I love tennis. It is my sport of choice when I am not playing golf. This year I have had an exciting time watching John Isner rising to the top of the tennis ranks. What an athlete! – have you seen him shoot a basketball? I love Isnerball – a unique approach to tennis that can only be used by a six foot ten inch athlete with an exceptional serve. Now I am sad that another of my favorites, Venus Williams, has had to retire from the US Open because of Sjogren’s (pronounced sow-grins) syndrome.
The physical nature of tennis is extreme. Nutritional conditioning of the tennis professional is of prime importance, especially those things that affect the energy systems as vitamin D, magnesium, and iodine. The reason that I list these as primary is the vitamin D is not fully accepted by medical practice and the magnesium and iodine are difficult to measure and thus not used as markers for poor nutrition.
So how can I make this claim about Venus and her diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome? It has been well established by research that the majority of autoimmune diseases are a reflection of the lack of the body’s primary weapon for immunity – vitamin D3. Here is a paper that was published in 1990 from research in Denmark: “Abnormal Vitamin D metabolism in patients with Sjogren’s syndrome” -K Muller . The really good thing about this study was that the levels of 25(OH)D3 and 25(OH)D2 were both measured. Discovered was the patients with the autoimmune disease had a significantly lower level of 25(OH)D3. In fact, 25(OH)D3 could not even be measured in nine of the patients. At the end of the discussion the author’s make this statement – “It is unclear whether the changed vitamin D3 metabolism is related to the immunopathology of this disease or is merely an epiphenomenon.” Based on research in the twenty one years since this publication, it is clear that low vitamin D3 levels are the culprit.
How could a person who spends a significant amount of time in the sun be vitamin D deficient? Dark skin tone and the use of sunscreen? This is the issue and the IOM would say that she is not if her level of the storage form is 20 ng/ml or more. Venus is just one of millions that are now in their twenties and thirties that are showing chronic disease from the fear of the sun touted for the last fifty years. We now know that for health and great sport performance that 25(OH) D3 needs to be above 60 ng/ml. I sincerely hope that Venus connects with a professional medical person like Dr. John Cannell, Vitamin D Council, and develops an understanding of the nutrition that she needs to come back to the sport. I believe Dr. Cannell has an up and coming book on vitamin D sports nutrition. If Venus does this, then we can expect to see her at the Australian Open in January.
If she gives in to the normal line of treatment, then who knows what the results will be. The first course of action is a drug that is used to treat malaria, hydroxychloroquine. I find this just sad because of the side effects. Venus, take some vitamin D3 and drink some quinine or tonic water, supplement with magnesium and iodine and get back on the courts.
John Isner, if you are reading this then get your vitamin D level tested. I look forward to you winning a couple of majors real soon. I love Isnerball! – pandemic survivor.