While most people who contract the coronavirus get better and are back to their normal routine rather quickly, about 10% of people experience lingering COVID-19 effects. This can include overwhelming fatigue, heart palpitations, muscle aches, and more for several weeks and even months. Fatigue lasting longer than six weeks is classified as chronic fatigue.
I first wrote about these so-called “COVID long-haulers” almost 2 months ago. This isn’t going away, and doctors aren’t 100% sure why some people have this experience while others seem to bounce back quickly—but we are getting a clearer picture behind the lingering effects of COVID-19.
Researchers are exploring the possible reasons for the lingering effects. It is interesting to note that lingering effects happen with Epstein-Barr and other viral infections.
Researchers have discovered they can predict which patients may fall into the 10% with lingering COVID-19 effects based on the presence of inflammatory compounds at the time of illness. Interestingly, researchers see those same inflammatory molecules in “cytokine storms.”
The good news: we know from previously published research that these cytokine storms can be reduced or controlled when vitamin D levels are optimized. Other research studies have shown that patients with low levels of vitamin D do not fare well when diagnosed with COVID-19. (Coincidence? I think not.)
A comprehensive meta-analysis was published in January of 2020 outlining all the micronutrients that play key roles in immune function and discussed in that previous blog post. Vitamin D was one of those identified, along with others you would expect to see, such as zinc.
Frances Williams, professor of genomic epidemiology and honorary consultant rheumatologist at King’s College London in the UK provides guidance for patients managing chronic fatigue as an aftermath to COVID-19. He recommends patients avoid exercise and plan rest after even small amounts of exertion.
As an epigenetic nutritionist, I would add some additional advice to curtail lingering COVID-19 effects. Get an intracellular micronutrient test to see if you have adequate levels of nutrients in your cells. Micronutrients provide the fuel for your immune system to fully fight and help you recover from this–or any other virus. Bonus: they also help protect you and may keep you from contracting the virus in the first place! (But remember, there is no magic bullet when it comes to COVID-19, at least not yet. So, continue to wash your hands often, practice social distancing, and wear your mask.)
You can get better and recover fully more quickly when you’re proactive. Call the office today, 970-685-8531, to schedule that lab test and get on the road to better health.
Please note that if you currently have active COVID-19, meaning you have tested positive for the virus, then for the safety of my other clients, my co-workers, my family and myself, I need you to wait until you are a minimum of two weeks since your diagnosis or symptom free for 3 days, whichever is later. Thanks for your understanding and compliance.