In this article:
- COVID-19: What are we dealing with?
- The post-COVID syndrome: What are the long-term effects?
- Immunity-boosting nutrition for post-COVID health
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July 15, 2021 10 min read
It would be an understatement to say that COVID caught us all off guard. It changed the world as we know it, and sometimes it may even seem as if some things will never be the same again. Not untrue.
While many of us have been focused on tending to loved ones, megadosing as much VitC as we can, or re-adapting to the re-opening of the world, many of us have had COVID ourselves and are managing longer-term symptoms. The latter can be tricky to navigate and in many ways, mysterious as well. Today, we’re taking a deep dive into post-COVID nutrition and how you can nourish your body with the nutrients that will get your side effects and health back on track. Keep reading!
You’ve probably read a description of the virus about 10,000 times by now, but to set the record straight, here it is again. SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that causes arespiratory illness known as COVID-19, and it is one of the many coronaviruses. If we’ve learned anything about this virus, it is that no two people are the same, and both the symptoms and the consequences can vary greatly.
Nevertheless,the most common symptoms of COVID-19 include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, fever or chills, cough, loss of taste and smell, headache, and fatigue. However, some people may experience mild COVID-19 illness or have no symptoms at all.
Coronavirus, just like any other virus, proliferates in the body by invading healthy cells. When it comes to this specific virus, ittargets the cells in the lungs. The virus enters the body down the respiratory tract, often causing inflammation in the lungs that can lead to pneumonia.
Coronavirus has been found to affect the lungs by attacking the small blood vessels, which can also lead to blood clots, rapid heartbeat, and breathlessness. Even though it is a respiratory illness, the COVID-19 infection may also have an impact on the circulatory system, gastrointestinal system, and heart. Numerous patients have experienced heart rhythm disturbances and inflammation of the heart muscle.
Thepost-COVID syndrome, also known as thelong COVID, explains all the issues coronavirus patients still suffer from - even long after they’ve defeated the virus. While the topic of post-viral syndrome still requires a lot of research, it is certain that significant long-term effects of coronavirus are possible with anyone who has had it. Dr. John Brooks explained thatsymptoms following COVID, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, orimpaired cognitive functions can all be side-effects of long COVID, and they can also be quite severe.Long COVID may entail both symptoms that continue and also ones that develop after following acute COVID-19.
If you think about it, if 10-20% of all COVID-19 cases escalate into long-COVID, there will be 10-20 million cases of it. Therefore, it is safe to say that long-COVID deserves a bit of special attention and research. On top of this, there are manyundiagnosed COVID-19 patients who could have mild or no symptoms, yet still experience the effects of post-COVID syndrome.
One of the most persistent symptoms of post-COVID syndrome ischronic fatigue. Whether you’ve had a mild or a severe case of COVID is not indicative of the severity and longevity of post-COVID issues you might later endure. Post-COVID fatigue can last for months and can affect people of all ages. Recovered patients have reported mental fatigue, lack ofenergy, drowsiness, as well as impaired memory and inability to focus on everyday tasks.
According to recent research conducted by Imperial College London, there aretwo main categories of long-COVID symptoms. A minority of recovered coronavirus patients experience respiratory issues similar to those associated with the virus itself, such as cough and breathlessness. These symptoms are more typical for more severe cases of COVID-19. The other and more common category of long-COVID symptoms include drowsiness and the aforementioned chronic post-viralfatigue.
Chronic COVID syndrome is still under a veil of mystery, and while symptoms have been recognized, a reliable treatment is yet to be established in the medical community. Nevertheless, we all know the key to fighting off a virus, as well as recuperating from it, is astrong immune system. With the right selection of nutritious foods and all-natural supplementation, you can help tackle any symptoms andoptimize your immunity.
However, before you start implementing any kind of supplementation, it is important toconsult with your healthcare providerfirst and get a doctor’s clearance. Every COVID-19 case (and consequently, long-COVID case) is different - as is the individual experiencing it. Different health issues and symptoms require a different approach, which is certainly a matter to discuss with a health professional.
According to astudy focused on COVID-19 recovery, chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as other underlying post-COVID issues have been associated with chronic inflammation, as well as a change in the immune system function. The study defines long-COVID as a result of an “injury to the immune system” caused by the viral infection.Specific nutrients that have been found to support immune function and help the body recuperate from a COVID-19 infection include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, andprobiotics.
Due to its antioxidant and antiviral activity,quercetinis a great addition to your natural immunity-boosting strategy. It has been found to stimulate the immune system, decrease proinflammatory cytokines, and aid in the management of major allergic diseases such as asthma and atopic eczema, which may also be worsened by the COVID-19 infection.
