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Do Kids With Long Covid Need Vitamins And Supplements?

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

Even if a child has had mild symptoms from an Covid infection, this can kick start a cytokine inflammatory storm and consequent oxidative stress to their cells which can take time to repair.


In this guest blog Lucinda Miller Clinical Lead, NatureDoc MH MRNI MGNI FMU AFMCP looks at how we can support the body to aid recovery after contacting COVID-19 and answers on of the most common questions we see within our support services.


"What vitamins and supplements should I give my child after COVID-19?"



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Residual Inflammation and Oxidative Stress


From the findings in the scientific literature and also from our clinical practice at NatureDoc we have found that both adults and children who continue to have long haul symptoms after a Coronavirus infection, experience residual inflammation and oxidative stress which can impact on a number of bodily systems.


This damage from the virus can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, loss of smell and taste, tics, headaches, brain fog and dizziness as well as the plethora of other symptoms identified in the Long Covid picture.




Safe and Proactive Ways to Help the Children Restore Their Health


Many kids are showing a newly acquired strong TH2 dominant immune system which manifests in a poor ability to fight off infections and a heightened reactivity to allergens. Many others have experienced a more fast-tracked response into a more autoimmune skew, and this has meant sudden onset autoimmune disease or activity ranging from type 1 diabetes to juvenile idiopathic arthritis to autoimmune myocarditis.


Even though specific treatments have not been identified in supporting the recovery from Long Covid for these children, taking a generalised anti-inflammatory whole-body approach is a generally safe and proactive way to help the children restore back to baseline and to help become the best version of themselves. It takes time to see a child thrive again, and it is important to take the approach that it’s a marathon and not a sprint, but every positive step will help in some way to restore equilibrium.






Holistic Approach


It is well established that excess inflammation can be dampened down if you optimise the following five areas of health and the more of these areas of health you work on the likelihood is that symptoms will slowly start to improve:

  • Sleep

  • Time in Nature

  • Relaxation

  • Hydration

  • Nutrition

And if this is not enough to help your child to feel stronger and better balanced, you might need to take the anti-inflammatory support deeper there are three specific areas of health that you might need to consider working on:

  • Gut Support

  • The Role of Histamine and Mast Cells

  • The Role of Polyphenols and Natural Anti-inflammatories





Sleep


Kids experiencing Long Covid symptoms often need more sleep and will be fatigued during the day. But like many people who experience other post viral fatigue, night-time sleep can be fitful, and it can be hard to get into the deep restorative sleep and many say they sleep lightly or wake up frequently. Ways to help improve sleep patterns include:

  • Have a 20-minute Epsom salt bath before bed which contains magnesium

  • Stop watching all screens 90 minutes before bed

  • Drink tart cherry juice to boost up melatonin

  • Drink a warm milky drink with added oats and turmeric or a herbal tea before bed.

  • Older kids consider theanine, saffron and/or lemon balm to help with sleep.


Time In Nature - Vagal Tone



Time outside in a peaceful and natural setting is important for dialling down inflammation. It also helps to reset an out-of-sync circadian rhythm and helps with vagal tone. It also helps to bolster the immune system and the gut microbiome.


Even sitting outside or lying on a bench in the fresh air is better than staying inside the house. If you don’t have a garden or are too weak to go outside, then at least keep the windows open. When it is sunny between April and September try and enjoy the natural sun rays for at least 20 minutes each day to help with Vitamin D levels.

Many people with Long Covid have benefitted from cold water swimming and cold showers as per the teachings of Wim Hof.



Relaxation

The key to any recovery from chronic illness is to pace yourself and this means allowing time in your day to relax and recuperate. This can be resting in bed or on the sofa, or doing light creative activity such as colouring, sewing or cooking. Yoga, mediation and mindfulness can help calm a busy mind.


Working on vagus nerve tone through singing, gargling and humming can be helpful too.



Hydration

It is important to drink plenty of filtered water daily. Some kids with Long Covid benefit from added electrolytes or heavily mineralised water such as Fiji or Smart water. Other ways to hydrate are freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, coconut water, home-made ice lollies, soups and watery fruit and salad vegetables such as watermelon and cucumber.


Nutrition

The key dietary support for children with Long Covid is to follow the key principles of the Mediterranean diet by giving them a huge range of;

  • fruits

  • vegetables

  • salads

  • nuts & seeds

  • pulses

  • whole grains

  • fish

  • meats & poultry

  • whole dairy

  • eggs

  • olive oil

  • spices and herbs


Avoid white flour products and refined sugar as well as any ultra-processed convenience ready made foods such as cereals, ready meals, sauces, many free from foods, biscuits etc.


