[Transcript] – This Doctor Has A “Stealth Strategy To Stop COVID Cold”: A Breaking Interview With A Controversial Alternative Health Figure On Vitamin D, COVID-19, Sunshine, Vitamin K2, Magnesium & Much More!.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/supplements-podcasts/vitamin-d-and-covid-19/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:02] Podcast Sponsors

[00:03:00] Guest Introduction

[00:05:10] Beginning the Day with Vitamin D

[00:07:13] The Physiological Benefits of Vitamin D

[00:10:22] Vitamin D as a Steroid Hormone

[00:14:12] Why Vitamin D Deficiency Is a Growing Problem

[00:23:30] The Impact of Vitamin D On the Immune System

[00:29:57] How Vitamin D Regulates the Innate Immune System

[00:30:57] Podcast Sponsors

[00:33:41] The Connection Between Vitamin D and Antimicrobial Peptides (AMPs)

[00:36:10] How a Vitamin D Deficiency Increases the Risk for Acquiring COVID-19

[00:43:45] Proper Dosing of Vitamin D to Avoid Toxicity

[00:51:51] Dr. Mercola's Recommendations to Stop COVID Cold

[00:56:16] New, Interesting and Novel Things Currently Captivating Dr. Mercola's Interest

[01:03:23] Closing the Podcast

[01:04:34] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Joe:  Infection that appears to have shut down the global economy, and there is incontrovertible evidence that vitamin D is actually one of the most powerful strategies you can use to optimize your immune system.

Ben:  Where do we reach the law of diminishing returns with vitamin D shutting down what would normally be considered a natural inflammatory response?

Joe:  With one simple strategy, by optimizing your vitamin D levels. It's my number one recommendation. My number one step when people ask me, “How do I get healthy?” is just you've got to look at your vitamin D levels.

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Well, today, I got my good friend. I'm not going to tell you who he is. He's back on the show though. He's a multi-time super popular, occasionally controversial repeat guest. You're going to dig him.

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Alright, let's go chat with my guest.

Well, folks, my guest on today's show is a multi-time, incredibly popular repeat guest. He's a little controversial. He actually hosts one of the most popular alternative health websites on the internet but also manages to ruffle feathers here and there with some of the things he has to say. I think in our last podcast, we actually talked a little bit about things like 5G, and Google censorship, and some problematic issues that keep popping up whenever I talk to my guest on today's show. But he's also a wealth of knowledge in a whole host of topics. We have done podcasts, all of which I'll link to in the shownotes for this podcast on keto and fasting, and how to use cyclic ketosis to fix some of the issues with fasting.

We've talked about nuking fat cells and fixing mitochondria, reversing damage from cell phone radiation, hidden sources of EMF. We have covered a lot of stuff, but today, we're going to dive into a topic that I've never actually done a full podcast on because I thought that to do a full podcast on the topic that you're about to listen to would be boring. But then after really delving into some of the information that my guest has sent me, I realized that I would be remiss not to do a podcast on this because it is incredibly important, and all the more important based on the time that we happen to be living in right now in which your immune system is pretty darn important to be taken care of.

So, if you haven't guessed yet, my guest on today's show is Dr. Joe Mercola of drmercola.com. The shownotes for everything that we talk about are at, and this is going to be the big reveal because now you know what we're going to talk about, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/vitamindpodcast. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/vitamindpodcast. Joe, welcome back to the show, man.

Joe:  Hey, thanks. My main site though is mercola.com, not drmercola.com.

Ben:  Did I say drmercola?

Joe:  Yeah, but if you typed it–we owned that domain, too, so it–I think forwards to–

Ben:  Okay. That's great. I just wanted to make sure drmercola.com wasn't going to send people to some kind of not safe for work, horrific animal porn website, or something like that.

Joe:  Yeah. There you go, there you go.

Ben:  Okay. Alright, good. Well, in celebration of today's episode, I've actually just finished consuming a wonderful source of all fat-soluble vitamins, but vitamin D included, and that was liver. I've got a bunch of the US Wellness Meats beef liver. So, I punished some of that with some sea salt and Dijon mustard for breakfast, and I did a great meditation with my boys out in the sunshine. And so, I'm already amped up on vitamin D. How about you?

Joe:  Well, I like the animal organs for vitamin A because it's literally the highest concentration of vitamin A you can get. But no, I prepared for this, too. I just got back from an hour and a half walk on the beach, and full Florida sunshine, which is equivalent to about 20,000 units of vitamin D, if you haven't done enough of [00:05:54] _____, which I did.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, that's a lot. I think I probably had maybe like probably about 10 ounces of beef liver. So, yeah. It's really only like what, a 200 units may be in vitamin D, somewhere on that.

Joe:  I mean, that probably is what 20,000, maybe even 40,000 units of vitamin A. I mean, it's just a massive source of vitamin A. I only have about two ounces of liver a day, and I think it's like 10 or 15,000 units.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, I've got a whole bunch more. I'm actually dehydrating to make some jerky later on because River and Terran and I are going to head off to a wilderness survival camp in a couple days. So, I'm going to make a bunch of liver jerky. Anyways though, vitamin D, like I mentioned, is not something that I thought would really be that sexy to do a whole podcast on, I got to admit. And over the past couple months, I know you've been doing a ton of research on vitamin D. You've started to send me some papers and some websites that have really begun to get me super interested in this based on some things about vitamin D that I was unaware of. And so, what I would love to do, and I'll direct people to some really fantastic PDFs, and also a wonderful website that you put together that spells all this out for free for everybody in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/vitamindpodcast.

But I think one of the first things that I'd love to tackle is just the basic idea behind the physiological benefits of vitamin D in your opinion in terms of what the most important components of what vitamin D is doing for us actually are.

Joe:  Well, that's a great question, and I really view it as probably one of the single most important strategies that anyone can implement into their program to optimize their health and longevity, and decrease their risk for [00:07:40] _____ disease. And it's so simple, so easy to do, and it's actually the least expensive supplement if you're choosing that route. So, I've been fascinated with vitamin D for over two decades. And literally, last century, the only primary benefit that most vitamin D was noticed for was improving bone health and decreasing things like rickets in osteomalacia.

But now, we know there's been over 5,000 or 6,000 articles published of vitamin D this century dominating the unbelievable diverse metabolic benefits that it has. It really addresses the basics. How does it do it? It basically upregulates, it epigenetically modulates over 2,500 genes, genes that improve your oxidative stress, improve your mitochondrial function. And as a result, it radically decreases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, virtually every autoimmune disease like MS, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease. And I think it's literally medical malpractice not to integrate vitamin D augmentation or supplementation optimization in these diseases, and then Alzheimer's disease. But more importantly, in the context of what you referenced earlier is that we have a pandemic of an infection that appears to have shut down the global economy because of impaired immune function, and there is beyond incontrovertible evidence that vitamin D is actually one of the most powerful strategies you can use to optimize your immune system. In fact, as we're recording this, this is the day that President Trump was released from Walter Reed for his infection over the last few days. And vitamin D was part of his protocol.

