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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.

Steven Gundry (00:16):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Have you ever felt like your life or the world around you was falling apart? Boy, that’s a good question, huh? And felt hopeless because of it? I think most of us know that feeling. The problem is feeling hopeless can make you sad, anxious and completely miserable, and that’s not exactly the way you want to go through life. Well, the good news is that you can turn things around. In just a moment, I’ll speak with Mark Manson. Everybody knows that Mark is the author of the acclaimed best-selling New York Times book, that I think it’s been on the bestseller list for 170 odd weeks, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F-U-C-K. Or it’s actually F-*-C-K.
Yes, folks. That’s really the title. Recently, he’s come out with a new book, which Everything is Effed, but it’s a book about hope. Today we’re going to talk about the importance of being and staying hopeful. What a perfect time to do something completely illogical. We’ll also discuss how you can rewrite the narratives inside your head to live a life of purpose and meaning, and be happier and healthier as a result. Mark, welcome to the program. It’s a great pleasure to have you here.

Mark Manson (01:46):
Thanks for having me.

Steven Gundry (01:48):
People say that your books are not the typical self-help books. Would you agree?

Mark Manson (01:55):
Yeah. Actually, I jokingly describe them as self-help for people who hate self-help.

Steven Gundry (02:03):
Okay. Take me back to the beginning before you went on this tear of being the greatest author the New York Times has ever had. What prompted you to write Everything is Effed?

Mark Manson (02:21):
Well, I’ve been blogging online for a number of years now. I’m a millennial. I’m of the younger, the much maligned generation where we tend to be very cynical and jaded about everything. I was very much in this personal development and self-help when I was a teenager and in my early 20s, but I became very disillusioned with it. It felt very … There’s a lot of BS, there’s a lot of just feel good fluffy rainbows and unicorns type of stuff going on. I always felt like there’s some important principles here, but I think we just need to be honest about life. Life is hard, life is full of pain and suffering and things go wrong and there are unexpected events, and no matter how much you accomplish or how much success you achieve, there’s always going to be some sort of dissatisfaction that comes with it.
So I wanted to write a little bit more of a negative approach to things. The thing with this book, it’s actually ironic that we’re doing this interview now [inaudible 00:03:40] the coronavirus pandemic, because I wrote it about a year and a half ago, and the reason I wrote it is because things were amazing. There was actually no crisis in the world. Yet when you looked at data about optimism, mental health, depression, anxiety, people’s thoughts and expectations about the future, I mean, you’re looking at all time lows pretty much across the board. To me this was a big question of what is it … Arguably in 2018, 2019, we were the most comfortable and prosperous humans on the history of the planet, yet we seem miserable. So what’s up with that? Now that was the starting point of the book.

Steven Gundry (04:30):
It was the best of times and it was the worst of the times.

Mark Manson (04:33):

Steven Gundry (04:38):
Getting back to the original thing, so I would take that you are a fan of Albert Camus Have you ever read him?

Mark Manson (04:48):
Yeah. Yeah, big fan of the existentialists in general.

Steven Gundry (04:53):
Here’s something that nobody knows about me. I was actually at Yale, a philosophy major, of all things, and I was majoring in existentialism. In fact, my salutatorian address to my high school was all about the existential lifestyle. When I’ve read your books and I said, “Ah, man, this guy is an existentialist. I like this guy already.” I’ll tell you what, tell listeners, what does that mean?

Mark Manson (05:29):
Sure. Existentialism is like a school of thought in 20th century philosophy where the starting point is basically the acceptance that life is inherently meaningless, that there’s no … you can’t prove with any sort of certainty that anything you do is important or significant at all. The conclusion that they come to is that the whole purpose of life or living is to create meaning for yourself, that meaning is a subjective thing, not an objective thing. To me, it’s a very powerful realization, and to me it meshes very well … There’s a lot of psychological research that’s come out the last few decades showing how flawed and biased our perceptions and our faculties are.
To me, existentialism meshes very well with a lot of this new psychological research that just shows that we don’t really know how to be happy, we don’t really know what’s true, we don’t remember things correctly. We predict things horribly. We don’t know how we feel in this moment, much less what we’re going to feel tomorrow or next year. So instead, we need to try to hold onto something. To me, that’s like a call to bypass all of these, this kind of obsession with happiness that goes on today, and instead ask the deeper questions about meaning and purpose.

