Long Covid & CFS/ME link with Neuroinflammation

Long Covid is a post viral fatigue syndrome in the same way as CFS/ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).

Research has shown that in both Long Covid and CFS patients, neuroinflammation is an underlying issue. It is this neuroinflammation that researchers are finding causes relapses and life changing symptoms in these patients.

The similarities with Long Covid and CFS are obvious, CFS patients have long been forgotten or misunderstood, but with the rise of Long Covid it has pressured scientists and doctors to both accept post viral syndromes and find the causes and treatments for them.

The common symptoms for both are:


Brain fog


Not feeling refreshed from sleep

Overly fatigue from exercise

They also find that the body fails to balance itself, this is called loss of homeostasis.

While it has for a while been thought that CFS may be initiated in many people by a virus, such as Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) or Covid-19, or by a large stressful event or chronic stressor, the mechanisms of how this works have not been well understood. The debate now over whether a virus like EBV can cause CFS should be put to bed, there is no debate, it has inextricably been shown that Covid-19 causes Long Covid, a viral infection causing a post viral fatigue syndrome.

New research* now suggests that the pathology lies in the brain, neurovascular pathways and blood brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction. This 'leaky brain' is similar to 'leaky gut' which has long been talked about in nutritional medicine. Leaky gut is a term that has been adopted by the media to discuss intestinal permeability, which means opening up of tight junctions in the gut wall, letting molecules through into the blood stream, which then require cleaning up by the immune system. Leaky brain is a similar term, it is actually talking about the blood brain barrier being permeable, allowing things to cross over the BBB.

This crossing over the BBB causes chronic neuroinflammation. This leads to chronic HPA axis dysfunction and loss of homeostasis, which in turn leads to a relapse and further symptoms. The link between the brain to the rest of the body creates a perpetual cycle of relapses, preventing healing.

The research also suggests that some people are just susceptible to developing these syndromes, so a stressor on the body will cause this response, this could be a virus, stress, or anything else the body sees as a severe stressor.

What should occur as a short term rapid immune response within the body to help a person recover from infection or stressor and develop an ongoing immunity, instead becomes a chronic cycle of inflammation that causes and sustains post viral fatigue syndromes.

If you are looking for support with your Long Covid or CFS we have our Calm Your Chronic Fatigue Package, you can read more here.

Or you can book a free 15min call, or your functional health assessment here.

*Frontiers in Neurology " Molecular Mechanisms of Neuroinflammation in ME/CFS and Long Covid to Sustain Disease and Promote Relapses".

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