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The Cost of Color: The Health and Social Consequences of Skin Color for People Today


(upbeat music) – Hello, my name is Leslea Hlusko. I’m an associate professor
here in the Department of Integrative Biology,
and it is my distinct honor to get to introduce Professor
Nina Jablonski today. For those of you who were able
to attend her talk yesterday, you’ve heard of her
academic accomplishments. She did her undergraduate
work at Bryn Mawr. She got her PhD from the
University of Washington. She then became an anatomy instructor at the University of Hong Kong. She was a lecturer at the
University of Western Australia, and the a curator of anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences, and then served for a while as the head of the Department of Anthropology
at Penn State University, where she now has the luxury of just being a full professor, and
all that comes with that. She’s had numerous research grants, support that came from the
National Science Foundation, The Wallenberg Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. And her accolades include,
some of the most recently, membership in the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, among many, many others. So as you know, from this lecture series, she is well-known for
her work on the evolution of human skin color, and is deeply admired for her talent in conveying
this excellent research to the public. But she is also highly
respected to those of us in academia for her meticulous
paleontological research in Asia and eastern Africa. And it is this less famous
side of her research over the years that had initially brought the two of us together. Now, all of us in this
room, if we’re lucky, we have a small handful
of people who have served as an inspiration or
role model in our lives, people who we hold up as
our intellectual heroes. Nina is mine. We first met years ago when
I was a graduate student studying baboon teeth,
and she graciously gave me some of her time, and even gave me a copy of a beautiful monograph
that she had edited about these magnificent animals. And I remember clutching
that book to my chest with pride and excitement
the whole way home that day. So Nina has continued
over the intervening years to be my validation and inspiration, and her opinion has
always mattered more to me than that of anyone else. But more than that, for
all of us in academia, her research and outreach efforts on the evolutionary history
and importance of skin color variation is a beautiful
inspiration to follow. So Nina, thank you for
being a shining light in our discipline, and thank you so much for spending this week
with us in Berkeley. Thank you. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Leslea for that beautiful and generous introduction. Thank you to the Hitchcock
lecture committee, of which there are at least
a few representatives here, for their gracious and
generous invitation, and for really making possible
several wonderful days of intellectual feasting on my part with accomplished faculty and students. Studying human skin and skin color has been one of the most
rewarding possible adventures that I think any scholar could have. From our early studies of the
evolution of skin pigmentation many research programs have flowed. In short, we can understand human skin really quite simply. The skin pigmentation that
we see so beautifully arrayed in a geographic pattern is not random. It evolved as the product
of natural selection. 86% of variation in the skin color of indigenous peoples can be explained by variation in ultraviolet radiation. So we have, in human skin, a beautiful example of evolution acting on the human body. And we understand that skin pigmentation is an evolutionary compromise
between the demands of protecting against very
strong solar ultraviolet radiation at the equator and the equally important demands of being able to continue to produce vitamin D in the skin, and I will advance today other arguments, but continue to produce
vitamin D in the skin under conditions of low
ultraviolet radiation closer to the poles. In the terms of evolutionary biology, what we have here are two clines. And in the intermediate
zone here and here, we find lots of people of
intermediate pigmentation who are able to gain and lose pigmentation season to season through tanning. We now recognize not only
this phenotypic pattern, the appearance, but we understand a lot of the genetic architecture. Today I want to talk more about what this means. A few decades ago, the
Brazilian artist Angelika Dass started to compile what she
called a chromatic inventory of her fellow Brazilian citizens, people who came in every
range of sepia coloration. She wanted people to appreciate just how similar we were, how much our colors graded
beautifully into one another, that there was no discontinuity
in the colors of humanity. And so today what I
want to do is to develop more of our own as well as
that of others’ research on the meaning of skin color, what it means to us as social organisms, as social primates,
and what it means to us with respect to our health. It’s important to recognize,
when we think about the social meaning of skin color today, often we use the term colorblind, or
we should be colorblind. Well, from the literal
perspective, we can’t because we as catarrhine
primates as monkeys and apes are endowed with superb
trichromatic color vision that allows us to see
beautiful richness of color in very high definition. So, we notice color. We can’t help but notice color because of our trichromatic color vision. So that’s really important. We’re visually oriented animals. The color of our fellow human beings, the shape of their bodies, all of these physical
features are important to us because we are visually oriented animals. So that’s an important
thing to think about from a cognitive behavioral perspective. How did people start
interacting with one another, people who had different skin colors, in the course of human history? We don’t know a lot about
these early interactions. Some of the best written and
artistic records that we have actually come from Ancient Egypt. We know that there were
extensive interactions at many times in Egyptian history, extensive interactions between peoples in the upper and lower Nile. Peoples who were mostly
very darkly pigmented and moderately pigmented
or quite lightly pigmented in the north. The salutary message from
all of these interactions is that trade occurred. There were lots of diplomatic
exchanges, artistic exchanges. And although there were
conflicts and there was warfare, these were not on the basis
of any color distinction, but rather of inequities of resources or trade imbalances and other
various kinds of disagreements that might exist sort
of any polities in time. Very importantly, the idea of calling another group
other, because of color, did not exist, to our knowledge. This is not to say that we didn’t engage in what Michael Omi
and many other scholars have called the process of othering. The process of racial formation. If we go back again in ancient history to look at the interaction
between the Greeks and the Persians, for instance, the Greeks refer to the
Persians as barbarians. They were distinctly
defined by their language, by their dress, and
their costumes as other, and as barbarians, in a negative sense. The category of other
existed, although it was not associated with skin color. When we think about coming
into the more modern Western scientific tradition
and how people started to think about human diversity, it’s not inappropriate to pick
up the story with Linnaeus, because he was one of the first, albeit not the very first, to
think about human variation and how we might classify it. Now, what’s really interesting
and incredibly important to remember is that for Linnaeus, and many other European
scholars at the time, there was no personal
experience with people in foreign countries outside of Europe. Many people, many naturalists, historians, like Linnaeus and others,
basically stayed at home. I mean, travel was logistically difficult, plus they enjoyed the comforts
of their life at home, and they relied, instead, on information, biological samples,
and sort of travel logs that came to them via a series of sources often from Portuguese,
French, Italian explorers. So people like Linnaeus
got biological specimens, not so much of primates and humans, although he did a few primates. But they learned about human
variation from stories, second, third, and often fourth-hand. And when Linnaeus turned
his attention to classifying humans, initially he
classified them very simply. Four groups, Europeans,
Americans, Asians, and Africans, separated by what he saw
as the cardinal distinction of skin color, white, red, brown, black. No hierarchy, just a list. What happens in the intervening years? Here we are, middle of
the 18th century, 1748. 1758, only 10 years later, his description of variation
in humans is much longer, and I’ve only given a little digest here. Significantly, we have the same groups and the skin colors
again, red for Americans, white for Europeans, brown for Asians, black for Africans. But we also have these other words, choleric, sanguineus, melancholicus, phlegmanticus, describing temperament and behavior. And here, Linnaeus is really referencing Hippocrates, Herodotus, and other scholars of Ancient Greece who wrote extensively on human temperaments being formed by the intensity of the
sun and their environment. Are people experiencing too
much heat, too much cold, too much moisture? Their temperament, their
behavior would be formed by their environment. And what’s remarkable
here is that Linnaeus, the systematist of the natural world, who is describing mosses and
monkeys in a most objective, what we would called scientific way, is here describing humans
according to their temperament. And this heralds of
different treatment of humans that we see elaborated in various ways in the coming decades. The middle 18th century
is the seething hotbed of intellectual thought
about human diversity. Scholars throughout the
western intellectual tradition are trying to understand what does it mean when people look different? Are these people all from one source? Are they separate creations? Where did this diversity come from? And what does it mean with
respect to people’s cultures, their capacity for civilization? And this is where we
come to the work of many important philosophers, but
I’m singling out here today Immanuel Kant, because
Kant holds a special place in the history of philosophy
and critical thought. He is lionized, rightly, for many of his philosophical writings. But early in his career,
Kant thought deeply about human diversity. He was trying to understand
why do people seem to have different predilections for