Steven Gundry (07:14):
Okay. In your new book, you say that hopelessness is at the root of our anxiety, our mental illness and our depression. What is hopelessness? How do you identify it and how does it affect us?

Mark Manson (07:31):
Sure. The way I define hope in the book is pretty simple. It’s basically having some sort of vision of a better future, whether for yourself or someone you care about or the world in general. We all need to have some idea of how things can be better tomorrow. Otherwise, there’s not really any reason to get out of bed in the morning, and the problem … That point about happiness, most people assume the opposite of how happiness is sadness or anger or something like that.
But if you’re sad or angry about something, that actually means that something is still important to you, that something is still giving you hope in some way. Sadness is the loss of something you hope for. Anger is that feeling wronged in some way or something for something that you hope for. Hopelessness is when there is just no vision of anything that could possibly be better, and as a result, hopelessness just creates this very bleak why do anything realization in people.

Steven Gundry (08:44):
I would think that right now hopelessness is one of the most prevailing emotions in the world, and certainly in this country.

Mark Manson (08:58):
Perhaps, yeah.

Steven Gundry (09:03):
How in the world do you have hope in a time like this, for instance?

Mark Manson (09:09):
I actually think there’s a little bit of a paradox that goes on in times like this, and I’ve been trying to pay close attention to some of the mental health data that’s coming out just in the last few months. But one of the arguments I actually make in the book is that in times of crisis, it’s actually easier to hope for something. When there’s a pandemic, it’s actually easy right now to know what to hope for. I hope that we find a vaccine. I hope that we get to go outside. I hope people stop dying. That is a very clear cut. It’s actually when times are very good and very comfortable that it becomes difficult to know what to hope for.
When you can have eight different types of food delivered to your door with a click of a button and there’s 200 movies on TV at any given moment, it’s actually very difficult to know what to hope for in that situation, because it’s difficult to know what your problems are. In a weird way, I think moments in history like this are actually very clarifying for us as a culture. It helps us understand what is important and what we should be focused on going into the future.

Steven Gundry (10:30):
No, I think you’re absolutely right. Was there a point in your life that gave rise to the fact that you needed to be hopeful? Oftentimes many authors have a defining moment that makes them write a book or change their life around. Was there a point that you got to where hope was about all you had?

Mark Manson (10:59):
Well, ironically, what inspired the book was actually the success of the previous book. My first book, Subtle Art, as you were joking earlier, was so wildly successful. I mean, it’s like a once in a decade type of thing in the publishing, I tell people it’s like the Avengers of nonfiction books. It just keeps going and going and going. I wrote that book when I was 31 years old. It was my first book, I was a first time author. In my mind, I was going to be climbing the author mountain for the next 10 or 20 years of my life, and it was within a couple months, suddenly every goal on my checklist, everything that I had been hoping for for years in my career was all accomplished pretty much all at the same time.
It was a very weird place because even though I was experiencing the most worldly success I had ever experienced before, I had no idea what to hope for, I had no idea what to look forward to. This was the thing I’d been looking forward to my whole adult life, and now it’s here and now it’s gone. So what the hell do you do? I actually became a little bit depressed for the year after the book came out, for no other reason than I had no idea what to do with myself. So that’s what got me thinking about, “Wow. From the outside, my life is better than it’s ever been before. Yet, this is the worst I’ve felt since I was a teenager. What the hell is going on here? Why is this happening?” That led to me down this rabbit hole of what is it about comfort and good things happening that actually makes it difficult for us to be happy?

