Long COVID: 4 Neurological Symptoms Experienced By 85%

Long COVID is when the symptoms from the novel coronavirus infection last longer than six weeks.

Long COVID is when the symptoms from the novel coronavirus infection last longer than six weeks.

Brain fog, headache and numbness are three of the most common neurological symptoms of long COVID, research finds.

Long COVID is when the symptoms from the novel coronavirus infection last longer than six weeks.

The majority of patients recover within four to six weeks.

The research found that 85 percent of people who experienced long COVID had at least four neurological symptoms.

These strongly impacted their quality of life and, for some people, impaired their thinking skills.

The study included 100 people from the U.S. who had had COVID but the disease had not, apparently, been severe.

Dr Igor Koralnik, study co-author, said:

“Our study is the first to report neurologic findings in non-hospitalized COVID-19 long-haulers, including detailed neurologic exam, diagnostic testing, and validated measures of patient quality of life, as well as cognitive function test results.

All patients in this study had clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but only had mild and transient respiratory symptoms (sore throat, cough, mild fever) and never developed pneumonia or low oxygen levels requiring hospitalization.”

The results of the study showed that the most frequent neurological symptoms of long COVID were:

  • Brain fog (81 percent)
  • Headache (68 percent)
  • Numbness/tingling (60 percent)
  • Disorder of taste (59 percent)
  • Disorder of smell (55 percent)
  • Muscle pain (55 percent)
  • Dizziness (47 percent)
  • Pain (43 percent)
  • Blurred vision (30 percent)
  • Tinnitus (29 percent)

The non-neurological symptoms included:

  • Fatigue (85 percent)
  • Depression/anxiety (47 percent)
  • Shortness of breath (46 percent)
  • Chest pain (37 percent)
  • Insomnia (33 percent)

Dr Koralnik said:

“We were surprised by the number of patients who were suffering from depression/anxiety before their COVID-19 diagnosis, and this suggests a possible neuropsychiatric vulnerability to developing long COVID.”

People with long-COVID may be finding it hard to get treatment, Dr Koralnik said:

“This may have been caused by the difficulty for these patients to find medical providers, since they do not fit into classical diagnostic criteria of COVID-19.

This is reminiscent of the stigma experienced by women with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, highlighting the need for improved diagnostic ‘gold standards’ for COVID-19 infection, which our group hopes to address by elucidating the T cell response of long-haulers against COVID-19 proteins.”

The study was published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology (Graham et al., 2021).

The Reason COVID-19 Causes Fatigue And Brain Fog

The inflammation caused by COVID-19 is known as a ‘cytokine storm’.

The inflammation caused by COVID-19 is known as a ‘cytokine storm’.

The COVID-19 virus enters the brain, research finds.

The study could help explain why people with COVID-19 are reporting cognitive symptoms like brain fog and fatigue.

Professor William A. Banks, study co-author, said:

“We know that when you have the COVID infection you have trouble breathing and that’s because there’s infection in your lung, but an additional explanation is that the virus enters the respiratory centers of the brain and causes problems there as well.”

The research on mice found that the virus was able to enter the brain.

After being injected in the body, the so-called ‘spike protein’ of the virus ended up in 12 regions of the brain.

The spike protein usually detaches from the virus and wreaks the same havoc in the body as the virus itself.

The spike protein was transported more quickly in male mice, which may explain the particular susceptibility of men to the virus.

Professor Banks said:

“The S1 protein likely causes the brain to release cytokines and inflammatory products.”

The inflammation caused by COVID-19 is known as a ‘cytokine storm’.

The ‘storm’ is an overaction of the immune system to try and kill the virus.

In the process, the infected person experiences brain fog, fatigue and other cognitive issues, along with the main symptoms of the virus.

Professor Banks said:

“You do not want to mess with this virus.

Many of the effects that the COVID virus has could be accentuated or perpetuated or even caused by virus getting in the brain and those effects could last for a very long time.”

The spike protein functions in a similar way to a critical HIV protein called gp 120.

Both function as ‘arms’ for the virus, helping it to grab on to receptors.

Both gp 120 and the COVID spike protein are likely toxic to brain tissue.

The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience (Rhea et al., 2020).

Long COVID: The Top 2 Neuropsychiatric Symptoms

A quarter of people with long COVID met the criteria for depression.

A quarter of people with long COVID met the criteria for depression.

Headaches and fatigue are the top neuropsychiatric symptoms of so-called ‘long COVID’, research finds.

These were the two most common symptoms reported over four months after people had had COVID, with 69 percent reporting fatigue and 67 reporting headaches.

