Masculinity, Suicide, and Vitamin D

7 min readMar 18, 2022


Photo by jurien huggins / Unsplash

What’s New:

Monday Meditation: This week’s meditation featured quotes from Albert Camus and Charles Bukowski, and discussed my thoughts on whether or not food is medicine.

Training Tuesday: This week’s training topics included Police, Testicles, and Brain Damage. It’s exactly what it sounds like. I review some literature on TBIs, the fitness of Special Operations Police, and talk about eating testicles! Read it here!

Abandon All Hope: If you’re not familiar with my Mere Psychotherapy post series, they are stories about patients I’ve worked with who have had profound impacts on both my clinical practice (the way I work) and the way I live my life. The most recent installment is titled “Abandon All Hope: Mere Psychotherapy, Part 5.”

Giveaway Reminder: On December 20 (solstice!) I’ll be giving away a jar of Beef Organs from Heart & Soil Supplements. Though I firmly believe in the benefits of eating fresh organs, I have made videos in the past discussing the use cases for supplements. Remember, you can always get 10% off through my affiliate link for any of the H&S products!

Things I’m Reading:

A forest-based yard improved the immune system of daycare children in only a month | Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences | University of Helsinki

In total, this study followed 75 children (ages 3–5) in 10 days cares, for a period of one month. “Dozens comparative studies have previously found that children who live in rural areas and are in contact with nature have a lower probability of catching an illness resulting from disorders in the immune system. A recent study shows that repeated contact with nature-like elements five times a week diversified the organ system’s microbes that offer protection against diseases transmitted through the immune system in daycare children.”

Strengthening one’s immune systems seems particularly relevant during a pandemic, except we were and are being told to stay inside — and further avoid nature. Politics aside, what’s fascinating here — and I’ve commented on this before — is that nature-like environments seem to provide much of the benefit observed. That is, leaving a dead tree or decomposing pile of leaves in the yard; or at least going to the city park a couple times per week; or actually having grass and dirt at schools instead of blacktop and rubber “wood” chips goes a long way towards improving overall health.

Ten‐week high fat and high sugar diets in mice alter gut‐brain axis cytokines in a sex‐dependent manner

Diets high in fat and sugar induce inflammation throughout the body, particularly along the gut-brain axis; however, the way these changes in immune s…

This is another piece of “junk” science, or rather something that is (perhaps intentionally) unclear and misleading. As is often the case, studies that dote on high-fat diets rarely specify what type of fats are being ingested — soybean oil or tallow? That makes a huge difference. The authors specifically note that their reference was to a “Western diet high in both (sugar and fat).” That pretty much answers the question above. Most people following a western diet are eating less animals, as recommended by their government bodies. Grains, soy bean oil (alone), and sugar account for almost half of the calories consumed by Americans (1). Please, find me a real data set from an evolutionary consistent high-fat diet and then we’ll talk!

The role of vitamin D in the age of COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis — PubMed

I’m as tired as anyone of talking about COVID, but I feel compelled to keep fighting the good fight. The Science is painfully compounding at this point. There are almost 100 publications on PubMed regarding COVID and Vitamin D (2), 9 are RCTs and 20 are meta-analysis (at the time of this writing).

“This study found that most of the COVID-19 patients were suffering from vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency.” About 45% of the American population is deficient in Vitamin D by the way (3). The authors here also conclude, “…there is about three times higher chance of getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 among vitamin-D-deficient individuals and about five times higher probability of developing the severe disease in vitamin-D-deficient patients.” 3x more likely to contract and 5x more likely to develop severe symptoms kind of seems worth mentioning — Fauci and CNN!

Of note, there were, in this study, no correlations found between Vitamin D deficiency and mortality related to COVID.

Promoting Healthier Masculinities as a Suicide Prevention Intervention in a Regional Australian Community: A Qualitative Study of Stakeholder Perspectives

Click-bait titles like this are frustrating to me as a clinician. They are rife with assumptions fueling an inaccurate social narrative — in this case, that masculinity is “toxic.” The authors don’t explicitly state that, but we all know that the headlines are what are grabbed and rabidly distributed by the media.

What the authors do write is that, “Results indicated that community-based suicide prevention strategies must focus on increasing men’s sense of belonging within their communities by expanding the range of opportunities offered for healthy social interaction and also should promote a masculinity that allows for improved social connection and help-seeking for mental health problems when needed.”

As you can see, this isn’t inherently a male / masculine issue — though other stereotypical male characteristics will surely be lumped into the “toxicity” talked about here. Being a strong man isn’t toxic either. What is toxic is, being a jerk, and broader social, family, and cultural expectations that discourage (as identified here) emotional expression, vulnerability, social connection, and emotional literacy — regardless of sex, age, or gender.

Suicide, firearms, and legislation: A review of the Canadian evidence

Suicide accounts for approximately 4000 deaths a year in Canada, of which about 16% of those are suicide using a firearm. Canada has undertaken legisl…

I make it no secret that I’m a strong supporter of peoples’ civil and social liberties. I’ve no doubt this will get me type-cast into a right-wing extremest role, but for God’s sake (whichever one you’d like) let’s separate our feelings from facts when over 10% of a population are killing themselves? Which, by the way, is several orders of magnitude more than a certain virus.

“Six studies examining the effects of Bill C-17 and C-68 revealed a decrease in the rates of suicide by firearms, with a corresponding increase in non-firearms suicide rates and no decrease in overall suicide rates.” This isn’t an anecdote. Bureaucrats aren’t clinicians. If they were, they’d know that if someone wants to hurt (or kill) themselves they will find a way. This is why we have inpatient / crisis stabilization units. This is why the law allows me to commit someone to such a facility against their will (temporarily). This is why treatment must address a broader spectrum than symptom management. Legislation to limit a particular method or tool to be used is less than a band-aid, but it makes politicians feel like they did something when in reality they’re only insulating themselves from the issue — they haven’t even addressed the symptoms; let alone root cause.

Look at the study above for more evidence where to start for adults. If you’ve got children, or work with them, see this article as well.

Resources to Thrive:

  • How to be free of knee pain: This episode of The Fundamental Health Podcast (by Paul Saladino) features Ben Patrick (a.k.a. KneesOverToesGuy). I’ve been aware of Ben for a while, but this episode reminded me to take a closer look at his work especially since I’m in the business of breaking knees — just hopefully not my own!‌
  • This is actually a quite diverse resource, though I recently re-stumbled upon it. I noted that there’s a page with links to various indigenous tribes that consume a carnivore-ish or at least very meat heavy diet. Surely, you’ve gotten the impression that I think there’s a lot we can learn from nature, history, and a simpler ways of life.‌

O‌riginally published 12/12/21 at

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