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Vitamin D and COVID - Davies, Benskin (Dark Horse video with transcript) - Dec 27, 2021

Vitamin D for Covid, What’s the Catch? - DarkHorse Podcast Gruff Davies and Linda Benskin YouTube

Table of contents


00:00 Welcome and introductions
01:15 Vitamin D initial review in May 2020
03:40 VitaminDforAll letter https://vitamindforall.org/letter.html
07:00 Inference and randomized controlled trials
11:05 Vitamin D toxicity
13:08 Public health authorities are worse than incompetent
15:07 Vitamin A and D toxicity
19:17 Negative Brazil vitamin D study
21:05 Positive studies on vitamin D
23:00 Normal function of vitamin D
25:20 Vitamin D from the sun and supplements
29:07 Africa and sunshine
30:21 MERS and seasonality
31:30 Ecuador and sunshine
33:03 Air pollution in Italy and Korea
35:00 Brazil and vitamin D deficiency
36:55 Jamaica and politically correct science
39:46 Censorship from big tech
43:26 Health disparities and funding
47:14 Operation Warp Speed
50:18 Pascal's wager
52:02 Intelligent heroes and cognitive dissonance
54:30 Financial incentives
56:40 Pre-hormone D
58:04 Vitamin D from food
01:00:11 Avoiding colds and flu in winter season
01:04:15 Australia lockdown
01:05:10 Finland and food fortification
01:05:54 Sweden and Somali refugees
01:08:30 Recommended Daily Allowance
01:10:44 Vitamin D and mechanism for COVID immunity
01:15:00 Excusing doctors and "disproving" vitamin D in underpowered studies
01:21:38 Fluvoxamine and monoclonal antibodies
01:24:40 Emergency use authorization
01:25:32 Reducing harm with vitamin D
01:29:30 Zoonotic transmission and driving COVID extinct
01:35:51 Influenza outbreaks and vaccines
01:37:33 Not just vitamin D
01:39:57 What distinguishes vitamin D
01:42:00 Vitamin D, sun, and balance of risk
01:46:23 3 recommendations
01:47:47 Suspicion of public health authorities
01:50:44 Debunking negative studies
01:53:14 What does vitamin D expose
01:57:40 Funding of journals and fact checkers



0:00:04.1 Bret Weinstein: Hey folks, welcome to the DarkHorse podcast. Our topic today is Vitamin D, Vitamin D deficiency and the COVID 19 pandemic. My guests are Dr. Linda Benskin, a Nurse Researcher and Wound Specialist. Her independent research is on wound healing in remote and conflict areas in the tropics. She's currently in Jamaica, running a randomized controlled trial on improvised wound dressing. And Gareth Davis, known as Gruff, who has a Bachelor's in Physics and a PhD in medical physics from Imperial College. He's best known as an entrepreneur, software engineer and an expert in data analysis and machine learning. He has consulted for the NHS. Let's have a listen.

0:00:45.6 Bret: Linda, Gruff, welcome to the DarkHorse podcast. I'm so glad to have you here. You are experts in a topic that is rapidly becoming very important to me and many others who are interested in addressing our COVID situation. Vitamin D is the topic. Now, as I understand it, the two of you have collaborated now, but you did not know each other at the beginning of the pandemic, how did you find each other?

0:01:15.1 Gruff Davies: Well, originally, I believe it was because Linda wrote an incredible review early on in the pandemic of all of the available research, and she cited a publication, a pre-print publication that I had collaborated on with two doctors here in London. And I believe that's when we first met each other. Because I think I probably wrote to you to say thank you and how amazing the review was compared to the reviews that the UK government was...

0:01:45.0 Linda Benskin: Yeah, that review came out of a frustration of over and over again public health officials saying, "There's just not enough evidence to make a decision about Vitamin D." And this was in... Already in May, I was writing this article because it was so clear that the evidence was already overwhelming in May of 2020, and so I came across Gruff's causal inference model, and then another causal model using Hills criteria, which is well established and accepted by Dr. Boucher. Which was a model that was used to prove that smoking causes cancer because that has the same ethical dilemma of doing randomized control trials that Vitamin D has... You can't really do a randomized control trial if you really believe that smoking causes cancer and force half the people in your group to smoke and the other have to not smoke.

0:02:47.6 Linda: In the same way, if you really believe that Vitamin D deficiency is causing people to die of COVID 19, you can't tell half of the group that you're studying, you are not permitted to have any Vitamin D supplements, and we're just gonna relegate you to the group that we think is going to die. So Gruff's model was a really interesting one as well, and then I believe he probably from there, hooked me into this ad hoc email list that had about... Probably at this point, 50 experts from around the world who just share articles and insights and information and that group has continued to this day. We send the emails to each other every few days with the latest research that we've found. And from there, when they started the Vitamin D For All letter, I feel like one of my gifts is to be able to make things more succinct and more understandable, more readable. So I distill down research into something that's more distinct, more readable, and so I helped smooth over and help with the editing on that letter.

0:04:05.8 Bret: And Can you tell the audience what that letter is?

0:04:09.1 Linda: So Gruff, do you want to...

0:04:12.7 Gruff: I think it's worth bringing it up so that I don't forget the details.

0:04:20.3 Linda: It's vitamindforall.org.

0:04:23.2 Gruff: .org, exactly yes.

0:04:23.9 Linda: Not.net.

0:04:24.0 Gruff: So it's not dot com, it's.org. We had done for all with the number, but it's spelled out all as letters. And it's a call from scientists and doctors around the world. We were very selective, we didn't just try and get as many signatures as possible, we went specifically to the most reputable, eminent, professors, doctors, PhDs, many are both medical doctors and PhDs. Because we wanted to emphasize that the evidence is not just incredibly large, but is believed by people who have strong reputations as scientists. And we acquired, I think, 220 signatures and then, we decided to stop looking after that, we have... Including David Sinclair, he's one of the world's top 50 most influential scientists. It was one of the last signatures. And the point of that letter was to appeal, or really a call to action to government health agencies and anyone working in healthcare to take Vitamin D seriously. Look at the evidence and present the evidence both for the efficacy of Vitamin D in treating COVID, which is very strong, and also the safety that Vitamin D at levels that we're recommending because we found that certain agents, health agencies particularly, kept promoting a message of a very loan amount of Vitamin D which is suitable for bone health, but won't do anything for immune function.

0:06:04.0 Bret: And of course, the response to your letter is that health agencies across the world embrace this and are now recommending high doses of Vitamin D and of course...

0:06:14.7 Gruff: Wouldn't that be wonderful?

0:06:15.5 Bret: The harm of the pandemic has been greatly reduced by these increased levels of Vitamin D, especially in the temperate zones where people are chronically Vitamin D deficient. Is that correct?

0:06:25.6 Gruff: That is not the case. Unfortunately, possibly Ireland is one of the few countries that may... That looks like it's taking things seriously. We were... From the beginning, from March, when we started campaigning because people around the world... There are a number of scientists and doctors around the world who had enough information and could synthesize or understand the data well enough to see what was to mean almost as clear as a color in the data. I'm very experienced in interpreting data and I can... And I saw something, it was just blindingly obvious and that, as a physicist, I think the problem with statistics, especially medical statistics, is it teaches correlation isn't causation. But it doesn't tell you what causation is. So of course, in physics, we don't have randomized controlled trials to do work on astronomy, for example. You can't do a trial on a distant star. So, we're very used to work in different methods and varying cause.

0:07:24.8 Bret: So, I will just say for my audience, they are well-familiar with Heather and my frustration at the idea that the only kind of scientifically reliable inference comes from randomized controlled trials, and there are really two problems with this. One, randomized controlled trials, if they are done well, do provide a high quality kind of evidence.

0:07:46.1 Gruff: Yeah.

0:07:46.9 Bret: But they can of course be done poorly, and they can give you false confidence in something because they are subject to systematic biases. And the second thing is that most of what we know about the universe did not come through a randomized controlled trial. There are ethical concerns, as Linda points out, you can't assign people to smoke if you believe that it's likely harmful. So, randomized controlled trial out of the question. There are historical inferences that one must make. In evolution, it's very hard to look at the radiation of extinct species, let's say with randomized controlled trial. This is not how we learned about plate tectonics, it's not how we learned about Newtonian physics. The fact is randomized controlled trials are a luxury that requires great care to properly derive inference from them, but we are not scientifically hobbled by their absence. And so, when you say you're expert in the question of inference, what you're really saying is that you see something in the evidence that is unambiguous, and for some reason you... And did you say something more than 200 signatories to your...

0:09:12.0 Gruff: Yeah, by the end of... By the beginning of this year, I suppose it was early January. We're a bit late publishing it. We were hoping to get it out, but it took a long time to get there. But by the beginning, I think, or the end of January this year, we had 220 signatures and it went to... We've got it seen at senior levels in governments around the world, including the UK, and it has almost entirely been ignored.

0:09:37.3 Bret: So, I wanna unpack this a little bit. It is likely true that people who have not got a lot of familiarity with Vitamin D, as I did not until COVID... I thought, "Okay, I understand that this is a vitamin. It's probably a co-factor in certain processes. It's probably something that most of us get enough of in our food, and maybe you're a little bit deficient, and so some supplementation is necessary." I was aware that it was produced in the skin due to exposure to sunlight. I was probably concerned that because I know it's a fat-soluble vitamin, and fat-soluble vitamins are famously more dangerous than water-soluble vitamins because one could take too much, that one has to be cautious about supplementation and all of these things. And the more I have looked into the literature, the more I have realized that my model here was way off and that that was misleading me.

0:10:36.4 Bret: Now, it's possible that health authorities were misled in this way, and it is possible also that their caution about Vitamin D, in light of these many signatories to this letter, could be about the danger of Vitamin D. In other words, if Vitamin D overdose was a significant risk, you can imagine public health authorities advising nothing, or advising against supplementation because the risk could be greater than the benefit. What is the case with respect to Vitamin D toxicity and any reason to be cautious about administering it?

0:11:15.6 Linda: Yeah, I actually address that rather directly in my more recent paper. So, I did the basic review and that was published finally. I submitted the first iteration of that on May 13th of 2020. I just got there looking it up, and it wasn't published until September. There were a lot of reasons for that, some of them rather nefarious, but...

0:11:41.3 Bret: September of what year?

0:11:42.8 Linda: 2020.

0:11:43.4 Bret: 2020.

0:11:44.5 Linda: So, it took about four months for it to go through the usually very rapid peer review process of Frontiers in Public Health. So then, after that basic review was published by this year, in about May or June, I was starting to sense that we really needed another review because we were getting systematic reviews. But as you know, systematic reviews only take the best of the best of the research publications, and they don't take into account the big problem with Vitamin D having publication bias. So, they don't include anything that's a pre-print. And I wanted to do another review of all the evidence for Vitamin D, but this time, I was looking at the evidence only that was causal or that was my big emphasis.

0:12:34.8 Linda: I did tables of evidence for review papers, meta-analyses and systematic analyses and for causal evidence, and that was where I was going with it. But I put a big emphasis at the beginning of that chapter on the whole issue of how you get Vitamin D and the fact that toxicity is not really an issue. So at this point, looking at your public health officials and what they should know about Vitamin D by now... A year ago, Hanlon's razor might have applied but at this point, I think there's no excuse for their ignorance. I think at this point, we have to say that public health officials who are still not recommending Vitamin D are intentionally ignorant or worse.

