Are you struggling with brain fog or chronic fatigue syndrome from Long Covid?
Chronic fatigue, energy crashes, brain fog, chest pain, and your heart beating out of your chest after only walking up one flight of stairs really rock your confidence that you'll ever be your old self again.
It also doesn't help when doctors tell you they can find anything wrong with you or there's nothing they can do.
I count myself as one of the lucky ones because I've been able to still keep working because I had the knowledge and skills to help myself recover.
But I know there are people, and you might be one of them, that long Covid symptoms have ruined their life.
So if you are someone whose life has been ruined by Covid then from my own personal journey to recovery I want to let you know it is possible to have an energetic and healthy life again.
Get the Support You Need to Treat Long Covid
Let me introduce myself. My name is Hayden Keys and I've been a practicing naturopath for 18 years. For 17 of those I was fortunate to not experience any significant health challenges.
But in March 2022 that all changed after I contracted Covid. It was only a mild illness but I was left with lingering long covid symptoms.
So for the last year I have been applying my knowledge and skills to get back to my old self.
I've learned a lot in the last year about what to do and what not to do to recover and I'm now more or less there.
It's been an up and down road but the experience makes me the perfect health professional to guide you on your road to recovery.
Through personal experience I have discovered -
the best vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements to take
the best test to do, especially the ones doctors have no idea exist
the best foods to eat, the best diet to follow and best timing of your meal times
the best sleeping habits
the best exercise habits
And I'm here ready to help you.
How We Target Ongoing Symptoms from Long Covid
Step 1 - Let's Talk
You and I talk either in person or on Zoom so that you can give me a complete history of your situation.
But unlike many doctors, I'll believe what you tell me. We'll thoroughly discuss what's happened, what's been done so far, what tests you've had, what's made you feel better, and what hasn't made you feel better.
This helps me determine what further tests need to be performed.
Step 2 - Let's Test
The tests I'll get you to do are different to standard pathology tests like a complete blood count because in most cases you don't have a pathological disease. You might have severe symptoms but it's not a disease, you've got what we call a functional problem.
When you contracted Covid, and then recovered from the initial infection, the virus left lingering damage to your cell's internal energy factories called the mitochondria.
This now means your cells are stuck in a 'dysfunctional' state and have difficulty making energy, which is why you're experiencing symptoms.
So to pinpoint what treatment you'll need we need to do tests that'll reveal the specific dysfunctions you have.
Step 3 - Let's Repair
To get your life back we need to repair the damage done to your cells and their mitochondria. This will be a combination of diet, supplements and lifestyle improvements to allow your cells to repair.
One of the biggest traps people fall into on their recovery journey is trying to do too much too soon.
But I've learnt from my own recovery journey, just how much to push and when.
Step 4 - Let's Oxygenate
To make energy plentifully your cells need oxygen. However, Covid often causes your cells to make energy anaerobically.
This is energy production in the absence of oxygen and is how your cells function when you do high intensity exercise.
It's a fast but inefficient way to make energy and is the reason why you can only sprint for a short time.
Because your cells are now stuck in this state it's why you feel like you've just finished sprinting and why you feel so fatigued, have chest pain and heart palpitations, have difficulty breathing, and experience all your other symptoms.
But with specific supplements and special breathing techniques we'll get your cells re-oxygenated and working aerobically again.
Step 5 - Let's Live
The road to recovery won't be just about supplements. Supplements are amazing but they are supplementary to a health supporting lifestyle.
To recover fully and stay healthy and energetic I'll guide you on how to optimise your lifestyle habits.
You'll discover what to eat, when to eat, when to sleep, when to exercise and how to manage your stresses.
Stress can be a huge factor blocking your recovery and it can come from all different angles, for example -
eating the wrong foods
eating at the wrong times
doing too much or the wrong type of exercise
lack of sleep or sleeping at the wrong times
plus all the things you worry about
So you and I will work to improve all of these.
