The World Health Organization (WHO) defines long Covid-19 as a “Post COVID-19 condition that occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, usually 3 months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms that last for at least 2 months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.”
Typical symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
- Cognitive dysfunction – difficulty concentrating, memory issues, brain fog
- Muscle pain
- Intermittent fevers
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of smell or taste
- Physical weakness – no energy for exercise
- Dizziness or Vertigo
Some of these symptoms may have been experienced during the initial infection and persist afterwards while others can begin any time afterwards. Symptoms can also fluctuate, and people can experience a relapse in symptoms as well.
Mental health issues have also increased since the onset of the pandemic.
Loss of income, isolation, grief, and fear are all triggers for mental health disorders and more people are struggling with anxiety and insomnia.
People are also suffering with neurological issues such as strokes, neuroinflammatory disorders, and disorientation.
Recent studies using brain scans have shown that even a mild Covid-19 infection, can cause brain changes. The study found tissue abnormalities and loss of gray matter.
The brain can be affected as follows:
- Brain shrinkage in the areas associated with smell the orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus
- Tissue damage in the primary olfactory complex, also affecting smell
- An overall decrease in brain volume with an increase in the volume of cerebrospinal fluid.
- Changes in the cerebellum which causes a reduction in an individual’s ability to perform complex tasks as well as memory and cognition
Researchers are still unable to determine whether these changes are reversible. Inflammation is likely to be one of the reasons for the long-term effects of Covid-19.
Inflammation is something that can be addressed using nutrition and lifestyle and there are several ways that we can support people who are struggling with long Covid-19 symptoms.
I have found that the mitochondria, which are the powerhouses in the cells, are often damaged due to the infection. If we give the mitochondria the correct nutrients, we usually see a very effective turnaround in people’s symptoms.
The brain and mitochondria need healthy fats, amino acids, phospholipids, vitamins and minerals, all of which can be consumed in a healthy diet or supplemented if necessary.
Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 21 April 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am