A new study shows that brain fog, fatigue and neuropsychological effects are most prevalent among people with persistent symptoms after Covid-19, a condition commonly known as “long Covid”.
The study published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, collected data from 87 Covid-19 patients from February 2020 to May 2021 with symptoms beyond six months after infection, and found that brain fog, fatigue, headache, anxiety and sleep issues were most prevalent.
Attention and executive function in patients were shown to be frequently impaired, while concentration, attention and memory issues were all symptoms of brain fog.
Study author, Zeina Chemali from Massachusetts General Hospital said: “Everyone is still struggling to understand long Covid. From a neurocircuit perspective, we see that frontal networks are most vulnerable in the post-Covid-19 phase.”
She noted that similar symptoms are found in patients with other post-viral conditions, post-traumatic brain injury, concussion syndrome or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Health expert Vanessa Ascencao said that there are an estimated two million people with long Covid in the UK, while research shows that the neurological effects of long Covid could persist for more than a year after infection. Many go undiagnosed due to patients not seeking care or a misdiagnosis.
“In addition to long Covid, brain fog can be caused by hormone changes, chronic stress, lack of sleep, an unhealthy diet, certain medications and health conditions such as fibromyalgia, depression, hypothyroidism and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. It can affect performance at work and school, and make it difficult to complete tasks,” said Ascencao.
Research shows that a lack of nutrients could contribute to memory loss, cognitive decline, depression and anxiety, and increased intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables may help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation which may help improve brain function and reduce brain fog.
Studies also show that nutrient deficiencies such as iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids could contribute to brain fog. Iron helps with brain development and cognitive performance, vitamin B12 and D plays a crucial role in boosting brain function and omega 3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation and improve cognitive function. “Optimize your health by getting good sleep, daily movement, practicing mindfulness and self-care, drinking lots of water and nourishing the body with the best quality food and nutrients. In addition, try high quality supplements with proven absorption such a Spatone, an iron-rich water which helps boost the immune system and supports energy levels and cognitive function,” said Ascencao.