Dealing with Long Covid

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Having recently attended a seminar with Panaxea’s Daniel Weber on this topic, I learned of this scenario:

“When Natalie Hollabaugh tested positive for Covid-19 in March 2020, her recovery felt extremely slow.

Eighteen months later, she was still suffering from a litany of symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, and joint pain. She saw a cardiologist and a pulmonologist, who both ruled out other health problems, she said. And they advised her to start exercising, suggesting that some of her symptoms may have been a result of being out of shape. So Ms. Hollabaugh dutifully began using an exercise bike, speed walking on a treadmill and walking her dogs several miles a day.

But instead of helping, her new exercise regimen only exacerbated her symptoms. “I had never felt worse,” said Ms. Hollabaugh, 31, a lawyer who lives in Portland, Ore. She found she had to start taking daily naps, that her heart rate would skyrocket even when she was at rest and that she was so tired she couldn’t concentrate.”

What’s the Research Saying?

Thirty to forty percent of COVID-19 survivors have shown the symptoms of anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and post- traumatic stress disorder and other chronic diseases. 

The diseases do not end when the virus is absent, ‘Long Covid’ remains an ongoing psycho-physical disease for many months subsequently.

The research that I’ve done has shown that inability to exercise is one of the most common long-term symptoms of long Covid, however many people are experiencing debilitating symptom relapses like increases in fatigue, brain fog or nerve and muscle pain.

Long Covid and the Loss of Smell

Nearly half of those who became ill with Covid in the first wave of infections may have long-term and even permanent changes to their sense of smell, according to preliminary research from Sweden. A sudden loss of smell, or an impaired or distorted perception of odours, emerged as an unusual symptom of Covid early on in the pandemic. While many people swiftly recovered, others found that their sense of smell never quite returned to normal.

Furthermore, a minor loss of smell, or noticing that certain odours smell weird, may not be life changing for many, but a severe loss of smell could lead to depression and to people changing their diets, often for the worse, causing them to put on weight. When you cannot smell, all you can sense is the five basic taste qualities, tactile sensations and spices. Unconsciously, people start to add more sugar and fat, or have an increased urge for fried food for the texture, all to get some enjoyment out of eating.

Who is more prone to developing Long Covid?

A team of researchers who followed more than 200 patients for two to three months after their Covid diagnoses have tried to answer that question. They report that they have identified biological factors that might help predict if a person will develop long Covid.

This study found several factors that could be identified early in a person’s coronavirus infection that appeared to correlate with increased risk of having lasting symptoms weeks later. 

These factors included:

  • The presence of certain autoantibodies like those in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a virus that infects most people, often when they are young, and then usually becomes dormant.
  • Obesity and having Type 2 diabetes, although the researchers and other experts said that in studies involving larger numbers of patients, it might turn out that diabetes is only one of several medical conditions that increase the risk of long Covid.

Natural Medicine Perspective

So… having an autoimmune disease, poorly managed EBV or diabetes correlates with increased risk of poor recovery outcomes of Covid, and sometimes the vaccine as well.

These conditions occur due to factors such as:

  1. Poor gut health – directly correlated with autoimmune disease (read anything by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride for more info on this),
  2. Poor nourishment – diabetes is a known lifestyle disease correlated with poor food choices and blood sugar dysregulation amongst other things
  3. Chronic lowered immunity – also related to poor gut health, inadequate nutrition and poorly managed stress. 

In my professional opinion, nutrition and natural medicine has a lot of offer sufferers of Long Covid, however, it requires proper assessment of the individual case and personalised prescriptions tailored to the individual’s capacity to make changes and their level of education. It’s the long game for Long Covid!

Here’s just a taste of what you can do:

Essential nutrients for immune health include:

  • Zinc
  • Vitamin A, D and C

Essential factors for gut and immune health

  • Digestive enzymes
  • Probiotics
  • Zinc, chloride, multiple vitamins

Great foods for immune health:

  • Immune enhancing foods such as mushrooms
  • Anti-microbial foods such as garlic and onions
  • Sulphur containing foods such as cabbage and broccoli
  • Adequate protein (in proportion to your carbohydrate intake)
  • Adequate amounts of good fats such as butter, ghee, olive oil, cod liver oil, lard and duck fat

Summary

That’s really the story of Covid — that for every patient, Long Covid is different. There’s probably never going to be a one-size-fits-all recommendation for recovery. A long-term personalised approach is your best option. 

Remember, it’s the long game!

References

Brenda Rogers

Of course, I can help you with this. BUT forget quick fixes and instant results with no effort for free!! It takes time, money and commitment to be healthy. If you have all 3, I can guarantee I can help you get results. 

Disclaimer: Working with chronic disease requires a collaboration of health professionals. Make sure you’re working with your medical doctor in addition to seeking natural alternatives.

Contact Brenda at brenda@qwomen.com.au for more details or book your complimentary Discovery Session here.

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Brenda Rogers

With over 25 years experience as a corporate trainer, naturopath, yoga teacher and wise woman educator, Brenda is the head clinician and coach at Quintessence Health.

"A healthy mind and body simply ensures you have the time and energy to fully express and manifest your life’s purpose – it facilitates the unfolding of joy."

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