One of the many advantages of using the Adept English listen & learn approach to learning to speak English fluently is you also get to learn about something new that’s not necessarily about the English language. It’s just sensible learning for English listening practice so you have the skills needed to speak English fluently.
It might be about British culture, art, holidays or cooking.
The point is your English lesson does not have to be boring, in fact the more interesting it is the more likely you will listen to the lesson again and the repetition is one key to success when using listen & learn.
With the UK about to relax its restrictions on lock-down, we all need to prepare for the next steps. In today's lesson we talk about how to be proactive and look after yourself.
Think about your immune system as being an army, and it's fighting infection.
⭐ Mikhail Varshavski (Doctor Mike)
If you’re asking yourself "What does this have to do with learning to speak English?”, then you might want to subscribe to our free English course which explains why we do what we do, you can find it here.
Pharmacist Schoolfriend Pandemic
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Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. If you like our podcasts, then check out our courses page on the new website at adeptenglish.com. Our Course One: Activate Your Listening, will help your English language learning in a more focused way than the podcasts, it will give you English conversation practice, with other voices not just mine. And it will give you vocabulary on common topics, like the UK and Britain, Food and Education. If you’re not sure whether the course will help you – have a look at some of the testimonials on the website, other people just like you, learning English.
So just following on from my podcast on Monday, which as often happens, gave me the idea for what to do for today’s podcast. I’m going to talk about something, which as ever will help your English language learning, but also because it’s something which I think is important and which isn’t perhaps being talked about as much as it should be at the moment.
Do you remember at the end of Monday’s podcast that I said that people feel better when there’s more sunshine – as there is in the UK at the moment, more sunshine? I realise that it’s a different season altogether in other parts of the world, like in Australia right now for example, the season is autumn. But there’s a potentially very important message around that in these current times.
A number of years ago, a friend of mine, one of my daughter’s schoolfriend’s - her mother told me things I hadn’t previously understood about Vitamin D. This friend was a pharmacist, so had medical knowledge and training and she came from Mauritius. What this friend explained was that the lighter the colour of your skin, the more quickly and the more efficiently you make Vitamin D, in your own body. The word ‘efficiently’, E-F-F-I-C-I-E-N-T-L-Y is an adverb – and it means quickly, with little effort, least energy. And my friend explained that conversely, the darker the colour of your skin, the more slowly you make Vitamin D.
Now I guess in terms of evolution, this makes sense. Back in prehistory, people who lived in areas of the world with lots of sunshine and heat, developed darker skin so they would be protected from the sun, and people living in less hot climates, developed paler skins, but with very efficient Vitamin D production. My pharmacist friend came from Mauritius, so she was dark-skinned and she was very familiar with the idea that people who grow up somewhere where there is a lot of sun, can suffer when they first move to the UK. It’s difficult to get used to the winter time.
Sensible Learning For English Listening Practice Skills Needed For English Fluency Ep 333 Article Image
A photograph of the sun shining through trees in a sunny English field.
I know this also from my therapy work – even people who are white-skinned, but who come from places like Australia and South Africa find the darkness of the British winter quite hard, quite depressing, it can make them feel quite sad. Whereas for someone like me, who was brought up here, it’s less of a problem. So it’s well-known that if you have dark skin, but live somewhere where there is less sunshine, you need to take care of your Vitamin D level. And the best way to do this is to sit in the sun, but you can also buy and take Vitamin D tablets – they don’t cost very much.
One of the things I hadn’t realised however, is that having enough Vitamin D is important not only for your mood, not only for how happy you feel, but also for your immune system. Your ‘immune’ system, that’s I-M-M-U-N-E – it means the system in your body which fights disease, fights illness, fights infection.
Now the link to the ‘something important’ that I mentioned at the start of this podcast? Well, one of the people I respect a lot and have listened to a lot since the start of the current problem with the virus is a person on YouTube named Dr John Campbell. He’s an English language speaker and since the start of the pandemic, he’s been putting out daily videos on YouTube. He’s very down-to-earth, he’s a nurse with many, many year’s experience and has a doctorate in nursing. And he isn’t representing or associated with any particular organisation.
He’s not with the UK government, he’s not with the World Health Organisation. So this means that he can express his opinion freely. He’s been a nurse himself for many years and has trained other nurses, so he’s very good at giving explanations, very good at explaining medical terms. And I’ve found him much more useful to listen to for sensible advice on the virus than mainstream news. He’s providing a massively useful public information service on YouTube at the moment.
And Dr John Campbell has been talking for a while about the possibility that a lack of Vitamin D makes people more likely to get ill with the virus and more likely to die if they get the virus. It’s not been proved yet, but it sounds a good theory. And it may be one of the reasons why, in the UK – and I’m sure it’s the same other places – why the number of people with dark skin getting ill or dying from the virus is much greater than those with pale skin. It’s only a theory at the moment, but it seems to make sense.
So there’s concern in the UK about the high percentage of people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds who are becoming ill or dying. Black and Minority Ethnic or BAME as it’s called, is the term for people who have darker skin. And there have been newspaper articles – for example The Sunday Times ran one, which described how the first 10 doctors in the UK to die of the virus were all from black and minority backgrounds – I think they may even all have been Muslims. And I think that the statistics from the US also show that a higher percentage of serious illness and death amongst black populations, who catch the virus than amongst white.
So it’s only a theory at the moment, but it seems a very plausible one. ‘Plausible’, P-L-A-U-S-I-B-L-E means sensible, believable, probably likely to be proved true. So one of the things that Dr John Campbell is trying to do is get this message out to people – that to protect your immune system, particularly if you are Asian or African and have darker skin – it may be a really good idea to take Vitamin D tablets. The best way to raise your body’s level of Vitamin D is to sit in the sun. But if you’re a healthcare worker and you’re working shifts – that means that you may be working at night and sleeping during the day – and you’re very busy, then taking a Vitamin D tablet may help you instead.
It’s only a theory at the moment, so the UK government are not talking about this – perhaps because it concerns race and this makes them uncomfortable. But as Dr John Campbell says – people are dying of the virus at the moment – it’s more important to get this news out there, in case it makes a difference! And if it’s proved wrong, what does it matter? Vitamin D is good for you anyway. Vitamin D tablets are easy to get hold of and they’re cheap, they’re not expensive. And if there’s a chance it may make some difference, better to spread that information around now.
So I hope that makes sense to you – and if you are Asian or African and you have darker skin, it may be something you want to think about so that you can stay healthy and happy.
Solve The Maths Problem To Download Podcast & Transcript
OK – so today’s podcast was really just to give that information to as many people as possible, just in case it makes a difference! Apologies if you know this already, but it’s better to hear it twice or more than not at all!
Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re well and stay safe!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.