electron microscope picture of brain tissue with SARS-CoV-2

Covid-19 and Brain Problems

The photo above is an electron microscope image depicting a section of a ciliated cell in a COVID-19 patient’s olfactory mucosa, where researchers found intact SARS-CoV-2 particles (stained in red) inside cells.  Taken by MICHAEL LAUE/RKI & CARSTEN DITTMAYER/CHARITÉ  

In recent studies there have been many neurological symptoms that are puzzling scientists in the medical community around the world but seem to me a “general” holistic practitioner actually very understandable. The issue that is confounding researchers is that no one clear cause or association related to brain dysfunction of nerves and senses and death in many of those cases of Covid-19 patients can be discerned. In my family doctor mentality, a “non-researcher” whow bases his understanding of the human condition on 34+ years of treating “weird” undiagnosible medical patients using nutrition, lifestyle and chiropractic is that this falls into the category of human or genetic diversity and life exposures. In other words, your DNA that makes you unique along with how your life experiences and exposures have affected that DNA is unique and different from every other person that has ever existed.

Here are some highlights from this lengthy article published in The Scientist, by Katarina Zimmer, January 20, 2021

COVID-19’s Effects on the Brain

Autopsy studies have yet to find clear evidence of destructive viral invasion into patients’ brains, pushing researchers to consider alternative explanations of how SARS-CoV-2 causes neurological symptoms.

“Now, entire clinics are being created specializing in subsets of patients with neurological symptoms, including one in London co-led by Patricia McNamara, a neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. She broadly separates neurological symptoms into two diverse groups.” One for for acute severe patients and one for chronic mild cases. The first group has a higher mortality and more severe neurological symptoms; comprises acute symptoms often afflicting hospitalized patients with severe disease. These can manifest as a confused, delirious state known as encephalopathy, or as strokes, peripheral nerve damage. The second group had milder cases of Corona symptoms but the neurological symptoms seem to be lasting longer; ranging from headaches, fatigue, sensations of numbness or tingling, and cognitive difficulties to occasionally seizures and inflammation of the heart, McNamara says. “The people I’ve seen so far [in this group] are people who slowly improve, but it’s certainly a very slow improvement.”

In an autopsy study published in November in Nature Neuroscience, they propose that the virus could get into the brainstem through the nose. Based on detailed autopsy analyses from 33 COVID-19 patients, they discovered intact coronavirus particles in supporting cells of the olfactory mucosa at the roof of the nose, along with evidence of active replication in the tissue. Based on this route of infection the virus could work its way through the Cranial nerves into the rest of the brain tissue. That is just a working theory at this time in the medical research community. But SARS-CoV-2 is not a nerve virus like the rabies virus which heads straight for the brain. Covid-19 seems to get in the brain by “accident”.

SARS-CoV-2 is more of an “incidentally neurotropic” virus, likely getting into the brain by accident, Heppner says. Notably, in the brainstem they only found viral protein inside endothelial cells that make up the lining of blood vessels in the blood-brain barrier, and not inside neurons (nerve cells).  In contrast to endothelial cells (the cells that line blood vessels and organ tubes), which have an abundance of ACE2, the molecular doorways SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter cells, neurons tend not to have ACE2 receptors.  By the time COVID-19 patients die, most virus in the lung has often already been cleared, and that might be the case for the brain too, Song says. In my (Dr. D) understanding, “This would be explain why not many virus remnants are found in the brain tissue on autopsy but doesn’t mean they weren’t there causing havoc while the patient was alive!”

Still, the jury’s still out on whether SARS-CoV-2 infects the brain, notes Eric Song, an immunobiologist at Yale University who recently completed his PhD in immunologist Akiko Iwasaki’s lab there. In a recent preprint, he and his colleagues couldn’t find viral RNA in the brain-engulfing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of six living COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms. But interestingly, they did find B cells and antibodies in the CSF, and not just ones that target SARS-CoV-2, but also ones that target the body’s own proteins, including components of neurons.

