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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Muslim Women, Vitamin D and Osteomalacia

In the global debate regarding the dress codes for Muslim women, one important factor is often overlooked: The fact that depriving a human being from live-giving sunlight and air represents physical torture. Indeed, this form of torture has been used for centuries in prisons.

It has long been known that the average human being requires a certain amount of sunshine on a daily basis in order to be healthy. Under the right circumstances sunlight creates vitamin D in the oils on the skin, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream and helps generate health throughout the entire body, largely serving to assist calcium in bone formation.

It has also been understood for many years that purdah--the custom of sequestering women from men, forcing them to remain indoors and to cover up the bulk of their skin--creates a serious disease called osteomalacia or "bad bones." Writing decades ago, famed nutritionist Adele Davis stated:
"Osteomalacia. This disease--its name literally means bad bones--results primarily from a severe vitamin-D deficiency. Arabian and Indian women who keep themselves heavily veiled frequently develop such painful backs that they can scarcely rise; and they suffer multiple spontaneous fractures and have extremely rarefied bones, all of which clears up dramatically when vitamin D is given them." (Davis, Let's Get Well, p. 256.)
In her classic work Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit (140), Davis also states:
"Sir Robert McCarrison, the great English physician, wrote of osteomalacia in India among the Mohammedan women observing the custom of purdah. These women veil their faces at adolescence and rarely go outside their homes."
In this same regard, in Deficient Sunlight in the Aetiology of Osteomalacia in Muslim Women, Dr. OP Kapoor states:
" most of the Sunni Muslim women (who form majority of the Muslims), in spite of high intake of calcium, osteomalacia is often seen. There are two reasons for this:

"1. Use of burkha which prevents sunlight reaching the skin.

"2. Living indoors - most of the Muslim women specially those staying in the Muslim localities, do not move out of the house and thus are not exposed to the sun and often develop osteomalacia."
As we now know, vitamin D is necessary for a variety of other metabolic processes in a healthy individual. Moreover, sunlight has other positive effects besides vitamin-D production. For one, it is necessary for the production of the hormone melatonin through the eyes. Thus, Muslim women who wear the full burkha* are deprived of this health-bestowing chemical as well, which is necessary for proper sleep and, consequently, mental health. Also, merely taking vitamin D or melatonin supplements would not make up for other potential health benefits associated with adequate exposure to sunlight, and supplements are not the best choice for optimal health in any event.

In addition to developing bone and other problems from a lack of vitamin D and melatonin, covered women are deprived of fresh air on their skin, which is the body's largest organ. Hence, the skin is not given the opportunity to breathe adequately. Furthermore, the color of choice in covering up women because of "religious" purposes is often black and sometimes blue, undoubtedly creating much sweltering and heat stroke in the very hot regions in which this clothing is traditionally worn.

While the emotional, mental and spiritual problems with forcing a woman to veil herself may be increasingly clear, the grossly under-explored factor in the burkha/niqab debate is the toll on women's physical health. The bottom line is that veiling women and depriving them of life-giving sunlight and air represents physical torture - especially in heat-absorbing dark colors - on a mass scale. How many women are suffering horrendous health problems, exacerbated by being forced to give birth repeatedly, because of this oppressive custom? In the veiling of women, then, we are looking at a serious and appalling health crisis affecting millions worldwide.

* There are many forms of oppressive dress for women within the Islamic world, compelling us to learn these terms:


So obsessive is this women-oppression that there are reputedly over 100 terms for bagging females.

See also:

Women in hijabs 'need sunlight or risk illness'
Women's Rights in Islam


Angela said...

True. I admit that I like the veil (I'm not muslim and I live in London), of course not the burqa, just a small veil, I find it very elegant, but maybe because I'm not forced to wear it. It must be a choice, otherwise, if imposed, even the smallest veil becomes a violation.

Anonymous said...

In addition, the ultraviolet light converts the cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D and so this regulates the amount of cholesterol in the body. Interesting concept but ignorance is bliss and I really don't think Muslims will take this scientific fact seriously.

Unknown said...

Awesome simple, yet powerful and TRUTHFUL post. Period! Great job, Acharya!