0:13:23.1 Bret: So this is an extremely inflammatory accusation. Now, I know because I have been tracking the very same question that the degree to which public health authorities fail to recommend that which works, and continue to recommend things that either do not work or are risky, that if you start with the model of public health authorities, let's say we've got three different models. Public health authorities are basically competent and they're doing as well as they can in light of an emerging situation. Public health authorities are incompetent and they're doing as well as they can, which isn't very well at all, or public health authorities are actively doing that which prolongs the pandemic and causes COVID to continue to spread. Actually, the third model is the most predictive. It is surprising, I can't imagine why anyone would want this, and I am continually looking for that sign that in fact this is...

0:14:36.2 Bret: It would be better if it was incompetence because at least we can do something about that. The problem is incompetence just doesn't explain it, and Vitamin D to me, is the obvious proof of this. Because when you look into the truth of Vitamin D as is beautifully presented in your most recent paper, which I have here. It turns out that the fears that we might have about Vitamin D are ill-founded, they're, in fact, based on an over-extrapolation of what happens with Vitamin A. Vitamin A, which is fat-soluble, and we all learn in biology that in fact hypovitaminosis A is a possibility, there's a famous case in which an explorer ate nothing but polar bear, he had too much polar bear liver and soles of his feet fell off, and so anyway, this is an example that was used to tell people that fat-soluble vitamins have to be treated with care... What is the truth of...

0:15:36.0 Linda: Yeah, I think the good counter to that is the example that's in my paper of the dairy up in the Boston area, where the dairy accidentally was fortifying their milk with 525 times the amount of Vitamin D that they thought they were... They anticipated putting in the milk. So for two years, the people who were purchasing milk from this dairy were drinking milk that had this huge amount of Vitamin D in it, just like I said, way more than what they possibly should be getting...

0:16:09.8 Bret: And did any of them survive?

0:16:11.8 Linda: And in fact, they had zero deaths, they had only 19 people who were symptomatic for Vitamin D in that entire period of time. A Boston emergency room finally kind of connected the dots because people started having kidney stone kind of issues. And as soon as they figured out the problem, the dairy was notified, the customers were notified, people stopped taking so much Vitamin D, and the only fatality that resulted from the entire incident was one particular patient whose doctor prescribed high doses of Prednisone to counteract the Vitamin D rather than just doing some more modest measures and the person died of a massive infection from immuno suppression from the Prednisone, which the jury said had absolutely nothing to do with the Vitamin D.

0:17:04.1 Gruff: Vast majority of people, it's extremely hard to overdose on Vitamin D, it's a carefully regulated part of the immune system and of course plenty of enzymes that start ramping up to get rid of it if you have too much. Because we produce it not all of it in, we produce it in our skin, in certain bands of UV light, which you get most of peak summer time, and of course, a half an hour of summer sunshine in the middle of the day, that way sunshine will generate about 10,000 international units of Vitamin D. It is not linear, so you don't keep doing 10,000 every half an hour, it steadies off, we've evolved in millions and millions of years, most animals, all the animals, as far as I know have Vitamin D receptors and produce... Mammals certainly all produce Vitamin D. And so our bodies know how to deal with it. It's because we produce it in the skin, it's not like Vitamin A where you take it in through the food, and it's actually only Vitamin A, I believe, is the toxic fat-soluble vitamin, it was assumed that D, E, A and K would all be accrued like that, but in fact, it's only Vitamin A that get really really dangerous.

0:18:18.1 Bret: This is fascinating. So Vitamin A is the exception, not the rule. The fact that Vitamin D is fat-soluble is irrelevant to the question of overdose, and I learned from you both in our preliminary conversation that basically there is a mechanism that maintains a healthy equilibrium in an individual that is producing enough Vitamin D. Which is not most of us in light of the effect that modern life has on our encounter with the sun, but the point is, were you to take too much, it's not that you would be stuck with it, there is a disassembly mechanism, just as there is a synthesis mechanism.

0:18:57.9 Linda: In fact, that disassembly mechanism can create a lot of problems for randomized control trials and for interpretation of data in general, and I think that is innocent, that a lot of people have misinterpreted balusters. So A lot of times for these trials, there's a famous study in Brazil during COVID-19, in which they wanted to show whether or not Vitamin D would help with seriously ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients. And my area of expertise there is in evaluating the study design of researches to find out how they should appropriately be applied. And in this particular study design was a rather poor one, because they gave Vitamin D extremely late and they gave the precursor to the precursor to the active Vitamin D. But the important point here is that when you give a very large one-time dose of Vitamin D that kicks in that fail-safe mechanism, it causes the body to break down that Vitamin D.

0:20:04.0 Linda: In fact, the body will continue to break down Vitamin D for 28 more days. So, you end up actually having a lower Vitamin D a week later than what you would have had if you hadn't gotten Vitamin D at all. And the other problem is that the tests that are used to test for serum Vitamin D in the blood don't distinguish between the active Vitamin D and that breakdown product. So these researchers in Brazil, when they tested the serum levels of these patients said, "Oh look, but we know that the bolus worked because their Vitamin D levels in their blood were high." Whereas likely we have no way of knowing because it's not a very commonly used test to distinguish between those, what they actually were finding is the breakdown product was high, not the active Vitamin D level was high. And that is the only study that the US government has cited relating...

0:21:06.7 Linda: In discussing Vitamin D and COVID 19, so all the other studies that showed that Vitamin D worked well, there were three studies out of Spain, there were several from France, there were a lot of different prospective studies that showed that Vitamin D dramatically decreased COVID case rates, COVID hospitalization, COVID death rates COVID ICU rates. All of those things were dramatically reduced when people had Vitamin D prior to getting COVID 19 or early on when they first got COVID 19, all of those were not even mentioned by these government organizations, instead they mentioned only this Brazilian study in which they gave this huge bolus test that probably actually served to drop the Vitamin D levels.

0:21:51.3 Gruff: And actually wasn't even in particularly being dosed it was... In the end, it was... It only raised.

0:22:00.0 Linda: It was 80000...

0:22:00.9 Gruff: Very much and if you throw a bucket of water on a blazing house fire, you don't... And it doesn't put the house fire out, you don't then report water doesn't put out fires, it's just like that in a disease, if you act you can put the fire out.

0:22:14.2 Bret: So this is a perfect indication of what we are saying that despite the fact that none of the three of us would leap to the conclusion that public health authorities were actively somehow seeking not to control COVID, but in this case, to take all of the evidence that Vitamin D positively affects COVID, outcomes prevents contraction of the disease and positively affects outcomes in those who contract the disease to focus on the study that fails to point to that result because of an experimental design flaw is what you would predict if you were looking to avoid this conclusion somehow rather than to figure out what was going on and to navigate as best as possible. So I wanna stop you for a second because most people don't know anything really about Vitamin D. Can we talk a little bit about normal, the normal interaction between human beings and Vitamin D, how it is supposed to work, and then what modern life has done to that interaction, and then what implications it has for disease?

0:23:19.5 Gruff: I think it's worth probably not given that you look through the evolutionary lens it's a very good way of looking at what were Vitamin D like 10000 years ago for us as a species. Well, and actually, there have been studies to try to find tribes that live that way now still and measure their serum levels, and they're great, really clever studies because they show us what our normal serum levels should be and their far, far higher than the levels that are currently defined as sufficient in almost across the board. So we now everybody who's part of this community is pretty much on board now with a level that we would target for ourselves of 15 nanograms per milliliter using the American units we use slightly different units here in Europe, you have to multiply by two and a half. And that's because you're out in the sun, the summer sun all the time, getting exposed all day when it's sunny.

0:24:22.0 Linda: Yeah so what I talk about in my paper is the indoor lifestyle that we now have, which is absolutely not what any of our predecessors had, and the change was during the Industrial Revolution. So prior to the Industrial Revolution, virtually everyone in the world hunted, gathered fished or farmed, and so they were outside all day, including in the heat of the day. Now, it's important to know that Vitamin D is not obtained from the sun just any time, anywhere. So the rule of thumb is that if the sun is not at least 45 degrees above the horizon, you are not going to be able to get any Vitamin D because the ozone, and this is historically, the ozone in the air, the natural atmosphere is thick enough that the UVB rays don't get to you, so you can still get sunburned from the Vitamin... From the UVA rays but the UVB rays that help provide Vitamin D are not accessible to you... So what I tell people is, if you wanna know if you're getting Vitamin D or not, it's very simple, when you're outside, look at the ground at your shadow, if your shadow is not sharp and shorter than you are tall, you are not getting significant amounts of Vitamin D.

0:25:40.3 Bret: That's beautiful.

0:25:41.4 Linda: So early morning outside is a wonderful time, enjoy the birds, but you're not getting Vitamin D winter, middle of the day, if you live in a northern clime, you're not getting Vitamin D, and there are actually pretty easy to find apps and places you can go on the internet, where you can find out what the angle of the sun is in your particular location to find out whether or not you can get Vitamin D today or not. But at this time of year, there is no place in the United States that you can get Vitamin D, even in the middle of the day.

0:26:17.0 Gruff: Pollution as well. So it's worth knowing that you might... All those conditions can be present and you still might not be getting enough, so...

0:26:25.2 Linda: That's true yeah air pollution...

0:26:27.1 Gruff: I take a daily supplement every day all year round. I just take more in winter than I do in summer.

0:26:32.0 Bret: So I'm also now taking daily supplements as is Heather. I'm... Is D Minder, a good app for people to use? We have recommended it. Is it okay to...

0:26:43.8 Gruff: Yeah.

0:26:44.3 Linda: Yes.

0:26:44.9 Bret: Okay.

0:26:45.3 Linda: Yeah, that is a good app.

0:26:45.4 Gruff: GrassrootsHealth is a charity that was set up years ago, and they have some fantastic information for people. It's aimed at promoting information. It's called Grassroots, because they've actually been campaigning for more than 10 years to try and get Vitamin D somewhere here in the UK and failing. And in the end decided we just have to educate people because the governments aren't going to help us get this message out and are actively resisting it and have done for a decade.

0:27:11.9 Bret: So I wanna point out the... What may still be subtle for people, which is in almost any ancestral circumstance, the amount of outdoor time during the summer would result in the a production of sufficient Vitamin D, which would then be stored in fat...

0:27:35.2 Linda: And muscles, yeah.

0:27:36.3 Bret: Stored in muscles as well.

0:27:37.6 Gruff: And bone actually. Yeah. It diffuses to all... Basically across your entire weight.

0:27:41.1 Bret: Alright. So the stuff stored in fat and muscle in particular has a special relevance because basically, we have an ebb and flow of available food resources in ancestral circumstances. And so what you have is an elegant system for banking Vitamin D when it's easy to produce because the sun is high and storing it in fat, which will therefore then be released as times are tougher, less is growing and there's less sunlight. So the point is, it's a system that is built to maintain an equilibrium, and those of us who are supplementing to compensate for the fact that we are now spending much more time indoors. And I should point out that there are some counterintuitive aspects of this, like window glass blocks UV radiation, and therefore, even if you're sitting in the window seat and it's... The sun is shining on you, it's not doing you any good in this regard.

0:28:38.3 Linda: And sunscreen, doesn't take really any sunscreen at all to block the UVB rays as well.

0:28:43.5 Bret: Sunscreen, and I was realizing... I'm a cyclist, and I realized that even in the summer when it might be better to cycle with a shirt off, the cultural custom seems to be to wear a shirt, and that that's probably something that we ought to revise. At least maybe shortening sleeves or something would allow more production.

