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How to Treat Long Covid from a Functional Medicine Perspective

Long Covid is a term that has been used to describe people who have persistent symptoms after a recent documented Covid-19 infection.  With more than 43 million reported cases of Covid-19 in the U.S. alone, a number that keeps increasing daily, many are still experiencing symptoms for weeks and even months after the infection has cleared. 

It is believed that 15-30% of people who recover from Covid-19 experience Long Covid or what Dr. Fauci has coined post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV2 infection (PASC).  This means that up to 30% of people who get sick with Covid-19 (mild or severe, it doesn’t matter) will have ongoing symptoms for months, including fatigue, brain fog, gut issues, shortness of breath, palpitations, muscle aches and headaches.  There is also an increased risk of Diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, new neuro or psychiatric diagnosis, and adrenal insufficiency.  

So far, we are just beginning to understand the underlying causes of all these symptoms.  Some are caused by direct damage to organs, such as the lungs.  But others are caused by deeper issues that we are now learning are related to damage to the mitochondria and to ACE2 enzyme activity, and also persistent inflammation in the body, all of which have a widespread effect in the body on multiple organs and systems.  

The Role of Mitochondria in Long Covid 

Mitochondrial dysfunction may also play a role in the difficulty recovering from COVID-19 infection. Your mitochondria make all the energy for all your cells and are concentrated highest in the brain (nervous system) and heart (muscle).  The free radical damage (also called oxidative stress) caused by a significant viral infection can cause destruction of these critical structures and this may contribute to the many symptoms that people experience, especially fatigue and cognitive impairment.  

Therefore to treat Long Covid, from a functional medicine perspective, in addition to reducing inflammation and rebalancing the immune system, we also need to work on restoring and improving function of the mitochondria.

Here is how to help your mitochondria recover and combat free radicals.

FOOD:

Eating a diet rich in plants, especially antioxidants is key!  Antioxidants are found as the usual known suspects like vitamin A, beta carotene, Vitamin C and E and polyphenols found in the rich colors of a rainbow diet.  Additionally, mitochondria love a compound called PQQ. Eating PQQ rich foods is a great idea. These include parsley, green peppers, kiwi fruit, papaya, green tea and tofu. 

EXERCISE:

While it’s important to exercise, make sure to focus on reconditioning and do not engage in strenuous exercise that causes a crash the next day.  That is counter productive.  Best to slowly gain your stamina back and only exercise to the level that you can sustain, day after day, without crashing.

STRESS & SLEEP:

Critical repair happens at night so make sure to get a good night sleep.  The goal should be to go to bed before 11pm and if you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you might benefit from a health coaching session to focus on improving this!

INTRAVENOUS VITAMINS:

In conjunction with the right diet, proper sleep, and easing into exercise, our new Long Covid Infusion Protocol of intravenous vitamins and amino acids work deep within the cells to help recover and repair any damage done to the mitochondria.  We’ve paired healing the mitochondria with powerful antioxidants to bring down inflammation and give your immune system and cells a reboot after fighting to clear a Covid-19 infection.

With so many people experiencing gut issues after a Covid-19 infection, we believe the best way to receive these nutrients is through an IV. An infusion bypasses the GI tract, ensuring your cells absorb 100% of our targeted formulation to help you recover and feel like your old self. 

Our innovative new protocol created by Dr. Blum, includes three infusion bags and an injection. The first IV bag is a foundational Myers cocktail with added L-Carnitine, NAC and Selenium.  Bag 2 is Alpha Lipoic Acid; Bag 3 is Glutathione; and the final injection is CoQ10.  All items are available a la carte, but bundled together gives you a 20% discount.

SUPPLEMENTS:

If you live far away and can’t come in for an Infusion, check our Dr Blum’s Long Covid Supplement Protocol here on Fullscript.  Please note you will need to set up a free account in Fullscript in order to view the supplement recommendations.  

For more information on our Long Covid drip, contact your practitioner or schedule a consultation with our Infusion Director at 914.652.7800.  We are open to existing patients and the public alike! 

 

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