Steven Gundry (13:01):
Yeah. Because these were the best of times, like you started the program. I mean, nobody ever had it so good, at least on the surface. Has this experience with the coronavirus brought you down to earth and now you have something to hope for, or you’re just still so miserable?

Mark Manson (13:24):
No. I eventually … Writing Everything is Effed kind of … I always tell people I write these books not because I have all the answers, I write these books because I have the same problem. Writing Everything is Effed was my therapy that got me out of that mindset and helped me find new things to hope for, new challenges to pursue and things like that. The coronavirus thing is just a drag. To me it’s just tragic. It hasn’t really affected my career. I’m a writer. I sit at home in sweatpants every day, so it hasn’t affect me on that level. To me, it’s a very tragic thing that I try to do whatever I can to help.

Steven Gundry (14:17):
Great. All right, getting back to the book, you talk a great deal about the uncomfortable truth. What the heck is the uncomfortable truth and why do we need to come to terms with it?

Mark Manson (14:31):
The uncomfortable truth is that existentialist idea that, in the grand scheme of the universe and everything, the vast majority of the things that you do with your life are not going to matter. That we’re all going to die, the universe is 14 billion years old. Everything gets erased and forgotten. It’s a very dismal bleak realization that I think we all think about at some point in our lives, but we also all instinctively avoid and try not to deal with. The reason I think it’s important to confront that truth is because it’s only in the face of the uncomfortable truth that we are actually able to be clear about what is worth spending our time on and what is not. We have a limited amount of time and energy on this planet, so we need to use it well, and if you’re not thinking about death and the futility of life in general, you’re not going to be able to make those decisions as clearly.

Steven Gundry (15:53):
Yeah. No, I think you’re right. I’m finishing up my new book, The Energy Paradox, and a lot of it involves mitochondria and the little energy producing organelles. There’s a lot of us in this space who actually think the only purpose of life is to move one electron from one level of charge to another, and there’s probably nothing more existential than realizing the only reason that you and I exist is to move an electron from one level of charge to another, and nothing else matters.

Mark Manson (16:31):
The meaning of the life, the electron.

Steven Gundry (16:34):
Moving in electronic. I mean, I had no idea when I got up this morning that I was just going to move a few electrons around. Okay. You say that everyone needs a psychological carrot at the end of a stick?

Mark Manson (16:53):
Yeah, absolutely.

Steven Gundry (16:54):
Okay. So wait a minute, we’re all going to die and life has no meaning. You better-

Mark Manson (17:00):
[crosstalk 00:17:00] move electron.

Steven Gundry (17:00):
Yeah, move electrons. Why do we need a carrot at the end of a stick?

Mark Manson (17:05):
Well, our psychological health is built around it, right? We need something to look forward to, we need some sort of objective at the front of our mind. I think what we don’t tend to realize is that those objectives or those carrots that we create for ourselves, they’re made up. Whether your big goal in your life right now is to get the corner office or be an amazing mother or help out with a local charity, whatever your mission is at this moment, it is a made up mission. It is something that you arbitrarily created yourself, envisioned in your mind and then hoped for. Most of us are not aware that we do that with ourselves, that we create these … that we are hanging our own carrots out in front of ourselves.
I think it’s important because if we don’t realize that, then we feel enslaved to that, to whatever our goal or objective is. It’s important to understand that we get to decide these things. But at the same time, you have to decide something. You can’t just … There’s no such thing as not hoping for something, there’s no such thing as not caring about anything. Just the way the brain is built and structured, you have to pick something to go after. So you need to be very careful what that is.

Steven Gundry (18:38):
Yeah, that’s actually part of the existential philosophy. You have to decide.

Mark Manson (18:43):

Steven Gundry (18:43):
At the end of the day, you have to choose. Yeah, and you have to choose something, right?