Ben:  Was it really? Do you know the dosage that he was getting?

Joe:  No, I don't. I mean, the details of his program are just really superficial.

Ben:  Well, we'll get into dosages later, but one really important thing that I want to highlight to people that you said, Joe, is that it's a powerful epigenetic regulator, and that's very interesting. Just so you guys know, when we're talking about epigenetic regulators, you may have heard of things like histone acetyltransferases, or methyltransferases, or chromatin remodeling enzymes, or all these things that can control gene expression. Typically, they'll modify the state of chromatin on the DNA. And that's very, very important because what we're talking about is a compound that's actually regulating gene expression. And I'm just fascinated by the different components we're finding these days that are epigenetic regulators like–I think we talked on the last show about how ketones can serve as an epigenetic regulator.

Lactic acid, produced during exercise, also a powerful epigenetic regulator, but they don't come close in terms of, to my understanding, the thousands of genes that are actually impacted particularly by vitamin D, which of course we call a vitamin, but I would say, and I don't know if you agree with me, Joe, it's a little bit more like a steroid hormone. I mean, it's active metabolized as a steroid hormone, right?

Joe:  Oh, it is a steroid hormone, yeah. I mean, it's actually a misnomer that's classified as a vitamin, but that's just the way it worked out, but it is a steroid hormone. I think it's called SCCL hormone, S-C-C-L, SCCL hormone.

Ben:  Okay.

Joe:  But yeah. It functions at it. It's actually a precursor. It's metabolized from cholesterol. When ultraviolet B radiation shines on your skin, it takes cholesterol and changes it to a precursor of vitamin D, and then your body continues to metabolize it to its active product.

Ben:  Right, right. The active product is what we would consume in supplement form like the 25 hydroxyvitamin D.

Joe:  Well, actually, that is what your liver does with the first bypass, and the vitamin D3 is not hydroxylated.

Ben:  Right.

Joe:  It's made after your UVB shines on the skin.

Ben:  Right.

Joe:  There's a distinction here, too. That's vitamin D3. There is vitamin D2 and that is a vegan hormone, usually typically generated from plants when you shined ultraviolet B like–they shine that radiation on mushrooms [00:11:54] _____. And I'm not a big fan of that. Some people are like Michael Holick, who's a really good vitamin D expert, but I think the best way to go is animal form of vitamin D3.

Ben:  Right. D2, for those of you listening and you may have heard that, is ergocalciferol, and then D3 is cholecalciferol. And yeah, like the food sources of D2 would be–they'll fortify food like bread or grow mushrooms under UVB. But then for D3, which in my opinion, for everything I've seen, is a little bit more bioavailable. You're looking at things like the oily fish, the liver, the egg yolk. And of course, as you've alluded to already, Joe, sunshine, which is probably the best way to get it just because you're getting a lot of your infrared rays, you're getting outdoor air, you're getting a lot of other benefits from the 7-dehydrocholesterol that's produced after exposure to UVB. Now, one quick rabbit hole here, because I think you've looked into this, but some people can't get out in the sunshine and maybe don't want to get all their vitamin D from supplemental sources or from shrooms. UVB, tanning beds, or tanning lights, or UVB treatment lights, are you still a fan of any of those?

Joe:  Theoretically. There's a problem. I'm not aware of any really commercial source that was going to be providing you with the beneficial exposures without some of the negative side effects. And I actually used to produce a UVB tanning bed, but at the time, I wasn't aware of some of the EMF considerations, and I don't know that I would have done that subsequently. So, yeah. And that was primarily because there was a fluorescent bulb, and fluorescent bulbs of course make dirty electricity, these high voltage strands. And in the case of a fluorescent tube, it's about 62 kilohertz. And there's a lot of them. Typically, in the tanning bed, there's a dozen or two dozen bulbs, depending on the size of your bed. So, that's a lot of exposure, and you're literally only inches away from it. So, you're actually going to get those by the B radiation, but you're going to get a massive dose of these not so beneficial EMF exposures.

Ben:  Have you ever measured that Sperti model? That's the one I hear a lot of people talk about, the S-P-E-R-T-I.

Joe:  I've had one of those in the past, but unless they've changed it, it's just a small lamp. And yes, it could work, but it's going to take so long. It's really inconvenient. I think it's a type of a halogen bulb. So, it doesn't have the EMF considerations, but you're going to need a long time exposure to it.

Ben:  Gotcha. Okay. So, the main thing about vitamin D that you already touched on that that's really relevant to the time that we're in right now is the immune system. But before digging into the variety of ways in which the innate immune system, the adaptive immune system, the cytokine response, et cetera, responds to vitamin D. In terms of actual vitamin D status measurements and the seriousness of a deficiency or a lack of deficiency, where are we at right now in terms of the number of people suffering from not having enough vitamin D?

Joe:  Well, that's a good point and it really emphasizes why this is such a crucial issue because the vast majority of the population–and probably in your group, not as many, but if you look at the population in the United States, we're looking at 87% of adults that are deficient, and 95% of kids. And if you go to certain sub-populations like the African-Americans, that grows even more. You look at 92%, 95% of adults, and over 99% of African-American children are deficient in vitamin D.

Ben:  Yeah, just due to the melanin.

Joe:  Yeah, because the melanin serves as a screen and a block, so they're not getting UVB. And if you live up north, it's even worse.

Ben:  Based on whose measurements though? When you're saying that like 87% of adults are deficient, whose definition of deficiency are we talking about? Like, what kind of level are you saying is deficient?

Joe:  That's a good question. I don't think anyone would disagree that anything below 30 is problematic, and it's 30 nanograms per milliliter. If you're listening to this in Canada or Europe, or other places, they use a different unit. It's nanomoles per liter, and that would be–you have to multiply it by 2.5. I think the optimal range is 40 to 60 nanograms or 100 to 150 nanomoles per liter. If you're using those levels, those are the numbers you're going to come up with. I've connected and interacted with almost ever all the major vitamin D experts for the last two decades. I've interviewed them, connected with them, and collaborated with them, and actually written a paper with some of the top guys. This is the consensus of the leading experts, 40 to 60, even though there is significant–

Ben:  Forty to 60.

Joe:  Yes. A lot of the researchers uses 30. So, these would be levels under 30 nanograms.

Ben:  Nanograms per milliliter. What are your levels at? Because from what I understand, based on our previous discussions, you don't actually supplement with vitamin D, do you?

Joe:  I haven't taken a vitamin D supplement in over a decade. Maybe 12 years now. And the last time I had measured, it was 70 nanograms per milliliter.

Ben:  Okay. So, you're getting it all from sunshine. Now, I did an interview with–what's his name? Dr. Mansoor from The DNA Company up in Canada. And he highlighted during our interview, which I can link to in the shownotes for this podcast, if you guys want to listen to that one, how neither myself nor my twin boys contain the genes that would allow us to harness appreciable vitamin D from sunlight. Are you familiar with that type of genetic issue?

