Vitamin D and Its Effects on Coronavirus Severity

As COVID-19 rises around the nation, many continue to seek ways to build immunity. Can vitamin D help decrease severity of symptoms?

Vitamin D and Its Effects on Coronavirus Severity

As COVID-19 rises around the nation, many continue to seek ways to build immunity.  Can vitamin D help decrease severity of symptoms?

The virus known as COVID-19, or the coronavirus, has ripped through the world in just one year and many places are currently seeing the largest rates of infection since the beginning of the pandemic.  As doctors and researchers learn more about the disease and its effects, there are also many studies being conducted and under review regarding immunity boosting nutrients or vitamins.  Limited studies have been produced but some are linking benefits of vitamin D to coronavirus severity.  

Benefits of Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is an important nutrient the human body needs to function in a healthy way.  According to Medical News Today, “Vitamin D is essential for several reasons, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It may also protect against a range of diseases and conditions, such as type 1 diabetes. Despite its name, vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a prohormone, or precursor of a hormone. Vitamins are nutrients that the body cannot create, and so a person must consume them in the diet. However, the body can produce vitamin D”.  Vitamin D can also help boost immunity and help in fighting disease.  Vitamin D can be absorbed through the skin when a person gets adequate sunlight, approximately 10-15 minutes a day.  Many people, especially those in colder climates and long winters, are at risk for vitamin D deficiency as they do not get out in the sunlight enough in the cold months.  Likewise, those who work indoors or work night shifts are also at risk for having too little vitamin D in their body.  General recommendations for vitamin D dosage for children and adults is 600 IU, or 15 mcg.  Those who do not get enough or close to recommended doses are at a greater risk in general for infection or disease.  (retrieved from Medical News Today).  

Vitamin D and Coronavirus

Several studies have been conducted over the past year regarding the supplementation of vitamin D and it’s correlation to coronavirus severity.  According to Healthline, recent scientific research has concluded that vitamin D supplementation might protect against respiratory infections, especially in people who were already deficient in vitamin D to begin with.  Keeping sufficient vitamin D levels in the body has been shown to potentially help aid in preventing serious complications or fatalities.  Furthermore, Medical News reports that studies showed a reduction in effects of the cytokine storm, which is the escalated inflammatory response that occurs in some individuals with the coronavirus. “Additional data suggests that vitamin D may reduce some of the unfavorable downstream immunological responses to COVID-19 that are associated with severe manifestations through the disease. Some of these downstream pathways that vitamin D may be involved in include preventing the rise of interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels and delaying the interferon-gamma response”. (retrieved from Medical News).  The Mayo Clinic also reports similar findings, showing that of those who had serious complications, vitamin D showed to help.  In a small, randomized study of 50 participants given a high dose of a type of vitamin D (calcifediol), only one needed to be treated in the ICU.  They had 26 patients who were not given the vitamin D, and 13 of the 26 participants needed to be treated in the ICU (retrieved from The Mayo Clinic).


Although supplementation with vitamin D is not proven to either prevent or treat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), there have been a number of positive findings that support vitamin D as a helpful immune boosting nutrient.  These findings are in line with what has been supportive evidence in favor of vitamin D and its immune support against other viruses and infections.  Most people can benefit from vitamin D supplementation and from eating immune boosting foods. To see our blog on best foods to boost immunity, click here.  The best ways to prevent contracting the novel coronavirus remain social distancing, avoiding indoor gatherings, wearing a mask when in public and washing hands regularly.  Eating a healthy diet and making sure that the body is getting the daily recommendations of nutrients can help boost immunity and keep the body strong no matter what type of illness or infection.  

How to Deal With Work From Home Burnout

Do you struggle with burnout while working from home during the pandemic? Here are a few strategies to get through the work week without feeling completely exhausted.

Do you struggle with burnout while working from home during the pandemic? Here are a few strategies to get through the work week without feeling completely exhausted.