0:29:04.2 Linda: Correct. The other thing we're seeing is that the tropics, you'll notice if you look at COVID-19 rates, all throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, you're just not finding the COVID-19 rates, and we were expecting it to be catastrophic in Sub-Saharan Africa because there's so little capacity. I lived for five years in a remote area of Ghana, and that is a very outdoor culture. The people basically use their huts as a place to shelter, to protect themselves from dangers at night when they are asleep. They spend the entire day outside. They eat outside, they visit outside, they cook outside. And in those areas, we're just not seeing COVID-19. I've got friends who work in hospitals and clinics there, and they're just not seeing it, and they should be. And I believe it's because their Vitamin D levels are high. But in the areas that are heavily Islamic or have other cultural reasons... So for instance, Cambodia and the Philippines, I know for a fact... And Brazil, to a lesser extent, light skin is highly valued, and so people tend to cover up, especially the women tend to be covered up, and that's where we're seeing the outbreaks along the equator. It's places where people are wearing a lot of clothing, even though they're in the tropics.

0:30:21.0 Bret: So...


0:30:21.5 Gruff: This is actually what happened with MERS. Do you remember MERS?

0:30:24.2 Bret: Of course.

0:30:25.0 Gruff: The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. And it was in fact... When I did my literature review at the very beginning of the pandemic to look into previous coronaviruses and seasonality, it was one of the first things that stood out, and it was targeting exactly the same people who wore full body clothing, didn't get exposed to natural sunlight and are Vitamin D deficient. And when I did the causal inference analysis, we looked at... I think it's probably the biggest causal inference analysis ever conducted. We looked at 1.4 million data points, 'cause there's so much data coming out at that time, and examining the geographic patterns. The virus was in Australia, for example, all over the center of the tropics, well, before it hit Italy. And yet, there were no severe outbreaks anywhere, until it hit Italy. All of the locations that suddenly started having severe outbreaks were happening north of... Pretty much north of 40 degrees north latitude. There's a couple of exceptions with 30 degrees.

0:31:29.7 Bret: So I noticed early in the pandemic the disaster that unfolded in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

0:31:37.4 Gruff: Right.

0:31:38.1 Bret: Now, this is anomalous because of course, Ecuador means Equator, and so from the point of view of the angle of the sun, it's the perfect place to be. Guayaquil is on the coast, it's a low area, but it is very hot. And I don't know, maybe you know the answer, but I'm wondering if the prevalence of air conditioners and the tendency of people to be driven indoors by heat might have contributed in Guayaquil compared to, for example, Quito, which is a high altitude in a much more temperate climate where...

0:32:12.0 Gruff: Yeah. There are two factors that might be at play there. One is that there's a genetic polymorphism, which is... Which interferes with Vitamin D production in communities in Ecuador. I'm not the expert on that particular thing, but I'm in touch with one scientist who is. And the other explanation as you've said is in very hot weather... This happened actually in Arizona as well. I was very surprised to see rates going up in Arizona because the temperature was so high. It was 40 degrees Centigrade, which is I don't know what in Fahrenheit, like a billion Fahrenheits. [chuckle]

0:32:43.4 Bret: Yeah. [chuckle]

0:32:44.0 Linda: 105. [chuckle]

Air Conditioning

0:32:45.3 Gruff: And so of course in weather that's that hot and everybody goes straight to the mall whereas where it's... And then the air conditioning... An air-conditioned mall is a perfect breeding ground for an invading virus. You know, it's dry and it's cold and that's perfect transmission time, so...

0:33:03.2 Linda: You were talking about Italy earlier and Italy's early pandemic, and the surprising thing with Italy, and you could see the same thing in Korea that in both Italy and Korea, you would expect the biggest outbreaks to be in the biggest cities that have the international airports. So you would expect Rome to be where the Italian outbreak was, but it wasn't. Instead, the Italian outbreak was up north and in the mountains. And the same thing happened in Korea. Seoul did not have the big outbreak. The big outbreak was in a smaller city. And people looked at the air pollution levels across those countries, and the air pollution was such that both Seoul and Rome, the way that they sit on the coast, the same thing happens with Houston, Texas, the currents push the air pollution inland. And so those areas don't have high air pollution, unlike California, where the California coast has the mountains right behind it and California coast has serious air pollution right along the coast. And so they found that air pollution was a really high risk factor for getting COVID-19 and Wuhan has incredible problems with air pollution.

0:34:24.5 Bret: So is the, I guess, maybe because they both point in the same direction, air pollution on the one hand blocks UV radiation. Also, it will tend to drive people indoors where they have at least some insulation from it.

0:34:39.6 Linda: Well, you... You're not... If you're living in a really heavily polluted city, there's really no way to get away from it. You know that we're talking about people that don't necessarily have HEPA air filters inside their houses, so...

0:34:55.7 Bret: Yeah...

0:34:58.4 Gruff: There are things that's worth noting, is that Brazil, for example, that was one of the southern countries that seemed to start to have a big outbreak and did have a problem, and that was surprising to people. Brazil actually has a very well-documented Vitamin D deficiency problem in its older communities, which of course older people they're usually housebound or in a home, and they're not out in the sun getting... And there's a very high population that are either Black or mixed race. And you know that your skin color will also block UVs, so early in the pandemic, when I was working with Dr. Grammy and Dr. Baez, we predicted that we would see... If we were right, we would start seeing higher fatality rates in people with dark skin and as that happened, they were being announced on the news. It was another data point that said we were right about this, and it was just incredibly hard to get people to take that seriously, which is very sad.

0:35:57.7 Linda: Yeah that's another thing that...

0:35:57.9 Bret: Yes, it's a politically incorrect conclusion that there is something physiologically predisposing darker skins people to risk from COVID. The irony is that, I mean, the reason that dark-skinned people have dark skin is to block UV radiation, and so it is not surprising in an era where people have been moved around so they don't live where their ancestors were and their skin color does not necessarily match the amount of in counter with UV radiation that they have, that therefore being aware that it blocks Vitamin D production and supplementing to compensate for it... And supplementing, I would point out, can mean taking a Vitamin D supplement. It can also mean minding the position of the sun and very actively banking Vitamin D, which is to my way of thinking a much better, although I am now forced to supplement with diet, banking it from the sun would be a far superior mechanism. Is that fair to say?

Jamaica – people stay out of the hot sun

0:36:57.5 Linda: Yes, and here in Jamaica, I've done a lot of education with the people here on the time of day that they need to be out in the sun, because obviously it's hotter and not as pleasant in the middle of the day. And so, if they're not a farmer or a fisherman, they have no need to be out in the sun in the heat of the day. And so we've done a lot of education with them saying, "It's gonna take some time, even here in the tropics for you to get enough Vitamin D, and you need to be out there... " Fortunately, here in Jamaica, it's like between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM, there's a pretty big window of time that they can be out in the sun, but it's already hot at 8:00.

0:37:38.7 Gruff: Yeah.

Had to remove all references to dark skin in paper

0:37:39.6 Linda: So you're exactly right. And my paper, the original one, the basic review paper, I had a hard time getting them to assign my final peer reviewer, it was... Yeah... The other peer reviewers finally approved it in the middle of August, and then I couldn't get a final peer reviewer to be assigned and it just languished. And then as soon as I got that final peer reviewer assigned the very next day, she approved it, and it was ready to be published, I thought, because every other time I've published a paper, as soon as the peer reviewers give it a thumbs up, it goes straight to production for any typographical errors and layout and that kind of thing. Instead the editor came back to me and said, "We have these content changes that we need you to make before your paper can be printed." And I was like, "What? Aren't the peer reviewers the ones who are supposed to be the arbitrators of the content of the article?" But no, they wanted me to remove every reference I had to people with melanin-rich skin, in other words, people who have a naturally darker toned skin having increased risk for Vitamin D deficiency. And I said, "But that... "

0:38:56.0 Bret: A scientific fact.

0:38:57.2 Linda: Yeah, and I said, "That would be perfectly immoral, if I knew that this was causing a certain group of people to be higher risk and I refused to tell them because I wanted to be politically correct. No, I cannot do that. That's a deal breaker. I will just... I can rearrange the sentences, I can tone it down in other ways, but I can't just omit that fact." The peer reviewers accepted it with that information. I believe that information is critical to high-risk individuals and I won't remove it. And eventually, they backed down, but it was, you know, a standoff there where... My husband and I prayed over it, and we had made a conscious decision of, "Are we going to after all this work, allow this article to die on this hill?" And we said, "No, this is a hill I'll die on."

Censorship in social media

0:39:46.5 Gruff: Yeah. We had... The number of stories of censorship, and I mean everybody's experienced censorship on social media and Twitter and now LinkedIn if they've tried to share things about Vitamin D... I actually have a friend who works for Facebook and I personally reversed some articles that I was sharing that got censored by Facebook, but that's fortunate that I know somebody there. But my... The second version of our causal inference paper was rejected by medRxiv, which is a preprint server, right? So preprints aren't supposed to judge content. They're supposed to... They have certain safeguards, which is fair enough. But the reason for rejecting the paper was that we used... We added new use of sort of "causal language" in a causal inference study, and they refused to publish it. And so, they wouldn't publish it unless we changed, remove that wording, and replaced it with phrases like, "Is associated with," which is exactly the opposite of what we were trying to... What we've proven in the study.

0:40:48.7 Bret: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. So there must be something wrong with our Zoom call, because it sounded almost exactly like you said that there was censorship discussing Vitamin D with respect to COVID?

Paper could not be published until it had a negative findings for Vitamin D

0:41:05.1 Gruff: And happening in preprint, not just... It also happens in journals. With a colleague that, if you can use the word colleague in a [0:41:12.5] ?? call, an associate through this community, a few months ago shared he had several... He's a well-respected professor of epidemiology and a Vitamin D expert, and he's had three rejections of a paper that he was... A positive paper about Vitamin D, two of the replies told him to change the finding to a negative finding or they wouldn't publish the paper.

0:41:36.5 Bret: So...

0:41:38.5 Linda: It is overt. It is overt.

0:41:39.4 Bret: But this is what I am having such a hard time conveying to anybody who is only loosely paying attention to what's going on with our public health response to COVID. Is that when somebody says that discussion of the effect of Vitamin D and Vitamin D deficiency on COVID is being censored on social media platforms, they've said something utterly remarkable. This is a very important factor in COVID... And I will ask you shortly to talk about the... An estimate of how much of the death that has flowed from COVID could have been prevented if people had been aware of the Vitamin D issue and had dealt with it. But to the extent that Vitamin D is extremely safe, extremely cheap, and apparently extremely effective at preventing COVID when you are...

0:42:48.6 Gruff: And widely available.

0:42:50.4 Bret: Widely available... I mean, stacks of it at Costco, you know, that are taller than I am. It's amazing what a simple, easily accessible intervention this is. And the fact that it differential... I mean, even your story, Linda about your being told to change language about populations having different susceptibility to deficiencies in Vitamin D, who will be harmed by that? People who are likely to be Vitamin D deficient, who won't necessarily know about it unless someone has mentioned it. So, even this is upside down. But...

Dark skinned wealthy people were also dying of COVID – not just the poor

0:43:26.8 Linda: But there is another group of people that will be harmed by that, because the narrative was that the reason why dark complected people who were not living along the equator, were having more hospitalizations, fatalities, and deaths from COVID-19 was because of health disparities. And that drove a huge influx of funds into public clinics and that sort of thing. That... All of that funding was dependent upon the idea that we had now proven that health disparities were killing people. Now, I originally thought that might be the case until the UK Telegraph published their wall of heroes of the first people who had died of COVID-19, the first healthcare professionals who had died of COVID-19. The first 10 physicians to die of COVID-19 in the UK were all dark complected people, who were immigrants or their ancestors were immigrants to the UK. And just shortly after that wall started being published, it was up to 90% of all the people who died in the UK who were healthcare professionals, including, or any, any health association at all, were dark complected. Now you cannot tell me that a neurosurgeon who happens to be of Indian origin, died of COVID because he couldn't get access to basic care. That is not why he died. It was not a health disparity issue.