Next most common were:

  • changes to taste (54 percent) and smell (55 percent),
  • mild cognitive impairment (47 percent),
  • 30 percent had problems with memory,
  • and 20 percent report confusion.

Other physical symptoms of long COVID include:

  • cough,
  • muscle aches,
  • nasal congestion,
  • and chills.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 25 percent also met the criteria for depression.

Dr Elizabeth Rutkowski, study co-author, said:

“There are a lot of symptoms that we did not know early on in the pandemic what to make of them, but now it’s clear there is a long COVID syndrome and that a lot of people are affected.”

Long COVID study

The results come from 200 patients who were recruited around four months after becoming infected with COVID.

The numbers suffering some effects of long COVID may be higher, as some people did not notice the changes in themselves.

Dr Rutkowski explained that taste strips were used to check people’s sense of taste, but it may be that the sense of taste has changed, rather than having totally gone:

“They eat a chicken sandwich and it tastes like smoke or candles or some weird other thing but our taste strips are trying to depict specific tastes like salty and sweet.”

Long COVID and fatigue

Fatigue is likely such a common symptom of long COVID because the infection raises levels of inflammation in the body — and these levels remain raised.

Dr Rutkowski said:

“They have body fatigue where they feel short of breath, they go to get the dishes done and they are feeling palpitations, they immediately have to sit down and they feel muscle soreness like they just ran a mile or more.

There is probably some degree of neurologic fatigue as well because patients also have brain fog, they say it hurts to think, to read even a single email and that their brain is just wiped out.”

Cognitive problems, including lack of vocabulary, may also reflect the long spells people have spent in isolation.

Dr Rutkowski said:

“You are not doing what you would normally do, like hanging out with your friends, the things that bring most people joy.

On top of that, you may be dealing with physical ailments, lost friends and family members and loss of your job.”

ACE2 receptors

COVID is thought to have such widespread effects on the human body because the virus attaches itself to angiotensin-converting enzyme-2, or ACE2.

ACE2 regulates many different bodily functions including inflammation and blood pressure.

ACE2 is found throughout the body: in the brain, heart, lungs kidneys and gastrointestinal tract.

The ACE2 receptor is on the surface of cells and acts like a doorway to allow the virus inside.


The study was published in the journal  Brain, Behavior, & Immunity (Chen et al., 2022).

How Long After Infection Omicron Symptoms Start To Show Up

How fast the omicron variant spreads among people, including fully vaccinated young adults.

How fast the omicron variant spreads among people, including fully vaccinated young adults.

Omicron is highly transmissible and is the most dominant COVID-19 strain at this time due to how quickly it can spread.

For most cases, it takes 3 days from exposure to the Omicron variant to see the symptoms.

Also, in some individuals the symptoms can show up on the first day of infection or up to 8 days afterwards.

The findings come from a Norwegian study that looked at an Omicron outbreak following a Christmas dinner party.

The collected information was based on 111 participants who had attended that party which was held in Oslo on 26 November 2021.

Attendees were between the age of 30 and 50 and fully vaccinated or had previously had COVID.

They had also tested negative after taking a PCR test or rapid antigen test 1 to 3 days before the party.

However, there were no requirements for vaccination or COVID restriction rules for employees working at the restaurant.

Also, two days before the party, one of the attendees came back from South Africa where the Omicron strain was first detected.

Moreover, participants mingled, drank, and danced with the public at the venue before and after dinner.

In short, the initial data show a widespread transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 at the event.

Subsequently, after exposure, 74 percent of participants were diagnosed with the Omicron variant and requested to self-isolate at home for 10 days.

One case showed no sign of illness (asymptomatic) while 91 percent of participants reported at least three symptoms.

The common symptoms include:

  • cough in 83 percent of cases,
  • runny/stuffy nose (78 percent),
  • fatigue/lethargy (74 percent),
  • sore throat (72 percent),
  • headache (68 percent),
  • and fever (54 percent).

The severity of symptoms were scored from “1” meaning no symptoms to “5” meaning severe.

For most cases the severity level was reported “3” and none of the patients needed hospitalisation.

The authors concluded:

“The preliminary results of our outbreak investigation indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron VOC is highly transmissible among fully vaccinated young and middle-aged adults.

However, given the specific context of the outbreak in a high-risk setting for transmission, the findings must be interpreted with caution.”

The UK-based ZOE COVID study has added four more omicron symptoms to the above warning signs often seen in cases.

The study was published in the journal Eurosurveillance (Brandal et al., 2021).

Omicron Variant: The 5 Most Common Symptoms And 4 More Unusual Ones

Besides the top 5 warning signs, more symptoms are appearing for those infected with Omicron.