Work From Home Burnout

How to Deal With Work From Home Burnout

The past year has seen many changes.  Many Americans have moved from working in an office space to working from home, and with this change comes many new challenges.  As the months roll on, people are feeling a sense of burnout and exhaustion, not only from COVID-19 fatigue but from working from home and the pressures that go along with it. According to Muse, “Work-from-home burnout happens when people can’t separate their work life and their home life, says Andrew Schwehm, a licensed clinical psychologist with Alma, a network of mental health providers, who also works at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and teaches at NYU School of Medicine. People are having an especially hard time separating the two during the pandemic when they’re working and living in one space”.  With many shelter in place or stay home recommendations being extended around the world, getting out is hard to do and many people feel very stuck.  So what can we do about this burnout?  With some simple strategies and tips, you can help avoid major exhaustion and complete burnout.

Symptoms of Burnout

How to Deal With Work From Home Burnout

Webmd describes symptoms of work from home burnout as any of the following:

  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Irritability and impatience
  • Changes in attitude-becoming cynical especially
  • Lack of interest in anything
  • Being easily distracted
  • Lack of productivity
  • Using alcohol or other substances to cope

Work from home burnout can also lead to feelings of depression and apathy, especially as the pandemic wears on.  The feelings of hopelessness are real and many who work from home can feel a sense of no end to their feelings.  Signs and symptoms can vary depending on a person’s living arrangement-whether they live in the city or suburbs, have a family and children or live alone, or have pets.  But regardless of a variance in these feelings they are very real and extremely important to recognize so that you can address them and make improvements for the sake of your health.  According to SureFiz trainer Jenn Ryan, there are some steps you can take for your health and wellness to prevent or improve your feelings of work from home burnout.

  • Set Boundaries: It can feel like you never have a break from the workday when you work from home.  There is no separation of the office and the sanctity of home.  One client stated that she felt like she worked from 8AM to 9PM and she only works an average of 5-6 hours a day.  With the many obligations of life-from spouse to kids to pets to laundry and housework, the juggling of all things leads to feeling like there can never be a break.  If you work on setting some boundaries between work and home, working within a certain part of the day and enjoying home life during other hours, you can create a sense of separation between the job and home life.
  • Prioritize Your Health: Many times when we reach burnout, health and fitness is the first thing that goes.  Right now, making our health a priority is more important than ever.  Working out and focusing on fitness doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment or even a trip to the gym.  Working out from home is simple and easy to squeeze in when you have some time.  A 30 minute workout is better than no workout and whenever you can fit it into your day is beneficial to general health.  Your mind and body will thank you.  Many people also report that they feel rejuvenated, more ready to tackle daily tasks and accomplish goals after a workout. 
  • Get More Sleep: It may feel easier to work late into the night hours to finish a task but it’s important to remember that the tasks will be there for you when you wake up.  Regularly “burning the midnight oil” will lead to further exhaustion in the coming days and create a cycle that can be hard to get out of.  Getting adequate sleep is incredibly important for body and mind recovery, for minimizing anxiety and helping with energy reserves.  Getting to bed at a decent hour will help you wake up more energized, which will lead to better productivity during your work day.
  • Take Breaks and Get Out: When you feel yourself lagging or lacking motivation, it’s okay to take a break to clear your mind.  Take a walk, get outside for some fresh air, or even take a short drive if the weather isn’t accommodating in the winter months.  A change of scenery can refresh your mind and spirit so that when you return to the home office you can be ready to get back to your daily work tasks. 
  • Do Something You Enjoy: If you had a hobby before the pandemic and you stopped doing it, pick it back up.  You might find that it fills your spirit and soul in the ways you need!  Not sure about what you would enjoy?  Playing an instrument, singing, dancing, even coloring, drawing or journaling can all be done at home and can be relaxing activities that give you a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment in these hard times.  
  • Talk to Someone: Working from home during this pandemic can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, and with many socialization activities out in public closed or limited, it can be much harder to connect with those you care about.  Be sure to make the effort to reach out to friends and family to talk out your feelings.  Sharing with others will help take away the burden and you may find that you aren’t the only one suffering from burnout at home and that others are in the same place.  Even if you can’t be in person, calling on the phone or setting up a video chat to connect with loved ones can help refill your tank and is good for the soul. 