0:45:06.9 Bret: Right. So this is... I mean, the problem is that the simple facts of the way information is being treated here. If you look at it, and you acknowledge its implication, it makes you sound like a crazy person. Right? We have an intervention, I mean...

0:45:25.6 Bret: We can talk all day about repurposed drugs and whether they do or don't work and what the evidence says, and whether randomized controlled trials are the answer or whether they're obscuring the answer. But this is Vitamin D. And I must say I've been using it as a bellwether. The very fact that we are still not recommending Vitamin D to people in high latitudes who are almost certainly deficient, given the evidence, is an indicator that something that, to my mind, goes beyond anything that could be explained by incompetence is just very clear. And for you to encounter in the publication process that some sensitivity about interrupting some narrative about health disparities, which as far as I'm concerned, probably do exist. But even figuring out to what extent they are explanatory requires a discussion of what other things might be leading to some portion of the disparity and outcomes that we're seeing. So, the idea that we know the conclusions and that we are going to dress them up as science and then provide them to the public, and in so doing, by the way, prevent people from having the information about vulnerabilities they themselves may harbor? Right? We're...

0:46:44.0 Linda: Yeah, my African-American friends and my Jamaican friends, and my Ghanaian friends are angry that the censorship is occurring because they're saying, they are so... Yes, we all admit there are health disparities, but they are so focused on this narrative and on this end game that they have their political agenda, that they are willing to risk the lives of me and my friends over their agenda. And that just makes me mad... That makes me very angry.

0:47:13.3 Bret: And at the same time... I am just struck by the fact that we have Operation Warp Speed to produce vaccines at an incredibly rapid pace. An impressive feat, no matter what you think of the product that was produced, it is an impressive feat that they got there so quickly. But what have we done? We have sped the process of safety testing, which is something that cannot be accelerated, it's not a matter of something you can do faster because in part what you're looking for are delayed effects. So what we've got is a system that pretends that it is so obsessed with your health that it is going to cut corners in your interest in order to get you to something that works as rapidly as possible. At the same time, it is ignoring something that clearly does work. That is clearly very safe and would be the number one intervention.

0:48:13.2 Bret: In fact, my viewers will know that I have a, I think, well-founded obsession with the concept of diminishing returns. That this is the most important thing to understand with respect to complex adaptive systems, which is that there are some interventions that are highly effective and very easy, and then you exhaust those and you move towards things which do less and less at a greater and greater expense. And the point is Vitamin D is at the very most bargain level. The amount of good that could be done for the smallest amount of intervention is probably Vitamin D. And yet somehow, we're up here at some risky experiment that we're running with some very novel technology that is claimed to be safe, but obviously there are indications that it might not be so safe. In terms of efficacy, we know that six months down the road, it has spectacularly dropped off, so we're dealing with some super exotic remedy here, when there's a very basic remedy that we're pretending doesn't exist. This makes no sense.

Once committed to trillion’s for vaccines, were not open to lower-cost alternatives

0:49:20.5 Gruff: I think that the level of financial commitment early on to vaccines was so high and for the right reasons. At the beginning of the pandemic we didn't know what we were dealing with. It could have been something far worse than COVID-19, but once you've committed to a financial route that's worth... What, trillions? Who knows how much that's worth. Yeah, I think just the very idea that something as simple and cheap and widely available as Vitamin D could be the solution, would then need to having wasted all of that money and all of the operational set up. And I think at some level, whether it's cognitive bias, unconscious cognitive bias, or whether it's conscious, pernicious manipulation by the people who are making the trillions of dollars or both, it's probably all of the things that you can think of. That just led to people not wanting to even try, 'cause you've mentioned Pascal's Wager before. Even if we were wrong, we knew we weren't wrong, but even if we were wrong, Vitamin D is good for so many things. Why wouldn't you just on the balance of risks, say "We know it's safe up to at least 4,000 international units". Actually, the studies show it's safer higher than that but...

0:50:37.0 Linda: 10,000. Yeah.

0:50:38.1 Gruff: Everybody agrees 4,000...

0:50:40.3 Linda: There's no one who says that less than 10,000 is harmful. That more... That 10,000 or less is harmful.

0:50:46.0 Gruff: And it's like, why wouldn't you just do that as a blanket recommendation to every adult and then, see if it works?

Side effects are largely positive

0:50:54.1 Bret: Yes. I've started to think about it this way, which is when one recommends an intervention, one has to think very carefully about the side effects. And in this case, the side effects are largely positive, right? The side effects will be that people will be more resistant to other diseases, and so the point is... Look, let's say somehow you two have completely misunderstood the evidence, alright? I've read your work, I know that's not what happened, but let's say that somehow you had misunderstood the evidence about what was going on with the interaction of Vitamin D deficiency and COVID. Then still the recommendation would be a slam dunk with respect to improving human health, generally with a minimal, safe intervention.

0:51:43.6 Gruff: Yeah.

0:51:44.2 Bret: If you add on top of that, the incredibly powerful evidence that this is an incredibly important factor in the harm that has come from COVID, and the point is no rational person who was actually interested in controlling this disease and had looked at this evidence could possibly have failed to make this recommendation.

0:52:03.3 Linda: Well, I think there's something we're not taking into account, obviously people aren't rational. But there's something else you're not taking in account, and that is that most people like to perceive themselves as being intelligent heroes, and that's true of our public health officials as well. And basically, if they accept the Vitamin D evidence that we've provided them now, they had been duped by previous things, and they're not heroes at all, because they should have recommended this a year ago, a year and a half ago. And so they'd be replacing their superhero's cape with a dunce cap. No one wants to do that.

0:52:43.7 Bret: Well...

Hard to convince a person that he has been conned

0:52:44.6 Linda: The hardest person to convince of something is the person who has been conned, basically.

Vitamin D does not have an overdose problem like Vitamin A

0:52:52.1 Bret: Well, good. Let's hope they watch my podcast, because I think of myself as something of an expert at getting less dumb over time right? And the key lesson here is that if you have been dumb and you're confronting the question of admitting that you've been dumb, it's still a bargain because continuing to be dumb makes the cost go up and getting smart as quick as possible is really... No matter how late in the process, no matter... Look, I've told you already. When COVID started, I would have told you, "Hey, you need to be a bit careful supplementing Vitamin D because it's a fat-soluble vitamin, and that means there's a hazard of overdose. So we wanna figure out exactly what that level is." You know what? That was dumb. That was an extrapolation from Vitamin A and it was not justified, and it presumably has had some effect on my thoughts about whether or not it would be a good idea to supplement Vitamin D. Who knows how many respiratory viruses I have suffered from or suffered worse than I might have because I've been deficient in Vitamin D for my whole life. But you know what? I'm not gonna do that going forward.

Scientists can change their minds, politicians tend to double down

0:53:57.3 Gruff: Yeah, and you're a scientist, Brad, and we are scientists. Linda and I, we have many conversations where we've both said, "I'll change my mind immediately. I can't even believe this." But as soon as there's a new evidence, I'll change my position. The three of us as scientists, that's what we do. We know we're trained to do that, but I don't think politicians, unless they're scientists, have that mindset and they tend to double down.

0:54:20.7 Bret: Yeah, but you know what? You said something in passing a few minutes ago, which unfortunately fits the evidence all too well, which is that there's a perverse incentive here for many people.

Perverse financial incentive to use high-profit solutions

0:54:31.9 Gruff: There is. There's a perverse financial incentive. Absolutely.

0:54:34.2 Bret: There's a gigantic market that has opened up as a result of COVID. And if you imagine sociopaths or robots running the public health apparatus... I'm not saying that that's what's going on, but just use that as a model for a moment, and you imagine that their purpose was to enhance their own position in the world, right. And that these markets were suddenly spitting out cash at an incredible rate, well then, what would they think of re-purposed drugs that work like Fluvoxamine or Vitamin D, which is available by the pallete full at your box store? What would they think if these things suddenly loomed up and threatened to control COVID and put the world back to normal?

2020 study – immunization works for elderly if they have adequate Vitamin D

0:55:24.5 Linda: Yeah, and as a result of that, we've actually had some Vitamin D proponents who are offering a different message. There is a really nice, very elegant little study that was done, came out in December of 2020, but it didn't talk about COVID-19 at all, that looked at immunization's effects on the elderly, and showed that if someone who's elderly has very low Vitamin D and they're immunized. Then when they look at their skin for antibodies, they find that they don't have a strong reaction to the vaccination and they have a much better reaction to the vaccination if they have higher Vitamin D levels. Then they took the people who had the poor reaction, supplemented them with Vitamin D, and found that their reaction improved. Even if you don't think Vitamin D has anything directly to do with COVID-19, then you should at least be supporting... At this point, the public health people should at least be supporting Vitamin D as an adjunct to the immunizations because you're more likely to get a good response to that third or fourth or fifth booster if you have a higher Vitamin D level.

0:56:41.0 Bret: So what I'm beginning to understand... My expertise is complex adaptive systems. What I'm beginning to understand that I didn't understand before is that the term "vitamin" is not especially helpful, that...

0:56:56.7 Linda: No, it's not.

0:56:57.8 Gruff: No, it really should be renamed to pre-hormone D or something like that.

0:57:03.1 Bret: Right. And so in effect, I'm thinking by analogy to the term catalyst applied to an enzyme. Right.

Vitamin D improves cellular communications

0:57:11.9 Linda: Yeah, Vitamin D actually is... Its primary role... And I've only learned this more recently, I didn't know this a year ago, but its primary role is in altering cell signaling, both within the cell and between cells. So the main thing that Vitamin D does is it improves communication throughout the body. The reason why we call it pre-hormone is because a hormone is something your body makes, whereas a vitamin is, by definition, something your body does not make. So Calling it Vitamin D when your body makes it doesn't make any sense. When you also get...

0:57:49.3 Bret: Wait, wait, wait. This, I didn't know. When we say, "Essential amino acid," what we mean is, "Essential in your diet because you can't make it." Right?

0:57:57.1 Linda: Correct.

0:57:57.7 Bret: When we say vitamin, we are saying something similar.

0:58:00.1 Linda: Correct.

0:58:00.1 Bret: This is something you can't make, and then Vitamin D is clearly not a vitamin.

0:58:04.2 Linda: Right, because Vitamin D can be made by your skin, but Vitamin D can also be obtained from food, and a lot of people think that they can get enough from food if they're careful enough, and that is not the case, unless they're leading a truly primitive lifestyle. I've got a...

0:58:21.0 Gruff: Or if you live in Japan and eat fish every meal.

0:58:22.4 Linda: Well, yeah like I said, even then... A lot of people in Japan are somewhat deficient. People in Norway and Iceland are less deficient because they eat more fish, so it needs to be cold water fatty fish, which are usually found in deep water spaces like oceans. Even wild-caught salmon is gonna be high in Vitamin D, but farm-raised salmon is not because the reasons salmon are high in Vitamin D is because they get the Vitamin D from the plankton that they eat, which sits out in the sun.

0:58:55.5 Linda: I've got a friend that I spoke to just two weeks ago who works as a, or worked previously as a family practitioner in a remote area of Alaska, and he said that he, about 10 years ago, was testing every one of his patients for Vitamin D, and he could predict which one of his patients came from a... They all came from villages, but some of the villages retained their native lifestyle. So they were eating mostly wild game and fish, and those people had a Vitamin D level of not just 50, but 60 to 80 nanograms per milliliter. Whereas those that had adopted the westernized diet, they were almost universally severely Vitamin D deficient.

0:59:46.4 Bret: So... Alright.

