COVID-19 LONG HAULERS: THE LASTING EFFECTS
January 26, 2021
The above diagram shows just a portion of the symptoms that some patients who are recovering from Covid-19 infection are manifesting. They present with these symptoms long after they have tested negative for the covid-19 virus. These are a group of patients that are now given the name Covid Long Haulers.
I have written a few articles on some methods that may help prevent patients from becoming infected with the Covid-19 virus. These recommendations include a number of supplements such as Zinc, vitamins C, D, and melatonin . Also, lifestyle changes such as weight loss and exercise may also help. These recommendations are based on science. BUT WE MUST REALIZE THAT THESE ARE JUST RECOMMENDATIONS AND NOT TO BE TAKEN AS THE GOSPEL TRUTH. THEY HAVE NOT BEEN BASED ON RIGOROUS SCEINTIFIC STUDIES. They are based on clinical hunches and observations. The new question is what might we offer those patients who have had a Covid infection and they continue to be symptomatic. We see some of the manifestations below. These seem to be the most common post Covid symptoms.
Patients having long lasting symptoms after a viral infection are not new. This has been seen in the past with Ebola, and the first SARS virus in the early 2000s. Both viruses gave rise to long-lasting symptoms after some people recovered. A 2009 study in Hong Kong found that psychiatric problems and chronic fatigue still plagued SARS-1 survivors up to four years later. People who completely recover from an Ebola infection can still suffer from fatigue, headaches, muscle, joint and stomach pain, eye problems, memory and hearing loss, and mental health issues. The Ebola virus can persist in their bodies, including in the eyes and the central nervous system, even after being cleared from the rest of the body.
Covid Long Haulers, recovering patients whose symptoms persist after their coronavirus infections disappear, are a mix of younger people who never needed hospital care and older people with chronic conditions that predate Covid. Their symptoms trail the infection’s path through their lungs, hearts, muscles, nerves, and brains. Deadening fatigue can dog them for weeks or months. Sometimes their problems wane, then resurface in a stuttering pattern that leaves them wondering if they’ll ever get over the condition. Long-haulers include two groups of people affected by the virus. Those who experience some permanent damage to their lungs, heart, kidneys, or brain that may affect their ability to function. While the second group continue to experience debilitating symptoms despite no detectable damage to these organs. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, has speculated that many in the second group will develop a condition called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). ME/CFS can be triggered by other infectious illnesses such as mononucleosis, Lyme disease, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus disease.
WHAT MAY BE THE ETIOLOGY OF THE LONG HAULER SET OF SYMPTOMS?
This may be due to an immune-inflammatory response gone amok, or perhaps to ongoing viral activity that might not be clinically detectable. The etiologies are almost certainly multifactorial, but may involve overzealous immune responses, cardiopulmonary or systemic inflammation, vascular inflammation or clotting disorders, and direct damage from viral replication during acute illness.
COVID-19 often strikes the lungs first, but it is not simply a respiratory disease, and in many people, the lungs are not the worst-affected organ. In part, that’s because cells in many different locations harbor the ACE2 receptor which is the virus’s major target. However, the infection can harm the immune system, which pervades the whole body. ACE2 is a protein on the surface of many cell types. It is an enzyme that generates small proteins by cutting up the larger protein angiotensinogen that then go on to regulate functions in the cell. The following diagram gives an idea of the ACE 2
receptors and their relationship to Covid 19.
Some people who have recovered from COVID-19 could be left with a weakened immune system. Many other viruses are thought to do this. It has been suggested that people who have been infected with measles are immunosuppressed for an extended period and are vulnerable to other infections. This may or may not be case for COVID-19. SARS, for instance, is known to decrease immune-system activity by reducing the production of signaling molecules called interferons. The real problem most long haulers are facing is what is stated earlier by the concept from Dr. Fauci. Many post Covid patients may develop a chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). CFS, is considered an immune-mediated disorder. It has long been considered a “mystery illness,” but that viewpoint is becoming dated. Now it is becoming evident that in CFS there are roles of both of inflammation and autoimmunity. Inflammation is part of a healthy response to problems in the body. When inflammation becomes chronic due to ongoing damage or a misfiring immune system, then you’ve got a problem. Autoimmunity is when the immune system mistakenly identifies a part of your body as a foreign invader, treating it much like a virus, it needs to get rid of. Your own body triggers its inflammatory process and sends specialized cells to destroy the target and begin the healing process. Only with autoimmunity, the healing process creates more of whatever body part your immune system doesn’t like, so it continues to attack and heal and attack in a vicious fashion. The process continues indefinitely. Autoimmunity is a specific type of immune-system dysfunction, but it’s important to note that not all immune-system dysfunction is autoimmunity. If we look at the diagram below we see that the symptoms of the Covid Long Haulers and those patients with CFS very much overlap I could substitute the name Covid Long Haulers for CFS.
