Long Covid survivors – may have antibodies against several coronavirus

Cross-immunity to several human coronaviruses has been found in survivors with “LongCovid”, symptoms lasting months after the initial infectious symptoms. (1)

Mast cells can be activated by viruses. (2) People suffering with over activity of mast cells tend to not have very many colds or flu symptoms, even though they may have many other symptoms associated with the excessive inflammation and elevated histamine levels. Polyphenolic flavonoids are known to reduce mast cell inflammation and some have antiviral benefits such as luteolin. (2) Suppressing a mast cell response while trying to actively fight a viral infection would be limiting the body’s natural defense against a virus.

A recent report correlated coronaviruses infection with activation of mast cells and subsequent cytokine storms in the lungs. 7 Mast cells are known to be triggered by viruses. 8″ Inhibition of mast cell‐associated inflammation could be accomplished with natural molecules, especially the polyphenolic flavonoids. 23 The flavone luteolin (not lutein, which is a carotenoid) has been shown to have broad antiviral properties.24, 25, 26” (2)

In Long Covid there may be residual virus but it is possible, maybe probable, that there is simply an overactivation of the mast cell system continuing to react to any food or toxin or even stress. See previous post.

Colds and flu often last longer for people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance. This is because these viral infections can set off a cascade of mast cell reactions lasting weeks or a few months.” (6)

Mast cell activation may vary based on what each individual is more sensitive to, as well as including some more typical problem foods or chemicals that everyone with overactive mast cells might find problematic. Symptoms can include a broad range and include mental health and behavior changes so diagnostic approaches might miss an inflammatory as the cause. See previous post.

Luteolin is found in celery, thyme, green peppers, and chamomile tea. (3) Some with over activity of mast cells might do better with the celery and thyme. Green peppers may be a mast cell/histamine problem food (4) and chamomile tea is a flower which some people with seasonal allergies (mast cell activation) may react to. See reference G10.12, Nrf2 Promoting Foods, chamomile tea is discussed and may be beneficial for people who are not sensitized to its pollen.

The excess Interleukin-6 that is commonly seen in COVID-19 illness may lead to over active mast cells in people who did not have seasonal allergy or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome symptoms for most of their lives (it can be genetic based). “Constant IL-6 exposure can cause the body to form more reactive mast cells.” (5)

The terminology and diagnostic criteria for mast cell over activity is still new. Some problems may include stimulation of mast cells without complete degranulation – release of histamine and other cytokines (IL-6 is a cytokine – a cell signal chemical). The name ‘Mast Cell Mediator Disorders (MCMD)’ has been established for symptoms involving less severe mast cell activity than full degranulation. (7)

How mast cell activation relates to Long Covid survivors may also vary based on personal genetic and other unknown factors in their environment or body burden of toxins (yes, we tend to contain a large mixture of modern toxins and heavy metals, (8)). Histamine containing or promoting foods could be a factor that varies based on a person’s diet and food sensitivities, in addition to mast cell activity throughout the body. Diet information and links were included in the first post about histamine in this series.

Based on the information about MCAS and histamine foods, I have improved my own odd symptoms and it is a huge relief to have found a cause that can be controlled, with some difficulty, and which explains the odd behavior and mood extremes. Histamine is involved in a wide range of brain functions and is involved in balance, not too much or too little activity – homeostatic control. Anxiety or whirling thoughts that only escalate are frightening and calling it a psychiatric problem wouldn’t help a histamine problem get any better. (Histamine’s function was included in the previous post.)

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Reference List

  1. Rafael Osswald, @RafaelOsswald, Tweet about research findings regarding crossimmunity in LongCovid survivors, Nov. 16, 2020 https://twitter.com/RafaelOsswald/status/1328408081487835152?s=20
  2. Theoharides TC. COVID-19, pulmonary mast cells, cytokine storms, and beneficial actions of luteolin. Biofactors. 2020;46(3):306-308. doi:10.1002/biof.1633 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7267424/
  3. USDA/Agricultural Research Service. “Luteolin stars in study of healthful plant compounds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2010. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708141622.htm
  4. Hidden in Plain Sight: Histamine Problems, westonaprice.org, https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/modern-diseases/hidden-in-plain-sight-histamine-problems/
  5. Mast cells: MCAS, genetics, and solutions, geneticlifehacks.com, https://www.geneticlifehacks.com/mast-cells/ https://www.geneticlifehacks.com/mast-cells/#Other_substances_that_activate_mast_cells
  6. Immune Supports and Supplements that May Reduce Risk of Cold or Flu in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. mastcell360.com, https://mastcell360.com/immune-supports-and-supplements-that-may-reduce-risk-of-cold-or-flu-in-mast-cell-activation-syndrome-and-histamine-intolerance/
  7. Theoharides TC, Tsilioni I, Ren H. Recent advances in our understanding of mast cell activation – or should it be mast cell mediator disorders?. Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2019;15(6):639-656. doi:10.1080/1744666X.2019.1596800 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7003574/
  8. Gennings C, Ellis R, Ritter JK. Linking empirical estimates of body burden of environmental chemicals and wellness using NHANES data. Environ Int. 2012;39(1):56-65. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2011.09.002 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249606/

Anemia of Inflammation, IL-6, Hepcidin, Iron and Vitamin C.

