Trinny & Shabir Live: Managing Winter Infections
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Managing the symptoms of winter infections
Scientists are only starting to get some insight into several lingering viral infections, including Long Covid. The terminology 'Long Covid' is used to describe the signs and symptoms that last for longer than 12 weeks after contracting the Covid-19 infection and these symptoms cannot be explained by another cause.
A study of 3500 people carried out at University College London found a total of 205 symptoms and the most common symptoms by month six were fatigue, shortness of breath, problems with memory and concentration, hair loss, changes to smell and taste and joint & muscle pain.
What causes symptoms to linger?
We really do not fully understand the cause as of this moment. One theory is that the immune response goes into an overdrive. The immune response is the body’s ability to fight infection and so an overactive immune response means that the body is not just attacking a viral infection, but also its own tissues and glands.
Another possible causal factor is that some viral infections may damage the nervous system, which could explain problems with concentration, brain fog and even loss of smell and taste.
Yet another causal factor may also be that some viral infections may cause damage to blood vessels, which could, in some instances, cause problems with the heart, lungs and brain. This damage has to be repaired gradually which can take time.
Finally, the systemic inflammation created as a result of infections clearly disrupts many processes carried out within the body. It is likely that there are several different things going on, which create such a wide range of symptoms.
So let's look at the major symptoms of viral infections and perhaps consider some supplements that may be of value in helping to alleviate symptoms.
Lack of energy or fatigue
When you catch a viral infection, it is normal for your energy levels to be low for some time even after the infection has cleared and this can take several days for the majority.
The reason for this (and it is a sound theory with numerous studies) is that the viral infections utilise an enzyme called Co-Q10, which is found in each and every cell and is required by the body to produce energy. Since the viral infections use this to replicate, our levels of this energising enzyme become lower resulting in a lack of energy. This can have an impact. You might sleep more; be unsteady on your feet; it may make standing for long periods difficult and it may also affect concentration.
So I would recommend taking Super Ubiquinol – this supplement provides the most bioavailable form of Co-Q10 to help gradually replenish the low levels and gradually restore energy levels.
In the interim period I would also recommend taking another supplement called Daily Energy. We all need to have good energy levels and whilst the Co-Q10 is gradually working to restore levels of this energising enzyme, you could use Daily Energy to provide your body with a quick fix of energy.
Daily Energy is an adaptogenic formula containing natural energising herbs including Ashwagandha (Indian Ginseng), Siberian Ginseng, the highly nutritive Maca and Suma (Brazilian Ginseng) and their combined effect is to:
- Enhance circulation which speeds up oxygen supply to the whole body
- Strengthen the stress response to enhance mood and provide both physical energy and mental energy
Of course rest is important, but some gentle exercise to help improve blood flow is equally important to enhance circulation and oxygen supply.
Shortness of breath
It is very common for people to feel breathless during both the acute phase of any respiratory infection and whilst recovering and this can make people very anxious or even start to panic. If you feel breathless, you should report this to your GP to ensure that there is not another causal factor for it. Once this has been ascertained, there are ways to mitigate this.
Tips on managing breathlessness
- Pace and plan your activities – don’t rush into doing anything rapidly.
- You might be able to break down tasks into smaller ones that are more manageable
- Spread activities throughout the day and try to get some rest between these activities
- Do not stop the things that make you breathless – just do these things gradually, such as very gentle exercise and perhaps try breathing techniques
You might also wish to invest in a salt inhaler such as the Cisca Salt Pipe, which is an inhaler filled with minute salt particles. The practice of using salt pipes is called Halotherapy.
Halotherapy is an alternative to breathing salty sea air and anecdotal evidence points to its benefits to ease breathing difficulties. The Salt Pipe lasts for approximately five years so it is very economical in use. For some people, breathlessness may also be accompanied by a dry cough. Pukka Herbs Organic Elderberry Syrup contains elderberry juice, thyme extract and manuka honey to help soothe the throat and calm the coughing reflex.
Supporting memory, focus & concentration
Because viruses are generally respiratory, symptoms such as breathlessness and coughing are to be expected however other such as brain fog are puzzling. Many people even post recovery from the infection report an inability to concentrate, short term memory loss and other similar symptoms.
The causal factor for this appears to be the fact that some viruses can be neuro-invasive, meaning that the virus can invade the brain. Because of the virus’s ability to cause widespread inflammation, this theory sits well when it comes to brain fog.
Studies indicate that two thirds of people will recover from viral infections between six and twelve months which is good news. Irrespective of the time taken for recovery, we can use a supplement called Limitless Plus.
Limitless Plus is a brain boosting, ultra-safe supplement that contains a patented extract from tomatoes and a patented extract from spearmint. The extract from tomatoes called Noomato is thought to help reduce inflammation at the synapses, which are complex junctions between nerve cells where information is either sent for storage, recall or processed.
Temporary hair loss after a fever or illness is a common occurrence because often the fever that accompanies an infection can send hair into the telogen phase, which is the shedding phase.
For the majority, this shedding stops within a few months but with long-term viral infections, the shedding continues for longer than six months, with women more at risk.
There is no direct evidence that viruses cause hair shedding, but inflammation due to infection, stress and shock to the system, indicates that the body can go into lockdown mode, which means that it may only focus on essential functions.
Whatever the reasons, I would suggest that it would be beneficial to take a supplement that contains Fulvic Acid called Ionicell For Women. Fulvic Acid works to provide ionic minerals that nourish the scalp follicles, aside from having multiple benefits including detoxification, energy enhancement and helping digestion.
There are a whole host of haircare products that add body to your hair and there are several volumizing hair products which are lightweight and non-sticky. However, many of these formulas contain short chain alcohols which can dry the scalp (leading to inflammation) and can damage the hair cuticle.
Fortunately there is a topical product called Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumiser which, as the name suggests, adds volume to flat-looking and/or thinning hair. This lightweight hair mousse helps you achieve the illusion of bigger hair without compromising scalp health. Apply to damp hair and blow dry as usual.
Joint and muscle pain
Many of us experience joint or muscle pain when we catch an infection. This is not directly viral related, but it is actually due to the immune response to the infection. The immune system sends white blood cells to engulf pathogens and these in turn produce inflammatory compounds that cause the symptoms of an infection such as muscle and joint pain.
We believe that in the case of some viral infections, the overdrive of the immune response to fragments of the virus may cause this type of joint and muscle pain.
A great supplement for muscle and joint pain is Superior Joints. Superior Joints contains Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM) which has been the subject of studies and found to help alleviate joint pains within the first few weeks. This supplement also contains beneficial ginger and turmeric, which enhances circulation in the body and so oxygenates our muscles to help alleviate pain.
For people who have trouble swallowing supplements or for those that simply want a topical to apply, Capsicum and Ginger Warming Cream can provide topical pain relief rapidly.
Loss of taste and/or smell
Both smell and taste affect the quality of life. Some people find that they either have a reduced ability to smell and/or taste after contracting a viral infection, whilst others simply lose it completely. Most people do recover within approximately two months, but for some this loss of smell may carry on for a much longer period.
We know that a deficiency in zinc is linked to loss of smell and taste especially during infections, since zinc supplementation often improves ability to smell. When it comes to smell, scientists believe that certain viral infections can attack the cells around the nerves depriving them of nutrients.
When it comes to loss of taste, we still don't understand the full mechanisms. However a study in Italy showed that people with the loss of smell and taste have much higher levels of an inflammatory signalling molecule. I believe that there is a connection between zinc deficiency and the loss of certain senses, so I would suggest some form of zinc supplement such as Terranova Zinc Complex.
Finally, you will note that the common theme here is inflammation. We know that the viral infections may cause a cytokine storm, and we also know that fragments left by the viral infections can cause a stronger immune response resulting in inflammatory cytokines.
Inflammation is responsible for numerous concerns in the body and it may slow the repair and healing processes within the body. Cytokine® Suppress with EGCG contains two natural extracts from green tea and mung beans, which have been shown to help regulate cytokine release, thereby helping to reduce inflammation in the body.
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