Natural Help for Long-COVID
COVID can linger. Long-COVID is a set of dozens of symptoms that emerge within 3 months of getting COVID and last at least 2 months. Fatigue, shortness of breath and brain fog are among the more common symptoms. A safe, natural treatment would be hugely valuable to a lot of people. A new study suggests that there may be one.
Long-COVID may affect 5-20% of people who have had COVID. It can even affect people who had mild COVID symptoms, and it can last for months or even years. In some people it can even cause disability.
The most common symptoms may be fatigue, fever, shortness of breath and cough. The symptoms may get worse after physical or mental exertion. Many people report brain fog and difficulty thinking, concentrating and remembering. Long-COVID may cause depression, anxiety and insomnia, headaches, loss of smell or taste, joint or muscle pain and heart and digestive symptoms. Recent research is adding less expected symptoms like hair loss, loss of libido and ejaculation problems.
The endothelial wall is a single layer of cells that lines the inside of heart and blood vessels. If this vital cell wall gets damaged by free radicals, or by other causes, it becomes possible for cholesterol to deposit and for plaque to develop, eventually blocking the artery and bringing about atherosclerosis. The endothelial cell wall plays a vital role in the regulation of blood vessel tone and structure as well as vascular inflammation and clot formation.
Endothelial dysfunction may play a role in COVID. Nitric oxide is important for healthy endothelial function and for blood vessel dilation. Nitric oxide is dependent on the amino acid arginine. So, researchers hypothesized that arginine combined with vitamin C might help Long-COVID. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that prevents endothelial permeability.
The study examined the effect of 1.66g of arginine and 500mg of vitamin C taken twice a day by 1,390 people who had COVID and had tested negative for at least 4 weeks. Compared to people who took a placebo, the ones given arginine and vitamin C had significantly lower scores for long-COVID symptoms (8.15 versus 13.9), meaning they had significantly less severe long-COVID. The researchers say that “Remarkably, the treatment with L-Arginine + Vitamin C had favorable effects on all the symptoms included in the survey.”
Several natural supplements have been shown to be potentially important for preventing and treating COVID as a search of our blog will reveal. In Vol.25, No.8 of The Natural Path, we review all the human research on supplements for COVID (“The Complete Guide to Natural Supplements for COVID”). This may be the first study of natural supplements specifically for long-COVID.
Pharmacol Res.2022 Jul 19:106360