Chinese TCM doctor: Taking More Omega-3 Helps Combat Long-COVID

By Angela Bright
Angela Bright
Angela Bright
August 25, 2022 Updated: August 25, 2022

With the COVID-19 pandemic having been ongoing for over two years, the increasing number of patients with long COVID has caused widespread concern.

Over 500 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19 so far, and the number of patients who develop long-term symptoms is increasing.

Long COVID or post-COVID conditions (PCC) refer to the situation in which individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 experience long-term effects from their infection. Common symptoms of long COVID include fatigue, chest pain, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog), shortness of breath, muscle pain, and loss of taste and smell.

The symptoms usually occur within 3 months of infection and last for more than 2 months in people who are diagnosed or likely to be infected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A large study in the Netherlands found that one in eight COVID-19 patients developed one or more long-COVID symptoms at least three months after being infected.

Dr. Daniel Hsieh, an attending physician at Dongmen Clinic of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Taiwan, said that studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus causes tissue inflammation and creates gaps, so that the virus can then break through the protection barrier to reach the brain and affect the functioning of the cranial nerves.

“Therefore, the patient will develop daytime fatigue, sleepiness, insomnia, and other symptoms later,” he said in a post on Facebook.

The immune response triggered by COVID-19 virus infection can damage blood vessels in the brain, leading to short-term or long-term neurological symptoms in patients, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on July 5 in the medical journal Brain.

Having found that the human body’s antibodies to the COVID-19 virus can attack cells in the blood vessels of the brain, causing inflammation and damage, may explain why some people suffer lasting effects, including headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances and “brain fog.”

Diet Can Help Combat Long COVID

Although the COVID-19 patients are cured, their immune systems have been damaged by the virus, which continues to affect vulnerable areas of the body, Dr. Hsieh said.

He warned that COVID-19 affects heart, liver, and kidneys. Many of the above-mentioned problems and symptoms are the consequences of weakened heart, liver, and kidney function. The symptoms are different for each person.

A reasonable diet can help combat Long-COVID in addition to drug treatment. For instance, a moderate increase in foods rich in omega-3 and glucose in the daily diet can effectively protect cell membrane health and contribute to neural regeneration.

Hsieh suggests improving cognitive alertness through dietary changes such as taking more cruciferous vegetables, nuts, and fresh fish.

“Fish is rich in omega-3, a nutrient for the brain that helps the brain function properly, keeps cell membranes healthy, and contributes to neuroplasticity. Omega-3 cannot be synthesized in the body and must be obtained through food,” he wrote in the post.

The intake of glucose is also very important as it effectively helps the brain function. It is recommended to take in sugars from natural fruits, cereals, vegetables, and dairy products to energize the body and brain.

“It can be expected that Chinese medicine can be used to restore physical functions,” Dr. Hsieh wrote.