Detox Family! Brain fog is one of the hallmark symptoms of long COVID, and the difficulties of concentration, memory, and the feeling of being disconnected from life are highly disruptive to people experiencing these long-term symptoms.
As more research comes out, we’re starting to understand why people experience neurological type symptoms, and how SARS COV 2 and long COVID affects the brain.
We know that mitochondrial dysfunction (low energy production) in the cell can occur in long COVID, whereby the viral infection and the resulting inflammation can impair the energy-producing structures within our cells.
This can lead to energy deficits in the body, which clearly lead to symptoms like fatigue, but they can also lead to symptoms in energy-demanding organs, like the brain.
However, another reason for symptoms like brain fog is that the viral infection can cause neuro-inflammation.
This is where inflammation can occur within the brain and central nervous system, which leads to damage to the nerve cells and can impair neurological function.
This can occur because of the systemic inflammation within the body that happens in response to the acute infection, and this can affect what we call the blood-brain barrier.
This very thin membrane sits around the brain and protects it from harmful substances.
However, this barrier is very susceptible to inflammation and can become more permeable and let things through when systemic inflammation is present.
This can include toxins, immune and inflammatory cells, and other large molecules that should not normally enter.
The entry of these substances into the brain can cause an activation of the immune cells that are located there. And this leads to the inflammation that we see in neuroinflammation.
Asides from long COVID we also see a similar mechanism within people that experience anxiety, depression, and more significant issues such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
These people often have underlying systemic inflammation, which is driven by nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental factors, and leads to this breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, and then can lead to neuroinflammation which drives the condition forward.
In long COVID we can also see through this mechanism how the virus itself can pass into the brain and the central nervous system through the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier.
Once inside, it can then bind to what is called, ACE2 receptors within the brain and enter the cell itself causing further disruption and damage.
This breakdown of the blood-brain barrier is more likely to be seen in people with underlying health issues underlying inflammation, and those with overwhelming inflammatory responses to the virus, as it is these inflammatory cells themselves which cause this breakdown.
Therefore, similar to the condition we call COVID-19, this is less about the virus and more about the person and the immune response to the virus itself, which is heavily influenced by that individual’s nutrition, lifestyle, environment, and genetics.
Although you can’t always control your environment, and most certainly can’t control the genetics you were born with, you do control your nutritional choices and lifestyle choices.
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