Best Supplements for Fatigue After Covid
Best Herbs for Covid Recovery
Not strictly an herb, resvertraol is the active compound in red wine that promotes cellular repair and longevity. In long COVID resveratrol is great because it can stimulate mitochondria production.
More mitochondria means more energy, less health anxiety from symptoms like chest pain, and better mental health.
Best Minerals Post Covid 19
Magnesium is involved in numerous biochemical reactions in the body but when it comes to long COVID it is important because your mitochondria need it to make energy. Without sufficient magnesium energy production slows down.
Magnesium is also critical for neurological symptoms and your mental health because without enough of it, you can't detoxify adrenaline from the brain.
Best Vitamins Post Covid 19
Amino acids, the secret sauce for Long Covid
An emerging area of long covid research is amino acid therapy. Amino acids are crucial to your recovery because they are the building blocks of all your body's proteins.
Proteins are important because they are not just your muscles. Proteins are also -
Antibodies that neutralise viruses and bacteria
Enzymes that run the body's chemical reactions
Hormones like insulin and thyroid hormone
Receptors on cells that hormones and other signalling molecules attach to. And in the case of COVID-19 the ACE2 receptor because this receptor is what the virus uses, and damages, to enter your cells.
Transport proteins like haemoglobin which carries oxygen
Regulatory proteins that direct the building of proteins and the function of other proteins
The reason amino acids are the secret sauce for your recovery is because whether Covid 19 caused you severe illness or mild illness it damaged important proteins in your body.
And the one we are most concerned about is the ACE2 receptor.
This receptor is what the COVID virus attaches to and uses to enter your cells. But in doing so it damages this receptor.
This becomes a big deal because without fully functioning ACE2 receptors you build up high levels of a compound called angiotensin.
Angiotensin is a natural compound in your body but it triggers inflammation. Normally angiotensin levels are regulated by an enzyme that uses the ACE2 receptor.
However, without functioning ACE2 receptors the enzyme can't do its job and inflammation results.
You may have heard of the COVID cytokine storm which puts a lot of people in intensive care. This is partly triggered by excess angiotensin.
In long COVID you aren't experiencing an acute cytokine storm but angiotensin slowly builds up and triggers chronic inflammation that lingers and lingers.
So to get your health and life back it's critical to heal and repair your ACE2 receptors and this is where amino acids are the key.
Eating extra protein won't do the job you need free-form amino acids to activate protein repair and renewal pathways within your body.
What is Long Covid?
Long COVID is a condition that some people experience after they've had COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
While most people recover from COVID-19 within a few weeks, some people continue to experience symptoms for a much longer time, even after the initial infection is gone.
Long COVID can affect people of all ages and even those who had mild or moderate cases of COVID-19. The symptoms can vary quite a bit from person to person, but some common ones include
fatigue (feeling really tired)
brain fog (having trouble concentrating or remembering things)
shortness of breath (feeling like you can't breathe deeply)
muscle and joint pain
problems with your sense of taste or smell
Now, what makes long COVID challenging is that these symptoms can persist for weeks or even months after the initial infection.
It can impact your daily life, making it difficult to go to work or school, engage in physical activities, or enjoy their usual hobbies and social interactions.
It's also important to note that long COVID is not just about physical symptoms. It can also take a toll on a your mental and emotional well-being.
Most Commonly Reported Symptoms of Long Covid
- Chronic Fatigue: Chronic fatigue refers to an overwhelming and persistent feeling of exhaustion that isn't relieved by rest. Post COVID 19 is is the most common self reported long covid symptom.
- Brain Fog: People with long COVID often experience problems with focus, memory recall, decision-making, and finding the right words. This is what we call brain fog.
- Post-viral Inflammation: Following a viral infection like COVID-19, the immune system can sometimes remain activated, leading to persistent inflammation in various parts of the body.
Long COVID patients may experience ongoing inflammation, which can contribute to symptoms such as chest pain, muscle or joint pain, headaches, and a multitude of other symptoms and health problems.
- Shortness of Breath: Some individuals with long COVID continue to experience shortness of breath, even after recovering from the initial respiratory symptoms.