During bacterial infections iron is shifted out of hemoglobin production and into ferritin and intracellular storage. (Iron and Anemia of Chronic Inflammation, post) If amounts of the free iron overloads the cell capacity and antioxidant capacity then cell death may result and other damage. The shift of iron involves an increase in the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 (Interleucon-6) which causes an increase in hepcidin, which causes the removal of iron from hemoglobin. (5)

Having extra antioxidants in the diet can help the body cope with the sudden increase in free iron – think of rust – iron oxidizes and the body doesn’t want rust anymore than you want it on your car. Antioxidants like vitamin A and C and bioflavonoids can all help stabilize the chemically active iron. The anti-malarial herbal extract called artemisinin may help by binding some of the excess free iron stores. (4) *addition – quercetin, EGCG, resveratrol, turmeric are also iron chelators and lactoferrin is a milk based iron chelator that has not been found an allergy risk for people with a milk-based allergy.

ACE2 receptors are likely more prevalent in the lung cells of smokers (1) and COPD patients, (3), and people living in air pollution because it has a protective effect against lung injury. It helps decrease levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6. (2) Which suggests that extra vitamin C and bioflavonoids, and other nutrients may also help reduce the risk of anemia of chronic inflammation and other lung and heart risks from chronic hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the blood).

The COVID-19 illness may have a risk of sudden death due to cardiovascular problems upon relapse/reinfection (6) because of the shift in iron and resulting risk of cell death due to excess free iron. The use of iron chelators or artemisinin and continuing the use of extra antioxidants such as vitamin C and bioflavonoids might help prevent excess coagulation and reverse the shift of iron atoms from hemoglobin molecules to ferritin and free iron within cells. Infectious microbes need iron too so it is a self defense strategy that may become excessive in the case of severe COVID-19 illness.

There is more about bioflavonoids, vitamin C, and coagulation risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection in this post: Bitter Taste Receptors in the Lungs – Hesperidin’s Decongestant Properties.

Reference List

  1. SJ Brake, K Barnsley, Wenying Lu, et al., Smoking Upregulates Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme-2 Receptor: A Potential Adhesion Site for Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19). J. Clin. Med.20209(3), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9030841 https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/9/3/841/htm
  2. Lin CI, Tsai CH, Sun YL, Hsieh WY, Lin YC, Chen CY, Lin CS. Instillation of particulate matter 2.5 induced acute lung injury and attenuated the injury recovery in ACE2 knockout mice. Int J Biol Sci 2018; 14(3):253-265. doi:10.7150/ijbs.23489. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v14p0253.htm air pollution studies – ACE2 would be protective against ACE->IL-6 “Increased ACE levels cause the activation of AT1R by Ang II, consequently inducing the expression of the inflammatory cytokines IL-6, TNF-α and TGF-β1 [17]. ACE2 counter-regulates the effects produced by Ang II by converting Ang II to Ang-(1-7), activates Mas to repress the signaling pathways of STAT3 and extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) [18], and acts as an anti-inflammatory factor [19].
  3. ACE-2 Expression in the Small Airway Epithelia of Smokers and COPD Patients: Implications for COVID-19. https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/early/2020/03/26/13993003.00688-2020
  4. Inhibitory effect of novel iron chelator, 1-(N-acetyl-6-aminohexyl)-3-hydroxy-2-methylpyridin-4-one (CM1) and green tea extract on growth of Plasmodium falciparum https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4590262/Artemisinin found in the Chinese medicinal plant (Artemisia annua) binds iron to form ferric-dihydroartemisinin complex, resulting in reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated potent anti-malarial activity against ring and late stage of CQ-resistant P. falciparum malaria parasites [5]. “
  5. Covid-19 – Liver – iron overload – lung cascade – coagulation a forum topic on peakprosperity.com with links to research, excerpts and discussion re COVID-19 – Liver – iron overload – lung cascade – coagulation. https://www.peakprosperity.com/forum-topic/covid-19-liver-iron-overload-lung-cascade-coagulation/
  6. Jules Quartly, Exclusive: Chinese doctors say Wuhan coronavirus reinfection even deadlier. Feb 14, 2020, TaiwanNews.com, https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3876197