0:59:47.4 Linda: So yeah. Salmon, wild caught fish, that's about all because when they talk about having Vitamin D in fortified foods and Vitamin D in irradiated mushrooms, but those levels are so low that they're pretty much insignificant. So you get Vitamin D in eggs, but you would have to eat 50 eggs a day to get enough Vitamin D for that day.

1:00:10.1 Bret: That's a lot of eggs.

1:00:11.4 Gruff: I think some of the strange illnesses... I've had one doctor say, "There's no such think as flu and cold season, there's only Vitamin D deficiency season." And as you mentioned, you know about wondering how many Colds and Flu you might have avoided, in the three years that I've been supplementing Vitamin D, because I was doing a diagnosed deficient and I used to get colds and flu every year. I was the kind of person that would just catch everything. I haven't had a single noticeable cold... I've had sniffles start, I feel it coming on, and I just haven't had a cold or flu. I've had COVID, but it was like one degree temperature for about a day and a half of this little dry cough and I've recovered from everything within... It always resolves within a day.

“There is no cold and flu season there's Vitamin D deficiency season”

1:00:56.9 Bret: Yeah, in fact, my interest in Vitamin D began the first time I heard Ryan Cole, Dr. Ryan Cole, talk about it, and he said exactly this, he said, "There is no cold and flu season there's Vitamin D deficiency season." And it was, a dime dropped for me, it was like, wow.

1:01:19.0 Gruff: Many people that work, that are part of our community, the EMA community are retired doctors who somehow discovered Vitamin D despite their training and have been using it with their patients. There's a famous paper about something called the D3 Hammer, which is, I think it's a dose of 50000 international units that a doctor used on geriatric patients to resolve flu and cold symptoms and said they resolved it in two days, and people have been using that. I also find... We've discussed a lot of nutritional support protocols, it works in concert with Vitamin C and zinc, so the moment I think might be a subject to cold or flu I also make sure to take Vitamin C and I'll take in Vitamin D every day. And yeah, I've never felt healthier, it's... And that's a very common story among our community, we're very robust in terms of colds and flu.

Increased air condition, decreased outdoors in the summer

1:02:18.4 Linda: I think this whole idea of cold and flu season being in the winter, when I was a child, they used to say, "Oh yeah, it's because everyone is indoors." And that worked back when I was a child, 'cause I'm so very old that we didn't have air conditioning when I was a child growing up. But that no longer is a satisfactory explanation now, because most people in Europe, in the United States and Canada live in climate-controlled homes, and how much we are in close proximity with other people has nothing to do with the time of year at all. And so the fact that we have a cold and flu season in the winter cannot possibly be a result of us being indoors more in the winter, because it's cold. Because in Texas, we're outside more in the winter because it's nice and cool, and in the summer, we're all together in our air conditioned places because it's too hot to be outside in the day.

COVID fatality rates are lower in hotter countries

1:03:13.7 Gruff: There's been a false assumption, I think forever, that seasonality is down to things like behavior, movement, etcetera hanging out, but also the effect of UV destroying viral particles in the open air. And that was something that I looked at early on because it is definitely responsible for reduced transmission rates, you can see how that would dampen transmission rates. But what it doesn't explain is why case fatality rates would vary over the seasons, and most scientists and doctors assume that it doesn't, most assume that the case fatality rate is fixed. It was one of the first things I looked at and it's very easy to separate those two things out. You just look at the ratio of recoveries to hospitalizations and if that's varying over the season, you know the case fatality rate was changing. And it was changing not just over time in particular regions, you could see the geographic relationship. So case fatality rates were much, much lower in hotter countries where they were all on the other side of the planet in Australia, it was in summer. I still can't believe that Australia is in lock down. They have zero reason almost zero cases, they have had fewer cases across the entire continent of Australia, than we have in my borough in London. [chuckle]

1:04:31.3 Bret: Well, it's almost as if tyranny was the point and COVID was the excuse, but certainly we're one looking to preserve the freedoms in the glorious free society lock like Australia, turning to something like Vitamin D would be a much wiser thing to do than to lock down civilization.

1:05:00.0 Gruff: And they generally don't have the problem that we do because they're further towards the equator than we are, and that's why they have a very low incidence of COVID and COVID deaths. Finland is also another really good example as well as Japan. Japan has naturally higher Vitamin D status than we do and have a much, much milder pandemic than we did. And Finland is an incredible country to look at because they've implemented a nationwide food fortification with Vitamin D and they did... They started it in 2003, doubled it in 2010, and if you look at the CDC data, historically for influenza virus our schools in different mutations, you can see the drop in the, in line with the Vitamin D food fortification because they have a terrible problem, which is why they put the program into place in the first place.

COVID mortality in Sweden 8.9X higher if from Somali

1:05:54.8 Linda: If you look at the Scandinavian countries, the exception that's always brought up is, Sweden early on had... Was really hard hit with COVID. But if you look at the... You go dig down deep into the data, what you find is several... Sweden is different from the other Scandinavian countries in several ways. One is that they're more likely to have their elderly in care homes, and they do have somewhat lower Vitamin D deficiency... Somewhat higher Vitamin D deficiency. But the interesting thing is, is their initial wave where they were hit so hard was 50% of the people who died were Somali immigrants, the Somali refugees, who of course are dark complected people who are not eating the native diet of fish and represent less than 1% of the population. And so this group of people who didn't have the Vitamin D and who was out of their normal element, and therefore weren't getting Vitamin D from the sun, were getting COVID-19 and everyone was saying, "Oh yeah, it's because Sweden isn't locking down."

1:07:08.2 Bret: Okay, so could you run through that statistic again? What fraction of the Swedish deaths...

1:07:15.1 Linda: The very early data, not to this day, but the early data in Sweden, fully 50% of the people who died were Somali refugees, despite the fact that they represent less than 1% of the population and they're...

1:07:30.7 Bret: They would have had two extra risk factors. One, coming from not eating the native fish-rich diet, and the other, coming from dark skin that blocks the production of Vitamin D through photosynthesis.

1:07:43.4 Linda: Exactly, exactly. And there are really good studies in maternal health because maternal health is strongly related to Vitamin D, and a lot of maternity centers test for Vitamin D and provide Vitamin D supplements. And if you look at articles about the Somali refugees in Sweden, you find that that group of people was extremely Vitamin D deficient, but they're very reticent to take Vitamin D supplements because their imams would tell them that they were going counter to Allah if they were not just continuing with the traditional ways. And so it was very difficult to get the Somali refugee women to accept Vitamin D supplements.

1:08:28.2 Bret: Wow. Alright, so again, my model of Vitamin D was wrong. Vitamin D is not a simple co-factor that is involved in important reactions in which most of us get enough from our diet and some of us may be deficient, and so a little bit of supplementation would bring you up to the right level and you would have whatever protection. That turns out to be wrong, this is not a vitamin by the definition that you provided, it is apparently highly relevant to many different functions in the body. The importance of it in cell-to-cell signaling is of course, conspicuous because that's going to have tremendous ramifications around the body potentially.

1:09:19.6 Bret: And I would also say I think I was misled because like so many, I took the US RDA recommended daily allowance to be indicative of at what point deficiency would kick in if you were below the US RDA. You were probably deficient, if you were above it, you probably weren't, and therefore had very little to gain from supplementing or thinking about it. And what I believe I've come to understand from your paper is that in fact, the recommended daily allowance is actually a kind of paleolithic measure built strictly around its implication for bone density.

RDA was miscalculated – should be 7,000 IU, not 400 IU

1:10:04.5 Linda: In addition, there's a statistical error that's been pointed out by two different statisticians and confirmed by a third that says that the amount of the US RDA is off by a factor of close to 10. It's not just a decimal error movement, it's a more complicated statistical error than that. But the US RDA should probably be closer to 7000 international units rather than 400 to 800 international units.

1:10:38.4 Bret: Wow.

1:10:39.2 Linda: And I don't know why they have not revisited that, to see about changing that, but Vitamin D affects a lot more than just your immune system, and everything that Vitamin D affects, if you compare the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency with the symptoms of severe COVID-19, they match up almost perfectly.

Vitamin D strengthens the wall that keeps virus out

1:11:00.5 Linda: So for instance, just getting COVID-19 in the first place, Vitamin D strengthens the epithelial junctions, the tight junctions, the gap junctions, the junctions between cells. So you're less likely to have an invader such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, even enter the system if you have Vitamin D levels high. Basically, your walls surrounding your city will be strengthened by having good Vitamin D. And so a lot of people are not ever gonna even test positive if they've got a good Vitamin D level.

Vitamin D helps innate system immunity: T-cells

1:11:34.5 Linda: Then your T cell immunity is strengthened and controlled. So you're more likely to have an appropriate reaction to the invader rather than having an over-reaction where you burn all your powder too quickly and then don't have anything left, or you do catastrophic damage to yourself because you're just shooting wildly.

Vitamin D helps adaptive immunity

1:11:57.8 Linda: So Vitamin D helps with the adaptive immunity as well as the innate immunity, and then it also controls some complicated things that we don't need to go into like the renin angiotensin system, and so there are other more complex systems within the body that go out of control, in COVID-19 that Vitamin D helps regulate and keep in control, and one of the things that's gotten a lot of press lately has been the fact that with severe COVID-19 you get thrombolytic events, you get blood clots that do a lot of damage. In fact, most of the damage from severe COVID-19 is not just damage in the lungs, but also you get damage in the various other organs because of blood clots, and those blood clots aren't formed by the virus itself, they're caused by the overreaction to the virus, and Vitamin D controls that system and helps prevent those blood clots.

1:13:00.3 Bret: Fascinating.

1:13:00.4 Gruff: And then the number of mechanisms that were already known personal to this particular disease. I've got a document, I think I'm running up to nearly 10 that I know about now, there are dozens and Vitamin D is well-known to control, I think now more than 20,000 genes in the body, so it's one of the most ubiquitous and important hormones, of all of the hormones, every hormone is important, but it's... And I think it's probably worth clarifying that the D3 version that we eat is several metabolic steps away from the active form and what we measure, what we call the active form actually isn't the active form is another one, another step further down. So you have calcitriol, calcitriol is as the active form, and it's actually calcitriol, which is the form that's used in cells to initiate all of the immune responses that help you with Vitamin D.

Vitamin D evidence for 4+ points of view all agree

1:13:58.0 Gruff: But the mechanisms are really well understood, I've written about the many other researchers, I've written about them, and says it's really baffling to understand why people would question given the level of evidence coming, I mean, the triangulation you can get if you look at this for all the different angles from

  • biological plausibility, from a
  • temporal that all of the geographic data around the world,
  • ecological studies,
  • longitudinal studies,

there's full of decades of research behind Vitamin D just being ignored, and part of it is small break 'cause it's food science, there's a historic weight around Vitamin D's part of it is I think the literatures listened with statistical mistakes and bad analyses and things like that, which don't help, but if we have a good grounding in stats and understand numbers and data, it's pretty easy to clear the fog away and see the real picture that's there.

1:15:00.0 Linda: Well, I do think that we can excuse a lot of the doctors who are not on board with Vitamin D because they don't have the time, most of them to dig into the basic literature themselves. They rely upon their medical societies and the various guidelines up to date and the various guidelines in order to get their information. And about 10 years ago or so, the Vitamin D clarion call was very loud, and the time when my friend in Alaska was testing every single patient for Vitamin D and Vitamin D testing at that time was covered by Medicare and groups like that. But what happened is, after that they did these population studies in which they used the US RDA as the amount of Vitamin D they were going to supplement with, there were very poorly designed studies with a very primitive understanding or not a very adequate understanding of how Vitamin D works.