Thus, one big clue in treating patients with Post Covid syndrome is treat them as we would treat Chronic Fatigue Patients. It seems that patients with the Post Covid syndrome and those who have CFS have many similarities. Both conditions seem to have increased levels of cytokine growth factors such as Interleukin 1 and Tumor Necrosis Factor which cause inflammation. This diagram gives a better picture of the relationship to inflammatory growth factors and the Covid Long Haulers.
Thus, it seems that the evidence is overwhelming as far as inflammatory growth factors being associated with post Covid symptoms. It would seem logical if we diminish inflammation we can diminish many of the symptoms of the Post Covid Long Haulers.
WHAT IS THE ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE WE LOOKED AT FOR COVID LONG HAULERS?
When we looked at the clinical results of some of our post Covid patients it seemed that when attempts were made at reducing inflammation the patients’ health improved. Again, these are anecdotal observations but they are what we observed nevertheless. When we look at the playbook for treating CFS it seems that it might be adaptable to treating the Post Covid Syndrome Long Haulers. We are trying to reduce inflammation in the body
WHAT MIGHT BE OF BENEFIT IN TREATING THESE PATIENTS AND WHAT SEEMED TO WORK?
First off, we think intravenous NAD would be a be a great help. NAD will improve the health of the mitochondria. NAD provides the mitochondria with the necessary tools to produce more ATP which is the cells energy currency. NAD has a significant effect on the Sirtuin pathways in the body. These pathways are intimately involved with longevity and health. There are a number of reports that the body is somewhat depleted of NAD levels after dealing with an infection. The diagram below gives good idea of the importance of the Sirtuin pathway. Influencing the Sirtuin pathway in a positive manner is certainly a step in the right direction in improving the health of the Long Haulers.
NAD certainly has its value but we must remember one important fact. NAD will make senescent cells flourish which is not something we want in a patient who is trying to recover. Remember senescent cells are those cells that should have died but did not. They unfortunately can cause multiple problems in the body such as secreting the inflammatory growth factors. Senescent cells are one of the reasons why Covid-19 seems to be more unforgiving in the elderly. As we age, we accumulate more and more senescent cells. None the less, in the Post Covid long haulers we want to eliminate a portion of the senescent cells. For our general health we still need some senescent cells but we wish to diminish their numbers. This is accomplished by the use of what are called senolytic agents. One of these agents is Quercetin. There are also some other ones which will be of benefit.
INFLAMMATION IN LONG HAULERS
We still have the problem of post infection inflammation. There is no simple solution for turning off inflammation. However, by utilizing and taking advantage of the pathways in the body we are aware of methods to reduce inflammation. The body and its cells are like the hardware of a computer and the pathways are the computer software. In this case we are interested in stimulating the NRF2 pathway software. The Nrf2 pathway is the thermostat of anti-inflammation. Get this pathway activated and inflammation is diminished.
The NRF2 is the software which stimulates the computer hardware namely the genes in the cells which than produce compounds. The above diagram shows the NRF2 pathway in action. What the NRF2 pathway does is produce reduce inflammation in the body. One very good method of doing this is thru the EBO2 protocol. This is a protocol which uses a dialysis filter and blood ozonation at the same time. By using the blood ozonation certain “Ozone Messengers” are created in the body and they appear to have a direct positive effect on the NRF2 pathway. The NRF2 pathway will help stimulate various compounds which will reduce inflammation. Remember that the NRF2 pathway is the computer software, it causes certain genes to turn on and produce certain compounds which dramatically reduce inflammation. We will also be utilizing a supplement that we specifically designed to stimulate the NRF2 pathway.
