Nutritional Support for C0VID Long Haulers & Injections
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I’m your host Dr. Marc Dupuis on this show we discuss tips, tools and strategies to improve the health & wellness of you and your family!
Today’s topic is extremely important and what we are about to discuss may be information that you will want to share with family, friends and loved ones. In our office we’ve been hearing a number of people report that they are taking much more time than expected to fully recover from COVID-19 infections, long enough for them to be considered long haulers. Interestingly, more and more of these types of cases are being reported as breakthrough infections. By definition Long Haulers are people that have symptoms of COVID-19 four or more weeks after being diagnosed with SARS CoV-2 infection, otherwise known as Post-Acute SARS-CoV-2 (PASC).
Because the spike proteins that cause COVID-19, can travel throughout the body, these inflammation producing proteins can cause damage in virtually any organ which is why the symptoms long haulers have can be so varied. Fatigue, muscle aches, joint pains, anxiety, depression, cardiac problems, bowel issues, autoimmune problems, insomnia and cognitive dysfunction are some of the more common complaints.
Fatigue is often the main complaint, most likely due to this fact: The immune system can take up to 50% of all of your body’s available energy at the cellular level!
A study in July of 2021 published in the Lancet found that the average long hauler patient has 14 symptoms that involve 9 different organs and 80% still have symptoms over 6 months from the initial infection. On average it takes almost 9 months for a long hauler to fully recover, some take even longer.
A study in the December issue of Nature Neuroscience showed that the SARS-CoV-2 S1 spike protein can cross the blood brain barrier and enter the central nervous system, this may explain the many brain related symptoms associated with long haulers.
Although much still needs to be learned about why long haulers are not recovering as quickly as they should, some things are becoming VERY clear. Obesity and those with Metabolic Syndrome are at higher risk of becoming long haulers. Why? The answer seems to be the following: Obesity and metabolic syndrome are conditions, which themselves, create inflammation. The symptoms long haulers complain of are symptoms associated with excessive inflammation. Let us not forget that the cytokine storm that is responsible for the majority of COVID-19 deaths, is caused by the person’s own hyper-inflamed immune response!
Here is the connection of obesity & metabolic syndrome with excessive inflammation: First let’s discuss obesity; Fat cells are reservoirs for toxins. When we are exposed to more toxins than we are able to excrete, the body takes action to remove these dangerous chemicals from the general circulation where they could harm vital organs, and locks them away into your fat cells (known as adipose tissue). The more fat one has the more toxins they can hold onto and unfortunately, most toxins CAUSE inflammation. The heavier we become, the more inflamed we are which translates into greater risk of serious complications from acute COVID-19 and the greater the risk of becoming a long hauler.
Now for metabolic syndrome: Metabolic syndrome is technically a combination of conditions that result in elevated risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. What do these three problems have in common? They are all signs of increased inflammation! Metabolic syndrome is caused by insulin resistance. I covered that in detail in a prior podcast episode. In a nutshell: Sugar is a primary fuel source for the body. In order to utilize sugar your pancreas needs to secrete insulin. While both sugar and insulin are necessary in NORMAL amounts, at high levels both sugar and insulin CAUSE inflammation!
So knowing that excessive inflammation is a root cause of complications from acute COVID-19 and also is a root cause of complications from long haulers, people that are already in a highly inflamed state are more likely to suffer more serious complications if they do get sick from COVID-19.
Eye Opening Stats: The average American gained 29 lbs during the lockdown as a result of decreased exercise and eating more low quality food. Remember liquor stores were considered essential while many small town local food producers were shut down. Alcohol with its empty calories and its effect on the liver is itself a driver of both weight gain and increased inflammation! 10% of Americans gained OVER 50lbs! What those behind the lockdowns did not consider was this: Every single person who put weight ON over the lockdown increased their risk for complications, including death as a result of lockdowns that were Meant to protect people. Sadly ironic, isn’t it?
An interesting study in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, looked at Italy where they had one of the most strict 60 day lockdowns, they found the following: Obesity increased 37%, Dyslipidemia increased 20%, Metabolic syndrome increased 13%; all of this in just 2 months! Hopefully information like this will give those in power pause when considering the quarantining of health people in the future.
Given that excessive inflammation is the driver behind most long hauler symptoms, many of the nutritional strategies are designed to support a healthy balance between inflammation producing and inflammation reducing molecules.
However, before we drill down on which specific nutrients, remember if you are overweight and or have insulin resistance you MUST take action to lose weight and to reverse your insulin resistance. Otherwise any decrease in inflammation that occurs from nutritional support will only be temporary at best!
Now let’s get into our action plan. Nutritional support is focused on four major factors.
1. Gut health. Over 70% of the immune system is located in your gut, more specifically in Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue (GALT). Therefore a healthy gut is absolutely necessary to support a healthy immune response.
2. Mitochondria support. The mitochondria are the Power Plants in every one of our cells. Remember the immune system can take up to 50% of all available energy, therefore we must make sure our mitochondria are working optimally to produce the energy our immune system and body as a whole needs!
