A Connection Between COVID and Chronic Pain
COVID-19: Are You Protecting Yourself on the Inside as Well?
Washing hands, covering faces, and social distancing are all important for preventing the spread of disease from one person to another, but is it enough to only protect ourselves on the outside? As COVID-19 has spread throughout the word, frontline healthcare providers have had an opportunity to gather data and look for consistencies in the health and wellbeing of individuals who experience the worst case-scenario. Interestingly, some of the common concerns amongst the studied populations are found in bloodwork. Read on to learn more about what you can do to start protecting yourself on the inside and address chronic pain conditions simultaneously.
A study performed in Singapore found that the administration of a combination of Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Vitamin B12 significantly reduced the need for oxygenation and intensive care in patients admitted to the hospital with confirmed COVID-19.
Of the 43 patients meeting the study criteria, 17 patients were administered the DMB combination. The remaining 26 were not. Of the 17 who received the DMB combination, only 3 went on to require subsequent oxygen therapy compared to 16 of the 26 who did not receive supplemental DMB.
The efficacy of the supplemental combination of DMB may be attributed to how early the intervention began (1).
Of importance is that all three of the dietary supplements utilized in this study are also common deficiencies associated with chronic pain and other co-morbid conditions in multiple studies (2).
It is plausible that “hyper inflammation” plays a significant role in the disease process of COVID-19. In other words, the virus itself may not be the primary cause of organ dysfunction associated with COVID 19, but rather an unregulated immune system response. The same thought process could be applied toward the management of chronic pain. The vitamins and minerals utilized in this study have been shown to be deficient in chronic pain patients. In addition to deficiencies as a result of poor diet, commonly used medications such as opioids may deplete the body of necessary vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin D- Once thought to be mostly involved in bone mineral density; research has demonstrated that Vitamin D plays an important role in immune system regulation. Immune cells have Vitamin D receptors that allow cells to use the active form of this vitamin for signaling to fight off infection. Without sufficient Vitamin D, these immune cells may not have the tools needed to respond appropriately to viral infections or may be left unprotected (3).
Magnesium- Magnesium is what’s known as an enzymatic activator meaning it signals certain cells in the body to take action when needed. Research supports the role of Magnesium in the prevention and treatment of various disorders and diseases including those affecting the respiratory, nervous, and digestive systems. As an example of Magnesium’s effect on how cells behave, or “activate”, research has suggested that COVID 19 produces ion channels (think of this like digging a tunnel into a cell) that allows the virus to change how an infected cell functions. Magnesium has demonstrated a remarkable ability to block this ion channel so the cell has a chance to protect itself (4).
Vitamin B12- Best known for energy metabolism, the B vitamins are also critical for immune cell functioning. In the case of COVID, B vitamins are essential to the proper functioning of the both the innate and adaptive immune systems. The innate immune system is our body’s first line of defense and is designed to fight off any non-specific invading bacteria or virus. The adaptive immune system (or acquired immune system) is specific to the invading problem. A strong adaptive immune system is what allows us to continue to fight of ever evolving diseases like the cold and flu. Amazingly, the adaptive immune system can memorize what was needed last time in the event a threat returns (5).
There is no evidence to suggest that this combination of dietary supplements will prevent or cure COVID-19. However, the evidence does suggest that these supplements that are essential for proper immune function may slow or prevent COVID-19 from escalating to the point that hospitalization or even intensive care is required.
What I really like about this combination of nutrients, and the reason I want to encourage everyone watching to take them, is that they are all very common nutrient deficiencies associated with multiple chronic pain conditions from low back pain to arthritis and even nerve pain.
In the link below, I’ve put together a package of dietary supplements that can help you get these nutrients from high quality sources at an affordable cost. As long as we are living in COVID times, addressing our immune systems’ dietary needs is absolutely crucial.
Yours In Good Health,