Functional Medicine Approach to COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Syndrome.

Are you a COVID-19 Long Hauler? What to do if you are.

Well, we’re not all the way through this yet-obviously.

COVID has taught us a lot over the last year, and continues to do so.

We’ve seen what an overburdened medical system looks like. We’ve social distanced for nearly a year. Perhaps one of the most important lessons we have learned, is that a body that’s already suffering from chronic disease is at far greater risk of COVID severity, Post-COVID Syndrome, and even death. 

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “In the U.S., where the majority of people are metabolically unhealthy, we’ve seen our population faring much worse than other countries against this virus. Here, there are 500 COVID deaths per million people. In China, that number is 3 per million. Look at that alongside the 42% obesity rate here and the 2.6% rate there. COVID-19 has shown us just how out of balance we are as a nation and how our baseline of disease has gotten us into such a mess.” And unfortunately, this is still not really being talked about in the mainstream media.

We are still not out of the woods with this virus. Masks and social distancing can slow down the spread but neither practice will fortify your immune system or kill the virus. With any virus or bug, the outcome is usually determined by how vulnerable the host is. With a 42% obesity rate, we are very vulnerable, not to mention the inadequate levels of key nutrients, including Vitamin D for most Americans.

When I started writing this, I was definitely starting to feel pretty punky: felt fatigued, experiencing headache, chills, and body aches. Of course, the thought crossed my mind that this could this be COVID-19. I won’t know for another 4 days if it is in fact COVID-19 but I’m treating it as if it were, reaching into my arsenal of supplements to shore up my immune system. What I’m using comes from the recommendations that the Institute of Functional Medicine put out in May and I included in a webinar that I gave on COVID. If you’re curious, you can find this webinar on YouTube using this link.

My COVID arsenal includes:

  • Vitamin C: 3,000 mg three times/day
  • Vitamin A: 20,000/30,000 IU (yes this a large amount but it primes the pump and helps strengthen the pulmonary system).
  • Quercitin: 500-1000 mg three times/day
  • Vitamin D: 5000-10,000 IU/day
  • Zinc: 30-50 mg/day
  • Melatonin: 3-5 mg twice daily
  • Probiotic (our gut microbiome is connected to our pulmonary microbiome, so we want it healthy)
  • Low Dose Aspirin: to prevent clotting which is not uncommon for COVID-19
  • An Oximeter: it’s really important to monitor your oxygen saturation and heart rate.

Post-COVID syndrome aka Long Hauler’s syndrome

What’s this all about? What does it look like and what’s behind what we’re seeing and how to best fix it?

In a recent podcast on the Doctor’s Farmacy, Dr. Hyman interviews Dr. Patrick Hanaway, a pioneer in Functional Medicine, discussing the Functional Medicine approach to treating COVID-19. They dive into the current state of COVID-19 and Hanaway’s experience treating COVID patients and how integrative practices can reduce hospitalizations from COVID eight times more than conventional treatments alone. Dr. Hanaway points out that it’s not about dismissing all of the conventional methods of treatment—it’s not either OR, it’s both/AND. 

They also talk a good bit about Post-COVID Syndrome, also called Long Haulers Syndrome, where a patient who’s had COVID experiences long-lasting symptoms. Functional and integrative treatments are key in addressing this problem; They discuss certain factors that tie into it, like mitochondrial energy production, and how we can use them to support healing.

I’ll be giving you the Reader’s Digest Version of the interview but if you’d like to tune into this is a very enlightening episode, use the link I’ve provided here.

What is being seen is that about 10% of people who were symptomatic continue to experience a variety of symptoms months after they test negative for COVID-19.

  • Coughing
  • Ongoing, sometimes debilitating, fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Joint pain
  • Shortness of breath (pulmonary)
  • Loss of taste and smell — even if this didn’t occur during the height of illness
  • Neurological problems
  • Brain fog
  • Change in the heart muscle

While there is not yet a definitive reason why people are experiencing Long-Haulers Syndrome, the interesting common denominator is that the organs that seem to be the most affected, the muscle, heart, and brain are those that use the most amount of mitochondria which are our energy powerhouses.

So it could be that there is a shift in mitochondria production after having COVID-19. Immune health and mitochondrial health are intimately related. This the premise that Dr. Hanaway works from when helping his patients with long-haulers and he seems to be having some success.

Some of the supplements and treatments he includes are:

  • Ozone therapy
  • CoQ10-supplement
  • PQQ-supplement
  • IV Vitamin C & Glutathione
  • IV NAD
  • Nebulized NAC & Glutathione

All of these supplements support the mitochondria big time!

As far as I know, these are not covered by insurance but they are not hugely expensive either and well worth exploring if you do have Long-Haulers Syndrome.

And of course, continue to eat a very supportive diet, take a probiotic, and for most, vitamin D.

Another piece of the puzzle is to address underlying issues and that is where a functional medicine practitioner comes in. He/she can help you assess your environmental toxic load, rule out mycotoxins-mold exposure, leaky gut and autoimmune disease.

You can find all of the supplements that I’ve mentioned in this post at my Fullscript online dispensary at a 10% discount.

This Pure Encapsulation CoQ10 plus PQQ is one of my favorites as it’s a double support for the mitochondria and a great antioxidant.

If you need help with placing your order, schedule a 15 minute chat with me below.

Stay safe and seek help to get your body in good fighting condition.

With much care,

Cindy D

Any nutritional, lifestyle or supplemental recommendation listed here are merely recommendations and are not to be used to diagnose, treat, cure, prevent any disease or condition.  Always work with a qualified medical professional before making changes to your diet, prescription medication, lifestyle, or exercise activities.

Postscript: I did test positive for COVID-19 and am doing well. I’m on the other side.

 

 

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