I have been managing post-covid clients for over a year. My clients all want to understand the natural approach to getting past COVID infection without lasting effects. My goal with this article is to provide an overview of what COVID is, what it does but more importantly what you can do to create the best outcome using a natural approach along with life-saving medical interventions. More articles will follow which will break down natural testing and all-natural help for the three phases of COVID which are Pre-COVID infection, Active COVID Infection, and Post-COVID Syndromes.
I am a Certified Functional Medicine doctor. My job is to find every available and effective means of improving my clients’ natural health. The pandemic of COVID has created an opportunity for the development of natural ways of fighting viruses and disease. I am pleased to share my experience with you in hopes that it will help you or someone close to you. Let’s begin.
What is COVID?
COVID is a virus that is contagious and infects a human being causing a reaction by the immune system. The immune system is composed of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and glands which detect foreign invaders and send out soldiers to fight off the offending invaders. In the case of COVID, the fight is sometimes life and death which can lead to collateral damage of tissues of the lungs, heart, blood vessels, and more.
What is a virus?
A virus is a simple life form that has one goal in mind: the survival of its species through reproduction. A virus’s job is to get normal body cells to become virus cells. This takes away from normal body function and can lead to organ, tissue, and system dysfunctions and worse. The immune system’s job is to stop the virus at all costs in order to keep us alive but as in all war, there are civilian casualties and when it comes to COVID, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the immune system itself, and more can become temporarily or even permanently damaged. Optimizing immunity in all three phases of COVID is key.
What is immunity?
Immunity is your body’s way of identifying foreign invaders, fighting them efficiently, and bringing the whole process to a close quickly with as few innocent bystanders being hurt in the process. Some people have very strong immunity to foreign invaders. Some people have a very weak immune response. Cardiovascular disease, obesity and more can cause a very weakened immune system that gets run over by powerful viruses such as COVID. Getting prepared is crucial.
The COVID active infection usually lasts for 21 days. A strong immune system can resolve COVID within that time with the least residual effects.
Unfortunately, 20% of people who have had COVID present with ongoing cardiovascular issues, brain fog, fatigue, and more beyond the three weeks. This article will look to provide information about how to avoid, fight and at least minimize the long-term effects of COVID infection.
What are some Post-COVID problems?
A syndrome is what doctors call a pattern of symptoms instead of giving a specific diagnosis or name for a condition. Post-COVID syndrome consists of fatigue, headache, difficulty breathing, poor circulation, heart conditions, gastrointestinal dysfunction, brain fog, toe conditions, rashes, stroke, loss of smell, and others. Post-COVID Syndrome has many names. Post-COVID Sequelae is one many doctors are using to describe the pattern of symptoms some people present with following COVID infection.
What are ordinary approaches to testing and treatment?
Medical interventions typically consist of the treatment of symptoms. This may include isolation, bed rest, OTC medications, hospital admittance, ventilator use, antiviral medications, cardiovascular drugs, oxygen therapy, and others. Gladly, these can be life-saving interventions that keep a person alive. Being watchful for temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation, immune cell blood counts and more is critical in order to know when more drastic interventions need to be employed. We rely on Medical help to keep us from dying yet these tactics don’t always focus on encouraging the natural healing processes the body holds. The three phases of COVID, Pre-COVID infection, Active COVID Infection, and Post-COVID Syndrome, all may call for drug, vaccine or cardiovascular therapy in order to try to lessen the symptoms of infection but again don’t often maximize the immune system’s potential. The side-effects are the most concerning aspect of traditional interventions. This is where natural interventions using a Functional Medicine approach enter the picture.
What does an advanced approach using natural, drug-free treatment consist of?
Before we move forward, please understand that this strategy is designed to support life-saving measures provided by the Medical community and is not to be used instead of necessary life-preserving interventions such as ventilator use. Think of these interventions as a way of picking up and supporting a weakened, overrun immune system.
Let’s look at all three phases of COVID and give an overview of some things to watch for and some measures to take.