Anonymous said...

This insane custom is another example of religion's harmful effect on the entire human race. In all the discusions of M. Jackson there is nothing said of his religion. His mother was and probably still is, a devout Jehovah's Witness. Michael was also until his highly successful :Thriller" came out. The Organization determined it was demonic and forced Jackson to resign his membership. I too was a Jay- Dub as we who have been kicked out of the club call ourselves. I was a J.W. for 25 years and was disfellowshipped , as they term it, for questioning some of their tenets.All who are In this condition of limbo are not to be talked to or in any way treated as the friends or close relatives they were formerly. They are as dead. As a result one of my daughters has not had anything to do with me for over 20 years. I have never been allowed to see my two grandsons now 21 and 18. This breaking up of families is rampant throughout the entire membership of around six million worldwide. Religions should be forced to pay taxes like any other business. They will not, however because the governments of the world like that of the U.S. use them as partners in controling the sheeple.

Anonymous said...

Incredible! Another indicator god has nothing to do with this form of social control!

Anonymous said...

Hi Acharya,

Thanks for the info and link. It's also unnatural for men not to be able to see women in their natural beauty and loveliness. The resultant sensory deprivation leads to mental perversions, such as the obsession Islamic men have with a promised afterlife of "72 virgins" in paradise, which is obviously a compensatory tactic of the mind to make up for the sensory loss that male sexuality is otherwise designed to accommodate. This male frustration leads to all kinds of violence, including war and terrorism, and is of course not the monopoly of Islam, though Islam certainly seems to express its most extreme form.

Thanks again for broaching this subject.

Arden Riordan said...

This is excellent. You might want to send this to Dr. Mercola. He is always talking about how important Vitamin D is. And he might post it on his site.

Tyler Jordan said...

Great point Acharya! Recent studies also suggest two other aspects of Vitamin D deprivement:

New Model Of Cancer Development: Low Vitamin D Levels May Have Role

Low Blood Levels Of Vitamin D May Be Associated With Depression In Older Adults

All together, vitamin D deprivement is a serious health issue with dramatic costs for a society. If strict Muslim societies genuinely care about women's physical and mental welfare, as their proponents claim, then they must take this issue very seriously and make appropriate changes in their culture to deal with the effects of vitamin D deprivement - even if the science were not 100%, an honest and caring society wouldn't risk causing further harm, they would make changes immediately.

Anonymous said...

I suspected that women under those clothes are subjected to some kind of encarcelation. Body temperatures is probably higher, modifying or damaging appropriate functionality of the body temperature system. Thanks for this valuable information.

Acharya Satyakama said...

Very relevant point well brought out. This information should reach the millions of Muslim women affected adversely by this pernecious practice in the name of religion. The readers should give some careful thought as to how this could be effected.

Acharya Satyakama

Doug Allitt said...

Is it just me, or is the "woman" in the blue outfit half way down the article on the right seem to be really enjoyng the sunny day - if you get my drift? Take a close look!

mbarnes said...

If you are interested in vitamin D you should take a look at The site has good summaries of the data and offers a new preparation of vitamin D in a micro-pill formulation. The pills have been formulated with cellulose which absorbs water very quickly. This ensures that the pill breaks up very quickly to provide for maximum absorption. The micro pill is tiny and tasteless. Many vitamin D pills on the market have very poor dissolution properties resulting in poor absorption.
The site also offers to supply customers with a free supply of 400IU for their children and it also has a good newsletter.
best regards
Toby Lee

Meggilizz said...

Maybe people should start using the "tan-thru" fabric for their burkhas.

Todd the Toad said...

Acharya, thanks for this informative article and for raising another good point. I just keep hating religion more and more, especially after reading this. If someone needs a mythology fix, I recommend that they avoid religious texts and read some REALLY good literature, like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.

Todd the Toad said...

Wow, to the former Jehovah's Witness who posted on this forum ---> Bravo for your great post. I applaud you for not giving into their pressure tactics. There are some JW's in my neighborhood -- they are a very creepy and freaky cult. Thanks for sharing. -- Todd

Unknown said...