behaving in certain ways to be civilized, different
abilities to develop higher modes of thought. And so in a series of writings, beginning in 1775 and concluding in 1788, he is writing on the
subject of human diversity, something that very few people recognized. And what he does is he formally constructs four races of humans, and he is the first to
formally use that term. He uses the German noun
(speaking in foreign language), not race, but these are formal categories. And very significantly, he differs from Linnaeus, because these aren’t just four groups. These are four groups that are ordered in the order of their
potential for civilization, their potential for
developing higher thoughts, for being able to use reasoning. And very importantly, for Kant, these categories were immutable. And once a particular group,
for instance the Negro race as he defined it here, or the Hunish race, once they developed a certain
series of morphological characteristics, including color, that was an irreversible pathway. So he had a very rigid idea, as well as a hierarchical notion of how humans were arrayed. And famously, Kant almost never
left his own sitting room. So Kant got information
from many of these rich, by then very rich travelers’ tales, and he distilled it in his own way. And he was joined in this,
slightly earlier in time, by the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Hume made less thorough
investigations of human diversity, but when you read Hume’s
writings, one is left in no doubt that he knew who was superior. “There was never a civilized
nation of any complexion “other than white.” So, even though there were many influential, quite influential detractors in the mid-18th century to Kant and Hume, why did this idea, this notion of human races in a hierarchy, immutable, unmixable, how did this view come
to have such popularity to this day? Races for Kant and Hume were physically and culturally distinct from one another, and there was no doubt in
either of these man’s minds that the so-called
White race was superior. This ascendancy we can now
look at through the richness of history as being
completely understandable. Both of these people were highly regarded. One of the things I’m
most interested in is who’s managing reputations. In the days before software companies were managing reputations,
who managed reputations? Basically, some scholars
were highly regarded, their works were widely circulated, in particular salons. The information about
them was communicated from one scholar to
another by correspondence. People, these books, their
books became widely distributed, largely on the basis of personal circles of influence to the extent that these two, David Hume and Immanuel
Kant, in their lifetimes, became very, very highly regarded and their books were widely
distributed and translated. Their writings were taken up
by other prominent scholars and by statesmen, so that you
have politicians including politicians in the nascent
colonies and the United States reading these works, as well. And we must bring in
economics at this time. This transatlantic slave
trade is expanding. There is pressure, especially in England, to lessen or do away with the slave trade, but there is tremendous,
tremendous support from mercantile interests
in Europe to continue to promote it, to grow it
in whatever way is possible. This is where we begin to
see tremendously interesting, and in retrospect nefarious
and tragic alliances between commercial mercantile interests, philosophers, and some
very, very bad theology. By the middle 19th
century, tracts like this, The Biblical Defence of Slavery, The Origin, History, and
Fortunes of the Negro Race, this is just one of many tracts that purport to use biblical sources to prove the inferiority of black people, especially darkly pigmented
people from Africa. So what we see, between
the middle of the 18th and the middle of the 19th
century is the imperfect storm of forces, of economic, philosophical, and theological forces, and I
want to say quasi-theological forces, because there’s
nothing in the Bible that talks about discrimination
according to color. Stories about the curse of Ham
are based on interpretations that are very much culturally
influenced interpretations of the Old Testament. So in this century, between the mid-1700s and mid-1800s, we have this maelstrom of forces, not only demonstrating,
proving the existence of races, proving the immutability of races, but also proving the inferiority of the so-called Negro race. And further, in some of these
biblical defenses of slavery, proving that Negros were
only fit for slavery, they were fit for serving others, and that their biology dictated this. This was a wild time. And we can only recognize now how much we were being manipulated. The boxes basically have text in them showing how the progress from this racial ideation to the creation of racial stereotypes to what I call color memes, in the Richard Dawkins sense of a culturally transmitted
idea, that seems, that acts like a genetic trait. Color-coded race concepts
become color memes that are stereotypes. And this lays the clear psychosocial template for racism. So by the mid-19th century, we have color-based racism as the reality in the United States and in many other countries. This reality has been constructed in a way that is completely understandable, but in a way that most
people don’t recognize. And certainly in a way
that most schoolchildren in the United States are taught about. When we look at the cost, the human cost of the slave trade, we begin to recognize
what is involved here. Nearly 13 million people involved in the slave trade, and from a social perspective, tremendous, tremendous disengagement
of uprooting of peoples from equatorial West Africa, primarily, into Europe, thence to the Caribbean, sometimes directly to South America, and then a smaller
fraction to North America. Nearly 13 million
people, and significantly involuntary migration, the
largest influx of people ever to come into the United States. And here we transit to our
biology and health considerations moving people from one
solar regime to another. In many cases, moving people
from a very, very sunny place to a less sunny place. What consequence is this
going to have for health? And further, what consequence are other migrations going to have, voluntary migrations to this day, what are they having, what impact are they having on health. And further, what impact
is urbanization having? As anthropologists, we tend to think that sort of the world stopped
maybe at the beginning, of the introduction of agriculture. That all sort of important
things in sort of human evolution stopped at that time. I would advance to you that
some of the most important biological changes started then. Because as a result of mass
migrations made possible by rapid modes of movement,
ships then planes, people able to move dozens
of degrees of latitude in hours instead of
weeks, or in a few days instead of over many
generations or lifetimes, that this physical movement of people, as well as the concentration
of people in cities, from fairly modest cities,
seven and 8000 years ago, to the mega cities of the world today. And a prospect in 20 years of 70% of the world’s population being in cities. This is such a dramatic
departure from anything previously in human evolution. And today I want to talk about
specifically the consequences for our relationship with the sun. Where are we today? We are in a very nice building,
far away from the sun. And most of us have spent most of today outside of the sun. This is a great departure from
what even perhaps our parents or certainly our grandparents
or great-grandparents might have done. People who toiled in the
fields or worked out-of-doors or at least walked to and from work, if they lived in cities. These are enormous forces
of modern evolution acting on the human body. If we look at just some recent
human voluntary migration, so we’re not talking about the
mass involuntary migrations of the transatlantic slave trade, but rather just a sampling
of some of the more dramatic migrations, long distances
often involving people going from areas with very
low ultraviolet radiation to high and vice versa, some
extremely long distance ones involving great shifts from high to low or low to high UV. We think we’re very clever
that we can undertake these mass movements. It is fantastically technologically superb that we’re able to undertake this, that people can move around
freely over the surface of the Earth’s surface. And we have the hubris to
think that we can somehow overcome it or that it
doesn’t really matter to us as biological organisms,
because we’re so clever. Well, we’re not. Because there are some considerations, some biological considerations
that we haven’t given full credence to. Recall that human behavior in prehistory was very different. We didn’t travel very much
during individual lifetimes. Certainly people would, at various times, pursue prey, animals,
that would be migrating and they would go after them. But there were never
sort of long distance, or very few long distance
migrations of people. And people during their lives would move 10 or 20 kilometers, maybe. And they spent most of their time outside and mostly without sewn clothing. Again, if we only have needles showing up in the archaeological
record, sewn clothing, tailored clothing that
can protect the body only in the last 20,000 years, what are we doing before that? Yes, we are protecting
ourselves with animal skins and probably plant materials. But skin is our major interface during most of the major movements and dispersals of human populations, skin is our major interface
with the environment. And we, as outside organisms, are under varying ultraviolet regimes. If we’re living at the Equator, the amount of variation is
less than if we’re living at this latitude or even
closer to the poles. But variation in ultraviolet
radiation can be extreme. And variation in solar
radiation can be extreme. So our skin has adapted to these changing regimens. And we see biocultural adaptations. Not only genetically driven
adaptations in skin pigmentation but cultural adaptations,
modification of diet and ways of procuring food
so that we can compensate for difficulties posed by
the physical environment. But today, holy hell, not only are people dispersing,
but they take vacations. Who took vacations 500 years ago? Or 5000? The whole concept of a
vacation is something that our ancestors never entertained. But today we have all sorts of ways for getting people around. And one of the things
that they like to do, especially if they’re in indoor jobs, is that they like to find sunny places. And so you have these
incredibly depigmented people seeking out sunny places for intense episodes of sun exposure. What a bad idea. So if we just look at a sampling
