Looks like astrologers may have had it right all along – the stars really do influence our lives. New research out of Norway drew a surprising conclusion this week – sunspots, particularly during pregnancy period and first year of life, appear to shorten a person’s lifespan by over half a decade. Researchers studied more than 9,062 Norwegian births from 1676 to 1878 and using the occurrence of sunspots, a barometer of sorts for solar activity, found that regardless of the person’s social standing, lifespans were shorter by slightly over five years for persons born during years of high solar activity.
The scientists theorize that the higher levels of ultraviolet radiation that are present during periods of intense solar activity, degrade Vitamin B, the folate that is essential for healthy fetal development. In other words, women who were pregnant during years where sunspots were more active, would see their folate (Vitamin B) levels drop and thus, give birth to less healthy babies (and be less fertile).
The researchers also found that those who consumed healthier diets tended to fight off the bad effects of intense solar radiation whereas those who consumed less healthy diets (i.e. lower-status women) give birth to babies more susceptible to the effects of ultraviolet radiation. Still, they noted that avoidance of the Sun entirely would not have help matters since Vitamin D, which requires the sun to synthesize properly, is also a requirement for healthy children.