Mark Manson (18:48):
Absolutely. It is terrifying to admit that because there’s a burden that comes with that. Because as soon as you realize that you’re deciding, you also realize that you’re responsible for whatever happens in your life, and that is-

Steven Gundry (19:05):
That’s a bummer. [crosstalk 00:19:06] Come on. I mean, that’s a bummer.

Mark Manson (19:08):
It petrifies us.

Steven Gundry (19:10):
Is that why so many of us just go through life frozen, not willing to make decisions?

Mark Manson (19:20):
I think so. I think a lot of us avoid that realization. A lot of us just adopt the hopes and goals of the people around us. It’s mom always wanted me to go to be a doctor, so I’m going to go be a doctor, or dad-

Steven Gundry (19:36):
[crosstalk 00:19:36] okay.

Mark Manson (19:37):
Yeah. Or it’s my brother is an amazing lawyer, so I need to be an amazing lawyer. We don’t actually stop and think about where we got these hopes or these narratives from, because it’s easier not to.

Steven Gundry (19:54):
Actually, I decided to be a doctor at age 10, so my mother did make me be a doctor. Okay. Wait a minute, let’s go back. You’ve got this rousing success with the Subtle Art of Not Giving an F, and you’re depressed and you’ve got everything. I mean, everything. What’s the new carrot for you? I mean, give us an example.

Mark Manson (20:23):
The new carrot for me is I either reorient how I saw my own career. The new carrot for me is I’ve been given this opportunity to affect an industry and a cultural narrative around mental health, happiness, personal growth and development. My mission in the world, I guess, is I think this over-emphasis and obsession with positivity and feeling good all the time. It backfires in a lot of ways. So I would like to choose to introduce a healthier narrative that integrates and involves pain and suffering, responsibility, themes of that nature, and try to make this … have that infiltrate both the self-help industry but also the culture at large. For me, that’s my new carrot, and it’s great because if I get another big monster mega bestseller, it doesn’t ruin anything for me.

Steven Gundry (21:39):
All right. You bring up an interesting point. So I shouldn’t wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and go, “Boy, do I feel good!” If you act enthusiastic, you will be enthusiastic. Boy, do I feel good! That was one of my father’s mantras. That’s not what you’re saying?

Mark Manson (22:05):
Well, I feel like if you actually feel good, you don’t need to say that, right? If you have to say that, then clearly you don’t feel good. So it’s a bit of a contradiction. The more you chase happiness, the more it eludes you, or as Albert Camus says … How does it go? That the more you seek happiness, the … I forget what he says.

Steven Gundry (22:30):
Yeah, the more it eludes you. Yeah. Yeah.

Mark Manson (22:33):
Yeah, yeah.

Steven Gundry (22:34):
Yeah, [inaudible 00:22:35] I’m rereading The Plague right now.

Mark Manson (22:39):
That’s great.

Steven Gundry (22:41):
Very. Boy, and he nailed that book. I’d forgotten how he nailed that book for our time. It is actually a book about a city that is suffering from the plague and they are isolated and cut off from the rest of the world. They are self-quarantined and everybody’s dying, and this is about a doctor in the town who comes to realize that there actually is incredible hope in a hopeless situation. Yeah. It’s available. He won the Nobel Prize for literature, folks. So we’re not actually talking about some obscure person.

Mark Manson (23:27):

Steven Gundry (23:28):
All right. Getting back to hope since that’s the subject of today’s podcast. What are three things that people need to do to maintain hope?

Mark Manson (23:39):
Yeah. What I argue in the book is that the three things that we need, the first is we need to feel as though we have some sort of control over our lives. We need to have, to maintain hope in some sort of vision of a better future. We need to believe that we can actually … we have the power to do something to create that future. If we feel powerless, if we feel constrained, if we feel oppressed in some way, then that removes our ability to successfully hope for something. The second one is, is that we actually have to value something. We have to choose something that is more important or we have to choose what that better future is, and we get to define that however we like. Then the third one is that we need some sort of community that shares our vision of hope as well.
If we hope for something yet we’re the only ones who know about it or are involved with it in any way, it loses its legitimacy. Ultimately we’re social creatures, and our emotional health is very much regulated and functions based on the validation and the interchange that happens between us and the people around us. Whenever we start to value something and hope for something, we naturally seek out other people with similar values and hopes so that we can pursue them together.