Joe:  I think it's the, from my understanding, the genetic problems that have to do with the vitamin D receptors. But typically, I've done a lot of study in this and GrassrootsHealth. We've funded it to do some research on it. And what they find is that when you're not getting the appropriate response to a vitamin D supplement or sunshine, it tends to be more related to your cofactors, things like magnesium. So, probably, almost as many people are deficient in magnesium as vitamin D, or very close to it. And the magnesium is responsible for activating the vitamin D. So, if you're magnesium-deficient, you're typically not going to generate the healthy vitamin D levels you need.

Ben:  Okay. Yeah. I mean, I know that there are certain genetic variations that do increase the risk of having a lower level of vitamin D. I just recall from that discussion that it was actual UVB radiation that was not resulting in an appreciable amount of vitamin D in the bloodstream, or synthesis when the sun's UVB rays hit the skin. I mean, anything's possible. I'm not aware of that as being a significant issue. The genetic components I mentioned tends to be more with the vitamin D receptors.

Ben:  Okay. Alright, got it. I think it was the VDR gene, which I think is the vitamin D receptor gene. That's what VDR stands for, right?

Joe:  Right. That's correct, yes.

Ben:  Okay. So, it's an actual deficiency in the receptor. And that's something that someone could just get tested via genetic analysis. But more importantly than that, obviously ethnicity is going to matter if you have a high amount of melanin production. What about age?

Joe:  Yeah. You tend to have a diminished capacity to generate vitamin D the older you get. But I think that's also true for muscle mass, too. So, I think many of our concepts of what happens during A genes are beyond seriously flawed and more related to what many people wind up leading as a lifestyle as they get older. So, if you're engaging activities like you and I both are until we're into our later years, I think many of the deteriorations that you would typically see are not going to manifest.

Ben:  Alright, got it. So, would you say that there would be an increase in the need for it with age? Like, is there any evidence that we see like a decrease in serum vitamin D levels with age or anything like that?

Joe:  Well, there's a decrease because you're typically unable to generate it from UVB. That's what typically deteriorates as you age. But as far as I understand, your ability to absorb it and utilize it doesn't diminish. So, if you're taking a supplement, it shouldn't be an issue.

Ben:  Okay.

Joe:  But most people don't take supplements. They're not aware of how pervasive a deficiency this is. And as a result, they're not benefiting from it. And interestingly, I mean, this is literally one of the least expensive supplements you could hope to buy. You could typically purchase a year's supply for–must supply most other supplements. You don't require some specialized form of it. You don't have to get the world's best vitamin D supplement. I mean, they all work pretty well.

Ben:  Although arguably, as you alluded to earlier, there are some important cofactors to take into consideration.

Joe:  We'll talk about those.

Ben:  Yeah. Let's get to that later on because I do want to talk about dosing and about cofactors that should be included with vitamin D, and just to wrap up the age part. And then, I really want to get into this whole COVID in immune consideration. It is definitely known that as you age, you're going to see everything from a decrease in cellular autophagy to increased inflammation, and mitochondrial deficiency, and the telomere attrition. And so, arguably, you probably do need to pay more attention to this as you age. I would hazard a gas, or if you're doing anything, that's going to cause a large amount of inflammation.

Joe:  But I am absolutely convinced, as I'm a member of that aging population now and entering that phase of my life, that many of these deteriorations that are typically observed and reported are related to the lifestyle that's being led. And you can greatly ameliorate that decrease in function by healthy lifestyle.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I agree, I agree. Alright. So, let's dig into this paper. So, you have this website. And honestly, you know better than I now that these AI algorithms are able to search audio and not just titles and subtitles and keywords within, say, audio shownotes. Once we start throwing around terms like this new website that you put up, which is actually where there's a wonderful paper and a bunch of resources on what we're going to talk about, stopcovidcold.com. And then, we're using terms like vitamin D, we're using terms like COVID, just possibly a rabbit hole here. But what do you think are the chances that based on this discussion and based on the fact that we're throwing around a natural solution to a COVID storm that this particular podcast might not appear in, say, Google search results or something like that?

Joe:  I think it's relatively low. I mean, as far as I know, vitamin D isn't as suppressed or censored as some things like hydroxychloroquine, or certainly nebulized peroxide. I mean, I did an interview with David Brownstein. We'll talk about this a little bit later, but that was just immediately taken down like out of YouTube . But things like vitamin D, especially if it's only an audio, even if they have the technical capacity to search for the audio, they're mostly looking for written. They just haven't delegated a lot of the resources to that yet. So, I think you're going to be safe. I don't think it's a high likelihood that it's going to be censored.

Ben:  Okay. Gotcha. And then, one other thing I should throw in there, and then I want to dig into the immune system, I don't sell vitamin D supplements, and I don't have any for sale on the shownotes. This is not a way to make money off of people taking vitamin D for COVID. Even at Kion, my supplements company, we don't sell vitamin D supplement. This is in no way intended to be like a commercial.

Joe:  Even if you did, you're not going to really make a lot of money on it. There's low margins in that. I mean, it's not a big income producer, that's for sure.

Ben:  Right.

Joe:  Well, it should be. If any supplement that you want to be available, at least especially it's vitamin D because it's so beneficial, and everyone really needs it, almost everyone.

Ben:  That's not sexy though. You want to supplement like the immune shotgun blast formula 4000, which has the 18 different adaptogenic herbs, all in a proprietary formula, fairy dusted with maybe a little bit of extra superfoods from the Amazon.

Anyways though, so the immune system. Vitamin D, from what I understand, has a pretty significant impact on some fundamental elements of the innate and the adaptive immune system. And I'm wondering if you could walk people through exactly how that is.

Joe:  Yeah. It's really fascinating. The bottom line is it radically improves your immune response and immune function. And I can tell you the ways it does this through a mechanism called cytokines, or as Ben would say, cytokines. But the correct pronunciation is cytokines. And what are they? They're small proteins and they have incredibly diverse modulated impacts on your immune response, as you mentioned, the innate and adaptive immune responses. But primarily, the adaptive immune system such as your T cells and T helper cells.

So, what happens is that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that is responsible for COVID-19, triggers a profound immune response. And as a result of that, you get secondary inflammation, and that tends to generate the cytokine storm. It's triggered by things like TNF alpha, interferon-gamma, interleukin-2, interleukin-6, and other interleukins, and that's the general process. So, now, what is the innate and adaptive immune system? Well, the innate is your first immune response. It acts in hours. It's really the first thing. And in general, it's like a shotgun. It's really not specific. It's not a rifle like the adaptive immune response. And as an example of this, one of the best forms of your innate immune system is really the barrier, the physical barrier functions that your body has, like your skin, the epithelial cells, your intestine, your lungs. And this prevents the pathogens from actually entering the body in the first place, which makes the most sense. And also, prevention's worth a pound of cure. Then you've got things like the white blood cells, neutrophils that do phagocytosis, dendritic cells, and then there's antigen-presenting cells, which are the dendritic cells, NK cells and complement, and other things. Then the adaptive immune system–

Ben:  By the way, I should back up just to say if you guys have trouble remembering this, the way I remember is just innate, I think of the word I, immediate, instant, innate, instance. So, think about that as the first line of defense, as Joe just explained. All the physical barriers, all the immediate neutrophil, and white blood cell response, the dendritic response, all that's the immediate immune response. So, if you're trying to remember this and keep it straight, just think innate instant or innate immediate. And then, we move on to adaptive.