of 21st century vacations, they are many and varied. And on a college campus you
that it is spring break. Kids are going all over the place. People go all over the place. And often in the wintertime,
they’re seeking out sun. Or they’re seeking out some
interesting cultural experience often in a sunny place. So we have humans that are
moving, not only migrating to live in a particular place,
we have them undertaking these short, episodic vacations so that they can enjoy leisure time in a different environment. And this is where we really begin to see some of the first untoward
aspects of modern life with respect to the skin. The rise of intense, episodic sun exposure and the vacation effect. And not just solely sort
of going on vacation to a sunny place, but the rise in the use
of tanning facilities. Now I realize there aren’t
that many tanning facilities in Berkeley, although I
did see one the other day as I was walking around. But where I live in Central Pennsylvania, they are common. And in many parts of this country, they are extremely common. People like to go there. It feels better to them
when they get, quote, sun on their bodies, UV on their bodies. So without going into excruciating detail, suffice it to say that people pay. In the short term they
pay because they get an uncomfortable sunburn,
but in the long term they pay because of an increased susceptibility to a variety of skin cancers. And including if the
exposure is intense enough, and the genetic architecture
of the skin is such, episodic strong exposures
in childhood especially can lead to the most
deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, which was almost unheard of in humans before 1950. So we have this interesting
pattern of morbidity and sun mortality due to too
much episodic sun exposure. But I want to spend
more time talking about what happens on the
other side of the coin. What happens in big cities, where we have like in New York City here, everybody, every color, every
shade of the sepia rainbow represented, every possible ethnicity, most people living indoors. What happens? Like in this Motorola plant in Texas where all of the workers,
from whatever background, spend all of their time indoors assembling cell phones. These individuals are
experiencing different rhythms of nature, a different quality of nature, a different kind of environment than humans have ever experienced. And we now are beginning to recognize what health toll this is taking. Yesterday I introduced the concept of the vitamin D compromise, how people throughout evolution have developed ways of
getting enough vitamin D. At the Equator, if you
are outdoors long enough, even if you have the most
darkly pigmented skin, you will be able to make ample vitamin D to satisfy your physiological needs. But if you spend time indoors,
a lot of time indoors, that changes things. If you are a lightly pigmented person, even though you can get a
lot of vitamin D produced in your skin in a relatively
short period of time, if it’s in the sunlight outdoors, if you spend all of your time inside, you have no opportunity to
make vitamin D in the skin. So the vitamin D compromise,
as we have described it, is a compromise that has been worked out more or less by trial
and error by cultures in various places over thousands of years, whereby if you’re not
getting a lot of vitamin D from solar sources, you are
getting it from dietary sources. And people living at
extreme high and extreme, in both hemispheres, northern
and southern hemispheres, have cultures that
concentrate on the harvesting of vitamin D-rich foods. So what happens to folks today? The vitamin D compromise is mostly broken because we are living indoors in ways that I’ve described, going to school, going to work. When we do have outdoor sun exposure, it may be in the very early morning or in the late afternoon
when there’s very little in the way of ultraviolet
radiation in the sunlight. So we may feel some benefit
from being out-of-doors, but we’re not deriving any benefit from the positive side of
ultraviolet radiation exposure. And with reduced time spent out-of-doors, the combination of being in a city, of having an indoor lifestyle, is, I wouldn’t want to say
a deadly combination, but it’s a combination that is inviting chronic sickness of various kinds, and I’m gonna talk about that. The levels of morbidity and mortality that can now be traced
to vitamin D deficiency, especially chronic vitamin D
deficiency, are prodigious. This is now a problem of
enormous and global proportions, a significant global health problem. It is, to some extent,
understated in this country, but it’s certainly not being understated in many other countries,
especially in those where a nationalized health system
is picking up most of the cost for the vitamin D
deficiency-related diseases. Cities, in addition to
promoting sedentism, the atmosphere of some
cities filters out a lot of UV, especially the short wavelengths, ultraviolet B radiation. The canyons that we find in many cities effectively eliminates
sunlight from the ground level. Indoor environments,
again, fluorescent lights at best provide some illumination, but provide no other benefit, and sometimes can be, if they’re too blue, can actually stimulate our
alertness centers too much, so it ruins our sleep patterns. And in a great departure
from whatever we did in prehistory, we now mostly
wear concealing clothing, sewn clothing, mass-marketed clothing, clothing that we change all the time and we make into fashion statements. Yeah, it’s great, it’s
part of human culture. But, it’s changed our relationship to our physical environment completely. And in some culture,
where concealing clothing is religiously mandated,
the concealment is complete. And this changes the nature of the biological interface entirely. The vitamin D compromise
is now also broken because we have reduced consumption
of vitamin D-rich foods. In many parts of the
world, vitamin D-rich fish have been depleted from the sea. The codfish that the Scots ate in early history and into the 20th century, is now mostly depleted
from the North Atlantic and the North Sea. So, people are eating fish in this form, often whitefish, often other types of fish that have no or virtually
no vitamin D content at all. So you might feel a little
bit noble about eating something like this,
you know, as opposed to a basket of McNuggets. But there’s very little virtue
involved in no vitamin D. And for darkly pigmented people, the vitamin D compromise,
especially in cities, has been broken. Because dark pigmentation,
dark pigmentation being such a natural sunscreen, such
an excellent competitor with photons, it absorbs all the UVB that might have been used
to convert 70hc in your skin to previtamin D. Combine this with living
in low UV environments, think about people
living in London, Boston, or even just living
indoors most of the time, the combination of dark pigmentation and low UVB environments is critical and has resulted in what we recognize now as truly an epidemic
of vitamin D deficiency in darkly pigmented people, especially those of African origin. So when we look at our model of skin, here is, again, our epidermis
with dark pigmentation. Here’s ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A coming from the sun. At the Equator, there’s a lot of both. But UVB is being scattered and absorbed by the atmospheric oxygen and ozone. And here most UVB is being absorbed by the beautiful eumelanin
in the pigment here in the lower epidermis. And then, what is happening
is that some vitamin D formation is occurring. So if someone is outdoors long enough, even with this beautiful
natural sun protection, ample vitamin D would form in the skin to adequately meet physiological needs. But as soon as UVB levels are lower, as a result of change of
lifestyle or change of location or both, all of a sudden
this dark pigmentation, which competes for
photons, for UVB photons, will entirely prohibit any UVB from penetrating into the layer here where vitamin D is formed. So this we looked at in
an evolutionary context was the reason that we see the evolution of depigmentation in lineages of Western Europeans and East Asians. But it is one of the
reasons today that we see vitamin D deficiency in
people of dark pigmentation, especially, because this
beautiful sunscreen layer is doing its job when we wish it wouldn’t. So what happens to vitamin
D production in the skin when it’s low or when people live inside? Basically, it doesn’t happen. And we end up with people at best that have seasonal peaks
in vitamin D levels. In order to study this more fully, we took our study, a clinical study, to South Africa, a country
that I’ve been fascinated in for years, because it is
a country and a region that is one of the most lavish and deeply historical
melting pots in the world, where people through the
Bantu language expansions of five to 3000 years ago have
moved into Southern Africa. We have indigenous people who
have been in South Africa, the sun, and Khoi peoples
for more than 70,000 years. We have Europeans coming
almost 500 years ago. And soon thereafter, waves
of immigrants and slaves coming from Madagascar, Java, and India, all converging on the western
cape of South Africa initially and then branching out into
the rest of South Africa. An incredible mixing pot
of cultures, languages, and skin colors. And I thought what better
place to look at the factors that influence vitamin D
production than to take some samples of healthy
young people and monitor their vitamin D levels
throughout the year. What we did also was we
measured levels of UVB in the atmosphere. So instead of relying on
indirect satellite measurements, we actually looked at on the ground UVB. And because our study was focused on what was happening in the
very extreme southwest corner occupied by Cape Town and
other polities nearby, this area is particularly
bereft of sunlight in the austral winter, something that very few people appreciate. South Africa is a big country and there is a tremendous
gradient of ultraviolet radiation. But the southwest corner is very low, especially in the winter. So what happens? What happens to people’s vitamin D levels when you’ve got all of these
different kinds and colors of people living in a
highly seasonal UVB regime? To make a long story short, they experienced seasonal
vitamin D deficiencies. So this vitamin D
formation in the wintertime disappears entirely. People aren’t eating vitamin D-rich foods. They have very little access to them. There’s no vitamin D supplements that most people can afford. So they enter into these
troughs of vitamin D deficiency. What happens? When your doctor talks to you
about vitamin D deficiency, they sort of wag their finger and say, “Oh, you’re going to be
