How can you best support your body as it recovers form COVID-19? In today’s article Hanya House Medical Director, Dr. Rav James, discusses “conscious recovery”, supplementation, and IV vitamin therapy drawing on experience treating post-COVID patients who have experienced mild, moderate, and severe illnesses.
Why is it important to support a recovery from COVID-19 quickly?
COVID-19 or not, there is an urgency to restore your body’s resilience after an illness, not only so that you feel better, but also to restore your body’s systems so that it can deal with another infection if necessary. With COVID-19 there are reports of people contracting the virus for a second time. Most of us know what it’s like to be hit by a second cold or flu just as we’re recovering from a first one. Four of the most important ingredients are as you recover are: (1) Focused nutrition; (2) Movement outside; (3) Good quality rest; and as far as possible, (4) Removal of toxins and stressors.
You talk about “conscious recovery”. What do you mean?
Instead of reverting to “lifestyle status quo” as soon as you start feeling better, you make a conscious decision to speed up your body’s recovery by elevating your lifestyle. Your mantra is:
“I am healing. I will continue to heal. I am making a choice to heal with intention.”
For example: You continue to avoid fake or processed foods, alcohol, and sugar. You increase whole-food intake, especially vegetables, fruit, and high-quality fats. You improve your sleep hygiene. You increase your hours of normal daily movement, understanding that this might have to be more gentle than usual as you regain strength. You’re conscious of hydration. You have a strategic supplementation regimen. You meditate or find stillness every day with a focus on your healing.
For some people, the idea of “conscious recovery” is new. I believe it can speed up recovery enormously. It’s also a great way to prove to yourself how you have the power to heal if you’re willing to become more conscious of your body and health. In this way recovery can be an event that sparks long-term positive changes.
What supplementation would you recommend as part of recovery from COVID-19?
I want to make it clear that while a person is ill there will be a certain treatment protocol. What I am talking about in this article is the recovery process after the illness. As part of post-COVID recovery, it depends on the severity of the illness and the individual, but as a minimum I would mostly recommend the following:
- Multivitamin and mineral: To replenish all nutrients depleted in severe illness. Quality is very important here. You may spend a little more, but rather get something that will provide the right dosage in the right form. You do not need to necessarily take it forever, but rather just to assist you in your recovery
- High dose vitamin C: This acts as an antioxidant to quench the free radicals that were produced by the body whilst fighting an infection. Stress in the body also depletes the body of vitamin C, so after an illness it is a good idea to replenish
- Medicinal Mushroom Complex, containing a combination of reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, shiitake, lion’s mane, and maitake: These have been shown to improve immune function, reduce inflammation and act as antioxidants. They also have adaptogenic properties, meaning they assist the body to tolerate high stress situations. An alternative is a product called AHCC, which is an extract of the mycelium of the shiitake mushroom shown to improve first line defences of the immune function as well as the part of the immune system that produces antibodies. Numerous studies have shown improved outcomes specifically in COVID-19
- Vitamin D to improve immune function and reduce inflammation. Monitoring levels is important as vitamin D toxicity is a real thing
- Omega 3 to bring down inflammation and calm down parts of the immune system
What would you recommend for people who are struggling to recover properly post-COVID?
Put in place a detailed recovery strategy focused on nutrition, movement, rest, and mindfulness. Having a clear strategy can be the difference between taking six weeks and six months to recover.
What kind of intravenous vitamin therapies would you use in the case of recovery after a person has experienced moderate to severe COVID-19?
I have worked with several recovering COVID-19 patients and, as part of their recovery strategy, we usually work with three IV vitamin therapies over three weeks. Again, each patient is different, but in most cases I am first working to replete minerals, reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system. In a recent recovering patient, we started in week one with a blend of selenium, zinc, magnesium, B-vitamins, l-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, and CoQ10. In week two we focused on boosting antioxidants with a blend of vitamin C and glutathione. And in week three we addressed the ongoing fatigue and brain fog, focusing on the body’s mitochondrial functioning with either NAD or a blend of l-carnitine, CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acids, magnesium, and d-ribose.
For people recovering from a more severe illness, was IV vitamin therapy enough, or did you also prescribe oral supplements?
Phytonutrients are great. They are high in antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals. Sometimes I couple this with a mushroom mix to really help to reduce inflammation and boost immunity. As already mentioned, there is also great research on AHCC. I have always been a big fan of a daily high-quality omega 3 and I’ve also seen great benefits from N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), and patients of mine who have battled with long-Covid swear by it.
Anything else you would recommend?
Be careful. Don’t become more brazen in your behavior just because you’ve had COVID-19. Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, and socially distance. We want to replenish your body and get it to an even better place than before so that it is able to do its job of defending against viruses if and when needed. Think of this time as restoring all of your systems and then consider the opportunity that you have to improve your overall health while you’re at it.
Please remember that every person has a different health profile. My answers above are to provide a general idea of an approach to post-COVID recovery. You should consult a health professional about your post-COVID or post-illness recovery strategies.