Guidelines for health practitioner diagnosis of Long-COVID are in review
Understanding of mitochondrial health integral to post-pandemic recovery, say experts
Ninety per cent of people hospitalised with COVID-19 have significant underlying medical conditions, and are more likely to develop Long COVID
SYDNEY, Sept. 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Australia's leaders in Integrative Medicine are closer to developing guidelines for diagnosis and managing symptoms of Long-COVID following a Round Table gathering to tackle the unprecedented pressures facing the medical system and the broader community[i].
According to Dr Mark Donohoe, President of acnem and panellist at the meeting, underlying health conditions and unhealthy lifestyle practices are significant contributors in developing Long-COVID. "The majority of the long COVID patients I am seeing have conditions that could have been managed before they suffered the COVID-19 infection", he said.
"Long-COVID cannot be treated in isolation as it's an aggregation of many problems," said Dr Ross Walker, Australia's leading integrative cardiologist.
"The best long-term management is an integrative approach, assessing and managing all factors involved," said Dr Ross Walker, with an understanding of the role of mitochondrial function in supporting energy and reducing brain fog and fatigue fundamental to the success of a Long-COVID treatment plan.
High on the agenda was the state of mental wellbeing in Australia, which is reflective of 'post-lockdown Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)' with an imperative to focus on mental health, stress and sleep support, in order to stem the resulting challenges within families, amongst teenagers, parents and in business.
Gerald Quigley, Pharmacist and Master Herbalist said, "Patients are presenting with symptoms of fatigue, anxiety and poor concentration, often developing into clinical depression."
Cognitive decline has also become a hallmark of Long-COVID, with the experts citing up to 80 cases of Long-COVID in their practices over the recent two months.
Predisposition to Long-COVID and the severity of symptoms could involve our DNA explained Functional Geneticist and Nutritionist, Dr Denise Furness, "our gene makeup may be a weak link, making some of us more susceptible to Long-COVID," she said.
Research has shown a link between Long COVID and patients who suffer from inflammatory disorders, including gut health conditions Dr Ross Walker explains, "While mitochondrial function is foundational to inflammation control, for those that suffer from inflammatory conditions, we need to also assess their gut health. The evidence suggests a healthy gut is one of the key preventions for Long COVID. For patients to develop a stronger immune response a focus on their gut flora balance must be accessed."
The panel shone the spotlight on evidence-based supplementation citing the essential antioxidant ubiquinol to support mitochondrial energy production, which has been shown to be impaired by viral infection, resulting in fatigue. [ii]
"As a baseline to support greater mitochondrial function, ubiquinol, the active version of CoQ10, in addition magnesium orotate may be of benefit to patients suffering from impaired mitochondrial function," Dr Ross Walker explains.
In addition to vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D, selenium and omega-3 were reviewed for immune function and the reduction of oxidative stress, inflammation and methylation pathways.
Long-COVID has also contributed to the reactivation of previous viral infections or autoimmune diseases such as shingles, herpes and fibromyalgia, according to the clinicians.
acnem is the emerging leader in this space. "We're at the stage of building the guidelines for Integrative Medicine support in Long- COVID," said Dr Donohoe.
"We need a coordinated effort to educate healthcare practitioners across various modalities on how to manage individual factors rather than only treat Long-COVID." Quigley added.
According to media reports, Long-COVID has already cost the Australian economy three million working days in 2022[iii].
The panellists agree that Long-COVID is a massive burden if it is not broken down and we get people functioning again one step at a time.
"We know how to manage Long-COVID because we know the components that contribute to the illness. We know how to manage these factors and it may take time and with a focus on nutrition, supplements and lifestyle," Dr Donohoe concluded.
Celebrating 40 years of operation, acnem has educated thousands of medical and healthcare practitioners in the principles and practice of integrative medicine, with a focus on nutritional and environmental medicine. The growing global community of acnem trained practitioners are changing the face of healthcare through patient-centered, integrated care leading to better health outcomes.
MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS AVAILABLE FOR MEDIA INTERVIEW:
- Dr Mark Donohoe - acnem President & GP
- Dr Denise Furness – Integrative Geneticist (PhD)
- Gerald Quigley - Community Pharmacist & Accredited Herbalist
- Dr Ross Walker - Integrative Cardiologist & Media Presenter
To access the full White Paper visit: https://www.ubiquinol.net.au/
[iii] https://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/long-covid-costs-australia-millions-of-working-days/news-story/a955ec2e95a19a977876047365347704 (https://treasury.gov.au/)
Source: Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM)