Long Covid: Four Possible Causes & Approaches

As you know, I am keeping my eye out for anything we can learn about helping the inevitable wave of Long Covid and post-viral patients we are going to see.

I’ve written about Long Covid and given a suggested protocol to follow in my Covid Factsheet here, and see my video on it here (I look awful myself, I was feeling crap in sympathy with my subject that day!! Amazing how the scarf perks me up midway through- that’s my colour-training!).

In essence, so far, I think there are four main types of Long Covid patients, with different causes.

  1. Virus hasn’t gone

The first is some people who have the virus still activated in the system; they haven’t killed it off. Those are the majority so far, and my protocol was initially aimed at these people. I recommend an anti-viral protocol to kill the biofilm so the immune system can get to and attack the virus. It’s an approach I’ve used in-clinic for post-viral illness, mainly ME and chronic fatigue (CFS) over the years, really successfully. It takes about 3-4 months so consistency is key here. Use this.

It’s funny that lots of research funding is suddenly being poured into Long Covid and post-viral illness when ME/CFS sufferers have been begging for that for years. Michelle at FoodsMatter recently wrote a blog all about this, with some excellent links to articles on the ME/CFS/Virus link to LC.

2. Reactivated viruses

Next, a similar picture in that I’m finding some people are reactivating latent viruses in the body. In other words, herpes simplex (think cold sores, shingles etc) and Epstein Barr (glandular fever) and others have been reactivated somehow. This appears to be happening after the vaccines possibly, too, although that is sheer guesswork, of course, at this point. Treatment? Same as above. Kill the latent viruses. In fact, if that had been done after the original viral infection, the reactivation wouldn’t be happening now, would it? Here’s that anti-viral again for you.

3. Mitochondrial Damage

Next, some people may have mitochondrial issues. Some experts believe that the mitochondria (the energy batteries in our cells) have been affected in a kind of over-zealous inflammatory response to the virus.

A coronavirus such as SARS-CoV-2 can wreck acute and long-term havoc in a body where the immune system is compromised (either from an underlying illness or simply a stressed and/or nutrient deficiency) because of its ability to stimulate a part of the innate immune response called the inflammasome, which can cause an uncontrolled release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, leading to a cytokine storm and severe, sometimes irreversible, damage to the respiratory epithelium and beyond.[2] The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been shown to activate the NLRP3 inflammasome, which also triggers mitochondrial dysfunction, contributing to long-term cellular dysfunction, a major underlying mechanism in diverse Long Covid symptoms.[3]


Happily, polyphenols, especially Quercetin, have been found to help. Nutrigold continue…

“.. there are some natural plant-based polyphenol compounds that including Aloe vera, resveratrol, curcumin, EGCG [epigallocatechin gallate] – a major polyphenol found in green tea, and quercetin that are potent inhibitors of NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated pro-inflammatory production, typically acting synergistically at more than one element of the involved inflammatory pathways. Importantly, these polyphenols have an even broader biological effect, as they influence a variety of pathways including those that counteract the COVID-19 hyper-inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, as predicted to occur in Long Covid.[4]

And now this polyphenol [Quercetin] found naturally in several vegetables such as onions and broccoli, fruits such as apples, berries and cherries, and some seeds and grains, has been shown to promote important anti-inflammatory cell pathways (SIRT2), which in turn inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome assembly involved with COVID-19 infection and post-infection hyperinflammation.[8] In cell cultures, quercetin has even been shown to prevent viral entry and reduce the cytopathic effects of many viruses, including rhinovirus and poliovirus.[9] 

Interestingly quercetin maybe even more powerful when combined with vitamin C as a potential therapy for treating SARS-CoV-2, as vitamin C recycles oxidised quercetin, producing a synergistic effect and enhancing quercetin’s antiviral and anti-inflammatory capability.[10]

An open-label randomised control trial in Turkey currently underway is examining quercetin’s role in COVID-19; 95 patients with COVID-19 are receiving a 1,000mg active treatment dose and 113 healthcare workers a 500mg dose as prophylaxis. In both treatment arms, quercetin is being administered with vitamin C and bromelain. Currently, no COVID-19 cases were recorded among healthcare workers taking prophylactic quercetin and no deaths were observed among patients with COVID-19 on quercetin treatment. These are still small scale studies but the power of natural plant-based anti-inflammatory compounds is gaining traction to provide a useful tool to support Long Covid sufferers.”

Fascinating, huh? I can’t seem to link to the Nutrigold product yet – it must be new and not on ND etc yet, sorry. But this is a good quercetin and Vitamin C product.

4. MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome)

Some of you know I am in the middle of trying to get an official diagnosis of MCAS myself, so I’ve been interested to read how many MCAS doctors are setting up Long Covid clinics because they believe many people, who probably had mild MCAS before, have been triggered into full-blown mast cell meltdown.

The clue to MCAS is sensitivity to things – food, chemicals, environment etc – but also a multi-system inflammatory symptom picture. In other words, you could have myriad symptoms and they affect several different body systems. For example: eczema (skin), headaches (neurological), aching (musculoskeletal), immune (new autoimmune, infections etc). Those symptoms wax and wane, and can respond to a trigger one day and the same trigger is fine the next day. No wonder we have so much fun trying to track down what we’re reacting to, huh?

Dr Tina Peers in the UK is one doctor leading this approach. She is full to capacity, but you can read and watch her thoughts on the MCAS link with Long Covid here.

Treatment-wise? This is much more complex, but the fascinating thing is that Quercetin is somewhere near the top of any MCAS protocol too. So, could it be that the Quercetin is helping both mast cell over-activation as well as inhibiting the NLRP3 inflammasome? Quite possibly. And wouldn’t that be neat?

I am trying to get Quercetin in myself currently. Sadly, most MCAS sufferers can’t do Vitamin C because it is corn-derived, and more and more of us seem to be sensitive to that ubiquitous grain in meds and supplements. So, go for a plain TGF Quercetin. This is the one I have. And pair it with a TGF Vitamin C like this. Use the TGF Supplements Master List for alternatives, always.

It’s obviously a lot more complicated than just Quercetin and Vitamin C, but that should give you a good start. Christine and I are just trying to work out a TGF safe MCAS protocol for us all and I’m half way through an MCAS factsheet/chapter in the new Hypersensitivity Plan for you.

OK, I hope that helps. I will add a link to this post in the Covid factsheet for you, too. Please do share this to help family and friends who may be suffering; let’s help!

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