3 Easy Ways to Reduce Fatigue, Brain Fog, and Aches After a Covid-19 Infection
Like most women, you’re a trouper, bravely brushing off the malaise of daily life. You’re so resilient, in fact, you may not realize that the aches, fog and fatigue you’re experiencing are the aftereffects of the Covid you beat months back, says Linda Geng, MD, PhD, co-director of Stanford Health Care’s Post-Acute Covid-19 Syndrome Clinic. “In our research, women especially don’t identify themselves as having post-Covid symptoms,” she says. “But when we ask them about what they’re feeling — brain fog, fatigue, insomnia — they say, ‘Oh yes… but I thought that was part of aging or the stress of my job.’”
The good news: Experts agree, there is so much reason to be hopeful because they’re seeing patients fully recover. The great news: Remedies for long Covid will work for any stubbornly persistent virus, like Lyme disease and Epstein-Barr. Read on for easy ways to say “goodbye” to long-term symptoms and “hello” to long-term relief.
Brain fog? Nosh on This Fiber
Focus and memory issues are insidious symptoms of long Covid because the virus launches a “sneak attack” on brain cells, says functional medicine specialist Leo Galland, MD. “Neurons aren’t directly impacted by the virus, but it targets their support network, which makes neurons quietly disappear, causing memory blips.” That’s why brain fog descends gradually, fooling you into believing it’s just stress. The simple remedy is in your gut. “A healthy microbiome produces butyrate, a fatty acid that stimulates the gene that makes brain-derived neurotrophic factor (a protein key to memory), spurring the growth of new neurons,” says Dr. Galland. Since Covid kills good gut bugs, the best way to feed your brain is to feed your gut fiber-rich veggies, beans, and nuts. In one study, consuming 25 grams of soluble fiber a day produced 94 percent more brainy butyrate.
Fatigued? Refuel With Red Ginseng
“An herbal compound called HRG80 Red Ginseng proved more effective than regular ginseng at boosting energy production in cells, according to two new studies,” says chronic fatigue expert Jacob Teitelbaum, MD. That’s because red ginseng targets more systems in the body. “We found that 60 percent of people with severe post-viral debilitation — not surprisingly, over 89 percent of them were women — improved significantly.” In fact, participants saw their energy level increase by an average of 67 percent. Try: Terry Naturally HRG80 Red Ginseng Energy (Buy at iHerb.com, $23.96).
Achy? Double Up on Salt
To ease the muscle soreness caused by long Covid, or other lingering viral infections, soak in a “salty bath,” suggests Dr. Teitelbaum. “Just add two cups of Epsom salts to your tub — the magnesium will release muscle tightness and deepen sleep.” And salt water, it turns out, shouldn’t be reserved for bath time: “We’re seeing people with post-Covid require a lot of hydration,” observes Janna Friedly, MD, a physician at Seattle’s Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic at Harborview who recovered from long Covid. “Drinking more water alleviates symptoms such as soreness and headaches.” To boost the benefits, drink four ounces of water with 1⁄4 teaspoon of sea salt twice daily since sodium is like a sponge, helping the body hold on to water.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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