A failed trial usimg only a little Vitamin D does not prove that Vitamin D does not work

1:16:00.7 Linda: And so they supplemented people with weight less Vitamin D than they should have, they supplemented them for a shorter amount of time than they should have, and they supplemented people who were already Vitamin D sufficient, as well as people who were deficient, and so that would dilute the results. And so it'd be a little bit like the example I gave is, we all know that Amoxicillin is extremely effective against strep throat, to this day we don't have severe resistance for Amoxicillin against strep throat, that's what everybody uses 500 milligrams three times today is the accepted dose. If we instead gave people in a study five milligrams of Amoxicillin three times a day, and then had another group which we didn't give any Amoxicillin at all, we could easily prove that Amoxicillin is not useful at all for strep throat. And so they basically disproved Vitamin D being useful with studies that inadequately dosed people and were poorly designed. And those studies were very widely accepted, and as a result, the physicians were given the message of this Vitamin D thing looked good, but we've disproven it. It's really a bunch of nothing.

1:17:14.7 Linda: And so a lot of the physicians now, when they hear about Vitamin D they say, "Fool me once, you're not gonna fool me twice. I know this Vitamin D thing is just a few zealots, it doesn't really work". And Martineau did a study in 2017, and it's probably the most widely cited study for Vitamin D, in which what he did was he took off the studies that had been poorly designed from Vitamin D going back and did a meta-analysis in which he looked at individual patient data. It was a massive study and showed with this meta-analysis data that, Oh, but if you use high enough doses and you don't give the boluses, but rather you give it daily or weekly, you do get a dramatic effect on respiratory viruses, in fact, respiratory viruses in the elderly are cut in half, influenza rates... Death rates could be cut in half with Vitamin D supplementation, and that did get some attention. That study to me, the big takeaway on it is, you have to look at the studies and see whether or not they were designed appropriately to get meaningful results.

1:18:29.7 Bret: Right, or as we've seen in some of the COVID literature, there is a go-to move if you want to avoid the impression that something works, the underpowered study, and so I don't know in the case that you cite whether or not treating with such a meager dose of Vitamin D in a population that may already be insufficient was intentional sabotage or simply an accident. But the fact is, it is all too possible to generate the impression that something highly effective isn't effective at all if you design the study in such a way that it doesn't reveal the effect.

1:19:10.3 Linda: That's right.

1:19:11.3 Bret: So, underpowered studies...

1:19:12.4 Gruff: And have anyone looking at the evidence. I've noticed this phenomenon over and over again, people will... And in fact, NICE did this when they looked at the... They first did their review, which at the time I think I counted 8,000 results on Google Scholar for Vitamin D and Coronavirus. And then they came out with a review that looked at five studies. They actually did put out a paper in an appendix of studies that we wouldn't consider, because it was a preprint, although Martin [1:19:38.4] ?? applied for some grant funding using it, so it was good enough for him to apply for money, but not good enough to tell the world that Vitamin D was a thing to do. I use a metaphor, which is if you have detectives, you've got some good detectives and some bad detectives, and you tell them to investigate a murder and five of them go to the house and see the murder weapon and know... They find the blood and a victim and the other five go down to the pub, or look in the kitchen or in their own... Or have a beer or whatever, they're gonna come back with different reports... Some are because of incompetence and laziness, and some might be just corrupt.

5 poor studies are often used to cancel 5 good studies

1:20:19.3 Gruff: You can't take five studies that show strong evidence, and then five studies that didn't provide evidence, and somehow say those no evidence studies cancel out the positive evidence from the first five. But very often in the literature, and I think this is true in medicine in general, studies that report no evidence of effect are immediately interpreted as evidence of no effect, which is a completely different statement. And you can make a study that can prove there's no effect within a certain tolerance, but you have to have incredibly high power, I'm not aware of any study that's done that. The hasty buyback study claimed to have done it, but that was statistical fiction, Linda and I collaborated with a physicist to take down that paper and point out that they'd just artificially inflated... They had about 1000 data points and they claimed that they had nearly half a million by mislabeling [1:21:11.1] ?? extra data and... I've never read a worse piece of science in my life, I don't know how that got published. It just shows our broken peer review is and the number of studies that, "that study." The reason we went to the trouble of rebutting it formally was because people were still quoting it a year later, and it's blatantly wrong. And I don't understand how anyone could read it and take it seriously, but it's taken seriously all the time.

1:21:40.7 Bret: Yeah, we see this pattern across the COVID literature, and it's very... Well, let's put it this way, the story is, well, we don't have enough evidence that Vitamin D or Ivermectin works, and therefore we're advising caution because of the danger of using it. Well, what if there is no danger, because these things are comparatively safe? Well, there is a danger, and then you look into the evidence of that, and it isn't really evidence, but then you see something like Fluvoxamine, right? Which has now been demonstrated to be highly effective against COVID, and there's no move evident to make it the standard of care. So the point is, well, it seems like actually, you don't want things that work to be used, because... And you're just using the fact that you don't think the evidence is good enough to explain why you're not using these things, and the way we can tell is that when you have something that does meet your standard of evidence, you still don't use it. Right? Go ahead.

Monoclonal Antibodies

1:22:42.6 Linda: Sometimes the politics get in the way, and the politics are just unbelievable. If you look at what's happened with Monoclonal Antibodies in the United States. Monoclonal Antibodies have been around and have been, had emergency use authorization, they're very expensive, but they did work, since January of 2021, but very few states were using them and they weren't very well-publicized. Well, the governors of Texas and Florida, the two states that are flouting a lot of the restriction lockdown kind of things. Both highly endorsed Monoclonal Antibodies and started opening up Monoclonal Antibodies centers, so that anybody who wanted them could easily access Monoclonal Antibodies. So, what happens next? Monoclonal Antibodies are suddenly regulated, the distribution becomes regulated by the federal government and they start... And they forbid the companies from shipping to Florida or Texas, because they say, we need to distribute these equitably across all the states. So, these states that aren't interested in Monoclonal Antibodies have stockpiles of them, while Texas and Florida are shorted.

1:23:57.5 Bret: Which even if they were to distribute those and use them, this will prevent you from accumulating the evidence that they work, right? If Texas and Florida start allowing anybody who wants Monoclonal Antibodies to use them, and they suddenly have low rates of COVID harm from people who have been infected, then that would raise the question of whether the rest of the state should get on board. On the other hand, if you distribute these things in such a way that the effect is deluded and nobody has a very strong effect, because they're so widely distributed, you won't see that pattern and you can dismiss this potentially important curative agent and basically rationalize your failure to use it.

1:24:41.5 Linda: Yeah, and the whole thing is, you've got something that's very strongly preventative for severe COVID-19 hospitalizations and death, whether it's Vitamin D, Ivermectin, Monoclonal Antibodies, whatever, then you lose the rationale for emergency use authorization for the vaccines because it's no longer an emergency.

1:25:02.2 Bret: The vaccines which seem to be the... And so we have this one therapy, which clearly the Public Health Authority has signed up for and will entertain no evidence that it was an error, and we have all sorts of other things on the table from Fluvoxamine to Vitamin D to Monoclonal Antibodies, which are just unable to get a proper hearing. So I wanna ask you, and I know it's hard to quantify, but this is after all of your area of expertise, how much of the harm that we are seeing from COVID-19? If we tomorrow were to address Vitamin D deficiency and we were to get as serious as possible, about alerting people to the problem, alerting people to their special vulnerabilities, if they have dark skin or they spend a lot of time indoors, whatever their vulnerabilities may be. And we were to start distributing Vitamin D with the kind of aggressiveness that we are currently pushing vaccines, how much of the harm of COVID-19 could be reduced?

1:26:16.5 Gruff: I'll answer it first, 'cause I've given this a lot of thought and written articles about it, and it answers all of it. So even different, there would be lots of papers estimating what percentage of deaths could be prevented and they vary between 80% and 100%, depending on the approach you use. There's a recent paper that targeted 50 nanograms per millimeter that suggested that if you could get everybody to that level, we'd go down to zero deaths. But I look at it from a slightly different perspective as a physicist, particularly with an understanding of exponential processes, and this is a double exponential process in a pandemic, because you've got the exponential process of viral replication within the body, and then you've got the exponential process of the method, so the macro level of spreading through the community.

1:27:05.3 Gruff: And in any exponential process, if you can add a prophylactic that lowers the transmission rate, so those R's actually which everybody's now familiar with, which is nice. If you can push R below zero, which is pretty easy to do. Even if you reduce R by a small amount, it has a very big impact in terms of the end number when you're dealing with exponential processes but the effect of Vitamin D is so strong, that you would wipe out the pandemic if everybody was sufficient because there wouldn't be enough people, it's a bit like if you have, excuse me I'll take a drink of water to explain this bit... If you have a dry fire, Linda and I like to talk about dry embers and tinder...

1:27:55.0 Linda: Dry tinder embers.

Stop a fire by keeping the wood damp (Vitamin D analogy)

1:27:57.0 Gruff: Yeah, it's a very good analogy. If you've got a fire or rather a fire that's about to be made of dry tinder blocks that are all stacked together, you've got different strategies you can use to stop that from catching fire. One is to move all the blocks apart, social distancing, or you can spray the wood to keep it damp and then the fire doesn't catch and Vitamin D is basically like just keeping the wood damp so that the fire doesn't catch, so even if it's a bit burning somewhere, as long as you can get most people to a healthy level of green where the wood is green, then the fire just goes out naturally.

Vitamin D reduces COVID problems for both individual AND society

1:28:33.3 Bret: I believe I understood your explanation the following way: You have two exponential processes, viral replication inside the body, which is going to be a correlate of how sick you get. And you've got the exponential process involved in the spread. And the point is, Vitamin D works in both ways. It causes the spread to be greatly reduced and it causes the degree of sickness to be reduced in individuals, and the combination of both of these reductions is enough to bring our sufficiently below one that it will eventually go extinct.

1:29:15.6 Gruff: Yeah, and that's what normally happens in summer, the effects, the combined effects of UV destroying viruses in the air plus the improved host response drives are well below that value and then it dies out until winter starts, and then there's always a pool of viruses somewhere because it's not taken... It's in different animals and we don't know really which species it crosses because the studies that look at zoonotic transmission based on lab animals and then their host response is completely different to wild animals or animals in a food market in China, you really need to look at different populations to understand that.

1:29:56.3 Bret: Well, that's a very terrifying scenario that you paint.

1:30:00.4 Gruff: It's also why the vaccine program is dangerous, and I'm not... Linda and I are both pro vaccines in general as are you and we've taken every vaccine under the sun and we'll continue to do so as long we believe...

1:30:13.5 Linda: Taken vaccines against diseases most people have never heard of.

1:30:16.6 Gruff: Those vaccines that were known a few weeks ago, but the reason the program for zoonotic disease is like, or any respiratory disease which easily transmits between species, the human population represents 10% of it's total reservoir because it's in wild animals, it's in food markets, in chickens and pigs, you have Swine flu, you got bird flu. You can't... You're not going to immunize all of those animals as well, so I heard doctors arguing that we need to get to 90% because that means that it's totally controlled, but if you then multiply that by 0.1, because we're only 10% of the total population, we see the fallacy of that argument. We're never gonna wipe it out that way. The only way we're gonna get rid of it is if we get our host response healthy, and the way to do that is through good nutrition, lifestyle and not depending on solutions that are expensive, that don't really work or that have a limited life, because evolution is very clever at getting around whatever technology we create to stop it.

