Let’s begin with changing this premise slightly: YOU are what is being treated, not ‘long Covid’! Functional Medicine is a ‘healthcare’ system, not a disease care system!
First and foremost we need to look at your vulnerability risk to assess what predisposing factors are affecting your ability to fight off SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes long covid. In functional medicine we begin with your history so that we know how taxed your immune system was even before the outbreak of Covid-19, as this plays a key role in how quickly your body can adapt to this rapidly mutating virus.
Whilst anyone can catch the virus, many people remain asymptomatic because their body’s front line of defence is stronger than the virus itself, so they fight it off in the normal way. However, certain pre-existing health problems significantly increase the risk of suffering more adverse symptoms or going on to develop so-called ‘long covid syndrome’.
The main pre-disposing health conditions are:
- Obesity (a BMI of 30+)
- Being overweight and having excess visceral fat
- Weakened Immune System
- Serious heart conditions / Cardio-vascular disease
It therefore sands to reason that if we can address these chronic health problems using lifestyle and nutritional measures, then we can reduce a person’s risk of contracting long-Covid syndrome.
Lab Tests that can be done at home
Thanks to tremendous advances in technology, there are some simple stool, urine and saliva tests that you can do at home that our courier will collect to ship to the laboratory for testing.
Cortisol & Melatonin and their role in long covid
Are you getting enough sleep to allow your body to rest and recover? Cortisol and Melatonin are the 2 hormones that work in harmony with each other to regulate your wake-sleep cycle. However, when you are stressed, anxious or unwell, over time your cortisol levels will increase and melatonin will go down leaving you sleep-deprived and less able to cope physically, mentally and emotionally with daily life. Inside your body, your immunity will weaken, recovery from injury or illness will take longer and the functioning of your body at a cellular level that is so necessary for good health, will diminish rapidly.
A simple saliva test will measure these hormones and give us a good indication about whether you are getting enough good quality sleep. Recent research has shown a very strong link between the ‘sleep’ hormone melatonin and its role in “improving clinical outcomes in patients with obesity and I diabetes co-existent with Covid-19.
Comprehensive Gut Function Test and how it can help in long covid
Research published in Virus Research in August 2020 shows that:
“Improving gut microbiota profile by personalized nutrition and supplementation known to improve immunity can be one of the prophylactic ways by which the impact of this disease can be minimized in old people and immune-compromised patients”
This would indicate that a comprehensive stool analysis that shows us the state of your gut bacteria will help tailor a nutritional plan and improve your immunity thereby mitigating your risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19 no matter what your age or current state of health. This is particularly important for people who feel so disempowered as they wait for a vaccination to become more widely available There is a tremendous amount that you can already do to give your body the best possible chance of reducing the severity of the symptoms of Covid-19 even f you do catch it or if you are concerned about becoming re-infected.
Chronic Fatigue Test and how it can help in long covid
The majority of people suffering from long-covid talk about an overwhelming sense of fatigue that some are asking how to know whether they are suffering from long covid or CFS. From a functional medicine perspective, the naming of the condition is less important than the underlying systemic imbalances that you are experiencing as an individual. For this reason, we also have a lab test for Chronic Fatigue that combines an adrenal stress profile and a metabolic analysis. As with most of our tests, it is a simple urine and saliva test that you can do at home then our courier will collect your samples and send them to the lab for analysis.
So to answer the question ‘can long covid be treated’ or ‘can long covid be cured’ I would suggest that rather than focusing on the illness, we focus on the patient and their current and pre-existing state of health. Test, don’t guess is our motto and once we have conducted some simple yet scientifically advanced lab tests, we can work together on your personalized health plan.