susceptible to colds and flu,” and all sorts of things. In South Africa, that’s also true. But in South Africa, where
there’s high prevalence, still, of HIV-1 virus and high
prevalence of tuberculosis, the stakes of infectious
disease are much higher. So if your immune system is weakened because of vitamin D deficiency, you don’t just get a sniffle. You might actually contract infection from the tuberculosis bacillus. Or, if you’re an HIV-1 carrier, you might convert into
an active AIDS patient. So vitamin D deficiency becomes a much higher stakes problem. Low winter UV leads to
extremely low vitamin D levels. And what we found, it wasn’t just low UVB, but the fact that people stayed
indoors more in the winter. So regardless of what
their skin color was, the fact that they stayed indoors more and didn’t have access to the ambient UVB when it was available
made a big difference to their ultraviolet B exposure and their vitamin D production. And in a paper that we
published a few years ago in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, without going through a lot here, we were able to show that
actually when we were able to study the replication of HIV virus outside of the body, when we took blood samples from people, looked at their vitamin D levels, but also cultured their
blood to see what levels of virus could be cultured under different vitamin D levels, what we found was that
HIV-1 virus proliferated under conditions of vitamin D deficiency. So low winter UV led to
not only extremely low winter vitamin D levels,
but increased susceptibility to HIV and TB infections. This is something now that we are continuing to work on. The problem of lack of
vitamin D production is now a problem, even if you don’t have darkly pigmented skin. Lots of people with moderately
and lightly pigmented skin are vitamin D deficient, simply
because they’re not getting outdoors very much, or
because they’re very attentive in their use of sunscreen. These things are very important. Protecting your skin against
ultraviolet radiation is important. We are long-lived animals. We don’t want our skin to deteriorate. But we have to recognize
that if we’re not getting our vitamin D from the
sun, we have to get it from some other sources. And vitamin D deficiency is
now a serious global problem. But what happens to this
other interesting molecule in the skin that is produced
and released in great abundance when the sun and ultraviolet radiation impinges on the surface
of the skin, nitric oxide? Recall that nitric oxide is released in the skin by ultraviolet A radiation. The release of nitric oxide in the skin is made possible by our friend folate, the B vitamin. Nitric oxide is released in the skin and it allows the peripheral
arteries to dilate, thus providing fluid to
the eccrine sweat gland so that we can maintain
thermal regulation. And helping to control blood pressure. What happens if people
are indoors all the time? Nitric oxide isn’t produced as much, and vasodilation does not occur. In fact, you can have
chronic vasoconstriction under these circumstances. And whether you have darkly
or lightly pigmented skin, the problem is real. Peripheral vasoconstriction as a result of lack of sun exposure. My colleague Richard
Weller at the University of Edinborough, as well as
my colleague Larry Kenney at Penn State University are
involved in studies looking at the cardiovascular benefits of sunlight that are independent of vitamin D. And I am collaborating with
both of them very happily, because I’m trying to figure
out how this all worked out in evolutionary history, and how it matters now to our health, and why we have to pay
attention to the evolutionary fundamentals in order
to lead healthier lives. We evolved under the sun, and the changes in our lifestyle we have to think about very carefully. The skin is our primary
interface with the environment. It has been, it is no longer. We need to sort of renegotiate. We have to strike a new compromise between behavior, diet, and culture to improve health and well-being. But do we go cry in our beer because, oh woe is me, we have social problems. We have color-based race problems. We have health problems
related to skin color. No, we don’t despair, because we are thinking humans who prize education. And one of the things I’m
involved in really happily is the production of a
book that will be published by David Philip Publishers
in Cape Town in July about the evolution of skin pigmentation for school kids in South Africa. It will be initially be published in four of South Africa’s languages. And by the end of the year
in the official 10 languages of the country. We can also, closer to home, teach kids about diversity, about human evolution, about
how all of this history has played out and brought
us to where we are today. This is possible. This is a view from
one of the summer camps that I have been running
with Henry Louis Gates, Jr in the last few years in
a project that we call the Finding Your Roots Project and the Finding Your Roots summer camps. We have brought together over 30 scholars from Penn State and other institutions into human geneticists,
education specialists, bioethicists, historians,
many different folks, to put together a curriculum, initially, in formal science education, middle school summer camps where kids come and discover themselves. We talk in this country not
only about problems of race, but problems of inequity in education, of problems of young individuals, Latino, Native American, African American, not going into science,
mathematics, engineering. How can we improve these outcomes? People have been beating
their head against many good doors for years. And we decided to try something
a little bit different. And through this Finding
Your Roots curriculum, as it now is funded by
the Robert Wood Johnson and Rockefeller Foundations, and also recently by private philanthropy, we have the beginnings, I think, of a mode of inquiry that we can introduce,
not into universities, not into high schools,
but into middle schools. And just into informal contexts, but into our classrooms. This is exciting. We can teach kids about themselves. We can have them discover their own, the wonder of their own DNA, their unity to others by
looking at similarities in their genomes. Being with these kids is incredible. Having them discover
things about themselves, having them discover things
about lumbriculus worms under the microscope, about their ancestors
in the paleontology lab, is very exciting. And we leave them to conduct
their own experiments. By the end of the summer
camp, they are scientists, testing hypotheses themselves. Having the confidence to investigate. They are scrutinizing data,
talking about variability, and yes in the United States, we have kids talking about race, and talking about why
people look differently, and how race is a social construction and what that means. And when kids are 10, 11, 12 years old, they aren’t freighted with all
of the hangups of adulthood, and it is marvelous to behold. There is a lot of hope. We may not be able to vaccinate
people against ignorance, but we can use childhood education as a form of vaccination
against antiquated views on human diversity, human evolution, race, and health. There is lots of hope. I want to thank very much the organizers of this lecture series, for
this generous invitation, thank my husband and primarily
collaborator George Chaplin, who’s in the audience today. My superb research assistant Tess Wilson for lots and lots of help. Ellen Gobler who was
the logistic coordinator for this series, tremendously. Leslea Hlusko, tremendously
for the role that she played. And another person who isn’t
on the credits list here, but Blake Edgar who is in the audience who is my editor at the
University of California Press who shepherded my two books,
popular books to press, and who continues to be a
great guide and inspiration. Many other people, many
foundations provide support for me. I would be happy to send
you, if you write to me, any number of publications, maps, and other things that might interest you. You might find some of them on my website. I am always available. Thank you very much for your attention. (audience applauding) – [Man] Dr. Jablonski,
that was really dynamic, thank you so much. As I mentioned yesterday,
my wife and I want to move to University Park and sneak
into some of your lectures so that we can hear more of you. But my question is this. As humanity continues to
move into urban areas, as we continue to cover
ourselves with clothing, not just our bodies but our head, is the evolution, well from a, natural selection perspective,
is our evolutionary result going to be lighter skin? – It’s a very good question. And the answer is pretty
simple in that there is, we see no evidence of natural selection promoting depigmentation now, largely because there
is very little evidence of people losing out in the reproductive sweepstakes as a result of living in cities without sun exposure. So there might be some, if our epidemiological
studies were good enough, we may be able to detect some signal of sort of loss of fitness as a result of urban lifestyles, but not
enough to promote changes in gene frequency, leading
to changes in pigmentation. But what we do see in urban environments and this is one of the
beautiful parts of the Bay area, literally, physically beautiful, is that we see such lavish
admixture of people. People from all different
parts of the world come together, share
interesting cultural things, have children together, and
produce new genetic combinations and new phenotypes. And often these phenotypes are lighter than at least one of the parents. So we aren’t seeing
natural selection produce loss of pigmentation. But we are seeing sort of a mingling and an increasing number of
pigmentation intermediates being produced in many
urban centers in the world. – [Man] I was fascinated
by your graph yesterday of decreasing hair in our hominid line in more recently thousand,
millions of years. And that raises two questions that I wish I had asked yesterday. One is that, as I follow your discussion of hairlessness and thermal regulation, I wonder if actually losing hair gave our ancestors a flexibility to exploit
a much wider range of environments than other primates who had more hair. In other words, a loss of
hair actually gave humans a lot of flexibility to go into a lot of very, very different environments. And my second question
about hair is one thing that we’ve noticed in nutrition that if you’re feeding
an animal like a mouse or a rat that’s full of hair, you have different requirements for sulfur-containing amino acids. And I was wondering if there was actually a nutritional component
in the loss of hair in our own ancestry. – Good questions. In answer to the first, I
think much of human versatility and our ability to disperse