Ayesha: I don't wear the Burkha, but beccause I stay indoors I had the same problem, because of these deficiancies I had a lot of pain in my legs & I had to go for treatment & now I'm watching my diet &doing better

Acharya S said...

Thank you, Ayesha. I too work indoors and tested low in vitamin D, even though I have a very good diet.

The best thing I've found is to go on long walks in the sun - we need the sun, period. There are those who are essentially allergic to the sun who need to avoid it, but they are a very small percentage. The rest of us need sun exposure - that's all there is to it. The more areas of the body that are exposed, the better. Once again, Islamic doctrine is simply unnatural in this case and, as far as I am concerned, therefore anti-God.

Unknown said...

Mr Acharya I was just talking about health related problems, I'm not against the burqa though personally I don't wear it. There is never any compulsion in Islam to wear a burqa. According to Islam women have to be chaste & need to make sure their clothing doesn't invite evil eyes of men.Personally I feel Mr.Acharya is against Islam,whereas Islam teaches respect to all religions

Anonymous said...


I am a muslim woman, and i willingly wear hejab and niqab,
and im not oppress, nor have i died from lack of vitamin D.

nor do centuries of muslim woman who wear burqa suffering from lack of vitamin D.

and you dont see me complaining, do you?

So why the woman who is not wearing hejab and niqabi expressing their views on behalf of me, and the others hejabi/ Niqabi.

Did we asked you to?

We are happy the way we are, and the only harrasement i feel is when people like all of you who rudely stop and stare.

Acharya S said...

What's to stare at, rudely or otherwise? Why do you care, if you happily wear your Islamic female slave clothing? Nobody can see who you are under all that crap anyway.

And are you taking vitamin D or do you just have some magical and supernatural ability to produce it without sunlight, which is absolutely necessary to human life? By the way, covered women most definitely DO have bone problems, as I outlined in this post. But I know you didn't read it - probably because you can't see the computer through your niqab.

None of this Islamic female slave clothing is truly ordained by God, so just get over it and join the human race.

Burn the veil and be free!

shiza said...

There are number of health and moral benefits that wearing the veil (Hijab, Hejab) can provide. The moral duty of wearing the veil (Hijab, Hejab) in Islam is an often discussed topic among Muslim women. However, little has been written about scientific reasons that the veil (Hijab, Hejab) is beneficial for society. There are, in fact, a number of health benefits that wearing the veil can provide, as well as many behavioral science studies that suggest that the veil (Hijab, Hejab) is the best attire (clothes) for women.

Protecting the head is very important from a health perspective. Results Of medical tests show that 40-60% of body heat is lost through the head, so persons wearing head coverings during cold months are protected about fifty-percent more than those who do not. Chinese and Muslim medical texts take this concept even further. In the Hua Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor's Classic on Internal Medicine), wind is said to cause sudden changes within the body and shaking, swaying and other movements that potentially upset the body's equilibrium; thus, creating bad health.

These texts attribute the common cold to wind elements entering the body and causing the typical symptoms of sneezing and a Runny nose. In the traditional Islamic medical texts of Al-Jawziyya, we can find numerous references to the "four elements" of fire, water, air and earth and how these affect the body in adverse ways. In particular, we are advised to stay away from drafts and protect our heads in wind, breezes, drafts and cold weather.

All outdoor workers should wear some sort of head covering:

For this reason, protecting the head is even more important in warm weather. V.G. Rocine, a prominent brain research specialist, has found that brain Phosphorus melts at 108 degrees; a temperature that can be easily reached if one stays under the hot sun for any length of time without a head covering. When this happens, irreversible brain damage, memory loss and loss of some brain functions can result. Although this example is extreme, Brain damage can still be measured in small degrees from frequent exposure to and overheating of the head. Bernard Jensen, a naturopath and chiropractor states that this is because the brain runs on the mineral phosphorus, which is very affected by heat.

Hygienic Purposes:

All public should wear a veil (Hijab, Hejab) or head-covering workers serving society to ensure cleanliness and purity. Workers in a number of professions wear "veils" - nurses, fast food workers, and deli Counter workers, restaurant workers and servers, doctors, health care providers and many more. In fact, when we compare the number of workers who cover their heads to the number who do not, we find that more people probably cover their heads than do not.

