exposure but still seem to have low vit D blood levels. Just as a guess on my part, but seems to me that might be even more of a prob for those who are dark skinned. Interestingly, I read on an acne website that those who have dark skin tend to secrete more natural body oil than lighter skinned people. If true, this would jive with the vit D via external body oils hypothesis.
on July 16, 2010
at 08:20 AM
I suspect that it's not the primary cause (sitting indoors all day probably is), but it certainly lowers Vitamin D absorption.
If you can get out of the city once in a while, you can let loose a little bit, without going over the line if you're within reach of civilization, if you get my drift.
In town you can roll up sleeves, ditch socks and underwear, and still fit in pretty well even on Wall St.
Of course, toxic synthetic clothing can cause problems. An obvious one is fungus, but I'm sure that there are more.
What about Grok? Geneticists have brilliantly figured out that clothing is about 50,000 years old. They figured this out by dating the mutation from body lice to clothing lice. This roughly corresponds to the date given for Out of Africa. It seems that they were dressed for the occasion. (Before the Dawn)
on July 17, 2010
at 03:01 AM
More recent studies of lice have pushed the date of clothing use to 190,000 years ago. That is when species of lice specialized for feeding on humans first evolved. Link here: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/58435/title/Lice_hang_ancient_date_on_first_clothes
That's over half the time since the emergence of homo sapiens, so clothing has certainly had an effect on our evolution. It, along with fire, was an enabler that allowed humans to move into previously inhospitable climates.
So for me, clothes are acceptably paleo, but polyester disco shirts are definitely out.
on July 16, 2010
at 03:32 PM
One thing that was interesting about the Movnat workshop I did was how it revealed how wimpy my skin is. Erwan wanders around in the woods climbing trees while wearing not very many clothes. His skin looks awesome. After a day of wandering around the woods in a bikini, my skin looked a little abused. Our first run through the woods was a cavalcade of yelps as we were stung by nettles and scraped by branches. Erwan didn't seem to notice. He showed me his hands, feet, knees, and elbows- his skin is much thicker, which happens when you use it. That makes sense to me- I've done several sports that involve taxing the hands and feet and while the beginning involves a lot of bleeding, you do toughen up. Based on pictures of tribes I've seen, it seems avoiding lice and heat is more important that protecting the skin.
Despite the scratches, I would definitely exercise more with minimal clothing. One of the problems I've had with exercise is overheating, but during my Movnat workshop I never experienced this, even when it was very hot. But I live in NYC and would get sexually harassed if I ran in a bikini in the park.