I have been supporting patients through post-viral symptoms and chronic fatigue syndrome for the past 20 years. Given the prevalence of reported long-covid symptoms I am writing this article to help people know that I may be able to help. More importantly I want to help support people back to health after covid-19 viral infection.
I have also suffered through a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) due to post-viral infection and neutropenia back in 2008 and wow that sucked.
I was told that I had an incurable illness. This was not true. Chronic fatigue and post-viral illness, inclusing long-covid are not a life long disease; rather a syndrome of symptoms.
The body knows health; the key is to get to the bottom of things using the combined strengths of many approaches and to build from there. I recommend that we work will most of the following modern conventional medicine, holistic/ functional medicine, diet and nutrition, the science of movement and breathing, environmental science, somatic therapies, and finally emotional, psychological and spiritual support.
In general we aren’t as sick as we are ‘just because of’ Sarscov2. More often than not there were other triggers and factors going on in the background before we got sick. In other words most of us that suffer with post-viral effects had a few things going on in the background. Maybe your immune system was sub par, perhaps you have other infections going on, could your gut health and microbiome have been compromised, and so on. Although it’s a real kick in the teeth, this virus is simply exposing our weak spots and yes, we can work on these together now and get you back to strong.
We are now into our second year of the Sars-Cov2 pandemic and many people are (worryingly but not surprisingly) reporting symptoms after viral infection that persist longer than expected and are worse than anticipated. The symptoms are debilitating, anxiety provoking and frustrating. They are impacting quality of life, work and sport.
Medicine is only getting to grips with what is going on and many experts are commenting on the similarities between this (long-haul covid, covid ‘long-haulers’) and many other post-viral syndromes such as Epstein Barr virus/ ME/ CFS.
I cannot claim to know more than anyone else, nor that I have all the solutions. I am however very familiar with supporting patients struggling with chronic post-viral fatigue using a functional medicine and energy healing approach. And for most patients we achieve vast improvements to health in mind and body (please see testimonials here)
I assess your health using a functional approach, I review your blood work, discuss how you personally experienced Covid-19 symptoms, and explore all important factors related to your health, diet, lifestyle and previous health with a view to building up a picture about how we can best support you back to health moving forwards.
A thorough assessment and good “chat” is one of the most important steps that we can take to building a plan to move you into healing and past your current symptoms.
It can take a little time and effort, this is because more often than not the underlying triggers and causes where there in the background before covid19 arrived on the scene.
Approaches that we may consider appropriate for you include:
- Diet – anti-inflammatory and immune supporting with simple strategies and tips so as to not be overwhelming.
- Specific foods, herbs, probiotics and prebiotics to support the lungs, gut, adrenals, liver and kidneys. Viruses impact the barrier function, protective mucus layer and permeability of many tissues and organs so we work on this to restore health, function, and to limit inflammation and LPS load in the body.
- Support to modulate the immune system – ie nudge it back to appropriate function.
- Specific support of the mitochondria, nucleus, nerves / nervous system and the adrenal hormonal system.
- Nutraceuticals (aka supplements), herbs, plant and flower essences.
- Lifestyle adjustment.
- Sleep management and energy support.
- Mood, cognitive function.
- How to use daylight and nature time better.
- Exploration of blood tests and other specialist tests if appropriate. At the very minimum we shall look at your blood work and vitamin D.
- Emotional support – this is not easy at all.
- and finally guidance on appropriate exercise.
Please note that I am not a doctor (although I do have experience as a pharmacist and therapist) and so I will often recommend that we work closely with your General Practitioner and any other relevant consultants and experts. If you had more serious covid with for example hospital admission then I also recommend that you are screened for cardiac and respiratory health before we discuss return to sport or training. This is because the virus can attack the heart tissue causing scarring which may make you more vulnerable to arrhythmia/ palpitations.
I don’t have all the answers, this is a new pandemic and novel strain of virus. No one has all the answers. Yet, as I listen to horror stories of debilitating post-viral fatigue and read through the literature I do know that there is a wealth of experience that I have gained in the post 20 years working with athletes and “normal” people. I have supported hundreds of patients back to health and into recovery from post-viral symptoms and chronic fatigue syndrome. I can use this experience to help people today.Andrea
I am guided by the vast amount of literature available through the Royal Society of Medicine, The Institute for Functional medicine (IFM), and the many professional bodies that I am a member of. I am an avid reader of the very helpful scientific literature that is coming through the research pipelines daily. If anything that we can do helps you to feel better, then it is worth trying.
- The Functional Medicine Approach to COVID-19: Virus-Specific Nutraceutical and Botanical Agents
- The Royal Society of Medicine Covid-learning hub
- Nutri-link helpful articles
- Nature portfolio for covid resources
- New Scientist resources
- Pubmed https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/research/coronavirus/
Notes on my approach for long-covid and post-viral.
When it comes to diet and lifestyle recommendations I aim to keep things simple and manageable mainly because of low energy making things more challenging for patients when it comes to self care.
Regarding supplements I do tend to be VERY specific when it comes to brands and formulations. This is for a number of reasons such as 1. quality (there is a lot of shitty products out there not worth wasting your money on) 2. bioavailability (i.e. do you actually absorb much of what you take and does it get where we want it to) 3. dosage strength (is it strong enough to do the job) 4. the ingredients and their various forms, strengths and synergistic formulations (i.e. does the formulation make sense!) and finally based on the individual patient and their needs (i.e. can we choose a good product that hits many of your needs in one solid formula).
There is a balance to strike between what the science says and what a patient will benefit most from. There is also a lack of good research available to support many strategies for covid-19 specifically BUT, there is strong theoretical evidence to support their need and preliminary data or anecdotal evidence to warrant their use along with strong safety profiles and decades of clinical use for other similar conditions to make their use worth it. Remember clinical trials take time and money; we aren’t even able to afford this time currently in our rush to develop vaccines.
My recommendations are based on science and my professional judgment and years of clinical experience. Furthermore, don’t forget that the supplement industry is an industry and many helpful compounds can be found in foods and many strategies in nature. It is important that we don’t forget the power of what we have available to us and get too blinded by supplements and promises.
The foundations often heal the most…
Finally, on rare occasion I may recommend testing for clients such as adrenal testing, gut microbiome testing, functional blood tests and so on. This is based on the clinical picture that I see with your best interests at heart.Andrea
Do reach out if you feel that I can help you. I promise to do all that I can.