5 Facts About Long COVID You Need To Know Now


Lockdowns and loo paper shortages may be a distant memory but COVID is still around. And for some, even though it’s been months since infection, so are the symptoms. Post viral inflammation can be debilitating - so if you’re suffering from long COVID or worried about it, we wanted to pass on some information that could help.

The following are 5 important facts about long COVID that will help you understand some of the new research that’s come out as well as methods of prevention and recovery.

                                                                     🌿Related5 Natural Ways To Recover From The Flu

1 New Research

More and more people are looking into the long term effects COVID can have on your health.

Each month reports and research are released highlighting things that can be helpful. A recent naturopathic conference we attended had a key note speaker (Debby Hamilton) who highlighted a few new facts about long COVID that we found interesting.

She reported that symptoms that persist post COVID can be because inflammation from the original virus has not been ‘turned off’ post acute infection. This can lead to heart issues, such as clotting. In regards to the respiratory system it can look like fibrosis of the lungs and neurologic issues such as brain fog, cognition issues, smell and taste disturbances or mood and anxiety issues. 

Research has found that there was a 35% increase in symptoms such as these, post COVID. People report suffering from neuroinflammation, such as brain fog, anxiety and depression. Some people reported digestive issues, like IBS, or an increase in GIT pathogens that can cause fatigue and gut infections (due to the fact the COVID has effected the microbiome bacteria).

2 Why Do You Get Long COVID?

There is research currently being undertaken to determine if long COVID is more common in people who have had viral infections previously  (like glandular fever, Epstein Barr etc.) or to see if it is a reactivation of these dormant viruses as well as COVID. They are still not 100% sure if there is a direct link but they do think it is a mitigating factor. 

They have found that long COVID might occur more often in people who have chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia due to previously high inflammation levels before the virus onset. And as COVID is a virus of inflammation for so many with chronic conditions this can compound their symptoms. 

Long COVID  is more common with people that have not adequately rested while they were acutely sick and for those that have had multiple cases/strains of COVID. 

So the takeaway fact about long COVID - if you have a chronic condition and/or are infected - you need to REST.

3 Long COVID And Its Link To Stress

Oxidative stress plays a big part in so many areas of health and also seems to be relevant with COVID

COVID is a virus that effects the mitochondria of your cells (the part that produces energy). It seems to hijack mitochondria changes (including how you use glucose your body’s fuel). COVID activates mast cell activation which then releases histamine and further inflammation. This can lead to longer oxidative (physical stress) in the body which can take longer to recover from. 

When you are stressed your body focuses more on ‘survival’ and diverts attention away from digestion and immune support. This can make some people more vulnerable to catching viruses. 

Supporting your nervous system with certain supplements like zinc, magnesium and nervine plants can be really beneficial to helping your immunity as it can help support your immunity while you are under stress.

4 Plants Can Help

One fact we know about long COVID is that it can have an effect on your heart. Researchers have looked into taking cardioprotective plants or supplements to help support inflammation that effects the heart. Plants that have cardioprotective properties are usually high in antioxidant called resveratrol
Antioxidants support your heart and by helping to mitigate any damage made by oxidative stress and can be found in things like cranberries, grapes and Japanese knotweed. Resveratrol can also support cholesterol management by reducing LDL oxidation, plus can help to prevent atherosclerosis and clotting.  

Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory support due to it being high in curcumin. It is also traditionally used to support cardiovascular health. Curcumin has reportedly been found to block certain viruses from binding to the ACE 2 receptor. You can read more about ACE 2 receptor here - basically ACE 2 is a protein enzyme found on your cells surface.

COVID viruses have proteins on their surface also - and the virus uses their protein spike to open the ACE 2 receptor - allowing access into the cell. So researchers are looking into things that can stop this binding - and high dose curcumin appears to be looking promising.

ECG a compound from green tea has been successfully shown to also help modulate the ACE 2 receptor.



5 Will You Recover Completely?

This is a tough question as it is entirely individual. Some people will be fine after a few months of feeling pretty fatigued. Sadly, others might not get back to how they were previously. It all depends on the extent of the inflammation caused and also how each body reacts to the virus. 

There are many factors that can help recovery:
  • Nutrient dense foods
  • Supportive supplements, plants or medication.
    The focus seems to be on things that are high in antioxidants to support reducing oxidative stress and also supporting mitochondria repair.
  • The ability to really rest
  • Your general wellness
But in saying that you could be the healthiest person and still be struggling with long COVID months after infection, and this is why researchers are looking into all areas on how this virus works and how it effects your cells.

As with anything - please contact a health professional if you need help with complications post COVID as it is important to be monitored and also supervised with any medications or high dose supplements. 
  • Flavonoids like rutin/quercetin.
  • Repairing mitochondrial membrane repair with Co Q10, B vitamins, Vitamins E and C - this can be helpful for brain fog as well.
  • Supporting mood, stress and sleep with plants like magnolia, lavender, skullcap, lemon balm, passionflower.
With the recent changes to mandates and the removal of the traffic light system here in Aotearoa people will now no longer be required to wear masks in public settings. The public health advice is still that if you are unwell, stay at home. If you are a household contact of a COVID case - RAT test and wear a mask until your household member tests negative.

Also - it is important to be aware that for some people the dropping of mask requirements will be scary and potentially risky for them. Immune compromised people in particular may still wish to wear masks, as will other people if they are entering situations with lots of people. That is their choice and we should all respect that. 

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