How to Deal With Work From Home Burnout

The job may not get easier, the pandemic may not be over quickly and we all may be working from home for a while longer-if not permanently.  But we can all get through this together and work to avoid the inevitable burnout that can occur from at home working.  Even if you already feel some or all of these symptoms of burnout, you can reverse the effects by setting up some of these strategies to protect yourself from long term effects and damage on your body and mind.  You need to take care of yourself to remain healthy and strong, in order for you to be productive at home and work for many years to come.  

Pandemic Fatigue Affecting People Around The World

As we reach almost one year of dealing with the COVID-19 virus worldwide, many people are beginning to experience pandemic fatigue.

As we reach almost one year of dealing with the COVID-19 virus worldwide, many people are beginning to experience pandemic fatigue.  But the results of such fatigue can be devastating.

Pandemic Fatigue: What It Is and How It Is Affecting People Around The World

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly reshaped this past year for people all around the world.  It has wreaked havoc in governments, households, stock markets, small businesses and even relationships.  Not much of regular life looks the same as it did a year ago.  Now that an entire year has almost passed, many people are reaching a point of frustration with having to alter so much of their lives. Experts are calling this “pandemic fatigue”.  According to WDG Public Health, “‘Pandemic fatigue’ can occur when people get tired of the pandemic measures and become less likely to follow public health practices or simply begin to drown out those messages.  A natural sense of burnout can happen since we’ve had to stick to these public health measures for such a prolonged period of time.  Pandemic fatigue can be experienced differently for everyone but often presents itself as feeling restless, irritable, lacking motivation, and difficulty concentrating on tasks”.  The effects of pandemic fatigue can vary in severity based on many factors-age, marital/relationship status, socioeconomic status, race and gender.  Some research has shown youth and young adults suffering the most, as they are still establishing themselves and their relationships.  Without the ability to socialize in person and enjoy being in public, many are growing weary and lonely.  With the lower risk of complications or death, many youth also find it hard to continue staying apart and are not continuing to maintain the social distancing/stay at home suggestions from many health officials.    

This level of fatigue and the symptoms it causes can have many health implications.  First and foremost, the lack of motivation is extremely detrimental to those trying to lose weight or get healthy.   It is hard enough to maintain a long term intrinsic/internal drive to workout or stay moving in a work out program, let alone during a year-long global pandemic.  Many Americans who lost their motivation a few months into 2020 have found it hard to get back on track with their fitness activities.   Another health side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting pandemic fatigue is stress and restlessness.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes lead to  the following:

  • Fear and worry about personal health, loved ones, job loss, finances, etc
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Worsening of previous chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • Increased substance abuse (drugs, tobacco, alcohol, etc)

The longer that the world is dealing with this pandemic, the more fatigue and related symptoms will increase.  Another concern health officials have with pandemic fatigue is that the general population will begin to relax on following health guidelines, and many areas around the world are already seeing this trend.  With the holidays on the horizon, many family and social gatherings could lead to a large spike worldwide.  The holidays are usually considered a happy time, where friends and families gather together, share meals and spend much of their time indoors.  During a global pandemic, these behaviors are highly discouraged due to the increased risk of gathering together with many people.  Due to pandemic fatigue, many Americans are choosing to continue their holiday rituals and traveling to be together.  Many airlines report strong bookings over the holidays despite the encouragement to stay home.  With families choosing to fly, some gathering from many different parts of the country, health officials are all very nervous there will be spikes all over the country.  

If you are feeling any of these symptoms, rest assured you are not alone.  Many, if not all, have identified with one or more of the pandemic fatigue symptoms at some point through the year.  It is important-for your health and those around you-to continue following safety measures.  Wearing masks in public, staying home whenever possible, minimizing parties and social gatherings and extra hand washing will all help in the fight against COVID-19.  Hopefully we will see an end in sight, but in the meantime we will get through it.  People are resilient and strong in nature and with a little patience can conquer any mountain, no matter how big. 

Air Pollution Could Affect Coronavirus Severity

In new studies published last week, scientists are finding potential links to long term pollution exposure and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.

In new studies published last week, scientists are finding potential links to long term pollution exposure and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms in individuals.

