Category: Fall 2022, Georgetown Magazine

Title:Hoya author recommends vitamin D in book series

Author: Patti North
Date Published: September 27, 2022
Susan Rex Ryan
Photo: Courtesy of Susan Rex Ryan

When Susan Rex Ryan (SLL’75) retired from the federal government, she never expected to write one book, let alone five. But her career as a writer began when she started feeling fatigued with muscle aches and joint pain. ”I felt terrible,” she recalled. “Just doing a load of laundry seemed like a big job.”

When conventional treatments didn’t help, she decided to investigate on her own, attending medical conferences and seminars, and reading medical journals. After a simple blood test, she learned that she was suffering from vitamin D deficiency.

It felt like I learned a secret that really needs to be shared.

Further investigation led her to numerous scientific studies that showed a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a variety of illnesses and conditions, including arthritis, muscle aches, and chronic pain. Ryan’s research led her to still other studies that associate vitamin D deficiency with aging, cancer, even the common cold.

After she began taking a vitamin D3 supplement, she found that her symptoms disappeared.

“Vitamin D cannot be patented, so it isn’t a corporate moneymaker,” Ryan says. “It felt like I learned a secret that really needs to be shared, so I wrote Defend Your Life.” Her first book led to the writing of two additional vitamin D books that review medical research in language that lay readers can understand.

Her latest book, inspired by the pandemic, explores the role of vitamin D and immunity, with a focus on contagious respiratory illnesses. For example, a 2021 study by University of Florida researchers found that COVID-19 patients with vitamin D deficiency were 4.6 times more likely to test positive for the illness than patients without it. U.S. researcher Dr. William B. Grant concluded “severe vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of COVID-19 severity and fatal outcome.” Another 2021 study concluded that low vitamin D is a “predictor rather than just a side effect of the infection.”

Her other self-help books delve into topics ranging from what to expect from cataract surgery to DNA’s role in depression.

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