Are you one of the unlucky Covid sufferers whose symptoms have lasted for longer than three weeks? Almost 75 percent of folks suffering from the lingering tiredness, aches, and brain fog that ‘long Covid’ can cause are women. Here, experts offer six proven ways to ease long Covid symptoms and reclaim your health, vitality, and well-being.
Tame tiredness with this supplement.
Covid puts mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of the cells, under immense stress, causing exhaustion, reveals physician Leo Galland, M.D. A world leader in integrated medicine, Dr. Galland specializes in the evaluation and treatment of patients of all ages with complex chronic disorders. He claims the best-studied supplement to support mitochondria is coenzyme Q10 (coq10). “it also has anti-inflammatory benefits, helping the circulation disturbances caused by Covid.” Dr. Galland recommends taking 300 mg. of Coq10 in three daily doses of 100 mg. One to try: California Gold Nutrition, CoQ10 USP with Bioperine (Buy from iHerb, $17)
Soothe aches with magnesium.
When Janna Friedly, M.D., a board-certified physician at the Rehabilitation Medicine Clinic at Harborview and a UW School of Medicine professor of medicine, contracted Covid last year, she felt fortunate to have a mild case — but also says she struggled with symptoms for months, including “aches like never before.” While gentle stretching and hydrating sped her recovery, she says muscle-relaxing magnesium also helps. Just add two cups of magnesium-rich Epsom salts to your bath to soak away soreness.
Breathe easier by humming.
“A lot of long Covid patients breathe shallowly, which can worsen symptoms,” says Dr. Friedly. The solution: taking slow belly breaths — while humming. Dr. Friedly urges breathing in through your nose and pulling air down into your stomach. Once your lungs are full, exhale while making an “mmm” sound. Repeat for one minute. Deeper breaths normalize oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, while humming sends messages to your brain to reduce your heart rate.
Banish brain fog with Omega-3s.
It is possible to alleviate Covid-induced memory blips and fuzzy thinking, promises Dr. Galland, who says that omega-3s boost a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which spurs the growth of neurons the virus depletes. That’s why he urges filling up on fish, leafy greens, walnuts, and chia seeds. Or try a 3,000 mg. omega-3 supplement containing EPA and DHA daily. One to try: Solgar, Omega-3, EPA & DHA, Triple Strength (Buy from iHerb, $18)
Sidestep stress by putting yourself first.
“Women tend to have an especially difficult experience recovering from long Covid because they have so many roles,” says licensed rehabilitation psychologist Abigail Hardin, Ph.D. “They get trapped in a vice between the virus and their responsibilities, which can be overwhelming,” says the assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University in Chicago. She urges prioritizing your own wants and desires. “Just keep the activities that bring you joy. Putting on your own ‘oxygen mask’ allows you the mental energy to manage physical symptoms.”
Tap into hope.
For all the challenges of long Covid, Hardin sees hope. “The majority of patients I see feel positive about the future,” she says. “They’ve been through a traumatic event and are taking stock.” To tap into your hopeful future, she recommends pinpointing your five top values — say, family, friends, spirituality, creativity, giving back — and aiming for a day where all are expressed. “This post-traumatic growth is key to flourishing in mind, body, and spirit.”
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.