Another medication that may be of benefit in reducing inflammation in long haulers is a medication called Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). Naltrexone was approved by the FDA in the USA for the treatment of opioid addiction. For our purposes the dosage we will utilize in long haulers will be much smaller than that used for addiction problems. Naltrexone is an antagonist for the opiate/endorphin receptors. Endorphins are polypeptides made by the pituitary gland and central nervous system to moderate the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. Endorphins primarily help to reduce pain and inflammation, promote autophagy, and cellular clean up. For instance, when one gets a high after exercising it is typically from the release of endorphins. In individuals with diagnoses such as depression, fibromyalgia, cognitive degeneration, and autoimmunity we are consistently finding chronically low levels of endorphins. Specifically, low levels of an endorphin called Opioid Growth Factor (OGF). OGF is an endorphin produced in most cells in the body to both influence and regulate cell growth, as well as immunity. When low levels of OGF endorphins exist, it is likely for individuals to develop immune system disorders. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has been shown to increase OGF levels in the body, resulting in positive outcomes for those suffering from a variety of diagnoses.
The following diagram gives an idea of how Naltrexone can accomplish its goals. The diagram shows that reducing certain cytokine growth factors will reduce inflammation. We must be cognizant of the fact that these effects of Naltrexone only occur with the low doses. The lower doses are blocking the activation of certain immune cells. This is accomplished by blocking receptors on the cell surface with low doses.
How does LDN work? LDN first binds to opioid receptors which are found on the surface of the cell. In doing so, it helps to displace the body’s naturally produced OGF. As LDN displaces OGF receptors, affected cells become OGF-deficient and, as a result, three vital processes occur. The first is an increased receptor trying to capture more OGF. Secondly, receptor sensitivity is increased to capture more OGF. Lastly, production of OGF is increased to compensate for the perceived shortage of OGF. Since LDN will only block OGF receptors for three to five hours, the body experiences a rebound effect which greatly increases the production and utilization of OGF. Once the LDN has fallen off the OGF receptors and excreted, the increased number of endorphins bind to the now more-sensitive and more-plentiful receptors. As a result, these new and improved receptors assist in regulating cell growth, promoting healing, reducing inflammation, and increasing immunity and autophagy. This is accomplished by utilizing a low dose of Naltrexone per day.
This is exactly what we are looking for in treating Chronic Inflammation syndrome and Post Covid Syndrome. This is accomplished by utilizing a low dose of Naltrexone per day. We must realize that the Naltrexone must be used only in a low dose. A higher dose will have will not work and will cause the Naltrexone not to work.
One other treatment protocol that seems to have efficacy is the use of a very small embryonic like stem cell, many times referred to as a V cell. V cells are found in each of us. There are some propriety methods of stimulating their numbers and activation. They seem to have some far-ranging effects on various systems in the body. We have utilized these cells for years with great results.
I looked at some of the Post Covid patients that we have treated in our clinic and analyzed what worked well for them. The bottom line is what is our approach in treating Covid Long Hauler patients? THE ANSWER IS REDUCING INFLAMMATION!!
- We feel that NAD will be instrumental in treating these patients. This will initially be done with a loading intravenous dose followed by oral doses. We will employ some propriety methods to increase NAD efficiency. The NAD will stimulate the Sirtuin pathways which have multiple desirous effects. We will also treat the patients with senolytic agents to keep senescent cells at bay.
- We will also incorporate some other intravenous formulas which will help boost immunity and at the same time help fight inflammation.
- The EBO2 protocol will help to stimulate the NRF2 pathway and hopefully diminish inflammation.
- Use of some supplements which will help stimulate the NRF2 pathway, the immune system, and well-being.
- Utilize low dose Naltrexone. We will utilize a low dose as has been described in the literature. The idea is to again reduce inflammation.
- Finally, we will utilize some growth factor transdermal patches. These patches have some potent cytokine growth factors. One is called Interleukin 10 and the other is called Interleukin 1 antagonist. I call Interleukin 10 “cortisone with no baggage”.
- V-cell from the patient which will be beneficial on multiple levels.
RIGHT OFF THE BAT, HOWEVER, LET ME GIVE THE DISCLAIMER THAT THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE MEDICAL ADVICE — ONLY MEDICAL HYPOTHESIS. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FDA. They are based on some of our observations and a review of science that is found in the literature. Before embarking on any treatments, one must consult a physician.
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