1:31:27.0 Bret: Well, again, I think this is a very terrifying scenario, if you were, let's say, in the pharmaceutical industry, and you were depending on this new market to continue to allow you to, I don't know, pay the mortgage on your new boat or whatever it is that's driving this. But yes, for the rest of us, it's a very delightful prospect that we actually might have the tools at our disposal to at least drive this down to a level where it is extremely well managed, the way we could say of something like plague or rabies in the first world where we never encounter these things, but driving it extinct would be even more delightful.

1:32:11.2 Gruff: We're driving it back. We have coronaviruses all the time, and most of them are completely innocuous. People get them and don't even realize. This one, obviously, everybody is treating it as if it's something that's always fatal and that just isn't the case. Of course, it kills people with comorbidities very easily, and we believe that because they are Vitamin D deficient. It's not the only reason. I think it is the breastplate of immunity. You can have other chinks in your armour that go missing for whatever reason, but if the breastplate's missing you're wide open. Just get that in place and make sure that's protected and you'll probably be okay.

COVID-19 will not go away even if vaccinate most humans on the planet
Smallpox and Polio could be eliminated, they had NO animal reservoirs

1:32:52.0 Linda: Now, this virus is not going to extinct, and this is one of the frustrating things that I've seen with the public health response, is that they keep on promising the public, if you do this, if you do that, if you do that, COVID-19 will go away as if the fact that we are more virtuous as a society somehow influences what this virus is going to do. The virus does not care about whether or not you care about your neighbors or not. The virus just does what viruses do, and this particular virus has been found in many animals, including wild animals. Anytime, as soon as you discover that a virus is also has an animal reservoir, you know it will never be extinct. Small pox had no animal reservoir, and that is why we could drive it to be extinct. Polio has no animal reservoirs, yellow fever has animal reservoir it will never be extinct.

1:33:45.6 Bret: So I wanna ask you about this because I've been tracking this pretty carefully and I'm very cautious about saying we can't drive it extinct because although that is quite possible, I don't know of the piece of evidence that tells us that. Now, it sounds to me like you're drawing a very clear line that if animal reservoir, then extinction is impossible, but the animal reservoir you must be pointing to is White-tail deer?

1:34:14.4 Linda: No. That's the problem, is there are multiple wild animals...

1:34:17.6 Bret: Now hold on, you may be telling me something I don't know, but as far as I understand it, we have seen this virus move between minks and ferrets, but these are domestic populations. There is a single case, as far as I know of a mink that has shown that it has contracted SARS-CoV-2 but it was a mink in close proximity to a domestic population. There are many...

1:34:47.4 Linda: Is that in Utah? Because in Utah, they have minks too. So it's not just in Denmark.

1:34:54.3 Gruff: Multiple minks. You may be telling me something that's more up to-date than I know. Are you telling me...

1:35:00.7 Linda: Right, 'cause in Denmark it was a minks farm.

1:35:00.8 Gruff: Minks farm, yep. We've seen that.

1:35:01.5 Linda: But in Utah, there were wild minks that had SARS-CoV-2.

1:35:06.4 Gruff: More than one?

1:35:07.6 Linda: Yes, and once you get it into a wild population, it can go anywhere, and you can not possibly immunize every wild animal.

1:35:18.3 Bret: And also, we haven't tested all the animals, they are too many to test, so we only have a very limited view of what's actually happening in the real world. My point would be, we don't need to drive it extinct, we need to make sure that it's not a threat, and if it can be shrunk down into something that's no longer scary and terrifying and doesn't make people ill and doesn't do the rounds every year, which is absolutely possible, then we won't need to worry about it.

1:35:46.1 Gruff: Sure. I agree with this completely. At the level that we've got plague controlled, I think we could all breathe pretty easy.

World has been vaccinating for Influenza since 1945, we still have it

1:35:53.0 Bret: Well, Influenza for example, we deal with influenza year, and I think people probably don't realize we've been vaccinating against the influenza since 1945. To what end? That hasn't made a single dent in what happens globally, it just made a lot of money for people who make those vaccines and the vaccines are frequently... Just part of why I was so skeptical about these vaccines, is it's famous in medical circles, that the vaccine efficacy that's touted by the trials that are run usually 90, 95%, and some years, the actual real world efficacy is as low as 3%, and it can vary by geography.

1:36:34.8 Bret: So, if you don't need those vaccines and instead you can help people by making sure their immune system just worked properly in the first place. That obviously is going to take a lot... A huge industry out, and I think that's why we're seeing some nefarious behavior, trying to suppress Vitamin D messages and those actions have been going on for a very long time. I came into this March 2020, but I'm in touch as Linda, with people, who've been campaigning throughout... More than a decade and failing to get the message through for some reason, and its a lot of... Assumptions in that community that it's because if people really knew that Vitamin D worked, then many medicines would suddenly be under threat because it affects so many different diseases, it's not just COVID, it's cancers, it's all sorts of autoimmune disease, psoriasis, asthma, eczema. Name a disease, it's probably something to do with Vitamin D.

1:37:32.5 Linda: I think it's important, going back to the basic messages of your DarkHorse videos is important to say, we're not saying that Vitamin D is the only thing that you need to do to be healthy.

1:37:44.5 S?: No, it's not.

50 ng of vitamin D should reduce COVID-19 risk to a very miniscule level

1:37:46.1 Linda: Vitamin D is a huge part of it, and I believe that if, the studies have shown that if your Vitamin D level is 50 nanograms per milliliter or above, your chances of getting COVID-19 drop down to a very miniscule level. And if you do get it, you're likely to get such a mild case that you're not gonna be passing it along to anyone else, certainly not gonna be hospitalized and that kind of thing. But I think it's important to add to that, that our modern lifestyles have other reasons why we're destroying our immune health. Melatonin is recommended partly because we look at screens too late at night, and we don't get enough sleep at night.

1:38:21.9 S?: Yeah.

1:38:22.4 Linda: And not getting enough sleep is hard on your immune system. In addition, you need to eat a balanced diet. Vitamin D is unique in that it is the only thing that's called a vitamin that you cannot get from a healthy varied diet. People talk about zinc, magnesium, Vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium. And you can look those up and see whether or not you're likely to be deficient in those, but for most people, they can get those things through their food. It depends for instance, selenium is available in the Western hemisphere, not so much in Eastern hemisphere. Zinc is available if you eat eggs or meat, but if you're a vegetarian you might have trouble getting it. Magnesium is difficult to obtain if you're on acid reducing medications. So you have to look at your own personal risk factors, but Vitamin D almost everyone has a Vitamin D deficiency. The only exception are those people that Gruff mentioned earlier, who have the truly indigenous diet where they're eating almost exclusively fresh-cut fish, or smoked fish, or you know, it's the cold-water fatty fish or fresh game. Other than that, you're likely to be deficient.

1:39:54.0 Bret: If I can just put this back in my framework. The thing that distinguishes Vitamin D in addition to its broad implication in many different processes in the body. If I understand you correctly, both hormonal signaling, which is signaling between cells at a great distance and cell to cell signaling in within a tissue, am I correct it's implicated in those?

1:40:19.7 Linda: Yeah. And even within the cell. Signaling within the cell.

1:40:22.1 Bret: Within the cell.

Vitamin D signaling: autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine

1:40:22.2 Gruff: There's the so-called autocrine and paracrine activity. It's not just endocrine, which is the hormonal.

1:40:27.7 Bret: The hormonal, right? So that's one thing that distinguishes it is its relevance to a wide range of fundamental processes. The other thing that distinguishes it is for people who have the luxury of being able to eat something like a balanced diet, a diet that looks more like an ancestral diet, we don't tend to have deficiencies. Vitamin D is the exception because this isn't the mechanism through which our ancestors got Vitamin D.

1:40:54.7 Gruff: Exactly.

1:40:54.9 Linda: Exactly.

1:40:55.2 Bret: The mechanism the ancestors got it from is the sun. And so the model that, yes, I should behave more like my ancestors in this regard, because it will mean I won't be deficient in things that are important. That model is right, but the problem is it isn't through diet because of the unique way Vitamin D comes to us.

1:41:10.7 Gruff: Yeah.

1:41:10.9 Linda: Exactly.

1:41:11.1 Gruff: If you wanna live like your ancestors, you have to move to the equator and not wear clothes and be outside all day.


1:41:18.4 Bret: Right. Or you know...

1:41:20.4 Linda: Or gain weight or if you live farther north also don't wear many clothes and gain weight throughout the summer till the winter and gain muscle mass as you work hard. And then in the winter allow your muscles to atrophy and your weight to all come off of you as you gradually come close to starvation until spring.

1:41:40.4 Bret: So that's one theoretical way to do it. I would point out that in Heather and my recent book, A Hunter Gatherers Guide To The 21st Century, we basically argue that there are lots of places that going back to a previous way of existing is impossible for us moderns. But there's generally a way you can modify your modern life to restore the health that would derive from it. And so having the dminder app or some other app on your phone that tells you when is a good time to make Vitamin D and then deliberately exposing yourself to the sun and banking that Vitamin D during the summer is a good mechanism and then supplementing during the winter so that you correct for the underproduction, these are viable ways.

1:42:24.9 Gruff: I would recommend to anyone living farther north than 40 degrees, I would recommend take supplements all year round, but just take more during winter. Because modern lifestyle just doesn't expose you to enough sun, even if you wanted to even if you were in the sun, you generally just don't get enough to get your levels up and keep them up. But earlier you asked about the, I think the balance of risk really between exposing yourself to sun, which is a cancer risks. So there's, that's got to be weighed up against the benefit of Vitamin D. So moderate amounts of sun you don't wanna burn for sure. It's safer to get it through the oral form. But it is better to get it. So it takes several weeks to raise your serum levels if you take it orally in pill form. But if you get it from the sun through body exposure, you can raise your serum levels in a few hours I believe. So I only discovered two days ago, I didn't actually know that.

1:43:29.7 Linda: The elephant in the room is the melanoma issue. And what's always the pushback, when you say, "Oh, we need to spend more time in the sun," is, "Oh, but what about melanoma?" And GrassrootsHealth.net has done some excellent studies on that as have some other people. There're some good published documents that show that the problem with melanoma is not exposure to the sun, it's exposure to too much sun too soon.

1:43:54.4 Linda: If you don't get enough sun exposure to burn, you just get enough sun exposure so you develop a little bit of pink-ness that goes away as soon as you go indoors, that does not pose a higher risk to melanoma. And in fact, the people with the higher Vitamin D levels, even if they achieve it from the sunlight rather than from supplementation, have a lower melanoma rate than the people who have a lower Vitamin D level. Because Vitamin D regulates your immune system and helps protect you from all cancers, including melanoma. So the way you get melanoma is actually that your sun is shy, you don't have any tan at all, and then you go out and binge on your spring break beach trip and blister.

1:44:41.2 Gruff: And burn, yeah.

1:44:41.4 Linda: And burn, and those are the people who are more susceptible to melanoma. So the way to avoid melanoma is actually to control your level of exposure to Vitamin D from the sun, so that you increase your tolerance without ever burning.

1:44:58.2 Bret: Yep.

You can get a suntan and burn but get no vitamin D (wrong time of the day)

1:44:58.4 Gruff: It's also important for people to be aware that you can completely expose yourself to the sun enough to get a tan and burn and still get no Vitamin D if you're out the wrong time of day.

1:45:10.2 Gruff: That's right.

1:45:10.4 Gruff: Or if you're in the wrong location, or wrong time of the year, because it's this tiny amount of the range, about 300 nanometers in wavelength and UVB, that target that specifically breaks cholesterol and breaks this ring and allows you to start synthesizing into the pro-hormone. But that's just not very available in sunlight. It's less than 1% of all UV, actually.

1:45:39.0 Linda: Right, so that UVA that's giving you a beautiful tan at 10:00 in the morning there in Oregon is not gonna give you an UVB.