He and his team also discovered signs that shine light on the patients’ sudden deaths. Assuming the patients died of cardiac dysfunction, they examined the nuclei in the base of the brainstem involved in the control of breathing. There, they spotted macrophages (immune cells that fight invaders) clustering around the nerve cells in that control breathing, possible sign of neuronophagia, in which phagocytes (your own normal immune cells) devour unhealthy neurons. “These respiratory centers and some of these other brainstem nuclei are impaired in their function,” Nath says.

So what Song has found and is proposing makes perfect sense to me, a holistic doctor is that there is an autoimmune factor to SARS-CoV-2 patients. I see this in the office every day with my Nutrition Response Testing patients. Its the personalization that makes each person’s symptom presentation different when the seem to come from the same “cause”. People who have a similar sensitivity to something in the environment present with different degrees of severity. This is based on how much of an exposure that foreign particle like a virus, a chemical, a heavy metal, and most times food sensitivities or some combination of ALL this foreign particles causes their symptom presentation! So if a person has food sensitivity and doesn’t realize it and keeps eating that food then the autoimmune response occurs and your macrophages start attacking your own body! Now add external envirronmental pollution build up because your liver is stressed and now the food sensitivity and “toxin buildup” due to “weak” liver action makes many other tissues/organs in the body weak and lightly symptomatic. This weakness in your ENTIRE body now depresses your normal immune response and over-stimulates spinal muscles (back spasms) which causes spinal nerve irritation from misaligned vertebrae causing the body to become even weaker. Enter a virus in this case COVID-19 which sees your “weak” body as an open motel room ready for it to occupy.

So instead of fighting off that common cold, the flue or Corona virus it invades and stays inside your “weak body” and multiplies. Now your symptoms at the core are similar to everyone else’s symptoms but then you get “brain symptoms”, blood clots in the legs or even in the brain, etc. but your spouse who is also “weak” and gets exposed to Corona from you has none of those brain symptoms, they just have the respiratory symptoms. Why are you both having different sometimes life threatening symptoms from the “same” infectious virus? Because you both have different genes and body weaknesses based on the unique lives you both lead.

What to do?

Yes medical attention is indicated if any symptoms get more severe! Go to the hospital immediately if breathing or seizures start. Most MD’s tell you stay home if the symptoms aren’t that bad and ride it out at home as hospital beds are in short supply. What should you do at home to get through this infection as quickly and mildly as possible. NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT IS YOUR ONLY AND BEST OPTION!

The current research out there from observing thousands of people who have used this approach are:

  • Vit D 2,000 iu to 20,000 iu/day depending on your levels of vit D (blood test)
  • Vit C 1,000 to 6,000 mg/day from natural complete sources not just ascorbic acid. You need the complete natural Vit C complex.
  • Quercetin 500 to 1000 mg/day again naturally sourced not synthetic
  • Omega 3’s 3-6,000 iu/ day. Fish or plant sources are equally good.
  • Vit A, 50,000-100,000 iu/day depending on symptoms. Vit A can be toxic if taking over 100,000 iu for 3 months or more so check with your naturopath or nutritionist. (most MD’s do not know a lot about nutrition and dosages).
  • Polyphenols; ginger, turmeric, mango, papaya extract, elderberry, goldenseal, gac fruit, gogi berry, Chinese celi fruit.
  • magnesium citrate 400 mg/day
  • Zinc 15-30 mg/day
  • Digestive enzymes with all meals and when taking your supplements to aid proper digestion. If no appetite take 3-6 capsules per day as that will help with any general inflammation
  • Good multi-vitamin/mineral (One A Days like Centrum or Theragram are not that well absorbed and not enough). Contact your nutritionist or naturopath for good recommendation.

*These statements have not been approved by the FDA and are not meant to diagnose or treat and disease or specific condition.

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