Besides the top 5 warning signs, more symptoms are appearing for those infected with Omicron.

Symptoms of Omicron variant continue to come forward as COVID-19 cases continue.

Omicron has been reported to be highly transmissible but evidence show that is less severe than the other coronavirus variants.

People with Omicron are most often reporting these five symptoms:

  • sore throat,
  • headache,
  • fatigue,
  • runny nose,
  • and sneezing.

However, infected people with the Omicron strain may also experience one or more of the symptoms below:

  • loss of appetite,
  • nausea,
  • brain fog,
  • and night sweats.

Brain fog refers to a sense of forgetfulness, confusion and lack of mental clarity.

The insight into the symptoms of the Omicron variant comes from the UK-based ZOE COVID study.

The study has been monitoring the effects of the new Omicron variant.

Professor Tim Spector who specialises in genetic epidemiology and the lead scientist of the ZOE COVID study, said:

“Nausea and loss of appetite tended to be more common in those who were fully vaccinated and boosted.”

Although evidence on night sweats are inconclusive, some people who tested positive for Omicron have reported experiencing this symptom.

How Omicron is different with Delta

So far the data suggests that the Omicron variant of COVID, while spreading quicker, is milder than other variants such as Delta.

The proportion of people being hospitalised with the disease in many countries is lower than with Delta.

While it is possible that Omicron is milder, it is also true that many people around the world have built up natural immunity due to infection and vaccination.

Evidence also suggests unlike Delta that replicates in the lung, Omicron multiples in the upper respiratory tract which include the nose, mouth, and throat.

This maybe one of thee reason why Omicron is less severe than Delta.

It may also partly explain why Omicron is highly transmissible between people due to its nasal replication (runny nose and sneezing).


The Blood Type Linked To Severe COVID Infection

The severity of COVID infection depends partly on blood type.

The severity of COVID infection depends partly on blood type.

A person’s blood type might play an important role in contracting COVID-19 and the severity of infection.

According to a study, people with blood type A are more likely to test positive for the novel coronavirus.

Evidence shows that the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2, is highly attracted to the blood type A antigen expressed in the respiratory tract.

Researchers examined the SARS-CoV receptor-binding domain (RBD), a crucial part of the virus that binds to the cells and leads to infection.

The antigens on the surface of a red blood cell determine a person’s blood type: A, B, and O (ABO).

The immune system ignores our blood group antigens but antibodies will attack foreign antigens that enter the body.

The research team analysed the blood group antigens on respiratory and red blood cells (RBCs) to determine how the SARS-CoV-2 RBD interacts with each blood type.

They found that the SARS-CoV-2 RBD much preferred attaching to blood type A antigens found in the lungs.

Dr Sean Stowell, the study’s lead author, said:

“It is interesting that the viral RBD only really prefers the type of blood group A antigens that are on respiratory cells, which are presumably how the virus is entering most patients and infecting them.

Blood type is a challenge because it is inherited and not something we can change.

But if we can better understand how the virus interacts with blood groups in people, we may be able to find new medicines or methods of prevention.”

The authors pointed out this mechanism can’t fully explain or predict how coronaviruses would affect patients with different blood groups.

In other words, something else might affect the connection between blood types and coronavirus disease.

Dr Stowell said:

“Our observation is not the only mechanism responsible for what we are seeing clinically, but it could explain some of the influence of blood type on COVID-19 infection.”

The study was published in Blood Advances (Wu et al., 2021).

The Essential Mineral Linked To A Stronger Immune System

The trace mineral is essential in helping the immune system fight infections like SARS-CoV-2.

The trace mineral is essential in helping the immune system fight infections like SARS-CoV-2.

Zinc helps bring infections under control by limiting levels of inflammation, research finds.

Zinc is an essential mineral as our body doesn’t store it, thus it needs to be obtained from the everyday diet.

Nearly one-third of the world’s population may have a zinc deficiency.

About 12 percent of the U.S. population are not getting enough zinc and 40 percent of the elderly.

Oysters, red meat, lentils, seeds and nuts, green vegetables, diary, and egg are good sources of zinc.

Zinc has many complex jobs and collaborates with different proteins in the body to keep us healthy.

Scientists have found that a protein pulls zinc into key cells which are the body’s first line of defence against infection.

Then zinc cooperates with a process that is crucial in fighting infection — consequently this will stop the immune response from overreacting.

Insufficient zinc in the body at the time of infection would lead to huge inflammation and the immune response can get out of control.

