Fatigue. Brain fog. Sensory deficits like smell and taste. Muscle and joint pain. Heart palpitations. Difficulty breathing. Sleep disturbances. Can anything help these and other symptoms of long COVID? 

So much was unknown during the COVID-19 pandemic that
The Mystery of Long COVID
 started in November 2019 and left Americans defenseless during its devastating duration. How did the pandemic start? When will it end? How will it affect me? Are the vaccines safe and should I get one? What do I do if I get sick? Almost four years later, as the masks slowly come off, families and businesses pick up the pieces and move on to find normalcy. 

Some, however, are left in. the wake, fighting symptoms that still dominate their lives in what is being called long COVID. For them, the mystery continues. 

Who has long COVID? That number is a mystery, too. The World Health Organization estimates between 10-20% of those infected with COVID-19. In June 2023, the CDC cites 1 in 13, while the U.S. Census Bureau claims numbers may be higher. 

Scientists are not sure why some people get long-COVID. Approximately 15% of those diagnosed with COVID-19 ended up with prolonged symptoms. Even those with “mild” infections developed long COVID. Statistically the numbers for unvaccinated were higher but even vaccination was not a guarantee against long COVID. Age seemed to matter. In those over age 18, Americans in the 40-54 age groups had the highest rate of long COVID. More severe symptoms occurred in those 55-65 and the 18-24 age group a close second. 

The lingering symptoms can be debilitating, interfering with physical and mental ability to the point of disability. The symptom list is long and affect the heart, brain, central nervous system, muscles and joints. Researchers point out the similarity between long COVID symptoms and those of fibromyalgia and SEID/ME/chronic fatigue. Could it be a cause for these syndromes? 

Research on long COVID continues and the mystery of how you treat or stop the symptoms goes on, too. 

According to the World Health Organization Long COVID Fact Sheet, researchers suspect multiple causes involving immune dysfunction, autoimmunity and inflammation are behind the myriad of symptoms. However, there is no specific test that can confirm a diagnosis such as the protein antigen test did with active COVID-19. That makes diagnosis and effective therapy difficult. 

The immune system is the first line of defense against any illness and this fight causes a great deal of oxidative stress and inflammation. This is compounded by a virus infected cell which has hijacked cell immune function, interferes with immune enzymes, compromises the mitochondria (and energy production) – and adds free radicals and inflammation to the viral fire. 

While the National Institute of Health (NIH) is quick to point out that no treatment exists (especially the use of supplements), some studies are suggesting otherwise. As in most disorders, there are underlying physical changes that occur that may be helped by nutritional support. A deficit of CoQ10 and reduced mitochondrial function may prolong a viral infection Low level of CoQ10 are found in most chronic disorders and long COVID is no exception. 

In a 2022 study, participants with long covid were given 100 mg of ubiquinol twice a day or ubiquinone. Multiple pre-tests were done that checked CoQ10 levels, symptom severity and quality of life. At the end of the study, use of ubiquinol restored (raised) low CoQ10 levels faster than the ubiquinone form. The subjects reported improved energy levels, less aches and pain, could walk further and had a better quality of life. 

How does CoQ10 help? Protecting the cell membrane from invasion and quenching free radicals is what CoQ10 does best. Why ubiquinol? Ubiquinol is a reduced form of ubiquinone (CoQ10). This simply means it is “broken down” biochemically which makes it more absorbable. In fact, 95% of CoQ10 in your bloodstream is the ubiquinol from which your body shuttles around to wherever it is needed. Of note, the body requires vitamin B6 and selenium to reduce ubiquinone to ubiquinol and a healthy GI system to make the conversion as well. Every cell in your body requires CoQ10 to stay alive and your body converts ubiquinol back to CoQ10 as it needs to. That’s why using the readily available, body friendly ubiquinol form is so important. 

The mystery of long COVID involves another factor: every person is uniquely different and thus will have different symptoms. Similar to fibromyalgia and SEID/ME/CFS there is no poster profile for the three syndromes, making treatment difficult, especially if you ignore nutritional support. The affect person has to decide which symptoms can be helped and how and then determine a plan of action. Not easy to do when you don’t have the energy to do so. 

The good news is that ubiquinol is not the only nutrient that helps. Other studies confirm the benefits of nutrient support.  The NIH does state that vitamins D and C and the bioflavonoid quercetin could support immune function. Magnesium is another nutrient found low in chronic diseases, appears to help in long-COVID as a viral fighter and immune modulator. Makes sense since it, is involved in more than 600 cellular enzymes. Nutrients also work as team. Alpha lipoic acid recycles CoQ10, plus offers antioxidant protection too. Curcumin appears to curtail the inflammation, along with quercetin and vitamin D and may be beneficial. Although selenium keeps a low profile, it too is a virus fighter (especially respiratory), and a lack of selenium and zinc leaves you vulnerable to infection. A good way to get many of these nutrients is by taking a daily, high performance multi-vitamin-mineral (may we suggest Multi-Gold™?) Make sure to choose bioavailable supplements for the best body benefits such as TyH Supplements. 

Doesn’t it make sense if a strong, healthy immune system can help you fight infections more that you should support immune function for any illness you may have? Since the mystery of long-COVID does not look like it will be solved any time soon, ubiquinol – and supporting friends – are a welcome answer. 

©TyH Publications (M. Squires)

NOTE: COVID.Gov defines long-COVID as “signs, symptoms, and conditions that continue or develop after initial COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 infection. The signs, symptoms, and conditions are present four weeks or more after the initial phase of infection; may be multisystemic; and may present with a relapsing– remitting pattern and progression or worsening over time, with the possibility of severe and life-threatening events even months or years after infection. Long COVID is not one condition. It represents many potentially overlapping entities, likely with different biological causes and different sets of risk factors and outcomes.” Per COVID.Gov, this working definition was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in collaboration with other departments including with subject matter experts at HHS Office of the Secretary, CDC, and NIH and coincident with engagement of patient groups, medical societies, and experts inside and outside the government. 

Resources: Sumbalova et al (Mol Biol Vol 9, 21 Oct 22), Zazzara et al (Clin Geriatr Med 38, 2022), Long-COVID Fact Sheets, National Institutes of Health & COVID.gov 

For informational purposes only and not intended to replace the counsel of your health care provider or to prevent, cure or treat any medical condition.