Joe:  Yeah. The adaptive immunity, which is specific, it's not the shotgun response, and that is going to take at least 12 hours, and typically, more like days after exposure. And there, you're working with primarily B and T lymphocytes, but other helper cells, too, like T helper cells. And these make the cytokines and the B cells make the antibodies that are typically measured to show immune responses. This is what they're going to use for those who get the vaccine, which if we have time, we can talk about. And it's beyond well-established, non-controversial, that vitamin D deficiency, which is not nearly 90% of the population increases your risk for cytokine storm. So, when you are vitamin D replete, you reduce your pro-inflammatory cytokines and you increase the anti-inflammatory cytokines. So, it's almost reprehensibly irresponsible not to address this.

Now, let me counter–not counter that, but have an important caveat that there's some other strategies that you can use, like when Trump was sick, and he had to go to Walter Reed. I mean, I'm glad they gave him vitamin D, but that really isn't the best approach. I mean, they should be given, but you're not going to get this immediate response. It's going to take a lot longer. Ideally, you want vitamin D before. This is a preventive. I mean, it can be used securely, but it really doesn't work as well. This is not what I would recommend for an acute treatment. There are acute treatments that Brownstein uses that I have used that literally work on people who are feeling like they're going to die because they are, they can't breathe, they have a fever, they're just miserable, ready to go to the hospital and die. They have this intervention, and literally within hours, they're better. Up and around, their whole life is changing. We'll talk about that later if there's time.

Ben:  Okay. So, basically, vitamin D, when we're talking about that adaptive response, that cytokine response, it's downregulating the immune response that's mediated by the T helper cells. So, we're inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. And that begs the question because I know some people ask this, because it's for the same reason people say, “Well, should I not take vitamin C, or should I not take an antioxidant after exercise? Because I want that pro-inflammatory response.” Where do we reach the law of diminishing returns with vitamin D shutting down what would normally be considered a natural inflammatory response?

Joe:  In my view, vitamin D is pretty similar to molecular hydrogen and an Nrf2 regulator. So, that it modulates based on its needs. So, it is going to allow your body to make that decision. It's not a non-specific suppressor of free radicals like many of these antioxidants are. So, it is something you need. There is very little risk of overdosing on vitamin D. Yes, you can. It's theoretically possible, but those reports are few and far between. We never want to overdose on anything, but the safety margin of vitamin D is extraordinarily high.

Ben:  Okay. So, like molecular hydrogen, which I've talked about in the past, it's a selective antioxidant, a novel antioxidant that is not necessarily going to willy-nilly suppress inflammation across the board and restrict a healthy immune response?

Joe:  No. It's going to optimize a healthy immune response, and it's exactly what you need. So, I would have no concern about taking it during exercise. Well, I don't swallow vitamin D. Think about it. If you were engaging in normal outside activity with not much clothes on your body and optimizing, you had a 60, 70 nanogram of a per liter level of vitamin D, that's what our ancestors were doing, and they exercised. They worked out, they hunted for their food, they didn't have any concerns about that.

Ben:  Right. They weren't crawling into a cave after training to go fight the big woolly mammoth so that they didn't suppress their inflammatory response.

Joe:  Well, vitamin D is fat-soluble. So, it sticks around for weeks and months.

Ben:  Yeah.

Joe:  Even if they did, [00:29:56] _____ go down.

Ben:  That's true, that's true. So, the one thing I didn't realize when I was looking through some of the research that you sent to me is that vitamin D can interact with that cytokine response. And I was already aware of that effect on the adaptive immune system, but I didn't realize that it can actually regulate the physical barrier portion of the innate immune system like the epithelial cells. Talk to me about that.

Joe:  Well, there's these tight junctions. And if we're all familiar with the concept of leaky gut where you have these relative breaks in the barrier of your intestinal epithelial cells and these proteins and other molecules sneak in and cause lots of problems. So, vitamin D is one of the strategies you can use to help repair that and it's just–who would have known? But it radically improves those tight junctions, not only in your intestine, but your skin where you get these micro barriers and things. So, the best way is to make sure you have this lining intact so these guys don't sneak through when places where they're not supposed to be.

Ben:  Well, you've been hearing about vitamin D, and of course you know that UVA and UVB sunlight radiation can amplify your own vitamin D production as can eating mushrooms that have had sunlight on them and taking vitamin D supplements. They even have transdermal vitamin D and intramuscular vitamin D. But even if you're getting vitamin D, you still need other forms of light, particularly near-infrared and red light to really fuel your mitochondria to turn on the electron transport chain, so to speak, in your mitochondria for even more production of ATP, and also for things like regulation of circadian rhythm, thyroid health, collagen, and skin health. A few fellas, shine it on your balls to increase testosterone production. Those are just a few of the benefits you get from this so-called photobiomodulation, a red light therapy.

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Ben:  It's super interesting. For people who are concerned about gut permeability, everybody talks about glutamine, and colostrum, and bone broth, but vitamin D, I wasn't aware of this again until I started to look at the papers you sent me. It actually increases gut–or low levels would increase gut permeability. But keeping your levels topped off would restrict, or at least decrease the likelihood of pathogens kind of sneaking into the bloodstream causing low-grade inflammation.

Joe:  Right.

Ben:  Okay. So, we know it has that effect on the innate immune system. We know the effect on the adaptive immune system and the suppression of the cytokine storm, but there's another component here that I think a lot of people might not be familiar with, and that's this concept of antimicrobial peptides. What are these so-called AMPs, these antimicrobial peptides? And what is vitamin D have to do with those?

Joe:  Well, vitamin D actually causes your body to make them, which is an interesting and intriguing concept. And these are little protein molecules, which a peptide is, and they have a broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Not only antimicrobial, but also antiviral. They've actually been shown to inactivate the flu. So, in humans, we make a specific ones called cathelicidin. And in research, they call it LL-37 because there's different types of those. And when you have your vitamin D replete, your body is able to make these, and that's a way that you can help defeat these types of infections. So, it's just crazy not to use this. It's like your hidden arsenal of antibiotics. You can make them yourself. I don't know if you're aware of this, and I didn't put this in the paper, but in 1905, they awarded Nobel Prize in medicine to I think Niels Finsen, who used this Sperti, like you referenced earlier, to treat patients with tuberculosis and they got better, and he got a Nobel Prize for it, and it was largely through these anti-microbial peptides.