A research team examined if zinc’s activity has any impact on sepsis, a life-threatening condition caused by the immune system overreacting to an infection.

When the immune system tries hard to fight off an infection there is a chance that it goes into overdrive and attacks the body’s own cells.

Any type of infection, including influenza and COVID-19, can cause sepsis, which is linked to severe illness and death.

The findings suggest why supplementation with zinc at the first sign of a cold appears to reduce its severity.

Professor Daren Knoell, study co-author, said:

“We do believe that to some extent, these findings are going to be applicable to other important areas of disease beyond sepsis.

Without zinc on board to begin with, it could increase vulnerability to infection.

But our work is focused on what happens once you get an infection — if you are deficient in zinc you are at a disadvantage because your defense system is amplified, and inappropriately so.

The benefit to health is explicit: Zinc is beneficial because it stops the action of a protein, ultimately preventing excess inflammation.”

According to Professor Knoell, only 10 percent of zinc in the body is available immediately to be used against infection.

The study carried out experiments in human white blood cells which are the first line of defence in fighting infection.

The team found that when a pathogen enters the body, through a process which includes the NF-κB pathway, the innate immune system (the first line of defence) will be activated.

NF-κB, a very active protein, pulls zinc into the immune cells and  binds to a different protein in the cells.

With these events any other activity in the process will stall and so the immune response slows down.

This will reduce inflammation, the body’s natural response to pathogens, which can hurt healthy cells.

Professor Knoell, said:

“The immune system has to work under very strict balance, and this is a classic example of where more is not always better.

We want a robust inflammatory response, which is part of our natural programming to defend us against a bug.

But if that is unchecked, and there is too much inflammation, then it not only attacks the pathogen but can also cause much more collateral damage.”

The study was published in Cell Reports (Liu et al., 2013).

This Vitamin Reduces Inflammation Caused By COVID

This vitamin reduces inflammation caused by the immune system in response to COVID-19.

This vitamin reduces inflammation caused by the immune system in response to COVID-19.

Inflammation is a necessary response by the immune system to infections or injuries, but if this inflammatory response doesn’t stop in time, it can cause severe damage to cells and tissues.

Hyper-inflammation resulting in cytokine storm syndrome (CSS) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are often seen in severe COVID cases.

Inflammation and fibrosis in COVID patients with milder symptoms can damage tissue function and lead to lung disease.

Therefore, scientists are looking for therapies or drugs to help suppresses the immune system and overcome inflammation.

Vitamin D appears to have the ability to lower inflammation caused by T cells in the lungs of COVID patients.

To minimise harm and increase the benefit of taking this vitamin, scientists want to find out how and why and at what dosage the inflammation will be decreased.

For these reasons, Dr Kazemian and colleagues examined first how viruses affect lung cells.

They noticed that in COVID patients, the immune cells in the lung go into overdrive causing too much inflammation.

Then, they found that viruses activate a biochemical pathway which is part of the immune system called the complement system.

The team looked at different methods for blocking the activation of that pathway and reducing inflammation.

Dr Kazemian, study co-author, said:

“In normal infections, Th1 cells, a subset of T cells, go through a pro-inflammatory phase.

The pro-inflammatory phase clears the infection, and then the system shuts down and goes to anti-inflammatory phase.

Vitamin D helps to speed up this transition from pro-inflammatory to the anti-inflammatory phase of the T cells.

We don’t know definitively, but theorize the vitamin could potentially help patients with severe inflammation caused by Th1 cells.”

The cell’s response to vitamin D was unusual, suggesting vitamin D deficiency in these patients as a possible reason why the pro-inflammatory phase won’t shut down.

They suggest that besides existing treatments, a prescription of a highly concentrated form of vitamin D can help COVID patients to recover quickly from the disease.

Dr Kazemian said:

“We found that vitamin D—a specialized form of it, not the form you can get at the drugstore—has the potential to reduce inflammation in the test tube, and we figured out how and why it does that.

However, it’s important to understand that we did not carry out a clinical study, and the results of our experiments in the test tube need to be tested in clinical trials in actual patients.”

They don’t recommend vitamin D supplementation sold over the counter.

“We do not recommend the use of normal vitamin D off the shelf at the pharmacy.

No one should be taking more than the recommended doses of vitamin D in an attempt to prevent or combat COVID infections.”

The study was published in the journal Nature Immunology (Chauss et al., 2021).

COVID: Higher Levels Of This Vitamin May Reduce Infection Risk

Having this vitamin above recommended levels may reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.

Having this vitamin above recommended levels may reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.

Higher than recommended levels of vitamin D — above those previously considered sufficient — could lower the risk for COVID-19 infection.

