Are you suffering from Long Covid?
Many people who contract Covid-19 will recover in 2-3 weeks. However, for some people, even those who have had mild Covid, symptoms can persist for months. This is called Long Covid and can include many symptoms that have originally been associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME.
What are some of the symptoms that are associated with Long Covid:
- Shortness of breath
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Chest pain
- Brain fog
Danny Altman, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, has said that many features of Long Covid, when put together with the organ damage seen on MRI and CT scans, look like inflammatory or autoimmune manifestations.
A 2021 publication in the South African Medical Journal adds that there is growing evidence that being infected with COVID-19 can result in persisting cognitive impairment. Authors report that COVID-19 can have consequences for prolonged cognitive dysfunction even in people who had relatively mild symptoms that were managed at home. For the most severely affected participants with COVID-19 (those hospitalised and who required mechanical ventilation), there can be significant loss of function with linguistic problem-solving and visual selective attention most affected. Exactly how long this may last is still to be determined.
Back in January of this year, I published a note on Facebook regarding a scientific review that linked poor gut health with more severe Covid outcomes. Imbalances in the make-up of the microbiome may also be implicated in persisting inflammatory symptoms (Long Covid) the findings also suggest. So it makes sense that the gut, as with all chronic illness, is the place to start if we are to help Covid long haulers.
So, how do we help the gut? Dietary modifications are absolutely paramount. But which diet will be best will depend on many factors and other comorbidities – mood disorders, autoimmune disease, insulin resistance and/or diabetes as well as any history of allergy or food sensitivity. It may also be necessary to run a stool test to determine the level of dysbiosis in the gut with a high likelihood that it will be necessary to rotate in different natural antibacterials/antifungals as well as gut-immune support.
From the Covid long haulers that I have seen, fatigue has been the most common complaint. When we think of energy production, we think of the mitochondria. In addition to being the powerhouses of the cell, mitochondria are also involved in maintaining cell immunity, homeostasis, cell survival, and cell death. Mitochondria also play a role in cell apoptosis (programmed cell death), calcium signalling, regulation of cellular membrane potential, and steroid synthesis. Covid-19 hijacks the mitochondria and uses it for protection and viral replication, diverting resources from supporting normal cellular function to now serving as a viral factory. Decreased mitochondrial function means less cellular energy, resulting in generalized fatigue, muscle weakness, and brain fog on a broader scale.
There are a host of supplements that have the potential to be very effective in Long Covid. It is important that these are tailored to the individual. What one would use for brain fog may be different to what one would use for muscle pain/weakness. For example, B vitamins and CoQ10 would support mitochondrial function whilst Alpha Lipoic Acid may be more beneficial for neurologic health. In general, you would probably need to look at a few combinations.
If you’re suffering from Long Covid, get in touch with our clinic (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can get your health back on track.