Ben:  Yeah. That's interesting. I have a bottle of LL-37 peptide, the injectable subcutaneous peptide up in my refrigerator. And I keep that on hand for things like food poisoning or some type of stomach issue because you inject that. And I did this. I started researching it and began to use it when I had a giardia infection last year and it's actually very powerful. It's an injectable antimicrobial peptide. But again, I was unaware until I started to dig into some of the research that you sent me that vitamin D can do the same thing.

Joe:  Vitamin D. You don't need the crazy peptide. You don't have to spend your money and inject yourself with a needle. Your body can make it itself. Isn't that amazing?

Ben:  Wow. Amazing concept. Nobody's going to make money off that, but it's a great concept. Okay. So, this all sounds great. Like, we're increasing antimicrobial peptides. We're shoring up the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. But when we actually dig into actual research, is there any evidence that a vitamin D deficiency would increase your risk for something like COVID-19?

Joe:  Absolutely. There's stunning evidence. There's powerful loads of correlative evidence. And right now, we've had only one trial of what's considered to be the gold standard, which is a randomized controlled trial, frequently double-blind and placebo-controlled, where they're currently in process because obviously, COVID-19 didn't exist before. So, it takes a while to start these trials and evaluate them and then get them published. So, they're in process right now. I have links to them in the paper, the ones that are being done. But we have these correlation studies, which just are beyond profound. And let me give you an example.

There was one done in Southeast Asia with 212 COVID-19 patients, and they grouped them into four different subgroups, those with severe, critical, and I guess mid-range illness, and then mild. So, of those in severe who had severe and critical illness, was about half of the population, 96% of those, Ben, 96% had low vitamin D levels, less than 30 nanograms per mil. Of those who had mild, 96% of that population had normal vitamin D levels. I mean, to me, it's just rock-solid proof that there's a connection here.

Ben:  Yeah. There's a connection, and it's pretty strong correlative evidence. If you guys go check out the PDF paper that I'll link to at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/vitamindpodcast, which is all over at the Stop COVID Cold website. The correlative data is pretty impressive. And of course, we should admit the fact that there's also correlative data between like ice cream and shark attacks, or soda consumption and violence.

Joe:  Yeah. Correlation, it's not causation.

Ben:  So, it's not causation, but it's some pretty strong suggestive evidence that a vitamin D deficiency would quite significantly increase your risk for COVID-19 infection.

Joe:  Yeah. And that's just one of the more impressive studies. There's a half a dozen others that are cited in the reviews, and probably even more because I think I stopped the review in June or July for that paper. We've updated it because this paper is actually going to be published in a peer-reviewed journal real soon. So, we've had problems with some of the editors. I haven't published papers for almost 20 years and I've started doing it again because I just thought it was important to do. But it just reminded me of these challenges that you have with conventional medicine.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, one of the problems with COVID-19 infections is they'll impair the function of some of the pneumocyte cells, which would decrease surfactant levels in the lungs. So, you get the collapse of alveoli in the lungs. And from what I understand, vitamin D is actually having some kind of an impact on surfactant, right?

Joe:  Yeah, absolutely. These cells in your lungs are called the type 2 pneumocytes. Primarily, that's where the receptor binds to, the ACE2 receptors from the SARS-CoV-2, and they bind to these things. And when that happens, it just starts this cascade of events, which leads to one of them is a decrease in surfactant production. So, vitamin D can specifically address this because when you have reduced surfactant, it becomes very difficult to breathe. So, that's one of the ways that vitamin D works in addition to the ones we mentioned previously. But it has some other components because I'm sure we've heard of the ACE issues.

And there's a whole renin–angiotensin system. So, renin is a pro-hormone produced by your kidneys, which is sort of the renal, the renin comes from, and it converts angiotensinogen to angiotensin 1, which is subsequently converted to angiotensin 2 by this enzyme called ACE, angiotensin-converting enzyme. And that is found on the surface of these vascular endothelial cells, predominantly in the lungs. And this ACE2 normally consumes angiotensin tube, but the COVID-19 infection or SARS-CoV-2 specifically downregulates ACE2 as it's binding to the receptor, which in turn leads to excessive angiotensin 2, and this thus causes pulmonary vasoconstriction. So, what does vitamin D do? It actually increases the expression of ACE2. And also, vitamin D suppresses renin, which in turn makes less angiotensin 2. So, it just improves, it upregulates this whole system, which we believe is at the foundation of some of the pathology that's going in with the with SARS-CoV-2.

Ben:  Right. And it might seem confusing or paradoxical at first because if the COVID virus binds to the ACE2 receptor and we are increasing the density of ACE2 receptors with higher vitamin D levels, it would make it sound like there's more receptors for COVID to be able to interact with, and that seems paradoxical. But as you've just explained, and this is important for people to understand, that the renin suppression that we get from vitamin D, that's going to result in less angiotensin 2 accumulation, so there's less lung blood vessel restriction. So, even though there's an increase in ACE2 expression, if you have high vitamin D levels, you get less of the lung blood vessel constrictive response, which would actually cause a lot of the pulmonary issues associated with COVID-19. Is that the right train of thought here?

Joe:  That's a terrific summary, yes. Thank you for expressing that. And the key thing here to emphasize again though is that this is something that ideally works optimally when you have ideal vitamin D levels. So, again emphasizing the importance of doing this before you're exposed to the attention because there's so many other benefits, as we mentioned earlier. It's just beyond crazy not to optimize your levels for all the other physiological benefits. It's not just for COVID-19 protection, although I mean, that's a no-brainer especially in light of what's going on nowadays. But why wouldn't you want to reduce your risk for heart disease by 50%, or cancer by 50% with one simple strategy by optimizing your vitamin D levels? I mean, it's just so full. It's my number one recommendation. My number one step when people ask me, “How do I get healthy?” is just you got to look at your vitamin D levels.

Ben:  Okay. I interviewed Dr. Zach Bush. He's probably the most notable example of this who discussed the link between areas where COVID appears to be more problematic and air pollution, or glyphosate, or other herbicide and pesticide use, or even just overall systemic inflammation due to people on compromised diets who are generally inflamed to start with. These are also issues that cannot be ignored, right?

Joe:  Oh, absolutely, no. It's a big picture. Then all the variables contribute to your overall health and your body's ability to respond to any type of illness or disease.

Ben:  Right. So, we're not saying this is like a–

Joe:  It's not a magic bullet, it's not a miracle, but it goes a long way. And the risk to reward or the risk-benefit ratio, oh my gosh. I mean, it's just extraordinary to overlook this. It's got to be really one of the foundational strategies you have to optimize your health. I mean, it doesn't give you license to ignore everything else that we know contributes to good health.

Ben:  A lot of people are concerned about vitamin D toxicity though. This is floating all over the health world. You see a lot of articles about our arterial calcification if you're using high amounts of vitamin D, and problematic issues with fat-soluble vitamin storage, and thus fat-soluble vitamin toxicity. If you're looking at vitamin D dosing, what do you think is reasonable and safe when it comes to mitigating some of these issues if you would even agree that those are issues?

