Jon D. Kaiser, MD
Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Holistic Health
For appointments call: 415-381-7655
Long Covid - Part 1
(aka Longhaulers Syndrome)
“Despite the fear that you may never recover your previous level of health, it has been my experience that you can fully recover from this infection and use this event
as an opportunity to learn how to best take care of your health.”
Long Covid - Important Facts
The term “Long-haulers Syndrome” broadly relates to people of all ages who have had a recent Covid-19 infection, subsequently tested negative at least once, yet still have persistent symptoms that may include fatigue, brain fog, gastrointestinal symptoms, headaches, shortness of breath, muscle aches, anxiety, reduced exercise tolerance and heart palpitations. These symptoms often evolve after the initial infection and may persist for months.
Long-haulers syndrome does not overtly appear to be dependent on the presence of other conditions (such as asthma or diabetes) or the severity of the initial Covid-19 infection. In fact, some patients report an asymptomatic initial infection, followed by the onset of symptoms. This condition has recently been termed “post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV2 infection (PASC)” by Dr. Anthony Fauci. It is believed to occur in 15-30% of people who get Covid-19 infection.
As a functional/integrative medicine doctor who has treated patients with viral conditions for the past three decades, including hundreds of patients suffering from brain fog and chronic fatigue, I’d like to offer my perspective on the Covid-19 version of post-viral syndrome.
When I see a patient with long standing symptoms of fatigue and brain fog for the first time, the most common observation I hear is, “I was perfectly fine, exercising regularly, working hard, raising my kids and living a full life, until I came down with a bad flu. Since that infection, I’ve never been able to recover my health nor regain my previous level of activity.”
I invite you to watch my YouTube series on 'Recovering from Long Covid' by clicking HERE.
The occurrence of “Post-viral Syndrome” is not new. A CDC-funded study performed in Australia followed 253 individuals for 12 months after developing an infection with either Epstein-Barr virus (a DNA virus) or Ross River virus (an RNA virus). The researchers found that 11% of the participants developed symptoms consistent with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) during the 12-month post-infectious period. These symptoms included fatigue, brain fog and muscle pain.
When I dig deeply into the history of a person with post-viral syndrome, there is often evidence that the individual was not eating properly, not sleeping well, had been over-extending themselves and/or was possibly suffering from anxiety or depression that had not been properly addressed. They usually had no idea that their health was becoming progressively out of balance. I call this the “house of cards” scenario.
In this scenario, a depleted state has gradually been evolving over several years. This might have been caused by age-related mitochondrial dysfunction, a gradual imbalance of brain neurotransmitters, a progressively unhealthy gut microbiome and/or an immune system that has been subject to multiple previous infections and/or antibiotic use.
Recovery from post-viral syndrome is definitely possible. The recovery program I recommend includes the following interventions:
1. Mitochondrial support with key micronutrients
2. Microbiome support guided by stool testing
3. Adrenal support with nutrients and botanicals
4. Deep, restorative sleep is absolutely necessary.
5. Avoiding excessive stress is critically important.
6. Medications can be helpful to relieve symptoms while giving natural therapies the time they need to work.
7. Conserving energy using a technique known as “strategic pacing” is very beneficial until adequate energy reserves have been restored.
8. I also investigate the patient’s environment to rule out the possibility of mold exposure or chemical toxicity that can contribute to their lack of immune resilience.
Please check out my recent BLOG POSTS with more details on the above interventions.
Despite the understandable fear that you may never recover from this condition, it has been my experience that you can fully recover and use this event as an opportunity to learn how to best take care of your health.
Keep Hope Alive!
Jon D. Kaiser, M.D.
When I first met with you, my entire intestinal system was devastated from intestinal parasites and chronic antibiotic treatment. Your care, attention, knowledge, and the treatments you offered me based on your research, helped me rebuild my whole life.
If I hadn't found you, things could have gone in a really bad direction. As it was, you set me on a gentle and gradual course for recovery that healed my entire life. An unexpected effect of improving my gut health was that the migraines and chronic sinus infections I'd had my whole life completely stopped.
Thank you for how much you helped me and I am so happy that you have returned to private practice. I know that everyone you care for will be very, very lucky.
With love and respect,
Jessica S…..Chicago, Illinois
I attribute my health and ability to stay healthy with HIV/AIDS to getting your input at a critical moment in my journey. I am now happy, healthy and the proud grandfather of four. I’m also about to turn 79 years old!
Jerry R…..Portland, Oregon