and adapt to a wide range of environments is due to
our incredible technology and behavioral flexibility and
our incredible inventiveness, which we have had since the
beginning of Homo sapiens and probably even further. When we look at the
cultural sophistication of Neanderthals and
ancestors of Neanderthals that were living over 200,000 years ago, and modern humans in Africa
and outside of Africa tens of thousands of years ago, basically what you have
is a rich material culture and a rich culture of the
mind that allows people to live in places and under conditions and following lifestyles that
other mammals cannot achieve. So I think skin has played
a role in that it is given us a different
mode of communication, cutaneous communication,
communication through arraignment as well as our body decoration, has given us greater versatility. We don’t just have one outfit, like you know, a dog or
a cat or a cow might have just sort of one fur, we have many. So we’re able to express
our individuality, our group identity, through
how we adorn our naked bodies. And I think that has
been part of the cultural adaptation to different environments. In connection with diet and hair, the biggest things that
we notice in humans, of course our gross protein deprivation and the effects on hair
leading to hair breakage and the conspicuous sort of red pigment that you see in infants and
children with kwashiorkor. Other nutritional benefits are not that well understood and there are all manners of diets that people now subscribe
to for better hair, making your hair more
luxurious, less kinky, more wavy, what have you,
by eating certain foods. The extent to which diet,
beyond providing basic amino acids, the extent
to which modifying diet is going to affect hair texture and curl is really unclear. So there’s a lot of sort of
bad science and pseudoscience about this, but I hope largely, or partly through the work of
graduate students in my lab, that we may be able to
understand some of these factors a bit more in two to four years’ time. – [Woman] Hi, I actually
have a burning question. – Please.
– If you could talk a little bit more about the
difference between vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Because I’m really
curious about two things. One is as we move to fortified milk, and I actually don’t now
much about the history of when we did that and
what was the impetus for doing it, how much of a health benefit has that conferred? And then also, is that
actually adequate to help circumvent some of the
deleterious health effects. – Really good questions. Vitamin D2 is a form of vitamin D that is produced primarily in plants. When we ingest it, we can use it, but it has to undergo and
additional hydroxylation step in the liver. So vitamin D3 is the more
common animal origin vitamin D, although there is some
vitamin D3 in some plants, but vitamin D2 is the more common. Both of them are potentially usable, but both of them when we ingest them as food or as supplements, have to undergo the rigorous conversion in
the liver, in the kidney, and that final step of chemical
conversion in the kidney to the active form of vitamin D, that can occur from a
vitamin D2 or D3 precursor, and that is the most
rate-controlled step in the body, so that you can produce
a lot of vitamin serum D3 in its storage form, but then the activation
to active D3 that occurs in the kidney is extremely
highly controlled. But these days, most
supplements are vitamin D3. There are fewer of D2. In answer to your question
about fortification in milk, milk fortification was
introduced in this country, widespread, after World War II when the importance of vitamin
D in preventing rickets in infants and children
was widely recognized. And it was a public health remediation that was initiated similar to that of fluoridated water for the public good. In this country, most milk that you buy is vitamin D fortified. But the amount of vitamin D
varies from one brand of milk and even from one batch
of milk to the other. The level of vitamin D fortification is enough to prevent the most severe level of deficiency, but not to provide physiological adequacy
for a child or an adult, unless you drank
prodigious amounts of milk that would be dangerous
from the point of view of drinking too much calcium and putting you at a
risk for kidney stones. So the vitamin D3 fortification
in milk is very helpful and could be used as a
model for other countries. There are lots of places where milk is not vitamin D fortified and
where this would help to sort of lower the prevalence
of vitamin D deficiency in some very vulnerable populations. But that level of
fortification is not adequate to meet physiological needs. So one has to have other
vitamin D-rich foods, of which there aren’t very many. Oily fish is the best source, but there are few
genuinely oily fish around, and so today, most people
really have to rely on vitamin D supplements and occasional prudent sun exposure. – [Man] You timed your visit well. You joined us in a sunny
interlude in an otherwise very dark winter. And that prompts my question. I notice a lightening of the
mood when the sun is out. And I wonder whether that
mood sensitivity to sunlight could be related to a person’s, the location of the
evolution of their genotype. – This is a great question,
and many people have been interested in this in trying to understand the biological basis and the genetic basis for seasonal affective disorder, and the role that vitamin D might play. This is a fascinating
and complicated answer. I’m gonna give you the short version. What we have in our retinas of our eyes are not only the three kinds of cones that allow us to see beautiful
trichromatic color vision, but we also have a
specialized subset of cones that are blue light receptors. So on a bright day like this, there is a lot of very short
wavelength visible light that stimulates the blue light receptors that makes us more
alert, that communicates with our pineal gland that communicates with our pituitary gland that communicates, sort of
the global endocrine switches are turned on. And many of these lead
to elevation of mood. Beautiful work has been done comparing the prevalence of seasonal
affective disorder in places like Iceland versus Ecuador. And what is found is that
there are real differences in the amount of blue light that stimulates the body, and that this seems to be
one of the most important arbiters of mood. Vitamin D also contributes, but interestingly it is not probably the primary contributor to
seasonal affective disorder, or the sort of the high that you feel. Rather it’s the stimulation
of your blue light receptors. – [Man] I think milk was
the wrong thing to fortify, because 50 million people in
the US are lactose intolerant, and most African-Americans
are lactose intolerant. So, we should figure out
what to put vitamin D in. Now, I’ve been converting lots of people to take vitamin D. And if they’re deficient, they really feel terrific afterwards. So there is, whether it’s Danes, I was in Denmark for a scientific meeting and Denmark has, Copenhagen
has about the worst climate in the world, at least
compared to Californians. And it was a sunny day and
the whole city stopped. Everybody had taken off
most of their clothes. I must say more clothes were taken off than an American would. And there were all of
these half-naked bodies all over the city all day. Everybody was just,
nobody was in the shops, nobody was doing anything but sunbathing. I asked a Danish scientist friend, “How come you do this?” He said, “Well, we
Scandinavians get so little sun, “that whenever there’s sun, we sunbathe, “because we feel terrific afterwards.” And I’ve had personal experience
with African-Americans who I’ve gotten to take vitamin D, and they feel terrific. So I think that’s something that’ll help– – Yes, and you know, in connection
with both of your points, first of all, getting a vehicle other than milk is important. In South Africa there is fortification of some margarine. Unfortunately, you would
have to eat a huge amount of margarine in order to benefit from the vitamin D fortification. One of the problems is that
vitamin D is oil-soluble, so you can’t easily sort of
put it into fortified cereals or orange juice, although
people do put it into the orange juice suspensions. But it’s a difficult molecule to deliver in a fortification of a normal food. But your point about Denmark
is a very interesting one, because there they have
refused to fortify their milk. So there is no baseline
fortification of milk or any dairy products,
and people can only get their vitamin D either from fish or by taking off their clothes. And they really, you
know you have sort of, I don’t want to impune the Danes at all, but people sort of going to
their paleolithic sort of past to expose themselves to sun. And I think what’s interesting there is that when people are exposed to the sun that their ancestors were used to, you know if they gradually
sort of gain and lose sun exposure or UV
exposure, their skin changes and they’re able to maintain
UV or vitamin D adequacy. And in a country like Denmark, when people were outside most of the time, even though they had
vitamin D in their diet, they got a lot of their
physiologically important vitamin D throughout
the year from episodic, but regular episodic sun exposure. – [Man] They were also
eating a lot of fish. – Yes, yes, much of which
doesn’t exist anymore, or is too expensive
for most people to buy. – [Man] Now, vitamin D
isn’t that expensive. – Ah, it’s here now, today, in the United States, vitamin D is cheap. You can go into any
supermarket, any health store, get these huge bottles
for 10 bucks or less. But go to Europe, go to South Africa, and try to buy vitamin D. It’s not bulk processed there, and a little bottle of 60 capsules will cost you $20. Or it’ll cost you more
than that in South Africa because it’s imported from
the United States or Europe and it’s more than a week’s wages. – [Man] But at least in fortification and telling people here,
you can buy vitamin D, it’s not that expensive. – And I think, this is something where the medical establishment
is moving significantly and importantly to
recognize the importance of vitamin D supplementation. It’s not the be all and the end all. It’s not a panacea by any means. But raising people off
of baseline deficiency will greatly improve health outcomes, not only in the ways that I’ve described, but in many others. – [Man] You know, I’ve been
digging into that for years now and there’s a huge, I
think dark-skinned people are carrying a big weight on their back. And vitamin D is going to help. – Yes. – Well thank you, if you
have no more questions, if we could do a big round of applause and a thank you for Nina. (audience applauding) (upbeat music)