New Study Shows Air Pollution Could Affect Coronavirus Severity

The COVID-19 virus that infiltrated the world almost a year ago has become quite the perplexing disease; as scientists, doctors and other specialists scramble to understand it.  There have been many developments made as knowledge increases surrounding COVID-19.  Last week, some new studies emerged regarding Coronavirus severity of symptoms and polluted areas around the country.  One newly released study from Harvard University released findings that areas with higher pollution levels around the country could be connected to the higher death rates of the Coronavirus. stated; “According to a nationwide study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, people with COVID-19 who live in areas with high air pollution levels are more likely to die than those who live in less polluted regions.The study looked at 3,080 different counties and looked at the levels of fine particulate air pollution — specifically tiny particles called “particulate matter” — which is generated by fuel combustion from cars, refineries and power plants — and compared it to the risk of death from the Coronavirus in the U.S.  They found that a small increase — one microgram per cubic meter — in long-term exposure to particulate matter leads to a 15% increase in the COVID-19 death rate”.  

With many so many counties around the country having elevated pollution levels, this can be concerning to residents in these areas.  The data is all so new and has the potential to evolve over time as experts discover more and more about COVID-19 and the effects it has on each individual infected.  For now, researchers are working to find as much information as possible with these links of air pollution and COVID-19.  The data supports findings about air pollution and lung health that has been well established, as reported by  “’The nation has known for some time that long-term exposure to particle pollution can worsen symptoms of lung disease, increase susceptibility to lung infection, trigger heart attack and stroke, and can even cause lung cancer and premature death. This new research from Harvard now links particle pollution exposure to a dramatically higher death rate from COVID-19,’ Harold Wimmer, president of the American Lung Association said in a statement”.  

Although this knowledge can be concerning, residents with a compromised heart or lungs in areas with higher pollution can take measures to protect themselves and stay healthy. recommends taking a vacation somewhere more rural with lower pollution levels to give your heart and lungs a break, or a “stay”cation inside where many people have air filters and air conditioning.  Avoiding areas deep in cities that tend to have the highest levels of pollution can also be helpful, as well as wearing high quality masks (which will also help with Coronavirus protection when out in public).  Maintaining heart and lung health are key components to staying strong and healthy, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic.  By taking health and safety measures, people can do their part to keep the risk of complications lower in the chance they do someday contract the virus.  Keeping your body healthy is pivotal, not only during a worldwide pandemic but in everyday life as well. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Delayed

When will the first COVID-19 vaccine be available to United States markets? The news reports from vaccine providers are showing slower results.

When will the first COVID-19 vaccine be available to United States markets? The news reports from vaccine providers are showing slower results than originally predicted.

COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Delayed

From the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, pharmaceutical companies have been in a mass frenzy to come up with the first vaccine to bring to market.  Many different trials are being conducted and early reports showed that a vaccine could be ready this fall.  Even President Trump has repeatedly stated that a vaccine could be ready before Election Day.  Unfortunately even the frontrunners have slowed their progress on clinical trials.  Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies involved in the COVID-19 vaccine have had promising reports in their smaller scale trials, but stage 3 trials will show much more information.  There are now 5 pharmaceutical companies who have entered phase 3 trials, which are larger scale trials to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine in more people.  According to, “front-runner Pfizer revealed in an earnings call that the first interim analysis in its phase 3 trial has not yet occurred.  That means there hadn’t yet been enough COVID infections among the trial participants to take a first stab at analyzing whether the people randomly assigned to receive vaccines were infected at a lower rate than people who were assigned to get a placebo injection”.   

