Sunlight and pandemics-more interesting information about our magnificent Sun, by Marc Sorenson, EdD.
Sunlight and pandemics link together closely—more sunlight, fewer pandemics. This is because it is our “best disinfectant.” Unobstructed sunlight kills viruses and bacteria outside the body and strengthens the body internally. Sunlight has been preventing diseases throughout history. That is probably why the sun was a deity in some ancient societies. More recently, scientists have been telling us for decades how important sun exposure is, and they continue to do so.
Perhaps it is time to listen!
Thus, research early in 2020, from the DHS, showed that “simulated sunlight” rapidly decayed the Covid-19 virus. The researchers tested effects of sunlight on Covid-19 viruses in aerosols—suspensions of solid particles and liquid droplets in air. These aerosols are a potential route of disease transmission through inhalation. Consequently, when sunlight exposure accelerates the decay of these viruses, it prevents an avenue of human-to-human transmission. Thus, the breathing in of these “decayed” viruses, usually coughed, sneezed, or exhaled, ceases to be lethal. Therefore, sunlight outside the body inactivates the viruses due to rapid decay. In other words, it kills them before they can do damage.
Sunlight and pandemics also link internally through vitamin D production.
Vitamin D, produced by skin during sun exposure, also inhibits some of the powerful disease reactions and makes pandemics less deadly. The cytokine storm is one of those reactions. It may lead to death by causing inflammation and subsequent pneumonia. A cytokine is a specialized protein molecule that attacks and destroys infected tissue. These proteins can be either pro-inflammatory of anti-inflammatory. For our purposes, we will discuss pro-inflammatory cytokines.
How does the cytokine storm work?
Usually, the cytokines needed to fight the infected tissue, cease their attacks and diminish after they have won the battle. However, in the case of a disease like influenza (or Covid-19), “friendly fire” occurs. The immune system recruits millions of reinforcing cytokines, and those cytokines mount an overwhelming attack against tissue they initially protected. In other words, they cause a violent storm. Cytokine storms lead to severe inflammation that weakens or destroys blood vessel membranes in the lungs and other tissue. As a result, fluid seeps through to the air sacs, which leads to pneumonia. People thus end up drowning in their own body fluids. Dr. Angela Rasmussen describes it: “Basically you’re bleeding out of your blood vessels.” She goes on to say the problem may not end there. The storm spills into the circulatory system and can create systemic issues across multiple organs.
How does vitamin D dampen the storm?
Vitamin D leads to the production of cathelicidins and defensins, which are peptides (proteins) with antimicrobial properties. According to Dr. William Grant and colleagues, these peptides lower viral replication rates and reduce concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines. As already mentioned, these pro-inflammatory cytokines produce the inflammation that injures the lungs. Nevertheless, the damage does not necessarily end in the lungs. Recent research shows that the damage from Covid-19 can spread to multiple organ systems.. The report on this research suggests the cytokine storm may be responsible for that spread. The heart, liver, kidneys, neurological system and gastrointestinal tract may all be targets of Covid-19.
If what I posit is true, we would expect Covid-19 to be higher in populations with high vitamin D deficiency, and such is the case.
Henry Lahore, one of the great vitamin D scholars, has listed four racial groups with disproportionately high vitamin D deficiency: Elderly Italians, Spanish, Swedish Somalis and African Americans. Mr. Lahore furnishes invaluable information regarding race, vitamin D, sunlight and Covid. Many of you have read of the alarmingly high Covid-19 death rate in African Americans. From my previous research, I know that African Americans also have alarmingly low vitamin D levels. Lahore also cites research that shows 84% of African Americans are vitamin D deficient. In addition, in Chicago, 70% of Covid 19 deaths are among Blacks. The reason for the deficiency? Dark skins take much more time in the sun to produce vitamin D.
Unfortunately, our answer to Covid-19 has been to cocoon everyone indoors.
The lockdowns assure that no one can obtain vitamin D except by supplement. That is, unless they are fortunate enough to own sunlamps and sunbeds (tanning beds). Even more alarming is the fact that the Swedish Somali population has 40% of the deaths in Sweden. Yet, they comprise only .84% of the Swedish population. Therefore, the Dark-skinned Somalis have 4,700% greater risk of death from Covid 19! This can only be due to lack of sufficient sunlight and subsequently, low vitamin D. No such death risk exists in Africa, where sunlight is ubiquitous. Thus, the answer for all Americans is to obtain plenty of non-burning sun exposure year around, or use a sunbed.
More common sense about sunlight and pandemics from Richard Hobday, researcher and writer.
First of all, to understand this section, you must know that the flu pandemic of 1918 killed approximately 50 million people. Mr. Hobday explains this in an important paper from 2020, entitled Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
Here are his most impactful points regarding sunlight and the 1918 pandemic:
Medical personnel found that patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors.
- Outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Fresh air can kill flu viruses and other germs.
- In the 1918 pandemic, overcrowding and bad ventilation put soldiers and sailors at high risk of catching influenza.
- Most of the victims of the pandemic did not die from influenza: they died of pneumonia and other complications.
- Hospital personnel placed sick soldiers outdoors to breathe fresh air [and of course, sunlight]
- Open-air treatment reduced deaths among hospital patients from 40 percent down to about 13 per cent.
Of course, in 1918, the efficacy of sun exposure and vitamin D was unknown.
So now, we know. Low sunlight links to high pandemic risks. More sunlight and fresh air produce a better chance of surviving the pandemic we currently face.