Female Psychological Balance:

Covering the hair can also have a beneficial effect on the female psyche as well. Studies of women being interviewed for jobs show that there is a high correlation between what they wear and their perceptions of how successful they will be in their interviews. There are many more examples of how what we wear can influence how we act.

Wearing a veil (Hijab, Hejab) can serve to remind women of their religious duties and behavioral expectations. It can also serve as a reminder to women that we are not only individuals, but also representatives and diplomats of our "Ummah."

shiza said...

dont go so senseless mr.acharay
brain damage is much severe problem thn defficiency of vitman D........n chinese and all reseachers are not mad so they promote hijab.......and now a days hijab provide even more protection especially from ultra violet radiation due to hole in ozone layer........go and reseach it first...if u hate islam it does never mean that u misguid other....n in last mind ur tongue

shiza said...

Why is a group for hijab under the beauty category and not under a religious center category? Why is hijab a different definition of beauty?

Everything precious is naturally hidden and protected. Diamonds? Deep in the earth. Pearls? Deep in the sea protected in a shell. Gold? Deep in mines, well hidden. Your bodies are much more valuable than any minerals. Why expose them? Hijab is not a different definition of beauty- its the only one :)

and i never said u to buy hijab.......because islam is a religion of open minded people it never force any one......if ur heart says do it...(all the tradition and cultral things are not the part of islam)

Acharya S said...

Everything precious is naturally hidden and protected. Diamonds? Deep in the earth. Pearls? Deep in the sea protected in a shell. Gold? Deep in mines, well hidden. Your bodies are much more valuable than any minerals. Why expose them? Hijab is not a different definition of beauty- its the only one :)

and i never said u to buy hijab.......because islam is a religion of open minded people it never force any one......if ur heart says do it...(all the tradition and cultral things are not the part of islam)

Sorry, but I ain't buying what you're selling. Women aren't "hidden treasures" or any other OBJECTS - they're HUMAN BEINGS, and they can determine what THEY want to reveal of themselves. No man with his vicious cult of violent and hateful followers should be telling women what they can or can't do.

If women want to go naked, they should be allowed to do so, unharassed by barbaric and savage men who can't control their own genitals. All these centuries of Islamic fanaticism, and still you men just can't control your animalistic urges and instead feel the right and need to rape women because they show their skin? Why the obsession with women's bodies and genitals? Islam is anti-enlightenment. Again, shame on you for promoting this sick cult of misogyny.

If women want to cover up - without all the conditioning, threats, brainwashing and fear imposed upon them by men to force them to do so - then they have that right as well. But if they are going to go around with their faces masked like bandits, they should expect to be treated like bandits. If they are so fond of their veils, let them stay in the lands where the veils reign supreme, not force themselves on the rest of us, who clearly can see that these veils are barbaric forms of oppression, period, designed to "protect" women from savage men who can't control their violent sexual urges.

Islam has done NOTHING to civilize people, obviously, if it can't even go beyond the most basic gender issues - even animals aren't so obsessed with gender and sex.

Islam teaches that women are inferior and should remain as household servants, sex slaves and baby-making machines to men. I say again, SHAME ON YOU for promoting such women-hatred and oppression.


"They ask you about menstruation. Say: 'It is an indisposition. Keep aloof from women during their menstrual periods and do not approach them until they are clean again; when they are clean, have intercourse with them whence God enjoined you....'" Quran 2:222

"Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please." Quran 2:223

"Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them." Quran 4:34

"A male shall inherit twice as much as a female." Quran 4:11

"Call in two male witnesses from among you, but if two men cannot be found, then one man and two women whom you judge fit to act as witnesses..." Quran 2:282

"[Forbidden to you are] married women, except those whom you own as slaves." Quran 4:24


Menstruating women are unclean, and men must stay away from them. Women are men's "fields," and men can have sex with them whenever they want. Men are superior to women and have authority over them, while women must obey men or risk being beaten. A woman is worth one-half of a man. Muslim men can own sex slaves.

Acharya S said...

