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Long Haul COVID: Consider Nutritional Deficiencies such as Thiamine, Vitamin C, Magnesium

I am not a doctor, so consider what follows as layman quackery. Consult your doctor for medical concerns.

A year after a mysterious infection which matched in onset, duration and symptoms, I’m still trying to get back to normal. The weird thing is that I have hardly ever gotten ill for some years now. Only this April 2020 infection was strikingly out of place and unusual.

Video: Long COVID: diagnosis, management, prognosis

This quote caught my eye because it matches my initial symptoms: “if you have shortness of breath √, diarrhea √, headache √, skipped meals during the first week √, 2-3X more likely to develop Long COVID”. Plus the usual fatigue as seen with 98%.

So-called Long Haul COVID ("Long COVID") is a misleading term because it is not a COVID infection. Rather, LHC refers to the myriad damages done to the body by COVID that linger, and that takes a long time to recover from. Hence I prefer the term chronic viral sequelae from COVID. But “Long-Haul COVID” is in widespread use, so I’ll stick to that.

Symptoms of Long-Haul COVID vary, but the key ones I experienced are common:

  • Extreme fatigue, lack of energy making even simple tasks difficult. From double centuries to being too tired to walk half a mile on flat ground.
  • Gastrointenstinal problems for months.
  • Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, motivational problems.
  • Mild headaches, something new to me in my life.
  • Good days and bad days, but attempts to resume normal exercise can hit hard for a week or longer.
  • Inflammation including rheumatic systems, aching in back and joints.
  • Easily provoked lung impairment (treatable with quick results using 500mg of magnesium va ReMag). Lung symptoms resolved for me now.

For some people there are additional symptoms including mental health, cardiac problems, etc. Thing is, doctors tend to pigeonhole it into one area, like cardiology. While that’s a very necessary and worthwhile area of study, it is 'dangerous' in that it looks at only one area of damage—if the heart is involved it is likely that other things are too. It is also potentially dangerous in focusing on pharmacological drug interventions rather than nutrition. For example, I consider it medical malpractice to ignore critical nutrition factors like magnesium deficiency which are known to be a global public health crisis. Classic training means blinders on. We need this LHC thing to be worked on by cross-disciplinary teams, not specialists. Because when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

In medical terms, we have a highly-variable clinical picture. Which means that it’s going to be very difficult for the medical establishment to get a handle on things.

IMO, the damage is primarily auto-immune and neurological, at least for me. I would say that brain/neurological and auto-immune issues are its hallmarks (for me). That does not rule out direct physical damage to the heart and other organs. But I’d bet that if the heart is damaged, other damages have also occurred. And for me, there is zero manifestation of any heart issues—totally normal heart rate throughout and with exercise as well (and I say that based on self recording heart rate during excercise for 20 years!). That does not rule out a heart injury, but if it’s there, it has no manifestations—and I’ve monitored my heart for 20 years.

No doctor and no pill is going to cure Long Haul COVID for you. Only YOU can do that by helping your own body heal itself.

  • Eat a nutrient rich diet.
  • Eliminate artificial ingredients of any kind, processed foods, sugars, etc.
  • Therapeutic use of nutrients like Vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, Vitamin K2.
  • Sleep, then sleep some more and whenever you feel the need.

Note that RDA figures for nutrients are weak sauce (and poor science), barely sufficient to avoid clinical deficiency symptoms. Real requirements vary by individual and can be vastly higher when the body needs to heal itself. Moreover, nutrient content of foods is likely to be less than claimed, being based on nominal findings from years ago when soils were better. And of course, the body may be unable to absorb many nutrients effectively!

The useless annual physical

I had a physical with a family medicine doctor last month, a relatively young doctor seemingly open minded. To his credit, he listened to all the my detailed issues. Well, he spent most of his time doing data entry and it looked like he was listening. Can you think and listen while doing data entry? I can’t. When we concluded, I asked the doctor directly:

Patient: “do you have any insight into any of these issues I’ve described?”
Doctor: no.

What a waste of my time and money*. Ditto for another internist.

Worse: for the past 35 years of my life, I got the blood work before my annual physical. Now, at least at Sutter Health, you get blood work after the appointment. WTF? Is this a new means to generate more appointments and thus more profit? All it did was waste both our time later via the mail system.

* I feel like I have some obligation to at least try to help doctors broaden their professional horizons. So at least I got this particular doctor to look at Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis (the one comment I got was “interesting”, so I don’t know if he really read it).

Possible nutritional treatments for Long Haul COVID

At present, I am trying high-dose Vitamin C (10 grams or more a day) plus B vitamins and magnesium and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. I avoid all the bad stuff.

Nutrition is a complex ecosystem in which nutrients are synergistic. My approach now is to attack on all fronts, making sure I have no deficiences. There are signs it is helping me—brain fog has cleared, sleep needs are declining, and energy is increasing. But there are enough confounding factors that I’m not going to assert causality.

Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is a global public health crisis. No-one can have full health without it.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and other B Vitamins

WHO: Thiamine Deficiency and its prevention and control in major emergencies

What medical doctor (99.9% being grossly ignorant of nutrition) can rule out a hypothesis like nutritional deficiency as a primary factor in COVID-19 and Long Haul COVID? Nutritional solutions are as a matter of practice and regulation de facto outside the scope of doctoring.

Long covid: How to define it and how to manage it

Dear Editor,

28 September 2020 Robert W Olney

The symptoms being reported by COVID long-haulers are the same as the known symptoms of thiamine deficiency disease, otherwise known as beriberi. Fighting the virus necessitates consumption of the body's supply of thiamine. Depending on the initial thiamine status, the outcome could be that the person is asymptomatic if they have a good supply and good nutritional status, or they could be mildly thiamine deficient, which could lead to long-hauler symptoms of beriberi, or, in the case of those particularly vulnerable such as the elderly, they could have a severe deficiency with results such as Wernicke's encephalopathy. 

...From this, I suggest that, rather than being the result of an extraordinarily virulent and pathogenic virus as seems to be widely believed, the pandemic we are witnessing is actually the result of a combination of a somewhat more severe virus than we have hitherto experienced, and a generally poor state of nutrition in the community as a whole.

...

High-Dose Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful substance. There is an abundance of medical literature proving that once a threshold is reached, that Vitamin C can solve all sorts of health issues, having robust anti-viral, anti-biotic, anti inflammatory properies, in addition to being crucal for all sorts of physiological processes*. As well as being safe in outrageously high doses, bowel tolerance being the main “risk” if too much is taken all at once.

Medical establishment ignores Vitamin C

What is truly appalling is the total lack of interest in using intravenous Vitamin C (IVAA) for COVID patients, although a few brave doctors have shown it to be highly effective for treatment, this case being no accident. It’s just that the medical establishment has no interest in cheap effective treatments, preferring to label any such usage as quackery while failing to falsify it.

* Please don’t get fooled by “scientific” studies that allege to test Vitamin C by using the wrong dosage with the wrong protocols, thus failing to match any of the protocols for which it is claimed to work, then claiming it doesn’t work—a cesspool of intellectual fraud. The history of medical science is riddled with studies designed to fail, to protect financial interests, and vice versa.


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