Joe:  Well, I really don't think they're significant with respect to vitamin D. They are issues, there's no question, but I don't think they're related to vitamin D as much as other issues. Two that I can think of is more likely to overdose on calcium. And we know now that taking excessive calcium is not a good idea. I think the very first paper I wrote was in 1985 and it was using calcium to optimize blood pressure, but I wouldn't have written that paper. I would have switched it to magnesium at this point because we know it's far more effective. So, excess calcium is more likely to do it, but what is even more likely is vitamin K2 deficiency because vitamin K2 is what's responsible for taking calcium from the plaque and putting it back into the bones. And it does this by activating a key protein called matrix Gla protein that blocks calcium buildup in the artery walls. So, if anything's going to cause a buildup in arterial calcification, it's vitamin K2 deficiency, not vitamin D excess. Yeah. So, just get that straight.

Now that we've got that out of the way, what is the right dose? Because clearly, it is foolish beyond foolish to take more than you need. It makes no sense. As I mentioned earlier, we fund and support GrassrootsHealth. This is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving vitamin D therapies founded by Carole Baggerly, who was a breast cancer survivor, actually metastatic stage 4 cancer, and they used primarily vitamin D to help her recover. So, she's tested over 15,000 people and done extensive dietary surveys and supplemental surveys to identify, to use artificial intelligence, to figure out what is the optimal dose. And they've learned that most people need about 8,000 units of vitamin D a day, especially in the winter. You can probably lower it down to maybe 6,000 in the summer, but most is about 8,000.

And this is extraordinary because when I first started teaching this to people in the year 2000. And when I did, believe me, at that time, if you recommended more than 2,000 units, you were likely to get your license reprimanded or taken away for doing that. So, now we know that 2000 is almost insignificant, and that is one of the challenges because you're going to see the stuff come up in the media that says vitamin D doesn't work, or it's ineffective, or it's just not useful, and that's because they're using the wrong dose. So, typically, you'll see they think they're using a high dose of 2000 and it's not working. But what you have to do–and almost every single one of those studies that show no benefit, if you go into the methods, you'll find they failed to look at the blood levels. You've got to look at the level in the blood because there's such a wide variance.

So, if you're using the blood as the arbiter of benefit or no benefit, that's where you're going to see the difference. And if they fail to do that, that's where they're not going to find a significant difference. So, that's how you can sort of debunk many of these studies that attempt to discredit the benefit of vitamin D. But anyway, 8,000 is the way to do it. Ideally, you want to measure your blood. Interestingly, Ben, the cost of a blood test for vitamin D if you have to pay for it is more than a year's worth of vitamin D supplement.

Ben:  Yeah.

Joe:  So, you could safely supplement yourself and not benefit, not have to worry about the danger. As I said earlier, some people can get overdosed, but you'd have to take like a million units a day for months to overdose on this thing. And no one's going to recommend that. They're usually commercial accidents where this happens where it was mislabeled. So, that's–

Ben:  Right. And I'll link to some of the papers that show hypervitaminosis, vitamin D, and the potential for calcification or coronary calcified lesions, particularly in rodent models, but they were dosing. I think they were up around like 500,000 international units per kilogram per day, and sure, they–

Joe:  That's millions of units.

Ben:  Right. And then, that's also not taking into consideration. One thing you noted, vitamin K status, which excellent food sources would just be–you look at the typical Weston A. Price diet, butter and dark chicken meat, and egg yolks, and goose liver, and fermented soy–

Joe:  Organ meats.

Ben:  Organ meats, yup.

Joe:  Yes. That's the [00:48:31] _____.

Ben:  Exactly.

Joe:  That's [00:48:32] _____ butter.

Ben:  Yeah. That's one part of what I would consider to be kind of the holy trilogy here. And the other part, you already alluded to, is magnesium, another easy 250, 500 milligrams of magnesium a day along with avoidance of calcium supplementation. And you're probably going to mitigate just about all of these issues that people are throwing around with calcification due to vitamin D intake.

Joe:  Yeah. It's not an issue.

Ben:  The other notable thing because I had a physician at my house a few months ago and he left me a bottle of it. So, I've been doing this particularly before I travel, and that is the fact that high-dose intramuscular vitamin D administration. In all the papers I've seen, that'll provide long-lasting moderate increases in serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels without any type of changes in plasma calcium. Meaning, no evidence of metabolic abnormalities. And again, because it's a stored vitamin, what I have been doing is actually injecting 50,000 units prior to travel. And this is something I only do like one or two times a month. But that's another form of delivery that I think can be one way to really top off your levels if you just–again, if you're going in the belly of the beast from a travel standpoint or you need to get your levels significantly elevated. Have you ever messed around much with intramuscular or looked into that?

Joe:  Personally, no. I'm quite familiar with it. One of the major experts out there is Dr. Michael Hollick out of Brigham in Massachusetts, and he's an advocate of that, and I am not personally because I think the evidence is, from my perspective, is suggested just a daily dose of sufficient, and it got the issue of a needle and parental administration, additional cost and apprehension of using a needle. So, yes, it would work. The justification for that is primarily compliance, not so much necessarily for improving the effectiveness of it. There's little benefit to going extra. So, the sweet spot for vitamin D is 60 to 80 nanograms. And if you're at 100 or 150, it's not going to give you more benefit. In fact, there may be some detriment to it. So, I wouldn't go much above 80.

Ben:  And I test my blood levels at least once every couple of months. Even with doing something like that, I'm generally between 50 and 60 every test.

Joe:  Okay. Yeah. That's what you get. And realistically, the reason we would like to be 60 and 80 because the bare minimum is 40. If your vitamin D level never goes below 40, you're probably fine. It's that if you're 60 and 80 and you're going through winter when it's going to take two, three months, it'll slide down, it doesn't go below 40. So, you're always above that critical threshold.

Ben:  Right, right. And as we touched on that, if you're elderly, if you're African-American, if you are perhaps like living somewhere above a latitude where you're not getting vitamin D mostly or from sun. it's going to vary. And even the genetic status and the inflammatory status will cause this to vary as well. So, as you've alluded to, the best thing you can do is just test because it's cheap and just keep track of your own levels.

Joe:  Yeah. But if funding is an issue and it is for many people, especially now with this global economy collapse, then it's probably just best to take it because a test might be two or three years' worth of a vitamin D supplement, the cost.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Okay. So, a couple of times, I've mentioned this website, Stop COVID Cold. What is that?