Steven Gundry (25:13):
Okay. That’s easier for you to say. You’re not out of a job, the rent was due last week and you can’t pay it. How the heck can you have hope in the situation of 20 million people in the United States right now? Help us with.

Mark Manson (25:31):
I think there are two ways to look at that question. I mean, obviously it’s hard, it’s incredibly hard for a lot of people right now. I think on a macro level it’s just important to remember that humanity has been through this and much worse, many, many times throughout its history. Generally, we tend to come out of it stronger than we went into it. But it’s difficult, it’s tragic, but this is not anything new or particularly unique. It’s only new in our lifetimes. So on a macro level, that sustains hope. On a micro level, on an individual level, I think it’s important to … Anytime an individual experiences a great amount of loss, I think it’s a call to take inventory about what really matters in their life. Where are they at? Where are they really finding meaning?
So somebody loses their job, rent comes due, they’re having … Obviously, 2020 is going to be a rough financial year. At the same time, it’s situations like this that it’s bringing families together, it’s reuniting friendships, people who’ve been estranged from each other. I’ve heard so many stories from my readers of people who have dropped everything and gone and taken care of a sick uncle or a friend or whatever. Economies come back, jobs come back. Human lives don’t. At the end of the day, I think what sustains us and gives us hope through periods like this is each other, as hokey as that sounds.

Steven Gundry (27:09):
No, no. I think you’re absolutely right. I had Lewis Howes on the podcast a few weeks ago, of School of Greatness. Lewis shared that, literally for a year, he slept on his sister’s couch and craft macaroni and cheese every day out of a sauce pan because he didn’t even want to dirty a dish. He didn’t feel like cleaning up. He talked about being grateful. Yeah, you’re grateful, your career in professional football is ruined, you’re sleeping on your sister’s couch. He says, “You know what? I was grateful that my sister had a couch that I could sleep on.” He says, “That’s where I started.” Yeah, I think you’re right there. There’s a lot of things when we finally stop and think about it, that we can be grateful for even when everything that we thought was important to us as has fallen apart.

Mark Manson (28:10):
Absolutely. There are silver linings that can easily go unnoticed in these situations. One thing I’ve been joking with a lot of my friends about is how for the last few years we were all … everybody’s always complaining about how busy they are and how they wish they had more time to study a new language or catch up on a bunch of books that they wish they could read or whatever. We’ve all been talking about how now we have no excuse. It’s like this is the time to do it. You’ve got that sci-fi novel you always wanted to write, this is the time to do it. There are blessings that can come out of this. It’s just they’re not always apparent, and sometimes you have to dig a little bit to find them.

Steven Gundry (28:57):
You got a powerful story from one of your readers about hope? Or I’m sure you must hear them all the time.

Mark Manson (29:06):
Lats year I was doing a speaking tour and I was down in Australia. I was doing a little meet-and-greet in front of the stage afterwards. This family comes up to me. It was a daughter who was probably about 20 years old and then a mother and a father. The daughter and the mother are very excited to meet me and shake my hand and sign my books and everything, and the father’s just hanging back. Okay, he’s the third wheel, he’s just tagging along or whatever. They’re talking to me and they’re talking to me, and then they turn around to him, and they’re like, “Hey, don’t you want to say hi to Mark?” I look at him, and it’s probably a 55 year old man, burly construction worker looking guy, and he’s just balling.
I was completely frozen in my trail. I’m not used to seeing this. What’s going on? He couldn’t even speak, and so his wife started telling me, she said that he had cancer and he was going through chemo, and she said, “He hasn’t read a book in 30 years, but he read your book cover to cover. He would finish the last page, and then immediately flip back to page one and start reading it again. Probably read it five, six times in a row.” He just came up and started blubbering all over me, and then I started blubbering all over him. It’s moments like that that I struggle to even find words to express how powerful some of these ideas can be like. You never imagine that you can have that sort of impact on somebody when you’re sitting in gym shorts, having not showered in two days, revising chapter eight for the 25th time. As an author, you don’t get to confront that very often. That was just an incredible story that I will probably always remember.

