I wanted to share my personal experience with long COVID and its lasting effects. It is my hope that by sharing my story with you, those with similar stories can glean some relevant information about supplements and treatments which could help in your own recovery. Please consult your physician about all supplements, including those mentioned in this blogpost.
Early in 2020, I believed I had been infected with COVID. Every single night for about one month, I felt like I had broken glass and fire in my lungs when I would lay down to sleep at night. During the day, I felt fine. For about a year after that, I developed exercise induced asthma. I visited my PCP, a pulmonologist, had asthma testing and a chest x-ray. The asthma test put me right below the cut-off for an asthma diagnosis, but I was not functioning optimally. I had to stop mountain biking and even one flight of stairs would induce burning and shortness of breath. In the Spring of 2021, a year after my exposure, I started seeing my acupuncturist again. She did a few rounds of cupping on my back and needles and as if by magic, my asthma symptoms went away. By this time, I was also vaccinated.
In June of 2022, I had COVID again. This time, it was much more severe than the first round. I had fever, diarrhea, headache, loss of sense of smell, body aches and fatigue. Immediately following COVID, I had a sinus infection for a few weeks. When the sinus infection cleared up, the brain fog set in or became apparent.
Brain fog is not like the grogginess you feel after a poor night of sleep. It’s not like postpartum brain when you’re so fatigued and hormonally “off” that you forget to pack a lunch or miss an appointment or two. Long COVID brain fog is a marked deficiency in executive functioning that makes tasks absurdly difficult or impossible. Examples of executive functions are adaptable thinking, planning, prioritizing, task initiation, self-monitoring, self-control, working memory, time management and organization. For me, this manifested in a couple of ways. A simple task like hanging a picture on my wall felt daunting and complicated. I couldn’t break down the steps to get the job done. Instead, I just stared at the wall and picture and screws in bewilderment. This is an example of task initiation, or lack thereof. Another area for me was planning. I was double booking myself all over the place. I even booked two events where I was to attend, in two different places on the same day. It felt scary to lose my reliable brain. My working memory was extremely slow. Something that would take 3 seconds to recall was taking 24 hours. It felt like the information was there but just not accessible. I couldn’t recall stories, conversations, or memories. Doctors are saying that long COVID brain fog is very similar to Chemo brain.
Next came the fatigue. If I arrived at an appointment early, I’d sleep in my car for 5 minutes. I’d sleep in my car before going into a grocery store, just to get the energy to shop. I’d sleep in my car before my workout at the gym if I arrived before the trainer. I’d sleep waiting in the pick-up line at my daughter’s gym. I’d sleep everywhere, every chance I had.
There were daily body aches and headaches. Most days, I felt like I had the flu with extreme body ache and stiffness. The brain fog, loss of sense of smell, fatigue, and body aches all together made me feel like I was walking around with a paper bag on my head. I was physically there but not fully engaged. I was trying but I just couldn’t be fully plugged in. This all went on from early June until September 25, 2022. On this day, the brain fog lifted. I believe it was the culmination of the treatments I was doing and the supplements I was taking. There were improvements along the way, but that day was the most dramatic shift so far. I’m going to share with you everything that I’ve done, taken, and tried. I am well on my way to a full recovery (I think I’m 90% there) and I owe it to several practitioners and their treatments and some very simple grocery store supplements! This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything I take or everything I do for my health. This list is just specific to my Long COVID recovery. Here it is:
Lauricidin, one scoop. Recommended to me by Rachelle Morrison and Dr. Krasnick. This is a medium chain fat derived from lauric acid in coconut fat. It is thought to dissolve the sheath of protein surrounding the DNA of certain bacteria and viruses. There is some suggestion that a COVID infection can possibly cause latent Epstine-Barr virus (EBV) to activate. Lauricidin may be beneficial in treating EBV, not necessarily COVID.
NAD IV therapy, once a week for two weeks. This can be administered more often but I’ve only done two treatments so far. Dr. Krasnick offers this treatment. NAD IV therapy is used to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as parkinson’s and Alzheimer's. It helps maintain mental clarity, focus, and offers a massive boost of energy. I can say that I felt a huge improvement in my energy levels after my two sessions. It’s been about a month since my first one and there is still improvement in my energy level.
L-acetyl carnitine, one small scoop (powder form). This is an amino acid. It’s used for Alzheimer’s disease, improving memory, thinking skills, treating symptoms of depression, and reducing nerve pain in people with diabetes.
Acupuncture and Cupping. My acupuncture treatments with Abby Humphrey have been essential. I do treat myself as needed but I keep regularly scheduled appointments with her to stay on top of health issues. The cupping has been clearly helping me with COVID symptoms. It has helped with clearing my head and body aches. I always feel better after back cupping. It is most effective when done twice per week.
Multi-Element Buffered Vitamin C, 2600 mg plus calcium, magnesium, Zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, quercetin, L-glutathione. For immune support. This is a formula for immune function and antioxidant protection. It is designed by Klaire Labs.
Vitamin D, 3000 IU per day. For immune support.
Methyl Balance by Klaire Labs, 1 pill. This is a combination of Riboflavin, B6, Folate, B12 and Betaine. This is a highly bioavailable form of the B vitamins used for neuroendocrine and cognitive health. I love Klaire labs and I trust their products. I can order this for anyone if you’re interested. The cost is $36.99 for 60 caps (two months supply). B-12 is essential for nerve health.
Magnesium, 200 mg. This assists the ALA and reinforces the protective effect.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), 330 mg per day. This one was a game changer. After taking this for nine or ten days, my sense of smell suddenly came back to about 80-90%. This is used to mitigate the damage of oxidative stress. It seems to provide protection to the brain. It is used for treating nerve pain in people with diabetes. Certain cancer medications interact with ALA as well as thyroid hormones, diabetes drugs, and anticoagulants. If you are interested in taking this supplement, please check with your PCP to see if it is safe for you. For me it feels essential. I use the Jarrow brand from Whole Foods.
Turmeric, 50 mg. This is a low dose, but my stomach can’t handle the recommended 1500 mg per day. This is an anti-inflammatory supplement.
Sphenopalatine ‘Sweet Nasal’ treatment. This is a simple procedure where a 5% dextrose solution is dripped into the nose, with the head tilted back over the end of a massage table. The solution rests on the Sphenopalatine Ganglion (nerves in the head) for about 10 minutes. It is a non-invasive treatment for chronic headache and brain fog. I did my first treatment yesterday and it was incredible. I have used a neti pot for decades and more recently a navage nasal irrigation machine. Neither of these compared to the cleansing effect of Sweet Nasal. This treatment really cleared my sinuses and head like nothing else ever has. This treatment should be done daily for a few days. Dr. Krasnick at my office does this procedure.
I hope there is information here that will be helpful for people suffering with Long COVID. If you are interested in scheduling acupuncture treatment or purchasing Klaire Labs supplements, please don’t hesitate to text or email me. As always, please consult your physician before trying any new supplements or procedures.