Long COVID

We’ve known for a while that many viruses continue to impact the body long after the initial infection disappears. It’s likely a factor in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). The trouble is that these conditions are poorly understood and easily dismissed. Since the pandemic and the rise of long COVID, finding possible therapies has taken on a new importance (https://longevity.technology/news/new-study-spotlights-therapeutic-solution-for-long-covid-fatigue/).

Many of the symptoms of ME/CFS and long COVID overlap. There’s ongoing fatigue that impacts your ability to perform even the most basic of everyday tasks and that can’t be improved with a good night’s sleep (if your sleep isn’t disturbed, too). Trying to exercise just makes it worse. Another of the most well-known symptoms is “brain fog” that damages your focus, memory and cognition.

Not only are there no cures for ME or long COVID, there’s pretty much no treatment at all. Nothing can manage the symptoms or give you back your quality of life. You just have to wait and see if it eases on its own, and pace yourself in the meantime. Researchers are hoping that a new trial could change things, with a supplement that combines nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and low-dose naltrexone (LDN).

You may recognize NAD+ and LDN for their popularity as anti-aging supplements. NAD+ in particular is a flavor of the moment. Many of the symptoms of Long COVID resemble a kind of accelerated aging, complete with low-grade, chronic inflammation and a deterioration in the immune system. This may explain part of why older people tend to feel the impact of COVID more severely. They’re already enduring a weakened immune system and increased inflammation. This can cause damage to the body, including major organs like the kidneys, lungs and even the brain.

If NAD+ can reduce inflammation, repair damage to cells and DNA, and improve cellular energy levels, and if LDN can tackle senescence (age-related cell death and dysfunction), mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation, all while rebalancing the immune system, it’s clear why scientists may be interested in their potential to treat not just the symptoms of long COVID, but also the inflammatory and immune mechanisms underlying it.

As always, there’s no such thing as a magic supplement acting as a cure-all. In this case, more trials are needed. Hopefully, we could be looking at an exciting new avenue for possible treatments.

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