Joe:  That is the site that I put together because I was interviewing some of the vitamin D experts earlier this year and they mentioned that probably one of the best strategies is to use this. And the light bulb [00:52:08] _____, I said, “Yes. This is crazy. Why aren't we doing this?” So, there's really significant emphasis on implementing vitamin D. In fact, when it is, of course, the mainstream media takes it and slams it down. And actually, I think they're disparaging Trump for taking vitamin D if I'm not mistaken. So, I said, “Okay. Well, let's put something together.” And I put together this paper initially of which is on Stop COVID Cold. There's two papers, one that's only 10 pages and full of graphics, easy to understand, very simple to read. It'll give you a really clear oversight. And the other is for people who are more serious and healthcare professionals, and it's like 40 pages. I think there's like 300 references on there that I put together.

So, I put that on my site and realized the response wasn't as good as it needed to be because the intention was to spread this message around specifically to populations like African Americans and the elderly in the assisted living facilities and nursing homes so that they can become aware of this and implement this simple strategy. They don't have to die needlessly and foolishly because they were vitamin D deficient. And the solution is so simple. So, the intention of the site is really to help people understand how beneficial this is and to give them a tool to spread it around and others who don't understand what the specific details are. So, there's a nice little quiz there. Let me first mention, too. This is not an email capture or grab, that does not ask for your email. You will never be followed up on, and it doesn't capture anything.

Ben:  Joe, you're going to be eating rice and beans all through Christmas. You're not making any money off this website?

Joe:  No, no. The only intention is to help serve people and protect them and the people they love in this infection, from this infection. But there's a two-minute quiz, which is really pretty interesting. I mean, just to go there for the novelty of taking the quiz and I would imagine the vast majority of the people that are following you are going to take this, answer these questions that they're going to come up, they're at very low risk for getting COVID. But you could also come up very high risk. And based on the way you answer the questions, you'll get a specific recommendation. So, it's a customized response. And then, the PDFs go into more details because the other thing is just as common as vitamin D and one that you and your viewers know really well is it's a metabolic health and insulin resistance. So, those are the two biggest variables that contribute to your likelihood of getting COVID-19.

And so, things like time-restricted eating and excess omega-6 fats and pretty much eliminating all the industrially processed seed oils on linoleic acid, those are really powerful interventions along with vitamin D. So, if you're metabolically flexible, you can seamlessly transition between burning carbs and fat for fuel and your vitamin D replete. The likelihood of you acquiring this infection is really, really low. I mean, even the general population, they're saying–even if you're over 70, you're still like 99.6%, or 96% likelihood you're not going to die from this. I mean, that's in the highest risk group. But in the others like in children, it's like 99.9 some fraction, and that's just everyone. And if you are vitamin D replete and metabolically flexible, I mean, you are basically immune to the devastating effects of this illness. So, it's a simple strategy. But stopcovidcold.com was created to help spread the message.

Ben:  Yup. Okay. Well, thank you for putting it together because I found it to be super helpful. I found this paper fascinating. And again, it's free for any of you to review, and I'm hoping that what you've just learned in the past hour or so has been helpful. And of course, Joe, in past podcasts, we tend to geek out. Everybody writes and they're like, “Oh, there's crazy biohacks,” and all these new things these guys are up to. And obviously, vitamin D at first glance might seem like old news, but I'm hoping folks have picked up a few interesting anecdotes in our discussion thus far.

But of course, I would be remiss not to ask you if there's anything else that's interesting new novel, cool tools, toys, anything else that you've been up to lately that you want to share with people while you've got folks' ears.

Joe:  But before I do that, I just wanted to share my perspective on getting back to the basics. I'm not a big fan of following professional sports, but I did in the past, and I followed actually with my mom who's since passed, and we used to watch the Bulls all the time with Michael Jordan when they won six world championships. It was such a pleasure to watch that guy. And the reason why the Bulls–many people don't really realize that–and Michael Jordan was an incredible professional athlete, but it was largely a result of the coach, Phil Jackson, who drilled that team on the basics. And just to prove how important that was, when Jackson was fired by Jerry Reinsdorf from the Bulls, he went to L.A., and I think he won another five world championship series because he understood that you've got to drill the team on the basics. And the reason I make that analogy is that's what vitamin D is. It's the fundamental basics. You've got to get that down. You can't achieve world championships unless you're great at the fundamentals. And that's what vitamin d is, it's fundamentals of health. So, I just wanted to emphasize that, but getting onto something new.

Ben:  And by the way, before you jump into the new thing, you pulled back memories. I used to watch every year the finals, the playoffs with my grandpa, but still, I think one of the top games of all time was that–I think it was game six, '98 finals, Utah, Jazz, that last shot?

Joe:  No, it was game five, I think, game five.

Ben:  Was it game five? Okay.

Joe:  Yeah. It was–oh, my god. I watched it live. I'm sure you did, too. It was unbelievable. I mean, I just fell on the floor when I saw it.

Ben:  Oh, yeah. I watched them all live, yup. Yeah, which is kind of funny because I actually like the–John Stockton actually lives here in Spokane and I was pulling for the Jazz, but at the same time, I mean, I think Jordan played like almost the entire game. I think he only sat out for like four minutes and just absolutely was like a robot. It was crazy. And that last shot was just epic.

Joe:  Yeah. That's an incredible commitment to his dedication and his passion, but also the foolishness of the night before or two nights before and getting a pizza at fast food places. Like, what was he thinking?

Ben:  Yup. Yeah. Alright. Okay. So, throw anything cool and unique at us in our last few minutes here.

Joe:  Okay. So, let's stick it to COVID-19 because there's a lot of things I'm doing, but this one has just blown my mind. I alluded to it earlier. David Brownstein pioneered this concept. He's a family physician like myself and he's outside of Detroit and started doing this, and that's for the last 25 years. He actually figured out what the dose is. And this is a therapy that will literally cost you once you have the equipment to do it, which many people may have at home already, but if you don't, the equipment is a little bit pricey. It might be $75 or so. But the actual treatment is like less than one cent. And this will essentially–I mean, to me, this is the best strategy you can get to treat acute COVID-19. And it's something I wish I could have had connected with Trump, although he seems to have done well with the strategies he used, although I was certainly disappointed he resorted to using steroids for his therapy. But it worked for him and he's out and he's able to campaign now for the coming election.

So, anyway, the Brownstein published over 100 patients with it. I think 107. Every one of them did well. None of them had to go to the hospital and they just all improved. No deaths, nothing, and it was really intriguing. So, the strategy is nebulize. So, you need a nebulizer, hydrogen peroxide. And the key component here is it's at a very, very low dose. The peroxide you would buy at the grocery store, the local pharmacy is essentially 3%, and that's a concentration that would need to be reduced by 30 times. So, it's like the 0.1%. We don't even recommend using that because ideally, food-grade is better because it doesn't have the stabilizers in it. Although if you're going to reduce it 30 times and you're in a pinch, you could use it because it's diluted so much. And you don't dilute it with just plain tap water, you got to dilute it with a pure water, distilled or reverse osmosis water, and then you have to add a little salt to it.

