Malnutrition in Middle-Earth?

An offbeat study in the Canberra Times concludes that the evil characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit lost their battle against men, elves, and dwarves because they suffered from vitamin deficiency —

Shunning sunlight, surviving on a sketchy or unbalanced diet based on rotten meat or (in Gollum’s case) the occasional blind fish, they lacked vitamin D, a key component for healthy bones and muscle strength.

The idea is proposed by Nicholas Hopkinson, a doctor at Imperial College London, and his son Joseph, in the Christmas edition of the Medical Journal of Australia. They scoured The Hobbit for references to characters’ living conditions, habits and diet.

Next thing you know, these quacks will be telling trolls to boost their vitamin D levels by getting more sunlight.

[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the story.]

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