By Gaby Herbst
The cold months are almost over, warmer monts are upon us and it seems people should be getting healthier. Instead emergency rooms around the country are bracing for the “second wave” of this year’s flu season, as well as preparing for the possibility of more cases of the newly emerged Coronavirus. Even without this new disease, and the seasonal flu, during these winter months your body could also be experiencing a decrease in Vitamin D, and other essential nutrients needed to maintain a healthy immune system. Vitamin D levels decline in the winter months with their lowest levels experienced in March, which coincidentally coincides with the “second wave” of the seasonal flu. As doctors work to fight both the flu and the coronavirus, what are ways that you can protect yourself and your health?
The answer may lie in your Vitamin D levels. Many people do not notice Vitamin D deficiencies because the symptoms are often mistaken for the “winter blues”: greater frequency of getting sick, increased fatigue, bone and back pain, or a more depressed mood. During these winter months, increasing your body’s immunity is a top priority.
Vitamin D can benefit your immune system because it is known to directly engage with the cells fighting infection. Some studies even noticed a link between Vitamin D deficiency and respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or the common cold. Low Vitamin D levels can lead to fatigue because of the role it plays in regulating the sleep cycle. Poor sleep impacts an individual’s quality of life, which in turn, can lead to the feelings of depression - most noticeable during the winter months and commonly referred to as seasonal depression. Vitamin D combats poor sleep in another way as well! Its key role in calcium absorption and musculoskeletal health, can aid in reducing bone and back pain allowing us to get a more restful night’s sleep. So, how does Vitamin D actually get into the body?
Our bodies make Vitamin D in the presence of sunlight when the UV rays contact our skin, from there our body then converts Vitamin D3 into active Vitamin D. During the winter months the sun stays lower in the sky, the days get shorter, and the air gets colder so we wear more clothing. All of these reasons contribute to a decrease in UV exposure on our skin, prohibiting the body from making sufficient Vitamin D, which can lead to weakened immune system. As there is a direct correlation between lower Vitamin D levels and peak flu and cold season, what can we do to maintain and restore Vitamin D levels in the body and keep us protected? Patronus Wellness in La Jolla has an answer to just that.
At Patronus, the medical staff offer micronutrient testing, to first see if you are indeed deficient in Vitamin D. Micronutrient testing is a process that requires a simple blood draw, which will allow the physician to look at 35 specific nutrients inside the cell to get a better look at your nutrient levels and to see if your body is properly absorbing them. If you do have low levels of Vitamin D, or any other vitamins, the doctors at Patronus can help you come up with a plan to restore your levels to their optimum value. One way to do this is with an injection called the Sunburst, the immune booster, which contains Vitamin D3 (the precursor of Vitamin D) and Vitamin B5.
A final thought for the flu season:
Even though increasing your Vitamin D levels is one way to increase your immunity and defend yourself from the flu and other illnesses, there are also other ways to help protect you. Here are a few tips on how to keep yourself safe and healthy during these next few months:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, as germs can easily enter the body this way.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick to prevent spreading illness to others.
Hopefully these tips will help you battle your way through the final months of the flu season. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out to the Patronus Clinic in La Jolla to learn more about how we can help you boost your immune system and keep you healthy!
7825 Fay Ave. Ste 160
Inside the La Jolla Sports Club
La Jolla, CA 92037