Each month we publish a blog highlighting a member, putting them in the spotlight. We discuss their background and why they’re interested in vitamin D. To see all member spotlight articles, click here.
This month we’re featuring member Cathy Stephens. Cathy has fought severe asthma her entire life and after years of struggling with medications, asthma attacks, and being told she can’t exercise, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Cathy has always been adventurous. She had a nagging interest in being able to compete in triathlons, although she always wrote off that possibility because of her asthma. This all changed when she volunteered at an Ironman race (a type of super triathlon), and she decided she just couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore.
So she began training for a triathlon despite her severe asthma, and although it wasn’t easy by any means, she eventually began competing in them.
When Cathy started to progress from short distance triathlons to endurance race distances, she started to pay more attention to nutrition, to see if it could both help her manage her asthma and improve her athletic performance. She began supplementing with omega-3s, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
When talking to a doctor about nutrition, vitamin D came up. He explained, “Asthma control isn’t always about having your meds on standby and taking them the moment you feel the telltale signs of an impending attack. It’s about having your body’s defenses ready to help fight off an attack on its own, with or without meds. And one of the most important parts of that defense system is vitamin D.”
So Cathy started taking vitamin D.
“It is absolutely amazing to me how much of an impact this one powerful vitamin has on the body and in so many capacities. From asthma to obesity to brain health,” she explains. Cathy noticed she could now run races without her emergency inhaler, although it was always on hand. With her “magic formula” – as she calls it – dialed in, she decided to sign up for an Ironman race.
Unfortunately, due to a full blown asthma attack, Cathy had to cut her first Ironman short. But she wasn’t going to stop there. She continued training and fine tuning her health and on June 24th, 2012, she completed an Ironman race without touching her inhaler. 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles cycling and 26.2 miles running!
Cathy attributes her success to hard work, nutrition, and the motivation to prove her doctors wrong with the idea that she can’t take her body to extreme physical limits due to her health condition.
Cathy has been a Vitamin D Council blog member for a little over a year. Although she isn’t a health professional, she enjoys talking with people about the health benefits of vitamin D. She constantly refers friends and family to the Council’s website. “I love the clear and researched information that the blog provides.”
We want to thank Cathy for participating in our member spotlight blog series.
To read more about Cathy’s experience as an athlete with asthma, check out her own personal blog.