A new study conducted by researchers in China has explored the potential of natural compounds found in herbs and fruits in alleviating the various complications associated with long COVID. The study focuses on two flavonoids, naringin and naringenin, which have shown promise in addressing cognitive dysfunction, immune dysregulation, microbiota dysbiosis, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), myocarditis, cough, diabetes, pain, and thrombus formation – all common manifestations of long COVID.
Long COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), presents a challenge in terms of diagnosis and treatment. Nearly half of all COVID-19 patients globally develop long COVID, and the symptoms can affect various organ systems. The underlying mechanisms include persistent presence of the virus, immune dysregulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, changes in microbiota, and persistent inflammation.
Currently, treatment for long COVID mainly focuses on managing symptoms, with no definitive medications available. However, natural compounds derived from medicinal plants, such as naringin and naringenin, are being investigated as potential therapeutic options. These compounds have been found to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and immune-modulating effects, making them attractive candidates for mitigating the complications of long COVID.
The study reviews the potential of naringin and naringenin in addressing specific manifestations of long COVID. For example, these flavonoids have neuroprotective properties that can ameliorate cognitive dysfunction, often referred to as “brain fog.” They also show promise in modulating the immune response and addressing immune dysregulation. Additionally, naringin and naringenin play a regulatory role in maintaining gut health and preventing microbiota dysbiosis.
Furthermore, these compounds exhibit anti-fatigue effects, cardioprotective properties, and potential analgesic effects, making them potential remedies for managing ME/CFS-like symptoms, myocarditis, and persistent pain in long COVID patients. They also show potential in regulating glucose metabolism and preventing thrombus formation.
While the therapeutic potential of naringin and naringenin is promising, further research is needed to establish their true efficacy, optimal dosage, and safety profile in long COVID patients through rigorous studies and clinical trials. Nonetheless, these natural compounds offer a multifaceted approach to addressing the complications of long COVID and hold promise for integration into future treatment strategies.