Effectively Treat COVID-19 with Functional Medicine

Long-COVID is extremely complex, and many people are struggling to recover their health. Our functional medicine approach evaluates and addresses all interconnected body systems to help you heal.

 

 

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Long-COVID is Similar to Other Chronic Illnesses

Long-COVID, also known as Post Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), is the collection of persistent COVID-19 symptoms, devastating the lives of many who have become informally known as “long-haulers.”

Preliminary data shows many similarities between PASC and other chronic illnesses known to be associated with viral and bacterial triggers, including:

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
  • Lyme and tickborne diseases
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Dysautonomia
  • Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

The Patient Experience with Long-COVID

This new multi-system chronic illness causes chronic and debilitating symptoms for 1 in 3 COVID-19 survivors.

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Complex Manifestations

Many different body systems can be affected. While some people experience lingering symptoms from their initial infection, others may struggle with new impairments.

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Varied Symptoms

Over 200 different symptoms have been reported in more than 10 organ systems.3 Some of the most common include brain fog, fatigue, shortness of breath, and muscle weakness.

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Impacted Daily Life

Many who were healthy before COVID-19 can no longer function normally or exercise due to debilitating fatigue.4  A significant number of people have been unable to return to work full time.5

Who is at Risk of Developing Long-COVID?

Anyone who has been infected with COVID-19 is at risk of becoming a long-hauler, even if the initial infection was mild. Additional risk factors include age, female gender, obesity, asthma, COPD, and reporting more than five symptoms in the first week of COVID-19 infection.6

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Current Theories

Broadly speaking, there are four central hypotheses on the main underlying causes and mediating processes involved. In addition, there are alternative, emerging theories.

  • This theory suggests that the virus or its components may remain in the body long after the initial infection and even after a person tests negative. The virus may hide in the cells and reactivate under certain conditions. Additionally, there could be viral RNA and proteins that linger even after the virus has left the body, resulting in an activated immune response. The immune system, unable to rid the virus in certain organs of the body, remains in an inflamed state.16

  • This theory involves a chain reaction of cellular physiology. Evidence suggests that COVID-19 can cause abnormal triggering of mast cells, the first line of immune defense. For those with MCAS, this causes the immune system to act erratically and makes the person even sicker.13 This process can also be linked to depletion of NAD+,12 a coenzyme that helps metabolic enzymes work efficiently. Depletion of NAD+ can further impair cellular processes and mast cell function.

  • This theory proposes failure of the immune system to reset after the overactive stage of the initial infection.8 Along with systemic inflammation, COVID-19 can create an ongoing autoimmune response that attacks the body.9

  • This theory hypothesizes that long-haulers are experiencing a combination of multiple illnesses: permanent organ damage to the lungs and heart, post-intensive care syndrome, post-viral fatigue syndrome, and continuing COVID-19 symptoms.11 While one person may suffer from one or two of the associated illnesses, others may be struggling with even more. This would explain why the symptoms and severity of PASC vary so greatly from person to person.

  • This theory proposes that COVID-19 hijacks the mitochondria (the cell’s batteries) of the immune cells and impairs mitochondrial pathways. This manipulates the functions of the cells for the advantage of COVID-19 viral replication. The virus drains the mitochondria’s power, leaving little left for the cell to use for itself.

  • This hypothesis focuses on the fact that the brainstem is highly prone to damage from immune activation, which is common in COVID-19 cases. The brainstem contains nuclei that regulate the respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurological processes, imbalance of which can be linked to PASC, and can overlap with COVID-19 symptoms14

  • Dormant pathogens in the body prior to a COVID-19 infection can reappear and exacerbate symptoms. These can include bacteria, parasites, fungal organisms, and viruses. Many pathogens can linger in the body, but under normal conditions are controlled by a healthy immune system. When infected by COVID-19, the immune system is overwhelmed, leaving room for dormant pathogens to reactivate and cause symptoms.17

  • This theory explains that COVID-19 may deplete important microorganisms in the gut microbiome, potentially contributing to PASC symptoms.18

Functional Medicine Can Help COVID-19 and PASC Patients Recover and Regain Their Lives

For years, our clinic has helped patients recover, including those with persistent infections, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammatory diseases that cause multi-system, multi-organ dysfunction. Our approach to treating COVID-19 and PASC considers all interconnected body systems and uses evidence-based diagnostic and therapeutic methods to support a healthy immune response and recovery. Beyond simply treating the symptoms, we help to correct immune dysfunction, reduce inflammation, restore hormone and nervous system balance, and support your metabolic pathways, to help you recover sooner.

Inflammation and Autoimmune Imbalance

Our approach focuses on reducing inflammation and supporting your immune system, allowing your body to respond better to treatment and decreasing the risk for relapse.

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Cellular Optimization

COVID-19 causes significant organ system and cellular disruption. This can include activation of mast cells with myriad symptoms as well as mitochondrial impairment, influencing energy production, metabolism, and immune health.

By supporting cellular function, we work to restore proper inflammatory, energy production, and immune balance at the cellular level.

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Antimicrobials and Antivirals

Once key pathogen triggers are identified, whether new or reactivated, we use botanical and pharmaceutical antimicrobial medicines to provide deeper healing, while simultaneously supporting all body systems.

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Nutrition

We use nutrition and food as medicine to reduce inflammation, improve gastrointestinal health, rebalance the microbiome, and support the immune system, enabling other COVID therapeutics to be more effective.

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Nutritional Supplements and Pharmaceuticals

Our broad tool kit of conventional medical therapies, botanicals, and other essential nutrients target specific body systems and support neurological, respiratory, cognitive, energy, and immune function for optimal recovery.

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Data and Wearable Technology

Wearable technology allows our team to deliver personalized, data-driven care. We leverage cutting-edge technology, data analysis, and data visualization to provide real-time data tracking of treatment effectiveness and recovery.

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Group Programs

Community support and social connection are critical for those recovering from COVID-19. Our group program focuses on therapeutics, lifestyle recommendations, and creating a support network to help individuals return to a more healthy and vibrant life.

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Care Team Support

You are not alone on your health journey. As a COVID-19 patient or long-hauler, regular and proactive connection to your multidisciplinary care team will ensure your needs are best being met throughout your recovery.

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You can recover your health.
We can help.

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