Vitamin D Makes Me Happy and Healthy!
Last week I discussed how we are now close enough to the sun that we can make Vitamin D by sun exposure. However, there is a compelling reason to continue to supplement with it. It may help with COVID-19 symptom severity.
Despite its importance, it’s estimated that anywhere from 30% to 80% of the U.S. population is vitamin D insufficient. A nutrient insufficiency differs from a deficiency in that a deficiency causes a disease, in the case of Vitamin D a deficiency causes rickets and osteomalacia. Vitamin D insufficiency doesn't cause a disease, but neither does it promote optimal health.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble micronutrient that promotes calcium absorption, it also modulates cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function and reduces inflammation. There's a growing body of scientific analysis that is suggesting Vitamin D has an important influence on COVID-19 symptom severity.
Last year, in the scientific journal Nature a group of researchers published a study of vitamin D level among asymptomatic and critically ill COVID-19 patients.
The researchers compared people with asymptomatic infections to people with severe infections: 97 percent of people in the severe group had vitamin D deficiency vs. 33 percent in the asymptomatic group. The fatality rate was seven times higher in the low vitamin D group (21 percent vs. 3 percent).
All of these studies (there are over a dozen of them now) are observational studies that are correlative and don't prove a causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 severity. However, the strength of the relationship might justify the inclusion of recommending vitamin D supplementation in public health advice.
I advocate vitamin D supplementation in the winter because :
Vitamin D is incredibly safe when taken at appropriate doses (up to 8,000 IU/d).
Vitamin D insufficiency is widespread in the industrialized world. It’s estimated that anywhere from 30% to 80% of the U.S. population is vitamin D insufficient.
Vitamin D is relatively cheap.
Vitamin D is readily available without a prescription.
The benefits of correcting vitamin D insufficiency are well established.
We might now add to this list that vitamin D could reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. Of course, we can't out-supplement an unhealthy diet or lifestyle. So make sure you continue to eat whole unprocessed foods. drinks lots of water, and get daily exercise.
One year ago Kerri, who has completed over 1000 classes at TSCF, caught COVID and wrote about her experiences. With the Omicron variant sweeping through our community like wildfire I thought it valuable and timely to revisit Kerri's musings.
We have yet to have a verified transmission at the gym, a point that I'm extremely grateful for.
All of our coaches and athletes have been fantastic at staying home while sick, increasing ventilation when class is full, and generally giving each other space to workout and get healthier. Thanks for taking this seriously and continuing to provide a safe space for all of us to workout and burn off steam as the world burns around us.
CrossFit Makes One Harder to Kill
By Kerri Strasheim, 1/18/2021
By now, most of you know that I had a bout with COVID-19 and have since recovered. I thought you might appreciate hearing about my experiences and insights.
First, do not take this virus lightly (I know most of you are not). I really felt like getting this virus was like playing Russian Roulette - except that you don't know if the firing pin hits an empty chamber or not for a couple of weeks!
While chances are good one will have a mild case, the unpredictability of when hospitalization might be needed due to the immune system declaring war and affecting other necessary body components is a little scary. The accompanying anxiety is stressful - not knowing what path will be experienced.
Luckily, my case was mild, and, so far, I have not had any long-hauler complications. I knew that I had been exposed significantly (this also ensured that I didn't pass it on to anyone else!), so I was very aware of what getting sick felt like.
For me, it came on like any other virus typically does, with a stuffy and feverish-feeling head along with fatigue. The next day when the sense of smell started to go - that was the clincher. Unfortunately, smell did not just "disappear" - I got to enjoy the smell of rotting dead things for a little while, and being outside in the wind exacerbated that nasty, gag-worthy smell (were those my dying smell cells?).
I was grateful when smell finally went away. Though, Deep Blue (for a regular tension headache - not virus induced) and Vicks seem especially dangerous when one can't smell! I think I still had some Deep Blue on my hands when I took a Zycam lozenge - an added zing! My taste also dulled significantly, but I did not lose it fully. Eating really is less interesting without much taste or any smell so I lost a few pounds. I don't recommend the COVID weight loss program. Fatigue and shortness of breath with a strange-feeling chest were the rest of my symptoms.
Keeping the shortness of breath in mind, I managed a couple of slow walks while sick to keep moving and try to make sure my lungs were staying clear, but I could tell that the virus was taking its toll. I was ridiculously tired afterwards.
Generally when sick, I am a believer in resting early and resting lots (thank you, mono - twice...), so I was a good couch potato. When symptoms were getting better and after being released from isolation, I slowly started to test my systems with light cardio and accessory work (just under two weeks from start of symptoms). CrossFit definitely teaches us to be smart about our bodies and to learn when to rest and not to push too hard when recovering.
Remember our favorite health pathway graph - the one where we poke fun at ourselves for imagining our steady, steeper, upward climb of improvement, but reality gives us ups and downs and twists and turns? The other side of that is that we have been working on improvement - we are starting at a little higher point of health and strength. Our backslides as CrossFitters still can leave us in a better starting place in recovery than someone whose path has gone differently. I was very grateful for a good lung capacity and a fairly quick return to regular WODs. While I don't feel like I am fully back to 100% sprint capacity yet, my WOD experiences have felt pretty darn good - and some results are comparable to pre-COVID numbers (yay for the data collection of CrossFit!).
And, we can't forget our mental toughness gains. The anxiety mentioned earlier is tough, but we can counter that with knowing that we have put ourself in a better position through our positive health choices and gains made at TSCF - we truly are harder to kill.
Are you planning to take a family road trip this summer?
Plan ahead and pack nutritious snacks, to help save money and avoid “hangry” meltdowns.
● Avoid convenience store stops to save you $$$
● Pack snacks in individual containers to limit mess in the car
● Bring a reusable cup filled with water
● Use a good cooler to keep food at safe temperatures
● Consider packing wipes to clean off little hands when finished eating
● Ideas: Cut up veggies + mini humus packs, popcorn, homemade muffins, homemade granola/trail mix, string cheese + whole grain crackers, cut up fruit
Here's a fabulous guide to healthy road trip meals from fouraroundtheworld.com.
The most rewarding aspect of coaching is seeing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual transformation of YOU, our members.
All of your TSCF coaches care deeply about you. We see how hard you work and are continually impressed by your grit and grace.
The most challenging aspect of being a coach is helping you navigate your personal journey while not losing ourselves in the process.
Coaching is HARD and fantastic, and something all of us are deeply committed to. It was So. Much. Harder this past year with small classes, physical distancing, constant cleaning, and a high level of uncertainty.
Coach Kendra recently shared this powerful post by my fellow #bosslady at Rocket Community Fitness in Seattle. She nails the things we wish you knew about us.
We are SO excited and happy that we can finally throw open the doors, increase the class size, enjoy partner workouts, and invite new people into our TSCF community.
Thanks for trusting us with your health and fitness.
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