Vitamin D-deficiency may have killed Mozart

Last Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 00:00

Washington: Had Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
spent a few minutes basking the Sun, it might have helped the
young Austrian composer live longer, researchers say.

Many theories have been raised in the past about the
nature of Mozart`s untimely death, ranging from head trauma to
rheumatic fever.

Now, researchers claimed that lack of vitamin D could
have killed the legendary musician who died at the age of 35,
LiveScience reported.

An important vitamin in fighting off disease, Vitamin
D is produced in the body from ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from
the sun. Where Mozart lived, in Vienna, these low levels of
UVB rays would have easily caused vitamin D deficiencies, said
the researchers.

William Grant of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health
Research Center in San Francisco and Stefan Pilz of Austria`s
Medical University of Graz suggested that low levels of UVB
rays during the winter, along with his nocturnal habits could
have made Mozart vitamin D-deficient.

"Mozart did much of his composing at night, so would
have slept during much of the day. At the latitude of Vienna,
48 degrees N, it is impossible to make vitamin D from solar
ultraviolet-B irradiance for about 6 months of the year," they
wrote in the journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists.

Mozart had been sickly for years. This deficiency
could have led to an increased number of infections,
especially a few months into winter, the researchers said.

They hypothesised that the day Mozart died at age 35
(on December 5, 1791) was two to three months into the
"vitamin D winter", when ultraviolet B rays are lowest.

Vitamin D deficiencies have taken the lives of other
composers, most notably Gustav Mahler, who died in May 1911 of
a bacterial infection around the lining of his heart.

Such bacterial infections are easier to fight off when
vitamin D levels are normal, the researchers said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 00:00

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