- Pre-COVID infection. Let’s look at some potential Diet and Supplement Therapeutics which can be beneficial in order to strengthen your ally immune system in the likely event of COVID exposure. Remember, the idea is to get the virus eliminated as efficiently as possible with as little collateral damage as possible. Regarding diet, I strongly support the use of a Mediterranean or Japanese Diet as long as simple carbs like bread and white rice are eliminated. Protein intake must be adequate for muscle maintenance and regular outdoor exercise can create a resilient cardiovascular system. Powerful antioxidants like N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) help the body to create a powerful substance called Glutathione which helps to rid the body of toxic trash. Essentials fatty acids such as those found in fish oil are critical for lowering inflammation and for keeping cell walls healthy. Minerals like Magnesium which is a cofactor required for proper cardiac function, Zinc which is necessary for immune adequacy, and healthy gut walls are terrifically helpful for immune defense. Quercetin and Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E provide innate immune support, act as inflammatory modulators, and keep the cells of the body at a high state of energy production.
An often-overlooked aspect of immune function is the function of the gut and the levels of healthy bacteria that lie therein. Understand that the gut, which consists of the large and small intestines, has power and authority over the immune system, and the trillions of bacteria that live there communicate directly with the brain and have the ability to mount a powerful defense against viral infection. Even if a person has no digestive issues, they could have a less than optimal state of gut health. Proper assessment of optimization will be discussed in the following articles but you can learn more about advanced gut testing HERE.
The big picture regarding preparation is this: keep inflammation low and give the immune system everything it needs in order to fortify its defenses.
- Active COVID Infection: This is hopefully a short 21-day process. During this time the inflammation can be mild or severe. Support for the immune system is key. In addition to the foundational support described above, increases in Potassium and Vitamin C tolerance can be beneficial. If blood Hs-CRP, an inflammation marker, is elevated, more intense anti-inflammatory use by way of Bromelain/Curcumin’Resveratrol/Sulforaphane complexes could come into play.
- Post-COVID Syndromes: Post-infection syndromes represent symptoms that persist following the typically 21 days active COVID infection process. In addition to the foundational support described above for pre-infection measures, natural substances can help to alleviate the damage the war against COVID produces in many cases. Vasodilators like L-Arginine which increases arteries to open up and allow healing blood flow can be critical to those who develop persistent circulatory issues. Melatonin has been found to be very helpful for brain fog. Hydrocortisone is often used for irritated toes or rash issues. Keeping inflammation low by utilizing gut wall repair by way of Glutamine as well as bacteria-boosting probiotics cannot be overlooked.
How do you know what to take, what not to take, and what the status of your gut is?
Proceed with caution. I have seen natural substances used properly give amazing results. Used improperly, they can create new problems. My saying in my practice is, “Don’t guess… test!” The field of Functional Medicine offers specific and advanced testing in order to assess things that influence inflammation and healing in the body. Proper gut wall and gut bacteria health are considered to be the foundation of health in the field of Functional Medicine though you won’t find this notion to be in practice within the traditional medical system. Functional Medicine doctors use special stool testing in order to assess this special segment of your immune system and this has been the foundation I have used to help my clients for years. My advice is this: follow the life-saving protocols prescribed to you but also seek out the help of a trained Functional Medicine doctor in order to know for sure what you should do. Don’t guess. Don’t disturb your immune system with random vitamins, minerals, probiotics, anti-inflammatories, or, worse.
Take the information regarding Pre-COVID infection, Active COVID Infection, and Post-COVID Syndrome with you along your journey and consult an expert for specific help. Don’t take a chance and guess with your health.
Ready for more info?
Watch for follow-up articles that will further break down the items used in the Pre-COVID infection, Active COVID Infection, and Post-COVID Syndrome. Knowledge is power and I am focused on delivering information in a way that can elevate your understanding of how to protect yourself best in the COVID era.
Have questions or want a Functional Medicine doctor’s opinion on a specific case?
Just ask! We love helping people make the best natural health choices. Visit us to get more info or to send us an inquiry at backtohealthnaturalsolutions.com. We can help to find you the help you need and deserve.
Dr. Daniel J. Farkas, DC, CFMP
The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Do not alter any treatment regimen you have been placed on without consulting the prescriber.