Why has this vaccine taken so much longer than expected?  Many companies are citing safety concerns.  Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca are two companies who had to pause their clinical trials for safety reasons.  Both companies used the term “unexplained illnesses”.   The New York Times reports that these delays are a good thing, not a bad thing.  “Clinical trials experts said these delays were comforting, in a way: They show that the researchers were following proper safety procedures” (  In phase 3 trials larger groups of people volunteering are randomly given either a placebo or vaccine, and they don’t know which one they receive.  Following administration, each participant is closely monitored for symptoms. Minor symptoms are not usually enough to pause a trial, but serious symptoms (known as an “adverse event”) have to be immediately reported to the pharmaceutical company and to the Food and Drug Administration.  After reporting, a long investigation is done into the individuals involved in the trial, their health history, the nature of the symptoms and what they mean, etc.  Each of these steps takes time and causes major lags in vaccine development.  The trial cannot continue until discovery has been made.  All of this information should make consumers breathe easier when considering the vaccine-with the level of safety and investigation done at the pharmaceutical level, they are doing what they can to maintain safety once their vaccine is brought to market.  

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was recently asked his opinion on when he expects a COVID-19 vaccine to be available in the United States.  According to Dr. Fauci, if the trials can continue as planned, a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine could become available to some high-risk Americans in late December or early January.  Americans will likely know “sometime in December whether or not we have a safe and effective vaccine,” Fauci stated in live chats on Twitter and Facebook.  

Many Americans are anxiously awaiting any news on vaccines and when life can begin to feel normal again. Life in a pandemic world is exhausting, stressful and scary.  Unfortunately stress can affect the immune system among all the other negative side effects to the body.  Remember to take some time to find stress relief, exercise and eat right.  This will not last forever and we will get back to normal.  In the meantime; stay safe, wear your mask, maintain social-distancing and wash your hands.  

Source: Stat News and New York Times

COVID-19 Vaccine May Not Work on Obese People

Even with COVID vaccines, people who are obese may still be a population who are highly vulnerable to COVID-19.

Even with COVID vaccines, people who are obese may still be a population who are highly vulnerable to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine May Not Work on Obese People

It has been reported that obesity is linked with risk factors for severe COVID-19 symptoms. Since March 2020, studies after studies have poured in from countries around the world reaching the same conclusion. People who are obese are more likely to die from COVID-19 than are those of normal weight, even when factors such as diabetes and hypertension are taken into account.

According to Nature Research Journal vaccines might not be as effective in people who are obese, a population already highly vulnerable to COVID-19. 

About 42% of Americans are obese, which poses quite a challenge for the effectiveness of the long and dearly waited for COVID-19 vaccination. Around the globe, a general expectation is when we have the vaccine we will have a strong shield against COVID-19. For the obese, the bad news is vaccine may not be as good of a shield for as it is for non-obese people. It is already established that for people with underlying conditions COVID-19 could manifest complications. Obesity is linked with diabetes, heart disease and other risk factors for severe COVID-19 symptoms, so it is not just obesity but the conditions and diseases that generally go along with it.

Obesity is also linked to less-diverse populations of microbes in the gut, nose and lung; with altered compositions and metabolic functions compared with those in lean individuals. Those gut microbes can influence the immune responses to pathogens and to vaccines. This hypothesis is backed by studies of vaccines against influenza, Hepatitis B and rabies, which have show reduced responses in people who are obese compared with people who are lean.

However some researchers are still unconvinced that obesity will blunt the efficacy of vaccines because those studies on influenza vaccines were relatively small. Even if that is true, there might be ways to compensate for the vaccine shortcomings. One possibility is to give obese people extra doses of vaccine, maybe two or three injections instead of one.

There are currently three leading candidate vaccines currently being tested in large clinical trials. Unfortunately, the trials might not have samples that will allow it to determine whether obesity affects the vaccine response because it depends on who volunteers for the trial. It also depends on how well trial sponsors are at recruiting individuals from under-represented minority groups. In the end the world will still need to wait for data from clinical studies to draw conclusions. However, with the current studies showing an association between the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and obesity, hopefully it can push some governments and their health-care systems to tackle the growing obesity problems in their countries.

If you are at higher risk of COVID 19 complications due to obesity, it is never too late to start a weight loss journey. SureFiz will help you with our intelligent system and program that are all made based on proven studies around obesity. Give it a try now. SureFiz currently offers a limited promotion: subscribe for a 1-year plan and get a life-long plan and a FREE smart scale. Take advantage of it. Subscribe now. Start your weight loss journey and achieve your goals.

Source: Nature 586, 488-489 (2020)