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. So nice that we have a Scientific explanation for our physical differences, which completely overrides (and is so much more important than) the socially constructed one people have created. 😌🌿 Cheers 🐒 🦍

  2. Science can be indeed an answer and alternative to social and political racism by making people understand the reasons for the physical differences between us.

  3. Race: I am tired of people using the term race to describe a group of people because scientifically, biologically and genetically there is no such thing as race. Categorization is always a problem. Yes, there are differences and gradations in skin color and that is because of genetic drift and climate (we all originally came from Africa). Specifically, evolution, ultraviolet radiation, folic acid, physiology, Vitamin D, melanin, hairless, bare skin, the evolution of hair follicles to sweat glands, all of which determine skin color, and pigmentation. There is no such thing as the “white” race, the “Black” race, the Jewish race, or the Hispanic race etc. If you have native American ancestors, ancestors from Mexico, Central America, South America, or the Caribbean, the ancestry is Asian, with admixtures of Black, Spanish, French etc. If you look carefully at the faces of some people from Central America and South America, you can still recognize the Asian influence. If we were of different races, we could not breed and produce children. It takes over a million years for members of the same species to be separated and isolated before they develop into a difference species (Race), preventing them to interbreed. We are talking about pigmentation, skin color, cultures, ethnocentricities’, and tribalism, not separate species of races, when we talk about the people of the world. We are all the same race and species. Regarding differences in physiognomy, morphology, it has been said that many Black operatic and pop music stars, have beautiful voices. That is because of the “mask”. i.e., the face, and the bone structure and sinuses of the skull which allow the voice to resonate (listen to Leontine Price, or Ella Fitzgerald). Also, I bring to your attention that the world’s greatest civilization which lasted almost 4000 years, was Egypt, which was Black. If we continue to use the prejudicial, pejorative term race, which is a political, cultural, religious, economic, ethnic concept. The concept is not reality grounded and continues to drive us apart by creating the “other”. Rather say, I am a human being a homo-sapiens with (fill in the blank) ancestry. Look around you and note the mixture of the genetic pool in your community, often a mixture of white, black, and Asian ancestry. And because of immigration and travel this genetic admixture is continuing at a rapid pace throughout the world. If you conduct a genomic search of your ancestry, you might be surprised. It is this that the racists and white supremacists fear. Because of “race”, the Nazi’s killed 6 million Jews, and because of race, the Japanese killed millions of Chinese and the the immigration problem, and racism in the United States. Science, research and understanding can free us from ignorance and prejudice.
    Reference: Dr. Nina Jablonski, Ph.D. Washington University, et al.
    Reference: You Tube: Race and Skin Color

