Long Covid: Expert recommends foods to ‘support healthy brain cells’ against brain fog

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As an official symptom of long Covid, Professor James Goodwin explained that brain fog is a “non-medical term used to describe feeling sluggish”. However, Professor Goodwin pointed out that emerging research suggests that the virus causes damage to the mitochondria in the brain cells. “We know now that during infection, the virus enters the brain through the highly impermeable blood–brain barrier,” he said.

Adding that the blood-brain barrier is “made up of tightly sealed blood vessels protecting the brain”.

Professor Goodwin continued: “The virus spike locks onto these vessels, replicates inside its cells and then passes through into the brain.

“Inflammation throughout the body also breaks down this barrier, further damaging communication with the immune system.”

How to fix post Covid brains

Professor Goodwin recommends eating nutritious foods that support healthy brain cells.

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Examples include omega-3 fatty acids from cold-water, fatty fish, such as: salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines.

Other nutritious foods to add to the diet include “grass-fed red meat, spinach and broccoli”, as they contain “alpha-lipoic acid”.

Professor Goodwin also suggests incorporating L-carnitine and creatine into the diet, which you can do by eating:

  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Seeds.

When it comes to your diet, Professor Goodwin also advises against sugar rushes.

“Astonishingly, certain neurons in the brain can actually ‘feel’ a sudden rise in sugar levels,” said Professor Goodwin.

“And their mitochondria rapidly change shape and structure, which can lead to profound overall metabolic changes, such as type 2 diabetes.”

The professor continued: “Lowering the consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugars removes this pressure on our precious mitochondria.”

He also views intermittent fasting as beneficial for the mitochondrial network.

“[Intermittent fasting] supports the mitochondrial network by removing damaged mitochondria and triggering the manufacture of new cells,” he explained.

Furthermore, Professor Goodwin recommends establishing a healthy calorie range “to prevent overeating”.

“This will reduce the output of reactive oxygen species, which drive inflammation and cellular damage,” he elaborated.

Aside from nutrition, Professor Goodwin says that exercise, saunas, and a good night’s sleep all play their part in protecting brain cells.

“Research has shown that increasing the temperature of muscle tissue increases the efficiency of mitochondria,” said Professor Goodwin.

The professor recommends taking saunas two to three times per week, for 10 to 15 minutes each time.

“Relaxation and meditation can also play a part in keeping our mitochondria healthy, reducing the psychological effects of the stress hormones cortisol,” he added.

Leading expert in brain health, Professor James Goodwin (PhD) is the Director of Science and Research Impact of Brain Health Network, a digital health platform.

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