If you’re dealing withchronic fatigue as a result of the long-COVID syndrome, you want to prioritizecarbohydrates with a low glycaemic index (GI) as opposed to starchy and sweet foods. These types of carbs are digested slowly throughout the day, giving you more even energy levels as well as sharper cognition. Low-glycaemic index carbs include foods like brown rice, whole grains, wholemeal pasta, oats, lentils, beans, as well as fruit and veggies.
The effects of chronic-COVID tiredness and fatigue can also be reduced by takingoral supplements such as iron and magnesium, as well as vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12.Iron supplementation has been shown to not only decrease fatigue, but also boost hemoglobin, promote immunity, and help manage anemia (which is also manifested through fatigue and brain fog).
High doses ofvitamin C appear to reduce fatigue significantly, in addition to lowering oxidative stress. A study conducted by S.Y. Suh and colleagues confirms that boosting vitamin C levels is both safe and effective when dealing with fatigue.However, since vitamin C is an essential vitamin (we’re unable to synthesize it on our own), it is necessary to obtain it from dietary sources. When it comes to high doses of vitamin C, aliposomal vitamin C supplement is the safest bet, as it offers high bioavailability and absorbency rates.
Aside from mental fatigue, post-COVID symptoms may also includemuscle fatigue, joint and muscle pain, as well as bone pain. Boosting your vitamin C levels through optimized nutrition, including vitamin C-rich foods such as black currants, bell peppers, citrus fruits, and leafy greens, as well as highly bioavailable vitamin C supplementation is the best natural way to counter the effects ofmuscle fatigue.
Muscle fatigue may also be accompanied bymuscle aches that could also affect yourmobility. When we have achy muscles it is hard to concentrate on work, stay focused during your workout, or even get a good night’s sleep. What you need to do to optimize muscle health and aid recovery is to make sure you’re getting enough protein. This is where a collagen supplement can really make a difference.
Collagen supports muscle recovery by helping muscle tissues repair. It has also been associated with decreased muscle soreness and joint pain, while promotingstrength and lean muscle growth.You want to make sure your diet is packed with collagen-rich foods (and foods promoting the natural collagen synthesis) such as bone broth, chicken, fish, egg whites, citrus fruits, red and yellow veggies, and leafy greens.However, to really stay on top of your collagen intake, it is recommended to include anall-natural hydrolyzed collagen supplement that has been broken up into easy-to-absorb peptides.
Brain fog is actually one of the most debilitating symptoms of long-COVID syndrome. While it may not seem as alarming as other issues we’ve touched upon, it is certainly a setback that can affect your everyday life, including your professional or academic life.Omega-3 rich foods such as fish and seafood may help optimize your omega-3 levels, which is one of the staples of brain health as you age.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown toimprove cognitive functions and protect the brain against numerous conditions andmemory impairment. If you find it hard to incorporate fish into your daily nutrition or you’re on a plant-based diet, the easiest way to maintain optimal levels of omega-3 is by supplementing with analgae-based omega-3 supplement. This kind of supplementation is vegan, readily absorbed, and free from any ocean contaminants.
And if you findforgetfulness is now a part of your day-to-day life, you may need a boost of the body’s master antioxidant.Glutathione is the most important antioxidant in the human body and one of the main defense mechanisms the brain uses against oxidative stress. It has been shown toprotect and promote various brain functions including memory, learning capability, and focus.Reduced liposomal glutathione is the most effective way to increase glutathione levels and protect the brain against free radical damage, thus promoting important brain functions and your memory.
Water accounts for 75% of the entire brain mass, so it’s no surprise that dehydration can negatively affect cognitive performance. Water intake is associated not only with brain functions, but proper functioning of the immune system as well. It is necessary tostay hydrated to support the detoxification pathways and lymphatic draining, through which we get rid of foreign invaders. As you can imagine, these processes are of utmost importance when recovering from a viral infection such as COVID-19.
Another wellness aspect that often gets neglected, but is one of the key factors in recovery and immune system functioning issleep. Both sleep and the circadian rhythm (an internal process that controls your sleep and wakefulness in 24h) have been recognized as important regulators of the immunological processes.Quality sleep has an immuno-enhancing effect and promotes anti-inflammatory actions.And if the lingering anxiety and uncertainty of the pandemic still has you awake at night, find out how to deal withstress that has been messing up your sleep schedule.
Recovery takes time and not only when it comes to health. Dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic is no walk in the park, but it is important to give yourself time to adapt and develop a healthy nutrition plan. One of the most effective changes you can make is to optimize your nutrition so that you’re consciously building your immune system back up to a healthy level. With nutritious foods and all-natural supplements, you can regain your immune strength and manage long-COVID and any other side-effects in a more prepared way. Remember, health does start from the inside-out. For more immunity-boosting, all-natural supplements take a look at ourfull assortment.
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