  4. I don’t mean this to sound so stupid. But do black people, by which I mean really dark, dark people need sunscreen if they go to the beach? Also do they get skin cancer or are they naturally protected from that for life. Even if they live at the equator?

  5. She is an excellent speaker. If you didn’t watch the lecture from the day before you certainly should. It is well worth it.

  6. Coincidentally (or perhaps synchronistically) I watched this in the first week of Dec. 2018 and in my YT feed was the video of Trevor Noah visiting with his grandmum in SOWETO, South Africa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s5iz6ml-qA

  7. I taught this stuff to my high schoolers this week. They were so engaged and fascinated. None of them knew anything about it!

  8. ✨(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ⚡pffft! this makes no sense! white people lived underground, that's all. so the genetic pairings that went to white pigmentation also drove aggression bc of lack of resources, and more fecundity bc so many died young in the underground cities. Does NO ONE listen to Alex Jones anymore in school?

  9. Until she says that the malfunctioning melanocytes of Eurasians is predominantly non-syndromic oculocutaneous albinism instead of evolution the science isn't correct.

  10. How do other animals, especially the ones native to higher latitudes make vitamin D with all their fur that prevents sunlight from reaching their skin ? Isn't Vit D important for them too ?

  11. Notice how thinkers largely described concepts in terms of that immutability.
    In fact, from molecules and genes (and in more basic physics and chemistry of course) to phenotypes, speciation, behavioral and social systems, you'll note, that ALL are dynamical.
    Both the activity of genes, and of some top-down forces (not only environmental/psychosocial and physical stresses upon them, vary responsively during and organism's life history.
    We ARE attracted to outbreeding for very ancient biological and evolutionary reasons.
    (I will use a term here due to some familiarity with some wildlife mating systems and possibly other referential analogies. My analogue is descriptive, NOT moralization, because moralization is an aberrant , biased form of post-hoc – even telological rationalization having nothing to do with the actual contingent shape and dynamic of cognition and behaviors)

    In human cultures, we find "beachmasters", powerful individuals who suppress novel introgressions or change. Due to quite natural dependency of the every young on their large parents, in social species the development of social attraction to powerful figures later in life, is an easy , perhaps "primed" adaptation.
    In an obligate social animal like ourselves, one can only expect the normal heuristic processes of evolution to have resulted in facultative changes in previouslly useful basic cognitions through use of already extant cognition of dependencies. Heuristics are basically the simplest or shortest methods of development.
    The outcomes of that universal ease o f heuristic, may not be at all healthy when conditions change, although the heuristic that causes grouping does help social primates overcome individuals, smaller groups, or less cohesive aggregations. Thus the natural trend may be toward forming ever-larger groups, for so long as their aggregate is strongly cohesive.
    That's why such groups as the UN are reviled by less tolerant, more fearful coalitions.

    In South and Central Asia, we find a lot of relative inbreeding – the whole "honor killing" cultural conceit is more ancient than the mere recent larger protective "beachmaster" culture of Islam, and other, earlier manifestations of ingroup control formed through previous coercive religious ideation.
    This is also obviously occurring in those largely males of European descent when they are in control, feeling unexamined threat from exterior significant group appearance.
    Europe was, outside fertile domesticated areas such as Chinese river basins and tropical South Asia, always producing more humans than it could fit within its habitat. The ease of shipping culture (Hanseatic and others) allowed development of long-doistance travel, and the peculiar ideas that such oddities as shiny metals, translucent rocks, and other symbolic inedibles, caused tragic extensive exploitation as their excess younger males dispersed.

