How to recover quickly from Covid-19 weakness?

November 23, 2020

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The health complications attributed to the virus include pneumonia, respiratory failure, heart problems, liver problems, gastrointestinal distress, septic shock, and death. These complications are known to be caused by a condition known as ‘cytokine storm’. In this condition, an infection triggers your immune system to fill the bloodstream with inflammatory proteins called cytokines. These cytokines can kill tissue and damage your organs.

Depending on your age and underlying metabolic condition, Covid-19 infected people have shown various rates of recovery. On an average, the recovery is above 95% in most cases except the very old/ elderly patients. 

Despite this high recovery rate, the one trend that seems to be emerging though is that most COVID-19 patients do not seem to fully get back their pre-covid vitality. 

Some complain of lingering chronic fatigue symptoms, weakness and exhaustion and others struggle with mental health problems. These COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ face fatigue, breathlessness, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, brain fog, depression, anxiety and/or chronic pain for three weeks or even longer.

Is this because of the experimental drug regime that’s being used in hospitals, is it because of depletion of nutrients from the body in fighting an infection or is it because of social isolation (which is known to trigger inflammation in human beings), or is it because of the psychological impact of the all pervasive media induced fear or is it because of all of these factors put together? 

In the past, research has found an interesting link and compelling connection between poor gut health and chronic fatigue and mental health problems. Interestingly, coronavirus uses the ACE2 receptor to gain entry into the cell, and the greatest number of ACE2 receptors are found in the cells that line your gut. The infection, thus, then spreads and affects the gut microbiome. Altered gut bacteria is found to be one of causes of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and related symptoms. Incidentally, your gut microbiome is also known to influence your mental health, and has been linked to depression and anxiety and a large portion of your immune system also resides in your gut.

Whatever the root causes for the long term health complications that seem to be arising post a Covid-19 infection, here are some recommendations from Thrive that will speed up your recovery. 

  • Avoid processed/refined vegetable oils (polyunsaturated fats or PUFAs), as they promote inflammation and lower your antioxidant defenses.
  • Avoid processed foods and conventionally raised meats and other animal products as they are routinely pumped with antibiotics and GMOed feed  and sprayed with glyphosate which is known to kill many beneficial bacteria. It is becoming increasingly clear that a negative impact on your gut flora from antibiotics, toxic chemicals, sugars and other toxic food products is a primary risk factor in the rising rates of the disease.
  • Avoid chlorinated and/or fluoridated water and antibacterial soap as all will kill off healthy bacteria.
  • Start with an unprocessed and effective probiotic supplement. This is particularly important after a course of antibiotics.
  • Exercise according to your ability, with a focus on increasing the amount of exercise you can handle. Gentle exercise such as yoga can also be an excellent part of your program, and yoga benefits your mind as well as your body.
  • Supplementing with nutrients important for cellular energy synthesis, such as ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10.
  • Eating foods rich in glutathione precursors, sulfur and selenium to encourage glutathione production. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant and a natural detoxificant and its deficiency appears to play a distinct role in COVID-19 and has been linked to increased severity.
  • Implementing a time-restricted eating schedule so that you're eating all of your meals within a six- to eight-hour window. Also make sure your last meal is taken at least three hours before bedtime. The rationale for avoiding late night eating is directly tied to the way your body produces energy.
  • Addressing your mental outlook. Learn to perceive and respond to stress positively because stress further impacts the immune status. Bringing in meditation techniques can be helpful.
  • Improve your insulin sensitivity. Research shows insulin resistance is a primary and independent risk factor for severe COVID-19, which makes sense when you consider it both increases inflammation and lowers immune function.
  • While eating consciously, beware of the antinutrients from certain plant based foods. Peeling the skin, de-seeding, soaking, sprouting, germinating, pressure cooking techniques can be applied to lower the antinutrient content.
  • Get sufficient sun exposure. 
  • Correct your nutrient deficiencies by supplementing with: 
  • Lumbrokinase, an enzyme that helps combat blood clots (another symptom associated with more severe COVID-19) and breaks down biofilms associated with Lyme disease, an infection also linked to CFS.
  • Quercetin and Zinc- COVID-19 patients with low zinc levels have a higher risk of poor outcome and death
  • Vitamin D- More than 80% of COVID-19 patients are vitamin D deficient, and the evidence overwhelmingly supports the idea that raising your vitamin D level above 40 ng/mL can go a long way toward preventing the COVID-19 infection, reducing severity, lowering the risk of death and improving outcomes overall.
  • B Complex Vitamins- Even your most basic cellular functions require a range of B vitamins and these are usually depleted first during an infection. 

With a well mapped out holistic plan that focuses on food, supplements, movement along with fixing internal dysfunctions, recovering from Covid-19 doesn’t have to take you too long. Reach out to us if you need to talk to us, we’d be more than happy to help you recover quickly.

Ria Jain
Functional Nutritionist

Ria has a Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics and is in a permanent research mode and keeps the rest of us at iThrive (Previously ThriveFNC) updated with her latest findings in the field of Nutrition. Her articles on iThrive's blog are an expression of her research findings. We really don’t know what we’d do without her support and her focus.

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