1:45:50.5 Bret: Yup. So this is a reason...

He recommends 4,000 IU, and takes 10,000 IU

1:45:52.0 Gruff: We generally recommend for healthy adults to take 4,000 international units every day. You can take that all year round. I take more because I tested my blood levels now, even after taking 4,000 for 18 months, I didn't reach the minimum criteria for sufficiency, so something in my body isn't metabolizing it well and digesting it well. So I actually take 10,000, and indeed I try to take 20,000, but I don't recommend that as a general recommendation for other people. If you're not sure, test your levels and find out.

1:46:25.2 Bret: I think there are four recommendations that we can derive from this. One is, you might download an app that allows you to figure out what sunlight is useful and what is not, so you can train your mind to spot the useful moments in the day where you are or you could make Vitamin D and alter your behavior with respect to the sun in order to do it without burning of course, 'cause that's where your melanoma risk comes from. Two would be to supplement if you are above 40 degrees latitude and probably... 40 degrees latitude, you said, all year round. But probably in light of the safety of exposure to Vitamin D and the potential benefits that come from it, erring in the direction of assuming that you are deficient and supplementing is probably the way to go.

1:47:20.8 Gruff: Especially if your lifestyle keeps you out in the sun and you wear sunblock and things like that, then you know, you're not really getting it from the sun.

1:47:28.6 Linda: Yeah, I would recommend that anyone who can afford the two or three cents a day that it is for Vitamin D supplements, take them year-round no matter where they live, because anybody who's hearing this recommendation is probably living a modern lifestyle and just isn't taking the time to get the consistent Vitamin D. And Vitamin D has to be produced consistently, 'cause it doesn't have a super long [1:47:54.2] ??.

1:47:55.3 Bret: Yeah. I think I said four recommendations. I only spot three at the moment. The third one is to be suspicious of any Public Health Authority that is not recommending Vitamin D in the midst of a pandemic against which this Vitamin D is clearly effective.

1:48:13.3 Linda: That's a good one. Especially when they tell you that they take it themselves, but they won't recommend it to the public.

1:48:20.7 Gruff: Yeah.

1:48:21.4 Bret: Right.

1:48:21.8 Gruff: And we know that to be the case here in the UK as well. I've heard that... It's them drinking champagne and telling the masses to drink water.

1:48:33.0 Bret: Yes, it is a stunning double standard. And the thing I have to keep reminding myself of is, the numbers here are so great. We're talking about huge amounts of harm and death that are coming from the absence of this recommendation. Every day that this recommendation is not out, it is causing families to find themselves in grief at the loss of somebody who did not need to die.

1:49:02.4 Gruff: Yeah.

1:49:03.0 Bret: And it's unconscionable. I cannot believe that we are having a podcast in which the reality is this stark, and yet day after day, one expects to see the recommendation finally emerge and it's just silence.

1:49:20.1 Linda: Well, you can imagine the frustration that Gruff and I have had because both of us...

1:49:23.7 Gruff: Been dealing with this since March 2020.

1:49:27.0 Linda: For me it was February. The end of February, there was actually a Vitamin D article in a Ghanaian newspaper that I read and it made me start looking. And as soon as I started looking, I found all kinds of good evidence for Vitamin D. And I've just been so frustrated and wanting to shake people, I was like, "All these people are dying for lack of knowledge,"

1:49:47.1 Gruff: Yeah.

1:49:47.6 Linda: "Why can't someone tell them the truth?" And we wrote this Vitamin D for all thing and sent it to all the government officials, had people send it to him, we assumed that our word would get out. At least I thought, "Surely someone will pick up on this," Crickets. I've done podcasts in January, all this stuff. So we're just so frustrated.

1:50:08.7 Gruff: Yeah.

1:50:09.2 Linda: That the message just doesn't seem to get out. So any of your listeners who are hearing this, please don't just take this for yourself. Share it with your friends, your family, your co-workers, anybody you can.

1:50:22.0 Gruff: There's another message. An important message that I'd like to... Hopefully we have an audience that's already receptive. But then, if people were cynical or skeptical at the beginning, I understand that I was probably that person too about stories like Vitamin C and zinc, 'cause that never worked or help my colds and flus. The magic addition of Vitamin D that finally did that. But I was very cynical and didn't believe it at the beginning, so that's totally fine. But Pascal's wager, it's not harmful. It's probably good for lots of other things, even if you don't believe it. Do take it seriously. But if you look on the internet and Google about Vitamin D, you will almost certainly find the negative studies are being highlighted and promoted. The media have had a complete double standard about... We did get lots of very positive coverage in the first year of the pandemic from media, which was immediately then overturned by the actions of the local health agencies here in the UK, who for reasons that remain opaque to me, acted to suppress all of our messaging.

1:51:28.4 Gruff: There was a paper released by Susan Lanham-New, who used the word, "There are evidenced health risks for excessive Vitamin D intakes," and then didn't provide any references to back up that statement. Every other statement in the paper is backed up with citations, but that one is conspicuously absent of them. And then recommend against taking the levels that we recommend and only taking the RDA. Turns out that Susan Lanham-New is also a panelist and advisor on the nutrition advisory committee in the UK. So, very much I presume wanted to control, maybe it was the not invented here syndrome, I think, going on there. But why... Given the level of evidence is so vast now, but if you look on the internet you will occasionally see apparently negatives studies and it's important that we show people that they've been debunked.

1:52:32.9 Gruff: So if you read the Biobank study by Hastie, et al, that was science fiction. And we've published a letter, you can find it online that goes into the litany of errors that they made in that paper. But there are other studies, for example, Mendelian Randomization or MR Studies. You might read some of those, they apparently found no evidence. But Mendelian Randomization just couldn't find an effect. That particular technique just isn't suitable for Vitamin D, I won't go to the details of why, but it's important to be able to distinguish the wheat from the chaff.

1:53:08.0 Bret: Yep. I think it is also... It is very important that we also extrapolate from this. And I think Vitamin D is playing two roles in the story. And I want people to get both of them. One is, for your own wellbeing and for the wellbeing of those that you care about, this is the cheapest, safest, most effective intervention. And there's no reason to expose yourself to more risk by remaining deficient when you could remedy that. But the other thing is, once you look into this and if you have doubts, we will have links to your papers in the description, take a look at these papers, follow them, look at the studies that say Vitamin D has no effect and look at the analysis of why those papers are flawed. See if you don't see the same picture, and if you do see the same picture, Vitamin D is a highly effective remedy.

1:54:11.2 Bret: The side effects of supplementing Vitamin D are positive. The risk, if somehow the analysis is wrong, is minimal. If all of those things are true and public health authorities across the world are failing to recommend this week after week, month after month, as they are disrupting civil liberties in order to control the virus through social manipulation in a way that isn't effective. If that's all true, then what else are they not doing right? And start to look at all of the things that you've been told are simply clear in the evidence. These things don't work. Aren't an alternative, etcetera. And ask yourself if they've got Vitamin D wrong, how do I know that the things they're telling me on these other fronts are also not incorrect?

1:55:02.2 Linda: Good point, very good point.

1 extremely poor Vaccine RCT resulted in huge profits

1:55:05.5 Gruff: And why the double standards? Why is a new antiviral that's got one study backed behind it suddenly being approved by the FDA? Which is unprecedented. The single study is never evidence for anything. And yet four decades of evidence behind Vitamin D is being rejected. It doesn't make sense.

1:55:30.1 Bret: Yeah. Why the double standards?

1:55:31.8 Gruff: The only reason to explain that can be money. It's got to be being driven by profit.

1:55:37.0 Bret: Yep. I agree with you. The double standards across the board are the indicator that this is about something other than your health or public health.

1:55:46.9 Gruff: Yeah. And why are governments still citing cases, which is a meaningless metric. And has been since the beginning. You can't give enough context. It's not even cases. They measure positive tests, which is not the same and the number of tests changes, but they never divide by the number of tests to tell you the fraction of positive tests that's happening. It's all scare tactics.

1:56:07.3 Linda: Yeah.

1:56:08.1 Bret: Alright. Linda, did you have one last thing you wanted to say?

1:56:13.0 Linda: No. That's okay.

1:56:14.3 Bret: Alright. Well, I think we've arrived at the natural conclusion here. It's really a very stark story. I know people probably don't think Vitamin D is a very exciting topic, but I think all three of us and Heather as well, have had the experience of happening onto the story, and then once you begin to see just how central this is to the story that is now controlling our lives and has been for the last year and a half, it's almost impossible to look away.

1:56:51.0 Gruff: Yeah. And I've heard that sentiment so many times. Once people wake up and see the pattern, it's impossible to unsee it, you see it everywhere, and it suddenly explains everything. We obviously saw that back in March, so it's been a long, frustrating, maddening journey for us, but it's a pleasure to finally have more traction and people... When we have this blog post and the admission, your change of mind of Vitamin D, it was a very exciting day for us. Because we felt all the efforts of last year had petered out. We did so much good work, and there's a community of hundreds of brilliant scientists working, and doctors working on this. So we're very, very grateful that you are able to help us get the message out there.

1:57:42.9 Linda: One other thing that I had wanted to say is that as your viewers look at the evidence for anything with COVID-19, they need to keep in mind that the majority of journals are funded by advertising, and the advertising is almost exclusively coming from Big Pharma. And that is going to influence the editorial policy, it just has to.

1:58:05.6 Gruff: Oh, and fact checkers are also funded by Pharma, as I've discovered recently.

1:58:11.1 Linda: That's true. And even a journal that is a open-source journal, and most of its funding then comes from the authors, is still in order to stay in that community, continue to be MEDLINE Indexed, all those kinds of things. There's a cadre and you have to be part of that culture to continue to have relevance. So there's a huge amount of pressure on editors to continue to draw within the lines.

1:58:39.7 Bret: Yeah, the number of ways through which the corruption affects what we come to understand as scientific information is many. And I think the lay public has not been served well by the insistence that the dictates of public health authorities are simply un-inflected science, it's not the case. And it's time that in the interest of our protecting ourselves from this disease and every other that we ushered Pharma out of the path of sense-making, so that we can begin to figure out where we are and what works and how to be healthier.

1:59:23.6 Gruff: Yeah.

1:59:26.1 Bret: Alright, Gruff, Linda, this has been tremendous. I.

1:59:28.4 Gruff: Our pleasure, thank you.

1:59:30.6 Linda: Our pleasure, thank you so much for having us. It was really refreshing that you allowed us to have so much time this week.

1:59:36.9 Bret: Well, that's really... It's a remarkable story, and I hope that people hear it far and wide and they realize how much of their medical well-being is actually under their control here. That's really the story that you've brought to light, and I'm very grateful for it. Alright, be well, everyone.

1:59:57.8 Linda: Thank you.

1:59:58.4 Gruff: Take care. Bye-bye.

1:59:58.5 Linda: Bye-bye.

VitaminDWiki - Virus Videos

Vitamin D Virus meta-analyses

VitaminDWiki - COVID-19 treated by Vitamin D - studies, reports, videos

As of Oct 4, 2023, the VitaminDWiki COVID page had:  19 trial results,   37 meta-analyses and reviews,   Mortality studies   see related:   Governments,   HealthProblems,   Hospitals,  Dark Skins,   All 26 COVID risk factors are associated with low Vit D,   Fight COVID-19 with 50K Vit D weekly   Vaccines   Take lots of Vitamin D at first signs of COVID   166 COVID Clinical Trials using Vitamin D (Aug 2023)   Prevent a COVID death: 9 dollars of Vitamin D or 900,000 dollars of vaccine - Aug 2023
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