Vitamin D levels of around 30 ng/mL is generally considered the normal range.

However, a study has found that Black people with blood levels of 30 to 40 ng/mL were almost 3 times more likely to test positive for coronavirus than those with vitamin D levels of 40 ng/ml or above.

The research team analysed data on 3,000 patients with COVID at the University of Chicago Medical Center who had a vitamin D blood test two weeks before the infection.

The team, in their previous study, found that people with vitamin D deficiency, a level of 20 ng/mL or less, are at higher risk of COVID infection.

Another study found that 80 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID were deficient in vitamin D (Hernández et al., 2020).

Dr David Meltzer, the study’s lead author, said:

“These new results tell us that having vitamin D levels above those normally considered sufficient is associated with decreased risk of testing positive for COVID-19, at least in Black individuals.”

Currently there is no standard for what an optimal level of vitamin D should be and recommended values for vitamin D are largely based on past studies regarding bone health.

Dr Meltzer said:

“There’s a lot of literature on vitamin D.

Most of it has been focused on bone health, which is where the current standards for sufficient vitamin D levels come from.

But there’s also some evidence that vitamin D might improve immune function and decrease inflammation.

So far, the data has been relatively inconclusive.

Based on these results, we think that earlier studies may have given doses that were too low to have much of an effect on the immune system, even if they were sufficient for bone health.

It may be that different levels of vitamin D are adequate for different functions.”

The main way of getting vitamin D is exposure to sunlight but people with darker skin and many others have low levels of vitamin D in their blood.

According to Dr Meltzer, vitamin D level is below 30 ng/ml in nearly 50 percent of the world’s population.

A different study found that patients with a blood level of at least 30 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had a 52 percent higher chance of surviving the infection than those with lower levels of vitamin D (Maghbooli et al., 2020).

Dr Meltzer said:

“Lifeguards, surfers, those are the kinds of folks who tend to have more than sufficient vitamin D levels.

Most folks living in Chicago in the winter are going to have levels that are well below that.”

However, excess supplementation of vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia (high level of calcium in the blood).

The symptoms are stomach upset, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, frequent urination, excessive thirst, bone pain, and kidney stones.

Dr Meltzer added:

“Currently, the adult recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 to 800 international units (IUs) per day.

The National Academy of Medicine has said that taking up to 4,000 IUs per day is safe for the vast majority of people, and risk of hypercalcemia increases at levels over 10,000 IUs per day.”

The study was published in the journal JAMA Open Network (Meltzer et al., 2021).

COVID: This Vitamin Deficiency Increases Severe Illness Risk By 14 Times

People low in this vitamin are 14 times more likely to become severely ill with COVID-19.

People low in this vitamin are 14 times more likely to become severely ill with COVID-19.

Patients with a vitamin D deficiency prior to COVID infection are greatly at risk of severe illness and death, according to a study.

Vitamin D deficiency has been related to bone loss, cognitive decline, autoimmune conditions, respiratory infections, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.

Since vitamin D influences immune responses against coronavirus, its supplementation has been encouraged during the pandemic.

A recent study found that low vitamin D levels prior to COVID infection increases the severity and chance of death from the disease in hospitalized patients.

Researchers examined 1,176 COVID patients who were hospitalised between April 2020 and February 2021 in Israel.

Vitamin D levels for these patients were measured two years to two weeks before they become ill from coronavirus.

A vitamin D level of 20 ng/ml and lower was considered a deficiency.

The results showed that patients with vitamin D deficiency were at 14 times higher risk of getting critically ill with COVID than those with levels of 40 ng/ml or more.

Patients with low vitamin D levels had a death rate of 26 percent, while for those with sufficient levels it was 2 percent.

Dr Amiel Dror, the study’s first author, said:

“Our results suggest that it is advisable to maintain normal levels of vitamin D.

This will be beneficial to those who contract the virus.

There is a clear consensus for vitamin D supplementation on a regular basis as advised by local health authorities as well as global health organizations.”

Amir Bashkin, study co-author, said:

“This is especially true for the COVID-19 pandemic when adequate vitamin D has an added benefit for the proper immune response to respiratory illness.”

Data analysis across 20 countries in Europe also suggests that a large number of COVID cases and high death rates could be related to vitamin D deficiency.

A study points out that vitamin D levels vary with the season and so emphasises the need for vitamin D intake in winter.

Exposure to the sun for even 15 minutes daily can give the body a chance to make enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D is found in foods such as oily fish including salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines, eggs, liver, and some fortified foods including diary.

The study was published in the journal PLOS One (Dror et al., 2022).

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