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Vitamin D and COVID-19 Prevention

Vitamin D and COVID-19 Prevention


Vitamin D and COVID-19 Prevention

Women have known for years that getting enough vitamin D is important to ensure bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Researchers have also noted over the years that vitamin D may be useful to help treat menopause symptoms and ward off a variety of illnesses.

Now, researchers are turning their attention to investigate if vitamin D levels could be important in preventing and treating COVID-19—and some initial studies are encouraging.

Why Vitamin D?

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” is important to our bodies’ immune systems. We get it through exposure to sunlight or by eating foods that contain vitamin D, such as fatty fish, fortified dairy and fortified cereals, and egg yolks.

Doctors think many people might have a vitamin D deficiency, especially during winter in geographic areas that don’t get strong sun. Some people are already at a higher risk of not getting enough vitamin D, including older adults and people with darker skin, which does not produce vitamin D as readily.

What Has Research Found?

Studies in recent years have found that some adults taking a vitamin D supplement reduced their risk of developing acute respiratory infections. These were positive results for older adults in long-term care facilities, where respiratory infections are one of the leading causes of serious illness and death.

Since COVID-19 infections began, a number of studies have looked into vitamin D status and potential rates of infection or illness severity and found some connection. For example:

  • One study examining vitamin D levels in 20 European countries found that the countries with low vitamin D levels were also the countries with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection and mortality.
  • Observations from South Asian hospitals have shown that in patients with COVID-19, vitamin D deficiency was much higher in patients with severe cases.
  • Dr. JoAnn Manson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and one of the leading voices in vitamin D research, is in the process of planning a clinical trial examining the impacts of vitamin D on the risk of developing COVID-19 and its impact on the severity of infection.

While more study is needed to understand the link between vitamin D and COVID-19, it could also be a good time to ensure you are getting an adequate amount in your daily life. Clinicians suggest a daily vitamin D supplement of 800 – 1000 ius a day for most Americans. Also, make sure you are eating a diet that includes a variety of healthy foods to boost your immune function.

No evidence shows that high doses of vitamin D are beneficial, and taking too much in the form of a supplement could be harmful to your body. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

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Eileen West, MD about 10 hrs ago
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The scenario plays out like this… you’re sitting at home watching reruns of Friends when your vision blurs. Minutes later your head feels like it's set in a vice, and someone is cranking the lever. With your head throbbing, the nausea kicks in. After making a bathroom stop (goodbye lunch), you climb into bed and pull the covers over your face, lying still in the dark. Can you relate? This is called migraine, and sadly this illness is all too common. ● Approximately 39 million people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide have migraines ● Most people with migraine have 1 to 2 attacks per month which can extend from 4 hours to 3 days ● 36 billion is spent each year on healthcare and loss of productivity due to migraines Add onto those staggering stats this surprise—WOMEN are at greatest risk. Studies show that 8 out of 10 people with migraine are females. While research isn’t fully conclusive as to why, the data points to women’s hormone levels changing. ➡️ If you are battling migraines, please know that you do not need to suffer alone. At Eileen West, MD, and Associates, we are here to help you find the right treatment to prevent migraines and make them less painful. You have a life to lead. We’re here to help you on that journey and provide exceptional care. ⭐️ June is National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month. Share your migraine questions below… We’d love to help. #youdeservebetter #msmedicine #fairfaxphysician #conciergemedicine #lifestylemedicine #doctorsofinstagram #femalephysician #womenshealth #fairfaxdoctor #fairfax #fairfaxva #fxva #dc #washington #loveVA #fairfaxcounty #virginia #northernvirginia #nova #dcarea #dmv #va #nham

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Eileen West, MDabout 2 days ago
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IT’S SELF-CARE SUNDAY. We’re back this week to focus on the importance of self-care and giving you tips on how to practically care for the physical, mental, emotional, & social parts of you. Today’s self-care tip is simple but necessary: Find Ways To Relax Our American society prides itself on doing, doing, doing. Here’s the truth - busy doesn’t equal beneficial. We need a balance of work, play, and rest. Your mind, body, and emotions need periods of relaxation in order to refuel. Here are 10 Ways You Can Relax: ● Meditate ● Do Yoga ● Get a massage ● Take a nature walk or hike ● Journal ● Swim ● Listen to calming music ● Sit in the sun ● Color ● Read a book Self-care isn’t selfish, it is essential. Your brain and body need downtime. Do yourself a favor & RELAX. ➡️ What is your favorite way to relax? Tell us in the comments. #youdeservebetter #msmedicine #fairfaxphysician #conciergemedicine #lifestylemedicine #doctorsofinstagram #femalephysician #womenshealth #fairfax

Eileen West, MD
Eileen West, MDabout 6 days ago
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More than 80% of women experience hot flashes during menopause. Hot flashes can occur during the day or night and have a range of severity. If you fall into the category of moderate to severe, here are 6 tips to help you find relief: 1. Keep the temperature in your home cool. 2. Reduce stress with yoga, tai chi, meditation, biofeedback, acupuncture & massage. 3. Eliminate hot drinks, hot foods, alcohol, caffeine, and cigarette smoking 4. Wear light, breathable clothing during the day and to bed. 5. Sleep with cooling products, including sprays, gels, and a cool-fabric pillow. Use layered bedding that can be easily removed during the night. Cool down with a bedside fan. 6. When a hot flash is starting, try “paced respiration”—slow, deep, abdominal breathing, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe only 5 to 7 times per minute, much more slowly than usual. ➡️ There are some prescription treatments to help with menopausal symptoms. Talk with your primary care doctor to discuss the best path for you. If you currently are seeking a provider, we are here to advocate for your total wellbeing and provide knowledgeable and personal care. Please reach out to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help! References: The North American Menopause Society (mnflashes.pdf), Stat from National Library of Medicine #youdeservebetter #msmedicine #fairfaxphysician #conciergemedicine #lifestylemedicine #doctorsofinstagram #femalephysician #womenshealth #fairfaxdoctor #fairfax #fairfaxva #fxva #dc #washington #loveVA #fairfaxcounty #virginia #northernvirginia #nova #dcarea #dmv #va #menopause

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