As mentioned in my prior discussion on Long Covid, I don’t have a specific protocol for recs to improve/treat it as of yet. However, I have been getting more requests from people asking for some general recs. What follows are some recommendations, which are based on my extensive research on the underlying mechanisms and pathophysiology of what causes the damage, complications, hospitalizations, and deaths, from covid. I also believe the same mechanisms must be addressed for improving Long Covid symptoms and damage, as the underlying issues are ultimately the same. No doubt there’s some differences, and my thinking continues to evolve as data emerges. This is not an exhaustive list, but I strongly suspect inclusion of these supplements will have noticeable improvements in long Covid symptomology and objective metrics such as elevated CRP levels, which is an estimate of systemic inflammation, often seen with Long Covid. I will not take this space to explain my reasoning for all that, people need to read my articles linked in this article for the deep dive info. Two, some of these nutrients overlap in their effects. Three, they should compliment other approaches/meds, but confer with your doctor if using other approaches/meds for possible contraindications. This post is more for those who don’t care as much about the how/why of it, they just want their lives back…
Long Covid appears to be primarily ongoing dysregulation of the mitochondria, caused originally by excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress leading to an inflammatory response during the acute viral infection. See my full article linked on that topic for the deep dive if interested. I have been writing about that since the very beginning of covid, and several years later, continues to be overlooked, if not actively ignored, but I digress… To that end, focusing on supporting mitochondrial function and health, controlling oxidative stress, and mitigation of free iron, should be the key focus. Not surprisingly, long covid syndromes and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) manifest with very similar symptoms, and that’s not surprising mitochondrial dysregulation is a hallmark of ME/CFS and an excellent review paper on that topic is “Role of mitochondria, oxidative stress and the response to antioxidants in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: A possible approach to SARS-CoV-2 ‘long-haulers’?. Again, some of these nutrients are doing all the above, some more targeted.
Nutrients for mitochondrial to support function and health:
Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)
Nutrients for the above, as well as the lynch pin molecule of absolute importance, glutathione (GSH) production: Whey protein and or N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Per prior posts, whey appears superior to NAC, but there’s no comparative data. One can’t underestimate the importance of GSH in this Long Covid mitigation plan in my view. The value and importance of GSH is discussed in depth in articles linked for those that want the details, sources, etc.
Nutrient for controlling iron:
Lactoferrin, which also has anti-viral, immune supporting, etc effects.*
Finally, a quality multi vitamin is recommended to address any deficiencies, and support the above nutrients as well as anti-oxidants, and should include vitamin C, B’s, D, selenium, zinc, etc. that will be found in a good multi vite. One could also “supplement” the multi vite with additional anti-oxidants, but that depends on how much they want to spend and number of pills they are willing to take.
Very promising, is infrared and near-infrared therapy or “photobiomodulation.” Recent studies using photobiomodulation have demonstrated benefits in cardiopulmonary and hematological damage caused by Covid and should be employed, and likley of value with long covid. Another study using both transcranial or whole-body photobiomodulation “…was associated with significant improvements in cognitive tests” in those suffering classic “brain fog” of long covid. While the first study linked used a specifically designed vest to deliver the photo therapy, there’s no reason to think various panels commercially available emitting the appropriate wave lengths (the study linked used 940 nm) and of sufficient intensities will not be of benefit also. More data is needed specific to long covid, but the mechanisms of action of photobiomodulation therapy, working at the level of the mitochondria, would strongly suggest benefits treating long covid. Anecdotally, feedback from people who are using photobiomodulation along with other modalities to treat long covid has been very positive.
The above is a highly truncated list, but will address what I view as the key aspects of the damage caused during the acute phase of covid, and what follows as Long Covid.
That’s my basic list to get people suffering from Long Covid headed in the right directions to healing the damage done, and time taken to notice benefits will differ between individuals, from a few weeks to a few months has been the feedback. It goes without saying, but I have to say it anyway: good nutrition, sleep, stress management, etc, will be essential to getting over Long Covid just as it is essential during the acute phases of the virus, and no supplement regimen will overcome poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and so forth. Exercise is also essential, but should not exceed tolerance which can have the reverse effects intended.
I will attempt to edit/further focus the above info/recs as I did for my main article on all things covid. Feel better!
*While a quality whey does contain very small amounts of lacfoferrin, additional lactoferrin should be of considerable value, and highly recommended, at least until symptoms improve.
CDC Long Covid info HERE.
Will Brink is the owner of the Brinkzone Blog. Will has over 30 years experience as a respected author, columnist and consultant, to the supplement, fitness, bodybuilding, and weight loss industry and has been extensively published. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the natural sciences, and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and pharmaceutical companies.
His often ground breaking articles can be found in publications such as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women’s World and The Townsend Letter For Doctors.
He’s also been published in peer reviewed journals.
You can also buy Will’s other books on Amazon, Apple iBook, and Barnes and Noble.