In 1982 John Nesbitt wrote a book named “Megatrends.” John’s idea was to track change based on what is going on in the present by tracking newspaper articles. This process was originally developed during World War II as a means to find out what was happening in countries that were at war and information about socioeconomic conditions were kept secret. There were several principles that built confidence in the process.
“The news-reporting process is forced choice in a closed system.”
“Societies, like individuals, can handle only so many concerns at one time.”
The first principle above really no longer exists as we do not have a closed system on the news. Now news can be obtained by the internet and not just from the major media outlets. With the internet, each individual if they choose, can be become a source of news.
The second principle however is still very sound. The health and wellness movement that started as a vitamin movement in California in the late sixties and early seventies continues to pick up steam. This continued trend in personal wellness is developing because of the failure of institutional medicine to fully define proper nutrition and the lust for profits driving allopathic medicine’s directions.
Fast forward to the year 2000 and we find Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point”. Tipping point is the level of interest in any given topic which builds enough momentum to become unstoppable. Has enough interest in vitamin D been built so that the understanding of health from sunshine has become unstoppable? This is an extremely difficult question to answer.
I believe a simple answer to the question is yes. We are starting to see new news articles every day now where only five years ago, news on vitamin D was limited to several articles per week. This is exactly how John Nesbitt’s method for determining the level of activity on any given topic worked. To use a sports example, they typically looked at ‘box scores’ instead of analyst comments to determine level of interest. They would simply look at the final score of the game instead of a commentator’s statement that the failure of a good throw to first by the third baseman caused the loss of the game.
Tracking healthy outcomes and death from vitamin D would be great way to determine if the trend was increasing. Healthy outcomes are virtually impossible to track because who knows how much everyone is taking. Deaths from overdose should be an easy number to find. In 2008, there were no deaths reported from vitamin overdose which has been the case for the last 17 out of 25 years according to Wikipedia if that is reliable. In 2003 there were 59 deaths from aspirin poisoning and 147 deaths from acetaminophen products.
Word of mouth and healthy outcomes is the most likely way that the momentum of vitamin D will increase. This falls into the model presented by Malcolm Gladwell. He suggests that changes in populations spread like viruses with three primary rules. The ‘law of the few’ states ‘connectors’ or information hubs, ‘mavens’ or information specialist, and ‘salesmen’ or persuaders are necessary parts of the information network. The specific content of the message that makes it memorable is called the ‘law of the stickiness factor’. The final law of the ‘power of context’ is in agreement with Nesbitt’s principle that societies can only handle a limited number of concerns at one time or the general impact of environmental conditions.
Economic conditions and health appear to be the major concerns of the time (‘power of context’). With special emphasis placed on flu like infections and cancer. I believe that tracking flu and cancer changes are going to be a great way to track what is happening with vitamin D. Vitamin D has a significant impact on both the flu and cancer. Of course the emphasis on the flu and cancer is being driven by economic forces. However, it locks up nicely with personal emphasis of health as distrust of our medical institutions increase. In other words when people hear of significant outcomes with vitamin D they will start to take it regardless of what institutions are saying (‘stickiness factor’). So a friend tells you that they have not had a cold since starting to take vitamin D two years ago, most likely you will start to supplement with vitamin D as well. As we move into the flu season we will continue to monitor the CDC statistics on the flu and look for anomalies. Also there is the beginning of a trend in the reduction of cancer rates. When we move from 180 neoplasm (tumors) per 10,000 to Mexico’s rate of 90 neoplasm per 10,000 we will know that we have reached the cancer rate for a sunny country. Think what a reduction of fifty percent in the cancer rate would do the medical economy in the US.
The other thing about the course of the Vitamin D Revolution is that it started in California which according to Nesbitt is one of the key states for lasting trends to start. (‘law of the few’) I contribute this to the work of Garlands (much later Grass Roots Health) at University of California SD, the work of the University of California Riverside for vitamin D research and organizing meetings every several years, and because of John Cannell’s exposure to these two institutions his development of the Vitamin D Council which has grown like wild fire as the internet source of information. Thanks, guys.
The sun is shining and the path is lit and vitamin D’s time is now. – Pandemic Survivor