Last week on our blog, one of our patients shared his experience with Long COVID and how we have been helping him on his journey to recovery (see “Recovering from Long COVID: A Case Study.”) His symptoms started after three bouts of Covid-19 in as many years, and even though he was a strong and healthy 63-year-old, the disease had taken a toll on his resiliency — his body’s ability to bounce back after a serious illness.

Long Covid Patient Frustrated

When we first met him, Doug was physically weak and exhausted and cognitively impaired (both thinking and memory). He had already consulted two other doctors who told him that conventional medicine had no effective treatment protocol for Long COVID and that his symptoms were likely to last for six to 24 months. They recommended that he enroll in a Long-COVID program available through the University of Florida.

We offered a better solution — a personalized plan of care to restore his health, fitness, and resiliency.

In this post, I share additional details about the personalized treatment protocol we prescribed for Doug at PROVOKE Health. But first, we offer a few words of caution.

Not a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Here at PROVOKE Health, we practice functional medicine and integrative healthcare — a systems-based, whole-body approach that focuses on restoring health instead of merely eliminating illness or suppressing symptoms. That’s why functional medicine is effective in treating health conditions that conventional medicine cannot resolve.

Unfortunately, it is also why what works for one patient may not work for another. Every patient is unique and has special medical needs based on their age, genetics, medical history, family health history, lifestyle, health and fitness objectives, as well as other variants. We do not have a “long-COVID treatment protocol” that we prescribe to all our patients who report symptoms of long COVID. What we offer is a personalized plan of care, which evolves over time as the patient’s health improves.

In this post, I share the personalized plan of care we prescribed for Doug. We caution against using this as a standardized long-COVID treatment protocol or as a way to self-medicate. Prior to treating any patient, we conduct a thorough evaluation, which may include ordering lab tests to determine specifically what the patient needs. Taking too much or too little of a medication or supplement, poor quality products, or the wrong combination of medications and supplements, can do more harm than good. We recommend that you work closely with a certified functional and integrative medical practice in order to obtain personalized, medically supervised treatment.

Doug’s Long-COVID Plan of Care

For Doug, we developed the following personalized plan of care. Below, Doug’s doses have been omitted intentionally because they are patient-specific and because recommended doses of some medications and supplements change as the patient’s health improves over time. Medical interventions, including prescription medications and intravenous treatments are provided by our medical team using trusted compound pharmacies:

Compounded prescription glutathione (nebulized for inhalation into the lungs) to restore tissue antioxidant levels and combat infection. Glutathione can repair cells and prevent damage to important cellular components from sources such as infections, toxins, reactive oxygen species, free radicals, and heavy metals. With age and chronic inflammation, naturally occurring glutathione pools are depleted within cells.

Peptides and cofactors for various purposes:

  • Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) (injections) to increase energy, support mitochondrial health and function, and repair DNA. NAD is depleted in chronic conditions and aging.
  • Selank (nasal spray) to alleviate anxiety and depression, stimulate memory and learning, and normalize body functions, including immune function.
  • Semax (nasal spray) to increase concentration, stimulate memory and learning, alleviate pain, protect the brain from oxidative stress, preserve neurons, and reduce anxiety.
  • Epitalon (injections), to promote thymus function, support healthy immune function, protect the brain, regulate sleep, increase glutathione (a powerful antioxidant), and improve insulin sensitivity. Studies have shown that Epitalon can reduce the impact of chronic conditions associated with aging by increasing telomere length and reducing inflammation. (Telomeres prevent the ends of chromosomes from becoming frayed and tangled, much like the plastic tips at the ends of shoestrings; longer telomeres are associated with a lowered biological age.)
  • Thymulin (injections) to strengthen the immune response while balancing an overactive immune system, reducing inflammatory cytokines associated with Covid-19 and other chronic conditions.

Cortisol Manager (tablets) to balance cortisol levels, support a healthy stress response, and promote relaxation and restorative sleep.

Adrenal Rebuilder (capsules) to strengthen the body’s stress response and promote resilience.