Steven Gundry (31:02):
What do you tell people who’s struggling mentally and emotionally right now? I mean, you’ve gone through that. Obviously, there is light at the end of the tunnel, this will. What advice do you give people? I mean, where’s the carrot?

Mark Manson (31:22):
I think there’s always a carrot. It’s just a matter of finding it. When we’re clouded by a lot of negative emotion, it’s very difficult to see where that carrot could be, but it’s there. And I think sometimes it’s just a matter of being patient enough to let it appear. If you lost your job last week and you don’t know where you’re going to live next month, it’s very hard to imagine things getting better anytime soon. But I think understanding how our minds become very clouded by our emotions, how we tend to think way more short term. Whenever I’m in dark moments I always remind myself that in the long run things always pass, things always get better. Things usually start to get better the moment you think it’s impossible for them to get better. You have to hit that bottom first. There will be opportunities that come out of this period, there will be an economic recovery, there will be a public health recovery. It will end, we will move on. It’s just going to be ugly for a while.

Steven Gundry (32:32):
I think you’re really right. Certainly, when I made a choice to stop primarily doing heart surgery and teaching people how to eat, we went through some very tough economic times, my wife and I. We lost our house, we lost our cars, and I just kept going. We made a joke that pretty soon we were going to be so successful we were going to have a villa in the South of France, and it was all going to be worth it. Now, this is people now who lost their house. We actually had my parents sign for car loans. It was that bad. Met with bankruptcy attorneys, and yet we’re dreaming about having a house in the South of France where my wife really wants one. We don’t have one by the way, everybody. But it’s funny. It’s like, “Oh, wait a minute. You don’t even have a house to live in in the United States, and you’re dreaming about your villa in the South of France?” I think you’re right. It’s like we just … This is why we keep going, and-

Mark Manson (33:50):
You picked something, right?

Steven Gundry (33:51):
Yeah, yeah.

Mark Manson (33:52):
It doesn’t even matter how realistic it is. You just pick something and something that is worth getting out of bed for, and you go for it. So I think it was Warren Buffett who said that people regularly overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in 10. Generally in times like this, people overestimate the importance of what will happen in the next year and they underestimate the importance of what will happen in the next 10. There’s a lot of time on the other side of this for things to change.

Steven Gundry (34:27):
No, that’s very true. Very true. I am actually a perfect example of that. I still don’t have that villa in the South of France, but yeah.

Mark Manson (34:37):
Come on, man.

Steven Gundry (34:38):
Yeah, I know. Come on. But I got to have that carrot out there.

Mark Manson (34:44):
Yeah, yeah. It’s still dreaming.

Steven Gundry (34:48):
All right. Well, I think you’re right. Actually, my mother grew up three doors down from Warren Buffett in Omaha, Nebraska.

Mark Manson (34:57):

Steven Gundry (34:57):
Yeah. Yeah. She always used to remind my father that she could have married Warren Buffett, and look where she would have been now.

Mark Manson (35:10):
She’d be in the same house because he still lives there.

Steven Gundry (35:13):
We actually always reminded her of that.

Mark Manson (35:16):
Yeah, yeah.

Steven Gundry (35:18):
I said, “Besides, you wouldn’t have had me and that would have been a real disappointment to me.” Yeah. Okay. Well, I got to let you go. This has been great. It really is a pleasure to meet you and talk with you. I always ask where do people find you? As if they need to know. But no, seriously.