This can range from mild breathlessness during physical exertion to more severe difficulties with breathing, affecting their ability to engage in physical activities.
- POTs: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a condition characterized by an abnormal increase in heart rate upon assuming an upright position.
Long COVID patients may develop POTS, resulting in symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, and even fainting upon standing up.
- Chest pain: After the initial viral infection passes many people are left with lingering chest pain. This can be the result of post-viral inflammation due to damaged ACE2 receptors.
- Sleep problems: Even though many people are left feeling chronically fatigued they can also experience difficulty sleeping. Post-viral inflammation can cause disruption of the circadian rhythm and neurotransmitter imbalance.
3 main causes of Long Covid (Pathophysiology)
Cell danger response:
The cell danger response (CDR) is a protective mechanism that our cells activate when they sense danger or a threat to their well-being.
It's like an alarm system that helps cells respond to different types of stress, such as infections, injuries, toxins, or emotional stress.
When cells perceive a threat, they undergo specific changes to defend themselves. These changes can include altering their metabolism, increasing inflammation, and adjusting their behaviour to protect against the perceived danger.
The goal of the CDR is to ensure cell survival and promote healing.
During the CDR, cells prioritize survival over other functions. They may redirect their energy towards repairing damaged structures, fighting off pathogens, and producing molecules involved in the immune response.
At the same time, they may suppress non-essential activities like growth, reproduction, and normal cellular functions.
The CDR is meant to be a temporary response that helps cells cope with the immediate danger.
However, in some cases, it can become a chronic condition if the threat persists or if the response becomes dysregulated.
This chronic activation of the CDR can lead to various health issues, including chronic inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and other diseases.
Long Covid Case Study - My Story
If you have long COVID you might think all that I've said sounds great but will my process work for you?
Will it help get rid of your chronic fatigue, your chest pain, your heart palpitations, your shortness of breath, your exercise intolerance, your cognitive symptoms or any of the other commonly reported symptoms?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article I've had my own personal experience so I believe it can.
After I contracted COVID I had long COVID symptoms which I set about to overcome.
The whole situation was ironic because as a naturopath I'm the last person you'd expect to end up with long COVID but there I was 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks after having COVID still feeling fatigued.
I couldn't exercise, my resting heart rate was up, and my heart would race whenever I climbed any stairs.
I was perplexed because up until that point I'd been lucky enough to have avoided any significant personal health challenges.
I'd helped plenty of people overcome chronic fatigue syndrome but this was new experiencing it first hand.
However, I came to see it as a blessing in disguise because it's given me the perspective to appreciate what you are going through.
And importantly for you, I now know how to help you because I've had to help myself.
And how did I help myself?
The first thing I did was I put myself through a series of tests
Blood pathology tests to check for viral persistence, autoimmunity and inflammation
A functional medicine test to check mitochondrial function, amino acid levels, vitamin levels, mineral levels, essential fatty acid levels, neurotransmitter levels, detox function and heavy metal levels som I could discover why I was broken and why my cells were stuck in the Cell Danger Response.
The results from these tests pinpointed what vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other supplements I needed to repair my cells.
Then I started daily breathing exercises to oxygenate my cells so my mitochondria could make more energy.
I also made sleep a priority and I made sure I got at least 8 hours a night (something I knew to be important but hadn't always practised as I was a busy person and had things to do).
I diligently followed this regime and after about 4 weeks I felt the first inklings of energy returning.
As my energy returned I slowly started to move my body. Just stretching at first and then a little gentle cardio and strength work.
However, there's one thing I've definitely learnt along this journey, it is to not push too hard and too soon.
When you get ahead of yourself or fall back into old habits with sleep and exercise you set yourself back.
So now my personal mantra is "Easy does it and be kind to my body".
And I'm back now better and wiser.
My energy is great, my funny heart rate irregularities have disappeared, I can think clearly again, I can solve my patient's health issues and I can run my business.
Now if you would like my help to help you overcome your long COVID symptoms then I'm here for you.
To get my help, book a consultation in one of the two ways below.=