Resvero-XL™ Active, a concentrated source of resveratrol in liquid form (taken orally), to support the immune system, gastrointestinal system, and metabolic pathways.

Liposomal vitamin C, a highly available liquid form of vitamin C (taken orally) to support the immune system and overall health.

MegaSporeBiotic (capsules) to restore and maintain healthy gut barrier function and promote microbial diversity in the gut. Gut health plays a key role in healthy immune function.

Liposomal Methyl B-Complex, B vitamins in a liposomal formulation (sprayed into the mouth) for optimal absorption. Each spray delivers B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6, B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folate), B12 (Methylcobalamin), and Trimethylglycine, which serves a vital role in methylation — a process that improves gene expression.

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (capsules) to replenish antioxidants and nourish the brain.

Zinc 30 (capsules) to support overall health and specifically immune system health and function.

PerfectAmino Electrolytes (powder) to rebuild muscle and improve stamina and endurance.

Magnesium Glycinate Complex (capsules) to restore magnesium levels depleted by the body’s response to COVID-19 and other infections. Magnesium glycinate is a compound formed by combining magnesium with glycine, an amino acid with sleep-promoting effects. It is one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium and the least likely to cause adverse digestive or laxative effects.

Ferrochel Iron Chelate (capsules) to address iron deficiency. Compared to inorganic iron supplements, Ferrochel Iron Chelate is more bioavailable, causes less gastric upset, and is less likely to interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.

OmegAvail Hi-Po (softgels) to support brain health and function. This supplement provides a high concentration of EPA and DHA in a balance ratio enhanced for optimal absorption.

GTA-Forte II™ (capsules) to support healthy function of the endocrine system — the chemical messaging system of the body that regulates numerous bodily functions, including metabolism, growth, and reproduction.

In addition, we recommended that Doug adopt the Mediterranean Diet, which emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish, and poultry and limits red meat, sweets, processed foods, and added sugar. As his health improved, we also recommended increasing physical activity and exercise, which play a key role in restoring health, energy, and quality of life.

The take-home message here is that there is no one-size-fits-all or quick-fix approach to treating long COVID or other long-term or chronic health conditions. These conditions do not develop overnight and cannot be corrected overnight with one or more prescription medications. The process of restoring health is complex and takes time.

If you are suffering from a long-term health condition and have “tried everything” without receiving a diagnosis that makes sense to you or effective treatment, we strongly recommend that you consult with a functional medicine-focused healthcare practitioner. Better yet, if you are in or near Tampa Florida, contact us to schedule your consultation. And if you’re not located in our area and are interested in a telehealth consultation, we’d be happy to help.

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About the Author: Dr. Matt Lewis, D.C., DACBN, CFMP®, specializes in diagnosing and treating the underlying causes of the symptoms related to chronic and unexplained illness through nutrition, lifestyle, chiropractic, and other natural approaches to whole-health healing at PROVOKE Health in Tampa, Fla. Dr. Lewis has 20 years of experience practicing nutritional and holistic medicine. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Shenandoah University, his Doctorate in Chiropractic from Life University, his Diplomate status in Clinical Nutrition from the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, his CFMP from Functional Medicine University, and his certification as a Digestive Health Specialist (DHS) through the Food Enzyme Institute. Dr. Lewis’ passion for health and wellness stems from his own personal experience. With a family history of autoimmune conditions and diabetes, and his own lab tests showing his genetic susceptibility to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid), Dr. Lewis has learned how to restore his own health and vigor to prevent the onset of these and other illnesses and live an incredibly active life. Through this process, he acquired a deeper understanding of health and wellness, which he now offers his patients in Tampa and elsewhere.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post about treating Long-COVID is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect current medical thinking or practices. No information contained in this blog post should be construed as medical advice from Dr. Matthew Lewis, Functional Healthcare Group, PLLC, or PROVOKE Health, nor is this blog post intended to be a substitute for medical counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this blog post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this blog post without seeking the appropriate medical advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed medical professional in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.