Long COVID presents with a complex picture of systemic inflammation and nervous system involvement which we still don’t fully understand. How does nutrition play a role? This week I interview Marlee Hamilton, Registered Dietitian on the role nutrition plays in long COVID.
Nutrition Pearls for Long-COVID:
- An important part of a patient receiving a diagnosis of long COVID is ruling out other possible causes first.
- IBS patients can struggle more with their condition after they have had COVID, whether they have long COVID or not.
- Post infectious IBS can be caused by food poisoning, a bacterial infection, or a viral infection like COVID.
- Many people who have had long-COVID can lose their sense of smell or taste. This can present in foods being too bland, too sweet, too salty, or also having a metallic taste. For the most part, these symptoms tend to resolve over time.
- There’s a lot of overlapping symptoms between long COVID and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) which are both relatively new conditions that we are still learning about.
- Difficulties breathing, chronic cough, joint pain, and brain fog are really nonspecific symptoms which makes it really difficult to rule out what is causing them.
- The low histamine diet has been shown to help with symptoms in MCAS, but with long COVID at this point it is unclear how beneficial it could be
- It is important to talk with your physician about long-COVID symptoms and consider the role that medications play in its management.
Long COVID is defined by The National Health Service as having symptoms that develop during or after a COVID infection which continue for more than 12 weeks. This week I interview Marlee Coldwell, RD on how long COVID presents and ways that it can be managed in our patients.
Marlee has been working with patients who have complex digestive health issues and food intolerances for the past 5 years. Marlee specializes in providing nutritional support for digestive disorders including IBS, IBD, SIBO, fatty liver disease, and much more. Marlee is the team lead dietitian for Ignite Nutrition, one of Canada’s top digestive health nutrition practices. With her specialized knowledge of gastrointestinal health, she also helps to train and support other dietitians to work with those who have unique and complex food intolerances and GI disorders.
In 2019, Marlee also wrote a cookbook called ‘Insulin Resistance Diet for Beginners’, which showcases her other great passion, women’s health and PCOS management.
Marlee and I talk about:
- What long COVID is
- How many people experience it
- What the symptoms are
- How we see it influencing our IBS patients and how nutrition can help
- The influence of COVID on the GI tract
- The taste and smell changes, how they influence people’s nutrition, and if there is anything to help
- The inflammatory immune-mediated symptoms like rashes, brain fog, joint pain, chronic fatigue, gut pain, and diarrhea
- Why people have been curious about a low histamine diet when it comes to long COVID
- The overlap between MCAS and long covid, and why people are being managed like MCAS patients
- If using a MCAS approach can ´fix´ long COVID