Cooking from scratch with all three meals and snacks rather than buying packaged food can help this happen more. Aim for at least 80% cooked from scratch where possible.



Reduce Tummy Pain With Gut Support


There is now evidence that there the gut microbiome is perturbed after Covid, and this can be one of the reasons that nausea and gastric pain/upset can be experienced. Again, bolstering the diet with a broad range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains can help to support a healthy microbiome. It may be beneficial for some kids to consume live yoghurt and kefir to encourage the beneficial bacteria. Probiotic supplementation may also be helpful in some cases.

Mucilage herbs such as Slippery elm, marshmallow root and aloe vera are very calming for an inflamed gut and can help with gut permeability.

We have found a strong link between Long Covid and low faecal Secretory IgA which is a benchmark marker for how the gut immune system is functioning. A low SIgA can make a person more susceptible to multiple food intolerances and more vulnerable to secondary infections. SIgA can be supported using a combination of Vitamin A, Zinc, Vitamin D and beta glucans and this takes time to rebuild.



The Role of Histamine and Mast Cells


Both medical doctors and naturopathic practitioners are finding a strong cross over between Long Covid symptoms and Mast Cell Activation/Histamine intolerance and this is where the TH2 immune system is more dominant.

Some kids do benefit from a low histamine diet initially just to help rebalance the system and many people over time benefit from a natural antihistamine approach which involves a combination of Quercetin, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and Tulsi.



The Role of Polyphenols and Natural Anti-inflammatories


There is a huge amount of evidence that the polyphenols in brightly coloured fruits, vegetables and other pigment rich foods can help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Focus in on “eating the rainbow” of different coloured fresh or frozen produce as well as spices such as turmeric and green tea for teenagers.






Supplements include N Acetyl Cysteine, Turmeric, Resveratrol, Omega 3, Selenium.


Supplements Summary


These are the upper tolerable levels that can be given safely for up to 12 weeks. Source NIH National Institutes of Health.


Vitamin A 1–3 years 600 mcg

4–8 years 900 mcg

9–13 years 1,700 mcg

14–18 years 2,800 mcg

19+ years 3,000 mcg


Zinc

7–12 months 5 mg

1–3 years 7 mg

4–8 years 12 mg

9–13 years 23 mg

14–18 years 34 mg

19+ years 40 mg


Vitamin D3

1–3 years 63 mcg (2,500 IU)

4–8 years 75 mcg (3,000 IU)

9–18 years 100 mcg (4,000 IU)

19+ years 100 mcg (4,000 IU)


Quercetin

1–3 years 250mg

4–8 years 500 mg

9–18 years 1000 mg

19+ years 1000 mg


Vitamin C

1–3 years 400 mg

4–8 years 650 mg

9–13 years 1,200 mg

14–18 years 1,800 mg

19+ years 2,000 mg


Magnesium

1–3 years 65 mg

4–8 years 110 mg

9–18 years 350 mg

19+ years 350 mg


Selenium

1–3 years 90 mcg

4–8 years 150 mcg

9–13 years 280 mcg

14–18 years 400 mcg

19+ years 400 mcg


N Acetyl Cysteine (NAC).

No specific NIH recommendations. However, we usually recommend Teens up to 600mg 2 x daily. Young children up to 300mg 2 x daily.


Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA)

No specific NIH recommendations.

However, we usually recommend Teens up to 300 twice daily. Young children 150mg twice daily.



References





Taking a Naturopathic Approach to Long Covid


This video is from December 2020 and has been very useful for families.





 





Lucinda Miller

Clinical Lead, NatureDoc MH MRNI MGNI FMU AFMCP

24 March 2022


 

About


In 2021 Long Covid Kids became the first UK-based, international registered charity advocating for families, children and young people living with Long Covid.

The charity focuses on recognition, support and recovery and has already received recognition from the NHS and the Centre for Disease Control in the USA, as well as being a recommended resource in the NICE Long Covid guidelines.


Support Our Work


While children are living with life changing symptoms and families struggle to seek support, we need to be here.

Your donation will be used directly to support families living with Long Covid.

Find out more about our Impact.



 

Our Mission


Purpose
  • We believe all children should be able to thrive and look forward to a positive future. That is why we represent and support children and young people living with Long Covid and related illnesses and the parents and caregivers that look after them.

Our Vision
  • To achieve recognition, support and recovery for Long Covid and related illnesses in children and young people


 


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