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Season of Long COVID Part 3- MCAS and Long COVID

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Hi everybody Dr. Julie McLaughlin here with Functional Medicine Friday. So, you know, we are here at McLaughlin Care and we want to share a little bit of functional medicine with you this week. And what we're going to be talking about is our topic that we've been talking about for the last few weeks. And that's long COVID and this is part three, right?

So as you know, if you've missed some of my other shows, I myself have long COVID and I've been dealing with this for going on six months. And so I know these symptoms very well, and I know the treatments as well, because I have been through it, I've researched it, I've done it. I've done everything.

So that's why I want to share with you because maybe you've had COVID and you have long COVID or maybe someone, you know, friends, family; it's very, very possible because it is really, really more common than we think. So I'm going to give you a little bit of overview of what the timeline of COVID is.

So with acute COVID, the symptoms are in the first two weeks. That's acute COVID. So if you get better in two weeks, you know, you had acute COVID. If you're still sick, after those two weeks up to 12 weeks, they call it post acute COVID. And so those symptoms can persist, but then it turns into chronic COVID, long COVID, post acute COVID sequella. That's if you've had COVID symptoms for longer than 12 weeks. Now exactly what are those symptoms?

Well with long COVID, there's actually more than 50 symptoms. And one of the most common symptoms is that your symptoms are going to change. So the symptom in the beginning is where you lose your taste and smell, down the road with me, that changed to smelling burnt cigarettes. It changes to your heart rate being fine, and then your heart rate goes crazy. You could have no gastrointestinal problems and then they come on.

And so these things are always, always changing. So the idea that COVID hits 39 million plus people in the United States is crazy, but with long COVID no one's talking about this, approximately 30% of those 39 million are affected with long COVID and it doesn't matter. Some people think you had to be sick in the hospital on a ventilator to get long COVID and that's not true.

You can be asymptomatic and get long COVID. You could have a mild disease and get over it. And then two months later, you're so extremely fatigued or your brain fog, you can't function and that's long COVID. I went through all the different symptoms already, we're going to be talking more specific today.

So if you have symptoms of long COVID like we talked about, and you can't attribute it, or you can't have it diagnosed with anything else. Then I want you to really think it could be long COVID. So the American heart association says that one of the biggest problems with COVID is not the virus itself, but the inflammation or the cytokine storm that occurs. And the reaction of our immune system to that storm caused by the virus. So what is a cytokine storm?

And are they triggering dysfunctional mast cells? Could that be causing long COVID now, since I have it myself, I have been searching high and low for all the causes. I didn't have any pre-existing conditions. I wasn't taking any medication. I had nothing wrong, but prior to getting COVID and long COVID. So let's see cytokine storms. Think of them as a giant storm of inflammation.

Now here is a study from the internal journal of infectious disease, and it says that COVID-19 hyper inflammation and post COVID-19 illness long COVID right. May be rooted in mast cell activation. Hmm. So what does that mean? So here's some of the highlights from that study, much of the COVID-19 hyper inflammatory reaction is consistent with a mast cell driven inflammation.

I'm going to tell you what mast cell is here in a minute, but they're virtually the same, the presence of severe COVID-19 similar to mass cell activation syndrome, which is a separate condition. Drugs that help with the mass cell activation syndrome and their mediators also show promise to helping with long COVID. And none of the authors here currently treat mass cell activation patients with COVID-19 had severe forms of mortality. So it's working, right? So dysfunctional mast cells could be the underlying cause for long COVID.

So what is mast cell activation is kind of a weird word, right? And they call it MCAS for short. So really, it's a multi-system inflammatory syndrome. That's the same thing that long COVID is. So it affects lots of different areas. So this is a closeup of a mast cell. Now see these little circles, these are little mast cell granules.

When that mast cell gets triggered, right, it creates an immediate allergic reaction, and it releases from these little circles, something called mediators. I know it's a weird name, right? But that's what it releases. It releases a mediator and that triggers an allergic reaction.

When those mast cells are activated, it can be activated by medications, infections, certain foods, insects, or reptile venom. And it can also be a genetic condition separate from being activated. So mast cells can also be triggered to grow abnormally. They can start just growing out of control and they call that mastocytosis. So here are some of the symptoms of mast cell activation syndrome.

So we have heart-related symptoms like tachycardia, which is a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure or syncope, which is fainting. We have skin related symptoms like hives, rashes, swelling, flushing, and long COVID, COVID toes, right? Mung related symptoms. We all know there's SARS COVID two pneumonia with COVID, but we can also get wheezing, shortness of breath and stridor from mast cell activation and from long COVID.

The gastrointestinal symptoms can be diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain. So when we see these symptoms, they are identical to some of the symptoms in long COVID, not all the symptoms, but some of the symptoms. So if you're experiencing these symptoms from long COVID or from mast cell activation, I have a few little things that I'm going to share with you that could help you. So what are the lifestyle changes and supplementations that can help with this mast cell activation symptoms and with long COVID?

So the first thing is there's some over the counter things and they're, anti-histamines, there's two classes of antihistamines here. That's H one and H two, the H one is going to be Benadryl or hydroxyzine. And the H two is going to be Zantac or Pepcid. There's natural remedies that you can take as well.

I actually take all of these Perilla seed extract, 500 milligrams, twice a day. Hist Reset, which is a specific formula, two capsules per day. Quercetin, a thousand milligrams, twice a day. Stinging nettle, which is 300 milligrams per day. Bromelain, 500 milligrams, three times a day. And Butterbur seventy-five milligrams twice a day. Now we're coming at that histamine or that allergic response from every different direction and for every different receptor to try to calm it down.

The thing that we can do with lifestyle is we can do an anti-histamine diet. Now we all know that there's something called an anti-inflammatory diet, and this is different because you're going to see some things on here that should not be inflammatory, like seeds, fermented foods. Some of these things are going to trigger histamines if you're susceptible. So we want to watch out for this and avoid it.

I'm going to put a link to this document underneath the video too. So you can get this if you're experiencing muscle activation or long COVID. So that's it for this week's functional medicine Friday. If you have any questions about long COVID, please let me know. And I will see you soon. Bye-bye.

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