Shortening Long Covid

The aftermath of the covid pandemic has left 1.2 million people with symptoms of ‘long covid’ the main ones being shortness of breath, severe fatigue, brain fog, and heart and lung conditions. According to a Lancet report[1] there is an extended list of 200 symptoms including visual hallucinations, tremors, itchy skin, changes to the menstrual cycle, sexual dysfunction, memory loss, diarrhoea and tinnitus. Much like chronic fatigue syndrome this multi-system disorder is not responding to any particular drug and is very unlikely to. However, the world of systems-based nutritional therapy is coming up trumps in many respects.

Vitamins C, D and Zinc

The obvious place to start are nutrients that, if optimally supplied, speed up recovery and reduce the chances of ever developing long covid in the first place. These are vitamin C, D and zinc. Vitamin C, in high oral doses or given intravenously, has a long history of reducing fatigue. A dozen studies in a variety of non-covid conditions[2] reports this and many cases of people with long covid either having a course of intravenous vitamin C or taking oral vitamin C up to ‘bowel tolerance’ – the level that induces excessively loose bowels – report recovery.

This is often 6 to 10 grams a day. As an all-rounder with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, endothelial-restoring, and immune modulating effects it’s a no brainer, yet the medical profession’s general bias against vitamins means this option is rarely considered. While it is not exactly clear how vitamin D helps, which is another all-rounder, getting blood levels up to 100nmol/l with 3,000iu a day (or 21,000iu a week since vitamin D stores) is associated with less risk of infection, and severe infection. I’ve not, however, found any compelling evidence yet that it shortens long covid.

Vitamin C’s other critical role in the body is making collagen needed to keep all skin intact, but especially the super-thin endothelium, the membrane that separates blood in the arteries and air in the lungs from your insides. Since a persistent viral infection depletes vitamin C this effectively leading towards scurvy if levels become too low for several weeks. Since vitamin C makes collagen, the inter cellular ‘glue’, a chronic lack leads breakdown in these tissues, as well as muscles, leading to shortness of breath, loss of stamina and arterial damage, all of which are being reported in those with long covid.


Another excellent reducer of inflammation in the lungs is quercetin, the phytonutrient richest in red onions. Like vitamin C, it has many beneficial effects relevant to covid.[3] However, both vitamin C and quercetin have another role to play which may be significant, not only for long covid, but also adverse effects post-vaccination, which is reducing the consequences of clotting problems. Both covid infection and especially mRNA vaccines induce increased clotting. This is why the anti-clotting agent heparin is given to critical covid patients and why many switched on doctors recommend people taking a low dose aspirin in the weeks following vaccination, as well as loading up on both vitamin C and D. Both vitamin C and quercetin inhibit abnormal clotting. Vitamin C also helps to recycle quercetin so they are synergistic in relation to covid and should be used together.[4]

Linus Pauling’s last contribution to vitamin C science was to show that, when vitamin C levels drop, a process that leads to thickening the arteries to protect against endothelial degeneration occurs. This is measured by an increase in lipoprotein(a).

Clots contain proteins, while both viruses and vaccinations increase the presence of spike proteins. Breaking these down is a major target for helping those suffering with long covid. A theory that’s gaining ground proposes that the virus causes release of micro clots which block access of blood to sells leading to oxygen shortage. One medical approach that’s being trialled is ‘washing the blood’ to remove clots.[5] This is particularly interesting when, in the US, embalmers, who have to ‘drain’ the corpse of blood, are reporting abnormal ‘never seen before’ fibrinogous clots, some quite large, in previously infected or vaccinated, which are making their job difficult.


But a combination of nutrients might achieve the same goal. While vitamin C and quercetin undoubtedly help, the most interesting remedies are protein digesting enzymes, especially bromelain, found in pineapple and papain from papaya. Bromelain binds to both spike proteins[6]  and helps break them down. It also inhibits the virus from attaching to ACE-2 receptors.[7] There’s news of a study in Saudi Arabia currently being prepared for publication – “Evaluation of the Effect of Zinc, Quercetin, Bromelain and Vitamin C on COVID-19 Patients” – sponsored by the Saudi Ministry of Health. I’m looking forward to reading that one.

Another critical factor in many with long covid could be faulty methylation[8], indicated by high plasma homocysteine levels, often driven by poor B12 absorption or folate deficiency (think greens and beans). Many of the symptoms being reported also occur in those deficient in vitamin B12. Raised homocysteine directly correlates with degree of lung damage.[9] Therefore, testing a person’s homocysteine and B12 status is a must for anyone with long covid but it is rarely done. I would, however, start with the basics – vitamins C, D, zinc, quercetin and bromelain and move onto homocysteine and B12 testing if this doesn’t provide significant improvement within a week.

Improvement can be spectacular and quick, as Karen’s case illustrates. She described her physical fitness as less than 50% post-covid, and had to stop every 50 metres when walking to catch her breath. She took a double dose (x6) of a supplement containing quercetin, bromelain and vitamin C, with additional high dose vitamin C and zinc to bowel tolerance, plus 21,000iu of vitamin D. “Two days later I did a one hour hill work with more like 95% of my usual fitness.”

However, if considerable lung damage has occurred it can take a month or two to see big improvements as lung and muscle tissue takes time to repair.

Further Information

ImmuneC and Allex which contains quercetin, bromelain and Vitamin C are available separately or as a Post C Restoration combo from HOLFORDirect. Also High Strength Vitamin D3.








[7]; see also