So, to a pint of water, you would make like normal saline, and that's real simple to a point you'd put I think a half a teaspoon of a good quality salt in there, stir it up, and you've got normal saline. And the reason is you're nebulizing it and you don't want to nebulize distilled water because of the osmolality difference and it could cause some damage to your cells. But the actual concentration of this peroxide is directly virus idle, just like when you put peroxide in a wound and it kills, you see it bubble up and kill the infections, and it's just incredible. The wound is a pretty interesting example of vitamin D because you have a defect and a barrier function of your skin and it can get infected, right, and that's what vitamin D does. It prevents these types of wounds.

I mean, obviously, it's not going to prevent a trauma, but you can see what happens when you have a wound. I mean, the barrier is gone and you're all susceptible to an infection. But the peroxide works directly on the wound and it works on the cells and probably kills the cells in the lungs. There's a lot of different nebulizers you can get. They have the cheap ones on Amazon for like 25 bucks that are battery-operated, and I don't recommend those. I recommend a desktop one, which–

Ben:  Yeah. I have a big desktop one here. And sometimes the parts fail, but you can get replacement parts for them for cheap, cheap on Amazon.

Joe:  Just be sure you use a face mask and not a mouthpiece. The mouthpiece would work, but it's just going to the lungs. The face mask is going to not put the peroxide into your sinuses and your nose where the virus could also be infected. And if you're bypassing that, it may not work as well. So, I've actually made a video for this, and if you just go to my site at mercola.com, you can find it. Just type it in the search engine because you won't find it on Google, I can imagine that. Obviously, you won't find it on YouTube. It's completely censored 100%. They will absolutely not allow this information to go out. It will not be on social media. It is just taken down every single time.

Ben:  Yeah. You don't want to send a bunch of people into the hospital with interstitial lung disease, Joe. I mean, you're going to kill a lot of people with this recommendation. I've talked about this in the past, how I use an anti-microbial herbal extract that I nebulize. It's more expensive than hydrogen peroxide, but it's basically oregano, and sage, and cloves, some glutathione, a little bit of N-acetyl cysteine, silver hydrosol that I nebulized. But obviously, I think it's like 150 bucks for me to get a bottle of that, whereas hydrogen peroxide is pennies on the dollar. And so, it's a great option.

Joe:  Yeah, yeah. I mean, [01:03:00] _____ peroxide is like 20 bucks for like a pint. And the pint would probably treat your whole neighborhood because you're going to take–to mix it down by that food-grade by what, over 100 to 1. So it'd be like 100 pints you'd have for $20. I mean, it's almost free.

Ben:  You can gargle with it. You can do nasal washes with it. You can nebulize it. So, it's pretty versatile. Yeah. And what I'll do is–obviously, you guys, I'm not going to link to anything you can buy in this podcast because I just don't want to be commercial at all. But I'll link to some papers and things where you guys can dig into a little bit more. And of course, I'll also link to the absolutely free and fantastic resources, this stopcovidcold.com, as well as all of the other podcasts that I've done with Joe because we've got some–I think we have four in total that are just all really great at BeGreenfieldFitness.com/vitamindpodcast, vitamin D podcast, which actually, I just realized if you think about it, that also spells vitaminD podcast, however, you want to remember it, that's where you'll find the shownotes where you can also leave your own comments, your questions, your feedback, and any of your own thoughts to add.

Joe, thanks so much for coming on the show and sharing all this with us, man. It seems so simple, but so important.

Joe:  Yes, indeed. So, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this with your audience. It's greatly appreciated. Thanks for all you do, too.

Ben:  Oh, thanks, man. Thanks. I appreciate it. Alright, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Joe Mercola signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week, everybody.

Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.



My guest on today's podcast is a multi-time, incredibly popular, repeat guest who hosts one of the most popular alternative health websites on the internet. He is my brilliant and occasionally controversial friend, Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Dr. Mercola has been a guest on many previous podcast episodes, including:

Dr. Mercola just released a special report at StopCovidCold.com, and he has some very interesting ideas in that free report that we explore and unpack in today's podcast.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-Beginning the day with vitamin D…5:15

-The physiological benefits of vitamin D…7:15

  • Until recently, the only known benefit was bone health
  • Over 6,000 articles published in the 21st century highlighting the diverse metabolic benefits
  • Upregulates/epigenetically modulates over 2,500 genes
    • Improves oxidative stress
    • Improves mitochondrial function
  • Decreases risk for heart disease, diabetes, MS, IBS, etc.
  • Medical malpractice to not implement vitamin D supplementation
  • Vitamin D was part of the protocol to treat President Trump's COVID-19 case

-Vitamin D as a steroid hormone…10:40

  • Vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone (secosteroid hormone)
  • Metabolized from cholesterol
  • Vitamin D2 is a vegan hormone generated from plants
    • Ergocalciferol
    • Sources like fortified foods bread, UVB mushrooms, etc.
  • Vitamin D3 is the way to go
    • Cholecalciferol
    • Sources like oily fish, egg yolk, liver, etc.
  • Sunshine is the best delivery mechanism of Vitamin D
  • Sperti vitamin D sunlamp needs long time exposure to get desired result

-Why vitamin D deficiency is a growing problem…14:35

-The impact of vitamin D on the immune system…23:30

  • Cytokines are small proteins with diverse modulated impacts on the immune response
  • SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) triggers an immune response; results in a secondary inflammation, generates a cytokine storm
  • Innate immune system-  Immediate: The first immune response; activated within hours after exposure
  • Adaptive immune system – Specific response: Activated at least 12 hours after exposure
  • Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for cytokine storm
  • Vitamin D is a preventive measure, not an acute treatment to a cytokine storm
  • Very little risk of overdosing on vitamin D
  • Vitamin D is a selective antioxidant; optimizes immune response

-How vitamin D regulates the innate immune system…30:10

  • Repairs a leaky gut
  • Improves “junctions” in the intestine and skin, micro-barriers
  • Improves gut permeability

-The connection between vitamin D and antimicrobial peptides (AMPs)…34:15

  • Vitamin D causes your body to make AMPs
  • Inactivates the flu
  • LL37 made in the human body with sufficient Vitamin D
  • Nobel Prize in medicine awarded for treating TB patients with AMPs
  • LL37 peptide

-How a vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for acquiring COVID-19…36:25

-Proper dosing of vitamin D to avoid toxicity…44:10

  • It's easier to overdose on calcium than Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K2 deficiency affects calcium levels in the bones
  • Grassroots Health vitamin D calculator
  • Most people need ~8,000 units of vitamin D per day
  • Look at the blood levels for an accurate assessment of the efficacy of vitamin D
  • A blood test is more expensive than a year's supply of vitamin D
  • Magnesium and avoiding calcium supplements (use code GREENFIELD10 to save 10%)

-Dr. Mercola's recommendations to stop COVID cold…51:50

-New, interesting and novel things currently captivating Dr. Mercola's interest…56:15

Resources from this episode:

– Dr. Joseph Mercola:

Podcasts: and articles:

– Articles:

– Other resources:

Episode sponsors:

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