What can you do to reduce Long Covid symptoms? Understand that research shows factors such as Diabetes, Epstein Barr, viral load, autoimmune diseases and your microbiome are factors.
There are several studies out on Long Covid from which we can formulate a plan. Long Covid is technically termed Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19, or PASC, or PACS for short.
This illness occurs when people experience long-term symptoms even after recovery from Covid-19. Symptoms of people experiencing ‘Long COVID’ include fatigue (31%), poor memory (28%), hair loss (22%), anxiety (21%), insomnia (21%), muscle weakness, loss of smell and taste and shortness of breath. In this study (4), 86% of people diagnosed with Covid, experienced a Long Covid symptom at 3 months; 81% at 6 months.
First, a study in Cell (1), January 24th 2022. Describing PASC as ‘an emerging global crisis’, the researchers found four factors at the time of diagnosis that were linked to Long Covid:
- Type-2 Diabetes
- Sars-CoV-2 RNAemia. (This is where the virus enters the blood and there is detectable viral RNA in the plasma (2). This RNA load can forecast disease severity, although for most it maximises at 16 days and clears after 33.)
- Epstein-Barr virus present in blood stream
- Specific autoantibodies (an antibody produce by the body, but directed against the body’s own proteins, like an autoimmune disease)
Sars-CoV-2 is known to be able to infect and damage beta-cells in the pancreas, cutting insulin and promoting blood sugar. It causes increases in the numbers of young people with diabetes, and more problems for people with diabetes (3).
It would seem that if the virus enters the bloodstream it never leaves and can alter the blood’s environment.
EBV is a virus that is often latent (inactive) in the body. Covid seems to reactivate it, causing swollen lymph nodes, for example.
Autoantibodies are typically present in autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Covid infection put more pressure on the immune system and encouraged a greater expression of these diseases.
Changes in the gut microbiome in Long Covid
In a second study (4), people who went on to get Long Covid already had significantly weaker microbiomes at diagnosis – it was less abundant, and less diverse.
This study compared the microbiome make up of healthy, Covid positive and Long Covid patients, it was noted that ‘altered gut microbiome composition is strongly associated with persistent symptoms in Covid-19 patients up to 6 months after clearance of the virus’ from the body.
Patients who didn’t develop Long COVID had a similar microbiome to those who did not have COVID-19.
Among the bacteria species found in patients with Long COVID, 28 were reduced and 14 were enriched both at hospital admission and at 3 and 6 months after hospital discharge.
At 6 months, patients with Long COVID had significantly fewer ‘friendly’ bacteria, for example, F. prausnitzii, and Blautia obeum, and a greater abundance of ‘unfriendly’ Ruminococcus gnavus and Bacteroides vulgatus than people who hadn’t had COVID-19.
On the other hand, the gut microbiome of those who didn’t develop Long COVID showed only 25 changes in bacteria species at hospital admission, and this recovered completely after 6 months.
The researchers then looked at the make-up of the gut microbiome depending on the actual long Covid symptoms. Sure enough, the microbiome reflected the symptom. For example, persistent respiratory symptoms were strongly associated with pathogens such as Streptococcus anginosus, Streptococcus vestibularis, Streptococcus gordonii and Clostridium disporicum.
And several commensal (good) bacteria known to boost immunity, including Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum, F. prausnitzii, R. inulinivorans and Roseburia hominis, were depleted in those with Long COVID at 6 months.
The finding that your susceptibility to Long Covid and even catching Covid, may be due to a poor microbiome in the first place, is nothing new. A poor microbiome is associated with diabetes; and viral load; and autoimmune diseases, and susceptibility to infection.
In January 2022, Professor Robert Thomas and his UK team showed that even simply adding 5 strains of Lactobacillus and a prebiotic food, could lessen the symptoms of Long Covid (5).
What can you do if you have Long Covid?
You might simply try the following:
- Heal Your Gut – make significant changes to your microbiome – https://chriswoollamshealthwatch.com/featured/heal-your-gut-now-hug-it/
- Eat to reduce inflammation – foods that nourish – https://the-rainbow-diet.com/the-colourful-mediterranean-diet/study-links-rainbow-diet-foods-to-good-health/
- The best foods for gut health – https://chriswoollamshealthwatch.com/your-illness/gut-health/the-best-foods-for-gut-health/
- Probably the best diet in the World for longevity and health – https://www.canceractive.com/article/the-mediterranean-diet–probably-the-healthiest-diet-in-the-world
- Tackle viral load – look into Pau d’arco; Olive Leaf Extract
- Naturally reverse Type-2 diabetes – Professors Roy Taylor, Mike Lean – https://chriswoollamshealthwatch.com/your-illness/diabetes/now-you-can-reverse-type-2-diabetes/
- Cell; Jan 24, 2022, Multiple Early Factors Anticipate Post-Acute COVID-19 Sequelae; Yapeng Su et al, OI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2022.01.014
- SARS-CoV-2 RNAemia predicts clinical deterioration and extrapulmonary complications from COVID-19; Nikhil Ram-Mohan et al, Clin Infect Dis, 2021 May 5;ciab394. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab394.
- How Covid can lead to Diabetes – NIH – https://www.nih.gov/how-covid-19-can-lead-diabetes
- Gut microbiota dynamics in a prospective cohort of patients with post-acute COVID-19 syndrome; Gut, doi 10.1136/gutjnl-2021-325989; https://gut.bmj.com/content/gutjnl/early/2022/01/05/gutjnl-2021-325989.full.pdf
- Prof Robert Thomas, Lactobacillus improves Long Covid symptoms – https://chriswoollamshealthwatch.com/your-illness/general-health/lactobacillus-strains-improve-covid-symptoms/