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Treating Long Covid

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on internationally with the emergence of new variants causing increased mortality and hospitalizations, another side of the pandemic has come sharply into focus which is Long COVID or Post Covid Inflammatory Syndrome.

Long COVID affects approximately 10% of those that have previously been infected with the virus and causes ongoing health problems such as chronic tiredness, brain fog, headaches, and insomnia. While still not strictly defined as details of the symptoms and effects are still emerging, the World Health Organization Global Case Report has centralized the clinical data globally to create a clearer picture of the disorder.

Understanding and awareness among medical professionals remains limited which leads to many sufferers being frustrated and distressed by their ongoing symptoms and lack of firm diagnosis. While the disorder is continuing to be studied, there are treatments that have been shown to be effective in boosting the body’s natural immune system and restoring patient’s health.

The Functional Medicine Approach
Within Functional Medicine, the treatment of post infectious inflammatory diseases and autoimmune conditions is not new, even though Long COVID is a new form of it. Many of the symptoms associated with Long Covid such as shortness of breath, fatigue, gut disorders, chronic pain, skin irritations and lymph node swelling are commonly seen in Auto Inflammatory Syndrome, Post Lyme Syndrome and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. As a disorder with myriad symptoms and no specific test for diagnosis, the first place to start is with a broad range of laboratory testing including a complete blood panel, vitamin deficiency testing such as for Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 and a hormone panel. These tests provide your practitioner with a complete picture of your current health, any nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances as well as a general picture of levels of inflammation in the body.

Good Nutrition
Good nutrition is the bedrock of long term of health and plays a central role in causing or controlling inflammation. A balanced diet which is rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats and offers a varied intake of different fruits, vegetables and whole grains is what enables to immune system to work optimally. Having insufficient levels of key nutrients such as Zinc and Selenium have been proven to result in a weaker immune response to fighting infections.

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid that the body uses to create glutathione, the master detoxifier of the body which balances the immune’s system response. NAC is found in cruciferous vegetables such as kale, spinach and cabbage and is a crucial nutrient for resolving symptoms associated with shortness of breath. These are just some examples of potential deficiencies however they highlight the importance of diet in regulating the immune system means that consulting with a professional nutritionist following on from thorough laboratory testing are therefore one of the best places to start to begin the road to recovery.

Vitamin D
The association between Vitamin D deficiency and greater risk of hospitalization from COVID 19 as well as more severe symptoms of Long COVID has been well documented with Vitamin D appearing to play a protective role in fighting the disease. This is because Vitamin D is a steroid hormone and plays a central role in supporting the immune system, fighting infections as well as cardiovascular disease. Deficient levels of Vitamin D are often associated with old age, obesity and chronic medical conditions in addition to certain ethnicities. Studies in the field remain ongoing however identifying and addressing a possible Vitamin D deficiency can only be of benefit in restoring your body’s capacity to fight off illness.

 

Gut Health
COVID 19 and other infectious disease can destroy the balance of the gut flora and fauna which is central to immune system function. Recent studies have found a link between poor gut health and greater risk of Long COVID as lack of diversity in the gut microbiome may be associated with persistent inflammatory symptoms. Furthermore, the Gut-Brain axis directly impacts brain function and the regulation of the circadian rhythms which when imbalanced can lead to symptoms such as brain fog and insomnia. Each person’s gut microbiome is uniquely different and therefore requires personalized stool testing to understand which populations of bacteria have become imbalanced and the correct strains of probiotics which are required to address this.

The treatment of Long COVID remains a subject of ongoing discussion and debate as new evidence, symptoms and data emerge about the disorder. At Seraphim Medical Center, we work closely with international clinics to stay ahead of the latest developments in the medical field in order to offer patients the widest range of solutions for dealing with Long COVID symptoms and other post-infection inflammatory diseases. Through thorough laboratory testing, out team offer guidance on the most suitable treatments in conjunction with lifestyle changes that will restore your general health and overall well-being.