...islam is a religion of open minded people it never force any one

Yes, I'm well aware of this Muslim apology - it is FALSE. There is ONE passage in the Koran that claims "no compulsion in religion." It is abrogated by those that follow, which are designed to FORCE everyone in the world to become Muslim.

And Muslims most certainly DO try to force Islam on everyone else - that's why you're in here proselytizing your Salafi/Wahhabi anti-woman rubbish, using insults and threats when your "sweet talk" fails. So, please stop lying about there being no compulsion in Islam.

MILLIONS OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FORCED INTO ISLAM AT THE POINT OF A SWORD. Some 270 MILLION people have been slaughtered in the name of Islam over the past 1,400 years.

HERE is what the male-dominant and infidel-hating cult you are promoting - and threatening others over - says about nonbelievers:


"This Book is not to be doubted.... As for the unbelievers, it is the same whether or not you forewarn them; they will not have faith. God has set a seal upon their hearts and ears; their sight is dimmed and grievous punishment awaits them." Quran 2:1/2:6-2:10

"God's curse be upon the infidels! Evil is that for which they have bartered away their souls. To deny God's own revelation, grudging that He should reveal His bounty to whom He chooses from among His servants! They have incurred God's most inexorable wrath. An ignominious punishment awaits the unbelievers." Quran 2:89-2:90

"Lord...Give us victory over the unbelievers." Quran 2:286, Quran 3:148

"I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers." Quran 8:12

"Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate." Quran 9:73

"Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous." Quran 9:123

"Believers, take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends. They are friends with one another..." Quran 5:51

"He that chooses a religion over Islam, it will not be accepted from him and in the world to come he will be one of the lost." Quran 3:85

"Garments of fire have been prepared for the unbelievers. Scalding water shall be poured upon their heads, melting their skins and that which is in their bellies. They shall be lashed with rods of iron.

"Those that deny Our revelations We will burn in fire. No sooner will their skins be consumed than We shall give them other skins, so that they may truly taste the scourge. God is mighty and wise." Quran 4:56

"Believers, know that the idolaters [non-Muslims] are unclean. Let them not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year is ended." Quran 9:28

"The unbelievers among the People of the Book [Bible] and the pagans shall burn for ever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures." Quran 98:6

Like I say, you need to grow a conscience and join the human race, instead of pushing this women-enslaving and infidel-hating ideology.

If you want to debate these subjects further, you need to go to Nobody there is going to buy into your deranged cultic viewpoint, however, as they've escaped Islamic fanaticism.

Doug Allitt said...

Precious gems and gold are in fact found on the top of the ground. How do you think prospectors find them in the first place? They only dig underground when the surface find plays out. These stupid people never take the time to analyze what they are saying!

shiza said...

ur a blog writer and u present things really well...insult , voilence huh...n what u do abuse , misguide?
well i dont agree that lack of vitman D is caused by hijab.
im a science student so let me tell u (mark it well).....
sun light is a form of energy which is being absorved ... when muslim women wear hijab it does not mean that their energy absorbtion is stopped hence their clothes keep on absorbing it which is thn reached to the skin and thn the process of making vitman D goes on (it a nature of energy) and that the reason that they mostly use dark colours so they have more amount of energy though they dont die due to that disease...........and do u know that direct exposure to sunlight is harmful due to UV (becoz of it skin expert do make sun block cream and all other syremz....if u dont agree go to skin specialist and ask him he will answer u very well......
n i said that brain damage is severe thn lack of vitman D (it does never mean i accepted it i was just comparing)
and all that quranic verses a socially proved..........y dont u look into ur own religin !

Doug Allitt said...

All religious fanatics of all types are prisoners of their own thoughts (mind). They become a life wasted. They manufacture their own personal hell on earth from their own hellish thoughts. Everything comes from within. "The Kingdom of God is within you" means exactly that. If you wish to live in a heaven now start thinking good thoughts about all things. Give thanks constantly for all that you receive. Give gratitude always - it's free! Is not giving gratitude a form of positive and constructive worship towards all things. Even bad things can turn out to be good in the end.
Open your mind with love and affection and the universe will open up to you like a beautiful rose opening to receive the suns rays in the morning.
Try it!