Vitamin C, IL-6, and respiratory failure in COVID19

Level of IL-6 predicts respiratory failure in hospitalized symptomatic COVID-19 patients“, a higher level of interleukin-6 is predictive of greater risk of respiratory failure, (1) and Vitamin C reduces IL-6: “Vitamin C blocks vascular dysfunction and release of interleukin-6.” (2)

The Vitamin C Infusion therapy has had minimal adverse reactions in studies with the use of it in addition to standard chemotherapy treatments for patients with cancer, (3), or for patients with sepsis which is similar problem to an excess production of cytokines due to an infection. (Fowler 2014) It is given with thiamine, a B vitamin, which is also water soluble. (Protocol used in China for Vitamin C Infusion IV treatment)

Both nutrients may be needed in greater quantity due to the infection process so it isn’t normal health – the RDAs – Recommended Daily Allowances or DRIs – Daily Recommended Intake amounts for nutrients are for normal health, not guidance for illness or chronic conditions that may affect nutrient balance.

Vitamin C also helps prevent capillary breakdown and risk of easy bruising or blood clots (Tyml, 2017) which have been found to be part of the risk for more severe lung symptoms and respiratory failure with CoV-19 infection. (farid_jalali/pdf) Some of the questions brought up in that pdf are answered in this video update: Roger Seheult, MD, Coronavirus Pandemic Update 37: The ACE-2 Receptor – The Doorway to COVID-19 (ACE Inhibitors & ARBs). March 16, 2020, MedCram.com, (youtu.be/1vZDVbqRhyM), which I included in this post along with foods that might help digestive symptoms associated with COVID19.

Life or death, essential nutrients are called essential for a reason – essential for life.

Home, self-care could include a variety of vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C helps the immune system fight infection. Good sources include: cabbage, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, asparagus, peas, kale, & citrus, strawberries, kiwi, papayas, cantaloupe, and many other foods. (Vit C Fact Sheet)

Use of the citrus peel can more than double the amount of vitamin C compared to using only the fruit wedges, (nourishingjoy.com/Vit C Powder), and it provides many other beneficial flavonoids, see recent post). The pithy white part of the peel is mild compared to the outer zest and can be eaten along with the orange slices and the zest could be dried and powdered to add to other foods (after cooking, add it at the table) or made into an orange marmalade type sauce to add to salad dressing or for use in baking, (recipe post). Heating with lower temperatures can help preserve more vitamin C content than higher heat.

Cytokine Storm Syndrome & Vitamin C Infusion, — webinar for medical professionals.

The webinar is now available as a video that can be viewed at any time, see the website: isom.ca. The Vitamin C Infusion technique is being used for COVID19 patients in a large hospital chain in New York, based on the improved survival rate seen in Shanghai China, (NYPost)

An over-reaction of the immune system called Cytokine Storm Syndrome or sepsis shock can be the cause of death from COVID-19 infection rather than the breathing problems and pneumonia symptoms. Some people may be more genetically at risk of having the inflammatory over-production of cytokines. (Cytokine Storm Syndrome/genetics) They are involved in killing infected cells but an excess can cause organ failure and lead to death. Intravenous Vitamin C Infusion can be safe and nontoxic for treating sepsis shock (Fowler 2014) and may improve survival rates (ScienceDaily) and is a strategy that was used in Wuhan, China for COVID-19 patients. (Video update by Dr. Cheng) (Clinical Trial/Peng) (Protocol used in China for Vitamin C Infusion IV treatment)

Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use. It is not intended to provide individual guidance. Please seek a health care provider for individualized health care guidance.

Reference List

  1. Tobias Herold III, Vindi Jurinovic, Chiara Arnreich, et al., Level of IL-6 predicts respiratory failure in hospitalized symptomatic COVID-19 patients. April 04, 2020. MedRxIV.org https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.01.20047381 https://medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.01.20047381v1
  2. Böhm F, Settergren M, Pernow J. Vitamin C blocks vascular dysfunction and release of interleukin-6 induced by endothelin-1 in humans in vivo. Atherosclerosis. 2007 Feb;190(2):408-15. Epub 2006 Mar 9. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16527283
  3. van Gorkom GNY, Lookermans EL, Van Elssen CHMJ, Bos GMJ. The Effect of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) in the Treatment of Patients with Cancer: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):977. Published 2019 Apr 28. doi:10.3390/nu11050977 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566697/