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Sunshine, Covid and Belonging

Dr David, Editor / Publisher

My friend Veronica recently went to Mexico City for a long weekend. She didn't sleep well and started to get a sore throat. The usual homeopathic measures failing, I advised her to sunbathe her throat... internally. This is done by facing the sun, opening wide, sticking out your tongue and making believe that you are saying, "awww." Sometimes, when the sun touches the back of your throat, you can feel. The bugs there can feel it, too. The ultraviolet light kills them, just like the ultraviolet light some of you have as part of your home water filter.

Yes, sunlight is a brilliant disinfectant. If only there were some way to take it internally, we could use it against Covid. In a manner of speaking, there is.

It runs out that adequate levels of the Sunshine Vitamin have a "striking" ability to lower one's chance of getting seriously ill from Covid. Israeli scientists just revealed that people who were vitamin D deficient before getting Covid developed severe illness five times more frequently than people who had sufficient levels of the vitamin in their blood.

Since death due Covid only results from severe illness due to Covid, the headline announcing this study might have read, "Vitamin D Cuts Covid Deaths 80%".

But that vitamin D reduces the severity of respiratory illness is old news. Tony Fauci's very own National Institutes of Health published articles on the subject as far back as 2009.

I remarked on vitamin D and Covid in these pages back in March of 2020, Staying Healthy, Surviving the Virus Lokkal: "Proper levels of Vitamin D are essential to immune health. Deficiencies are common." Lucky for us, sunshine, and so the Sunshine Vitamin, is much more abundant here in Mexico than it is in the cloudy old north. That is, unless you are sheltering in place in your shadowy old house.

Knowing that I told you so two years ago, might make a logical person go back and give some consideration to the other advice I mentioned in that article. But common sense is uncommon. Rationality is only one factor among many in how we make decisions.

Thinking takes place in our distinctly human frontal cortex. Behind and below that newest part of our brain are more ancient, basic neurological systems that motivate us even without us knowing. One of these is our need to belong.

Belonging to a group increases your chances of survival. People need people. It was not brawn, speed or claw, that enabled our species to survive. It was group cooperation: "I'll watch your back, and you watch mine." Or, "Let's go hunt some megafauna together." Our brain releases the feel-good hormone dopamine when we are accepted socially, when you meet someone who likes you. This is the chemistry behind the dog's joy when you come home.

I saw a bit of a Santana concert on the TV in the dentist's waiting room, and thought, this is a social event. Like the Superbowl this Sunday, watching from home may give you a better view, but it doesn't give you the group effect, doesn't deliver the same dopamine.

Shopping also triggers ancient neural responses. Our brain rewards us chemically for coming back to the cave with our hands full. On top of this, for most people, going to the supermarket is a social activity. We are part of a group acquiring food. It's not exactly hunting mastodon together, but it lights up the same neurological pathways.

Our thinking frontal cortex is supposed to moderate these lower brain responses: "I'm not going to eat another cookie"; "I'm not going to punch this guy in the nose"; "I do not have to be afraid of this interaction"... But most people buy their groceries without thinking very deeply. Worrying about hydrogenated oils and toxic ingredients, ruins the shared, belonging experience of going to the supermarket. For that, one must have faith in the supermarket.

For similar reasons, most people have faith in the medical establishment. They want to believe and belong. No longer trusting the person in the white coat is like no longer trusting the nationally-branded, brightly colored packages on the supermarket shelf; no longer feeling at home with Skippy or the carcinogenic perfumes of your laundry detergent. (That uncomfortable feeling some of you felt reading that last line is a drop in your brain's dopamine levels.)

A neurologist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, who was also a chiropractor and a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, agreed with me that the profit motive determines accepted medical practice. But, in the next breath, he objected to this, my criticism, "Medicine is an industry. Why do you hold it to different standards than other industries?"

A therapy that helps 10% of the people who have a disease is considered to be wondrously effective. Vitamin D prevents 40% of severe Covid cases. The pharmaceutical industry is biased, on Covid and everything else, in terms of what makes money for them. Patentable medicines are most profitable by far. Vaccines are patentable. Vitamin D isn't.

"There is a short way that is a long way and a long way which is a short way." Taoism

I don't think we are ever going to get rid of belonging: nation, gender, race, religion... The herd instinct is hardwired in us. Becoming a human being means thinking, using our higher brain functions to overcome the lower ones. We need to find a greater, more inclusive belonging. (See Lokkal.)

It may seem easier, in the short-term, to wall off and choose sides. But in the long-term, it's best to listen to all sides and be skeptical of them all. We don't have to adopt them, but we should consider unorthodox ideas. The greatest scientific advances have come from outside the established order. And remember, even if someone has your best interests at heart, they might be mistaken. 

Sunlight doesn't just disinfect our body, enlightenment, shedding light on our fixed ideas, disinfects our mind.

Anyway, vitamin D's role in preventing severe Covid symptoms is already good science. Forward this information to someone you love, then go out and get some sun.


Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

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