Long COVID and the Cause of Extended Fatigue

February 19, 2024

Long COVID and the Cause of Extended Fatigue

Did you see the headlines this week? "Long COVID Destroys Your Exercise Capacity". It's a pretty good study looking at the exercise capacity of long COVID patients and how their residual fatigue can go on for months. There is clearly damage to mitochondria with resultant downregulated energy production. What to do with a curious increase in amyloid in muscles? This fatigue is no small problem as it is estimated that there are some 65 million people around the world with this syndrome.

There may be a research clue that pulls this persistent nightmare together. In Brain Research Bulletin another lovely study puts forward a hypothesis that fits with the plasmalogen explanation.

Here is that explanation in a nutshell. Plasmalogens are the lipids that allow multicellular organisms to exist because they can shape-shift rapidly. This allows embedded proteins to move and change shape very rapidly. That's how a cell talks to the cells around it, by exporting hormones and peptides to communicate with its neighbors, near and far.

A characteristic of plasmalogens is that they also have a vinyl-ether double bond on the surface of the cell. That double bond is the anti-oxidant of first resort. Get that? First. Vitamin C and E are second in line, inside the cells. Blueberries and goji berries are also down the road. The vinyl ether bond is on the outer surface of a cell's membrane and it is particularly focused on capturing peroxide and destroying it. Peroxide is the universal pathway of oxidative stress from failing mitochondria, so its presence means there is trouble. COVID is a particularly problematic virus in making a firehose of oxidative stress. That makes a lot of peroxide. That damages a lot of plasmalogens. That plasmalogen loss saves the cell from destruction by the peroxide but loses the plasmalogen molecule. With the loss of the plasmalogen molecule, the membrane gets stiffer and less functional. The cell can't communicate as well. At the macro level, the affected human's individual cells leave a global sense of fatigue, brain fog, and malaise.

There is proof that folks with long COVID had much higher levels of malondialdehyde than healthy controls. Double, in fact. Malondialdehyde is the fragment left over when the chemical reaction of peroxide meets a vinyl ether bond. Poof and you have this extra malondialdehyde molecule and are missing one plasmalogen molecule.

All the research pieces are there. All in different places. No one has pulled them all together until Goodenowe produced his plasmalogen supplements for the treatment of cognitive trouble from Alzheimer's, autism, RDCP, and Parkinson's.

That's what we are seeing in the clinical world. As we reported several months ago, 7 children with COVID myocarditis, expecting to get better over 2-3 months were healed in 24 hours with plasmalogen supplementation. A severe post-COVID headache, expecting to be ill for 1-2 months repaired in 4 hours with plasmalogen replacement therapy. And dozens of other similar case reports.

My hypothesis, not proven, but the parts are all working is: that COVID produces a firehose of oxidative stress, damaging mitochondria. Peroxide is released from the damaged mitochondria. Peroxide depletes membranes all over the body of plasmalogens, exceeding the capacity of the body to repair itself. There is a curious bottleneck like a circle of falling dominoes. The body can't repair itself fast enough to catch up until it gets some external help. Long COVID is a membrane disease of depleted plasmalogens, which we can now repair.

Summary: Long-COVID is the result of plasmalogen depletion in cellular membranes leading to dysfunctional, inadequate function. That is expressed at the individual's level as fatigue, brain fog, vertigo, anosmia....on and on.

www.What will Work for me? I'm personally using Prodrome Glia, the branded name of plasmalogen replacement, on every patient I see, and it's working. Prodrome Glia is essentially the phospholipid that is in mothers' breast milk. It's really hard to allergic to "Mom". The implications of this are massive if it is true. This may be the cure for the current diseases we call Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome not to mention autism, ADHD, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's. I suspect we need to flesh out the protocols and reinforce the science. But the textbooks of medicine all need rewriting. Hang on to your seat belts. You heard it here first. Long COVID is the laboratory that allowed us to study and experiment.

References: Apple News, Nature Communications, Brain Research Bulletin, Nature Reviews, Int Jr Mol Sci,

Pop Quiz

1. What is the key problem that COVID causes that turns it into long COVID?                           Answer: A fire hose of oxidative stress (which means way, way way too much peroxide which overwhelms our capacity to safely neutralize it.)

2. What is the normal first line of defense for a cell against wayward peroxide?                           Answer: the vinyl-ether double bond on the surface of the cells and intrinsic to the plasmalogen molecule grabs and dissolves the peroxide.

3. How can you prove that plasmalogen depletion is occurring with long COVID?                        Answer: Study from Italy showing a doubling of malondialdehyde with Long COVID. Malondialdehyde is the compound made when peroxide meets a vinyl-ether bond.

4. Why are plasmalogens so crucial to membranes?                            Answer: They are the most fluid of membrane lipids which allows embedded proteins to shape shift. With conformational change in shape, a protein can send its message to the cell next to it. Or, a packet of neurotransmitters can fuse with a basement membrane up to 1,000 times a second. That allows us to sense the world around us in real-time. That is a second "super-power" of plasmalogens.

5. What did Goodenowe find about plasmalogens that makes them so extremely important? Answer: No fair. Not covered in this letter. Months ago, we detailed how the Religious Orders Study from Rush Presbyterian showed Goodenowe's discovery by his metabolomics method that plasmalogen content of blood is the most accurately predictive blood test for life span and cognitive function.