Many Americans continue to face symptoms of Long COVID. After testing negative, inflammation caused by the virus continues to persist causing an array of health issues. DocWire News spoke with Raphael Kellman, MD, a Physician of Integrative and Functional Medicine, who treats Long COVID in his patients using a multi-pronged approach of a combination of compounds, natural immune modulators, antioxidants, IV Therapy and other methods.
Recently, Dr. Kellman spoke about Long COVID in saying, one reason Long COVID is difficult to identify is that many of its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases and conditions. Brain fog, cognitive decline and fatigue are the most common symptoms, affecting roughly 70% of Long COVID patients. These symptoms are also commonly found in patients with thyroid issues, Lyme and autoimmune disease. The truth to solving long COVID may lie in your gut, better known at the microbiome.
DocWire News: Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your specialty.
Dr. Raphael Kellman: Sure. I’m an internist medical doctor. I’ve been practicing holistic and functional medicine for many years, and I’ve written a number of books on the microbiome and its relationship to a wide variety of diseases.
How prominent is long COVID, and what are some of the lingering symptoms people experience?
About 30% of people that had COVID could develop some symptom of long COVID. It could range for fatigue, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, depression, anxiety, palpitations, dizziness, neuropathy, a wide variety of problems.
Why is long COVID so difficult to identify?
The symptoms could be very similar to many other diseases like autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, and many other symptoms.
How do you treat long COVID in your patients?
Yeah. I mean, it’s definitely related to an inflammatory condition. The immune system, so to speak, has never completely turned off, and the constant state of inflammation could cause a wide variety of symptoms, everything that I just mentioned. It could affect the brain adversely leading to brain fog, memory impairment, depression, anxiety, memory, difficulty focusing, et cetera. And it could also affect the heart. So you can get palpitations. You could have gastrointestinal symptoms. Again, the immune system could damage organs, and symptoms, it could damage joints. It could damage the thyroid and you get Hashimoto’s, which is quite common, by the way. A lot of people with long-haul COVID also have low thyroid.
Why advice would you offer to other health care professionals in treating long COVID?
You got to reduce inflammation. Fortunately, anyone who does functional medicine, natural medicine, there’s a myriad of natural compounds, herbs, and many compounds that can modulate the immune system, which is exactly what you want to do. Whether it’s herbs, various natural compounds could tone down the immune system. Also, peptides could also modulate the immune system. And then all these inflammatory compounds and cytokines are reduced, improving overall health and improving the issues, symptoms, conditions, organs that happen to be affected by the high state of inflammation.
By the way, I failed to mention the microbiome is affected as well. It’s not uncommon that anyone who has long-haul COVID has imbalances in the microbiome. Those are the trillions of gut bacteria that play a very significant role in our health. And if you have microbiome alterations, it could lead to many symptoms. And many of the symptoms that people who have long-haul COVID have this type of a microbiome imbalance. So you have to focus on a number of things. You have to test for inflammation, autoimmunity, different cytokines, inflammatory markers, or you need to improve the microbiome for the use of probiotics, prebiotics, even postbiotics like butyrate, that gut bacteria produce that have a very important anti-inflammatory effect.
So it has to be very comprehensive. You have to look at things holistically and understand what’s going on. And as I said, inflammation, autoimmunity, the autoimmunity could affect the thyroid and then you get Hashimoto’s that could cause fatigue and brain fog, memory impairment, and numerous other, hair loss. By the way, many people who have long-haul COVID are also suffering from hair loss.
Any closing thoughts?
I mean, I think this is a disease, a problem that can be addressed. Again, I really believe that it needs to be addressed from a holistic perspective, functional medical perspective, to get the results that I think people who have long-haul COVID should be receiving.