3. Immune System Support. The goal is to support a proper immune response.
4. Support & Manage Optimal Inflammation, when needed. Inflammation by itself is neither good nor bad. Inflammation is necessary for life, it drives the immune system and tissue repair mechanisms, however, as already discussed, too much of it, can create the life threatening “Cytokine Storm” which damages healthy tissues, therefore supporting proper inflammation responses is key!
Now for specifics:
Gut Health: Probiotics 2-3 times per day, preferably on an empty stomach, preferably a refrigerated brand as those tend to have better viability. Beneficial – friendly bacteria support healthy intestinal epithelial cells which can in turn support Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue where most of the immune system lives. Beneficial bacteria can suppress the growth of pathogenic species. Fighting SARS-CoV-2 is enough, we do not need to be fighting other immune battles. Probiotics have been shown to help reduce inflammation. Here diversity is key. More species of good guys the better.
Next: Digestive enzymes. When the body is under stress, digestive enzyme production decreases, if you are not fully breaking down your food, you will not be able to properly “feed” the good bacteria. Poorly broken down food can lead to a breakdown in the gut membrane, known as leaky gut or technically increased intestinal permeability which itself is a cause of increased inflammation. Not properly breaking down food to feed the good guys will allow more dangerous bacteria and yeast populations to increase. Digestive enzymes can also reduce stress on the liver and pancreas that may already be overburdened by inflammation from spike proteins.
Another key step to take is this: incorporate time-restricted eating at least 3-4 days per week, more often if possible. By going at least 14-16 hours between eating dinner and breakfast the following day, this can give the gut time to heal and regenerate. Eating this way can also encourage autophagy, which is like general house cleaning on the cellular level which is extremely important if the body has to repair from damages done as a result of chronic infection.
Mitochondria Support: Whole food B vitamins since they are the primary vitamins related to energy metabolism. Why whole food? Simple. Most store bought B vitamins only contain B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 & B12. Those are the B’s most easily synthesized. However, research suggests that there are likely over 40 members of the B vitamin family, many we have yet to fully isolate/identify. Foods that are rich in B’s are likely to contain all of them. Co-Q10 in the activated form, Ubiquinol, is an antioxidant stored in the mitochondria that supports energy production. NAC or N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine is a precursor to Glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body which can help mitigate the damaging effects of excessive inflammation.
Immune System Support: In addition to probiotics as discussed for gut health, medicinal mushrooms have been shown to greatly support the immune response, especially Reishi and Shiitake. Echinacea, specifically Echinacea Root has long been shown to be anti-viral and supports a proper immune response. Vitamin D3. There are receptors in every cell in your body for vitamin D3 and that includes your immune system cells. Vitamin D3 has been shown to support proper immune function. Recent research has shown many laboratories are still using outdated reference ranges, optimal levels now appear to be between 50 and 80 ng/ml.
Melatonin. Research in the 2020 June edition of the journal Life Science, has shown melatonin to be an antioxidant and have antiviral properties while also helping to support normal sleep cycles. Quercetin. Research in 2021 in the Journal of General Medicine showed Quercetin binds to spike proteins decreasing their penetration into cells and blocks viral replication. Zinc. Zinc plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body, many involving immune system cell activation.
Support and Manage Proper Inflammation. Many of the supplements already discussed also serve in this category such as Vitamin D3, Ubiquinol, Melatonin and probiotics. The major one to add for this category is Omega 3 fatty acids and particularly EPA. EPA has been shown for decades to suppress excessive inflammation.
Those are the main nutrients I wanted to discuss today, yes, there are others but this was intended to be a primer to get one started.
This wraps up the key points to consider for long haulers. While we are on this topic let’s add a few additional points to consider for anyone dealing with an initial acute case of COVID-19. These points also pertain to anyone looking for support strategies for those about to receive a COVID-19 injection, initial or booster. In both cases, you are dealing with an acute introduction spike proteins, whether they come from outside – in, for those exposed to the actual SARS-CoV-2 virus or SARS-CoV-2 spike protein coated viruses from injections like Johnson & Johnson’s or as the result of your own body beginning to make SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins which is what the Pfizer & Moderna shots program your cells to do.
Either way there is likely to be much higher active inflammation processes going on in your body compared to what is occurring inside long haulers. Therefore all supplements already discussed are useful along with: Additional nutrients to quench the larger scale acute inflammatory response. Some of the best nutrients to do this are: Ginger, Bosweillia and Turmeric as well as White Willow Bark which is chemically similar to aspirin but is supposed to have less side effects. Lastly, and perhaps most important, specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs). These compounds help keep inflammation from getting out of control by breaking down certain molecules produced by the body which drive inflammation levels up!
So there you have it, nutritional strategies for COVID-19 Long Haulers & for COVID-19 Injections. Please do not forget the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight and avoiding insulin sensitivity, the root cause behind metabolic syndrome. For more specific recommendations on which supplements we are using or for any other questions, reach out to us via email, call our office or reach out on any of the major social media platforms!
This concludes today’s episode of The Back to Health Chiropractic Podcast, where we discuss tips, tools & strategies to improve the health and wellness of you & your family! Please SUBSCRIBE to this podcast so that you never miss a future episode, also PLEASE SHARE this podcast with ANYONE you feel may benefit from what we covered today.
Finally, Thank you very much for listening and until next time, have a Fantastic Day!
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