Mark Manson (35:44):
My website, Markmanson.net. I have a weekly newsletter. I’m posting stuff every week there. [inaudible 00:35:50] everybody to check it out, and then obviously the books, Subtle Art of Not Giving an F, Everything is Effed, the book about hope. I would say they’re available in every bookstore, but I hope nobody’s going into bookstores. So you can get them online, everywhere.

Steven Gundry (36:05):
When we do open up, please get them at your local bookstore and we would both appreciate it.

Mark Manson (36:10):

Steven Gundry (36:11):
I mean, talk about timing! A book about hope? I mean, come on. You are the marketing genius of all time.

Mark Manson (36:22):
I wish I was smart enough to say I knew this was going to happen. It’s better to be lucky than smart. Right?

Steven Gundry (36:30):
It’s always better to be lucky. All right. Well, take care. We’ll see you, and I hope to meet you in New York one of these days.

Mark Manson (36:38):
Sounds good.

Steven Gundry (36:39):
All right.

Mark Manson (36:39):
Thanks Steven.

Steven Gundry (36:40):
Take care. Okay. It’s time for our audience question. This is a good one. Paula Mackey on YouTube wrote in with this question, “Please explain herd immunity. Does it make sense during this time?” That is a great question. So herd immunity says that if enough people contract a virus and get immunity, then the virus is incapable of spreading to those remaining people who don’t have immunity. Believe it or not, back in the dark ages before vaccines for measles and for chickenpox, there used to be chickenpox parties where parents would bring their kids over to a home where a kid had chickenpox, and they would literally rub the chickenpox on their kid to get the kid to have chickenpox, which quite frankly is a very mild illness as a child. Chickenpox is a really awful illness as an adult, and so they literally would practice herd immunity. Interestingly enough, one of the arguments about measles and measles vaccines, and we’re not going to go down the vaccine road, measles is so contagious that measles is one of those viruses where people do suggest that herd immunity works.
Now, you’ll notice that Sweden right now is depending on herd immunity to work. As many of you know, Sweden is pretty much a reopened. Now, interestingly enough, they do have a higher death rate than their neighboring countries, Finland and Norway, but they are, for lack of a better word, accepting that slightly higher death rate in order to save their economy and have herd immunity. Now, interestingly, there’s a new paper that just came out today looking at people in Northern Europe versus people in Southern Europe and the incidents of the severity of the COVID virus with vitamin D levels. Interestingly enough, the incidents of severe infections with the COVID virus are actually very low in Scandinavia and in Northern Europe in general, and they’re actually much higher in Southern Europe. Believe it or not, it has to do with vitamin D status. What happens is in Northern Europe, particularly in the winter people, take cod liver oil.
Interestingly enough, cod liver oil has a lot of vitamin D in it, and actually a lot of vitamin A which is another subject. But the researchers now think that it was the high vitamin D levels in Northern Europeans that it protected them, and the people in Southern Europe actually have lower vitamin D levels because they’re actually quite afraid of the sun. So a long story short, herd immunity is a real thing. The big fear about herd immunity in the United States is quite frankly we have a very sick ailing population and we have so many people with preexisting conditions that don’t happen that much, particularly in a very healthy country like Sweden, that the idea of trying herd immunity right now is, by all health experts in the United States, a really dumb idea. But we’re going to find out because as states are opening up, we are going to find out the effect of herd immunity, whether many of us want that or not. So that is a great question. Thank you for letting me talk about that.
Okay, now it’s time for the review of the week. Following my recent episode with the financial expert, Suze Orman, Anna Bailey on YouTube wrote, “Thank you for having Suze on during this time, rather than only focusing on medical issues. I love your well-rounded podcast.” Well, thank you very much, Anna. This comes down to … You’ll notice we’re talking a lot about mental health right now, or a lot talking a lot about financial health right now, because quite frankly, that’s all a part of our overall health. If you’ve been watching you know that I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you. We’ll see you next week. Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/doctorgundry. Because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.