    Culture is learned, and the older one becomes, the more they imagine culture as immutable, as well as endangered by outgroups. While there is some validity to some cultural practices and mores, this illusory immutability is a driver of threat perception and violence.
    We are adapted to recognizing habitat change around us, and evaluating changes within limited timespans. Even the tiniest single-cell organism tends to detect and move toward useful and nutritious molecules, and away from the toxic.
    We humans have lost some of our more sure senses of toxicity, and of course, symbolic, self-referential ideation and communications systems are HIGHLY vulnerable to contrafactual ideations. Since our primary goals tend to be aggregation for safety (we are only middling omnivores, and respond as usefully as Cape Buffalo through memory and fear by vengefulness. It works for groups, and however accurate the depictions of Pleistocene "hunters", they are attractive because they do define our response to threat – aggregate and kill for protection and revenge, "just in case."

    When younger, I was amazed at what seemed to be the cohesiveness of Brazilian culture, but there does in fact exist racism, and melanin content is still regarded as a flag there.
    Cuba, too, had less color discrimination than has ever been the US norm (Since most of the upper-class Cubans quickly dispersed to Florida in the 1950s, I cannot say how that nation was before that sudden change, but the defectors were more of European descent than most who remained, although even the political warfare occurring then appears to have been internecine, rather than interracial)

    I suppose that when human population density reduces (and it WILL, because we have vastly overwhelmed the world's habitats – that entire quantification of total world photosynthesis and our consumption of more than a year, and now more than several years' primary production IS accurate enough to show that real ecological breakdown is fast upon us), we will again be sorted by insolation into darker tropical and unshaded habitats and reduced insolation at higher latitudes and the cloudy forested areas may yet return.

    It is always, as we can understand from the maladaptive excesses of human societies fearing possible threat, the case that the problem will remain so long as we do. " Peaceable Kingdoms" as in paintings do not exist in nature – All trophic and habitat niches dynamically select for changes that will fill them, and Malthus, no matter how the sardine-packing profiteers try, humans, so long as they remain recognizable, will continue, like all other organisms, to exert pressures against their conspecifics and any other members of their trophic guild.

    We watch seagulls squabble, but erroneously believe that we are different.

  12. i love her enthusiasm and clarity of broad conceptual linking of health, evolution and social foibles of prejudices,. but, her astoundingly poor grasp of vitamin d is disappointing and i think very hurtful as people look to her and trust what she says to be accurate, scientifically and biologically and physiologically accurate. Ergocalciferol is vitamin d2, is not from "plant", is from some mushrooms that when exposed to UVB can create ergocalciferol algae and some lichen, none of those are "plants",. There is no extra hydroxylation step for vitamin d2 ergocalciferol to be converted, actually, cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol are almost the same save a hydroxylation of their makeup. And the extreme importance of the kidney conversion of 25OH to 1,25oh2d3 which is profoundly controlled by the calcium/phos feedbackloop has virtually nothing to do with the paracrine/autocrine use and conversions of cholecalciferol, 25OHd3 and 1,25oh2d3 for gene transcription, translation and expression and in immune modulation. She misses that point entirely,. Though, she expounds on the importance of folate in such, matters and bases her hypothesis of skin color on it. There is great amount of missing and misfactuals here as far as vitamin d, so if anyone is interested in mechanistics of vitamin d Hollis and Wagner have put out fabulous research : The Role of the Parent Compound Vitamin D with Respect to Metabolism and Function: Why Clinical Dose Intervals Can Affect Clinical Outcomes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3849670/
    not theirs this one as well: Dietary Vitamin D and Its Metabolites Non-Genomically Stabilize the Endothelium https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0140370

  13. I wish there was like a website or an app, where you can input your skin color, the latitude of the place you live in and it would tell you how long you should be exposed to sunlight more or less in the different seasons to MAXIMIZE your production of vitamin D and MINIMIZE your risk of skin cancer….

  14. We know UV triggers menstruation and menopause, and melatonin that forms the basis of hormones and gender. Why hasn't anyone studied the u.v. influenced relationships between chlorophyll, melanocytes and gender?

    Specifically; u.v. is partly controlled by plant immunity, and blacks only come from desert cultures because they are an attempt by plants to physically defeat their skin tissue and turn it back into a plant.

    That's why melanin is essentially a chlorophyll molecule that is being driven into extremes by carbon and oxygen flooding.

    Sex organ based gender that expresses thru the wind and rain and landscape pressures are supposed to serve plantlife foremost.

    Animals such as people don't NEED outside pressures to help them mate, they are fully capable of doing that on their own.

    That's why black cultures must dominate gender roles: they are literally hacking plant immunity to SURVIVE plant immunity reclaiming them, by turning the attention of plant immunity onto caucasian farming communities that the main spectrum of light is NOT seeking to reclaim.

    I believe there is only supposed to be ONE DISEASE, aka being turned back into a plant. Most of the strangeness and taboo of human culture is designed to confuse plant immunity and other animals, to redirect that plant immune system towards caucasians, specially mostly males… To BREAK plant immunity inside white male lymph systems as "testosterone".

    Which explains why black cultures were more sexist and oppressive towards females, slower to develop historically, and why they can't innovate anything meaningful other than "service to motherhood and blackness".

    If you aren't interested in this idea, maybe you can pass it along to some associates in your field, because I have studied this issue after being attacked by black racists from Africa over a decade ago, and after much research, am now 100% sure that I'm presenting this accurately.

    If you have multiple people studying this idea in distant locations from each other, you should be able to notice SOMETHING that will catch your interest.

    Maybe test black people emotional response on nearby plantlife, vs how whites effect them?

    One thing I've noticed is that u.v. PROTECTS blacks by keeping white people communicating thru it… Usually by coercing pale menopausal / menstruating women to constantly hold their attention on white males that aren't serving women enough.

    Keeps negative attention OFF blacks.

    Leaving little room for working plant immunity to focus on the true desert culture threat.

    There's all kinds of things you can study here.

    Melanocytes have 3 main "heads", each one based on u.v. and c.o. trying to interfere with a different body process/ element of our tissues.

    For example, one head of Melanocytes is focused on iron in hemoglobin, which results in sickle cell anemia that tends to hit black males.

    Another head is focused on influencing calcium, which results in vitamin D deficiency, common in blacks.

    The third head is probably carbon, which results black hair loss in women, and their curly kinky black hair.

    It's ALL relationships communicated thru the movement of light, elections, and elements.

    You can help measure it.

    Look for how those three heads might be changing plant cells.

    Look for how they might be changing white male lymph systems, especially near melatonin heavy nodes.

    What diseases might be occurring there, that might mimick plant behaviors that have been misdirected onto the wrong skin color?

    Etc…

    .

    On the other hand:

    The wonderful thing about "male" reproductive systems is that half the babies are born with them, and so any issues arising from "males" being different, are the full and entire responsibility of their mother, for contaminating her reproduction with inferior "male" generic information.

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