Anyone can get Long COVID.
Long COVID is often seen in people with no acute COVID symptoms or only mild illness from COVID. But they experience symptoms like Chronic fatigue or Fibromyalgia long after they should have recovered. The symptoms can vary from person to person and range from fatigue and asthma to a rapid heart rate and brain fog. By far the most common symptom is fatigue. Another common symptom is loss of stamina with shortness of breath. The severity of your initial illness is not a predictor of having Long COVID. Anyone can get it.
Long COVID can affect children as well. While children are at low risk for experiencing severe covid symptoms, they still are at significant risk for Long COVID.
According to the CDC Long COVID can result in any of these symptoms.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities (also known as post-exertional malaise)
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
- Chest or stomach pain
- Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)
- Joint or muscle pain
- Pins-and-needles feeling
- Sleep problems
- Dizziness on standing (lightheadedness)
- Mood changes
- Change in smell or taste
- Changes in menstrual period cycles
While the exact cause of Long COVID has not been determined, we successfully treat people with Long COVID by understanding the acute illness.
The virus SAR-CoV-2 is the causative agent of COVID-19. Over the course of the pandemic, we have learned a lot about this illness. By now everyone knows about “Inflammasomes” and Cytokine storm in COVID-19. It is less well recognized that “spots” on the virus look, to our immune system, very much like our own tissues. This can result in autoimmune reactions. It is also known that COVID-19 results in micro-blood-clot formation. In addition, the infection damages tissue and releases inflammatory debris that must be cleared from the system.
Long COVID is the perfect storm trapped within you. Evidence suggests clots that form because of the virus, trap inflammatory particles, preventing them from being cleared by the body. At the same time the very robust inflammatory response strongly activates the adaptive immune system. While this can kill off the virus, as noted earlier, it can result in “autoreactive” antibodies resulting in autoimmune reaction. The debris of damaged tissues taxes the repair and detoxification systems. This results in high levels of oxidative stress and detoxification pathway overload.
Blood clots harboring inflammation producing molecules, oxidative stress, viral and cellular debris, detoxification stress. These are the agents that are keeping you sick.
But it is even more complicated. Each of us is unique. We each have a unique immune, inflammation, antioxidant, detoxification, and stress hormone response to any insult.
Our program finds and normalizes these unique responses. This allows the body to clear the clots, reduce the inflammatory molecules, normalize oxidative stress, calm the autoimmune reaction, and improve detoxification.
By building a 1 in a billion, unique to you, intervention.
There is likely a genetic component to who gets Long COVID. But your genes are not your destiny. Genes are switched on and off all the time. The study of this is called epigenetics. We start by building a program that optimizes the expression of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, detoxification, and blood clot busting genes.
Then we look at your medical and family history. This is called the Functional Medicine Timeline.
The purpose of a timeline is to uncover predisposing factors or susceptibility. In Functional Medicine, we call these ATMs, partially because this is where the “money” is ~ so to speak~.
“A” stands for Antecedents, these are things that predispose you to illness. These things might be genetic, prior illnesses, accidents, or lifestyle factors.
“T” is for Triggers, things that set illness in motion. A trigger, in this case, is the SAR-CoV-2 infection.
The “M” stands for mediators. Mediators are signaling processes in your body that are either working to help you get well or keeping you sick. The role of Mediators is illustrated in the video at this link.
Next, we use that history, physical exam, and test to complete the Functional Medicine Matrix.
The Purpose of the Functional Medicine Matrix:
In the Functional Medicine Matrix, we look at the 7 physiological domains of health; Assimilation, Defense and Repair, Energy, Detoxification, Transport, Communication, and Structural Integrity. We look for and treat any imbalances or abnormalities so that your system can return to a normal resilient disease resistant physiology.
Next, we look at the mental, emotional, and spiritual domains of wellness. Recent studies have shown that these areas are more powerful than the common risk factors such as blood pressure or cholesterol on health.
We then address the 5 modifiable lifestyle factors of Sleep and Relaxation, Movement, Nutrition, Stress Management, and Relationships.
Why are these modifiable lifestyle factors important? You heal while you sleep. Movement, even just gentle range of motions exercises, help to move nutrients and signaling molecules around your body. Nutrition provides the building block to repair your systems. Stress blocks your healing response. And relationships support and nurture your immune, and hormonal systems.
What this often looks like to you, the patient, is a special diet and supplements designed to find and eliminate food sensitivities, reduce inflammation, and restore gut, antioxidant, detoxification, and structural balance.
Optimization of the modifiable lifestyle factors. Nutritional supplements to normalize any abnormalities found on the times line or matrix.
Strategies to normalize your autonomic nervous system (ANS). While the ANS is often lifesaving in acute illness, in chronic illness it is often a big part of what is keeping you sick. Normalizing ANS response can reinstate the innate healing response and result to resolution of symptoms.
For most this can be accomplished with oral supplements.
But some will require a more aggressive approach. We have a wide variety of IV therapies to combat Long COVID. A multivitamin, mineral and antioxidant IV called a Myers is one such intervention. Why not just take an oral vitamin? For many this will work. But for some they need higher blood concentration to get the nutrition into their cells. This is explained in more detail at the Myers link above.
Another is Phosphatidylcholine (PL). PL can help with detoxification, neurodegenerative condition (Brain fog), and general repair of cellular membranes that have been damaged by the initial insult of COVID. Rebiulding the cell in intracellular membranes makes cell to cell communication better and faster. Improves brain, immune, and hormone function.
For many mitochondrial injuries seems to be a central issue. The mitochondria are the powerhouses within each cell. If you cannot make energy efficiently you will not be able to repair and resolve Long COVID. At a “Bottle Neck” of energy production is NAD+. We offer NAD+ IV’s to resuscitate your mitochondrial and get you back on the road to recovery.
For some the mental, emotional, and spiritual trauma of Long COVID results in Limbic and ANS over activation that keeps them sick. The Limbic system is a deep brain system, that is a switching and amplification system in the brain. It controls much of the immune, detoxification and ANS responses. Ketamine IV can be used to build healing Neuroplasticity to normalize the limbic and ANS activity and unleash your healing nature. A video on the ketamine page explains this further.
Often tests are helpful.
Our experience is that many with Long COVID have inefficiencies with their metabolism. An organic acid test (a urine collection) can help us understand how efficiently you use vitamin, minerals, amino acids (building block of protein), essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. I will also give us information about how well you detoxify and how your microbiome is holding up. A total Toxic burden panel will give us information about Toxic metal load, mold toxins levels, and persistent organic pollutants (like PCB, Phthalates, solvents, pesticides and more). A Gut-Zoomer is a deep dive into your microbiome (that teaming ecology of good bacteria in your gut) and how it may be disordered. These tests can also give us direction on additional test that may be needed to understand why you are not getting better.
These are just a few of the possible interventions that led to a 1 in a billion, unique to you, solution for Long COVID.