Health Update: Vagus Nerve and Long-Covid

Hello everyone:

The first link in this blog is a 1-page read from Medscape and highlights several important considerations for those with Long-Covid symptoms. It goes over why these symptoms are from how the virus has damaged the vagus nerve. As a practicing functional neurologist this article caught my eye. We have seen that inexpensive non-invasive transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) is often very helpful in the recovery of post-virus long-haulers with vagus nerve symptoms and now the information is growing and important to share.

“Feb. 15, 2022 — Several long COVID symptoms could be linked to the effects of the coronavirus on a vital central nerve, according to new research being released this spring. The vagus nerve, which runs from the brain into the body, connects to the heart, lungs, intestines, and several muscles involved with swallowing. It plays a role in several body functions that control heart rate, speech, the gag reflex, sweating, and digestion. Those with long COVID and vagus nerve problems could face long-term issues with their voice, a hard time swallowing, dizziness, a high heart rate, low blood pressure, and diarrhea, the study authors found.

“Most long COVID subjects with vagus nerve dysfunction symptoms had a range of significant, clinically-relevant, structural and/or functional alterations in their vagus nerve, including nerve thickening, trouble swallowing, and symptoms of impaired breathing,” the study authors wrote. “Our findings so far thus point at vagus nerve dysfunction as a central pathophysiological feature of long COVID.”

Symptoms of vagus nerve dysfunction related to Covid:  “The most frequent symptoms related to vagus nerve dysfunction were diarrhea (73%), high heart rates (59%), dizziness (45%), swallowing problems (45%), voice problems (45%), and low blood pressure (14%). “The study appears to add to a growing collection of data suggesting at least some of the symptoms of long COVID is mediated through a direct impact on the nervous system,” David Strain, MD, a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, told the Science Media Centre. “Establishing vagal nerve damage is useful information, as there are recognized, albeit not perfect, treatments for other causes of vagal nerve dysfunction that may be extrapolated to be beneficial for people with this type of long COVID,” he said.

Bottom Line:

This is important news as we have used the safe and easy to use tVNS to help multiple Long-Covid patients with vagus nerve symptoms. It is great that now there are multiple research papers to support our efforts. If you or anyone you know has these awful Long-Covid issues, consider telling them about this information and perhaps they can get some help. Of importance is to note that we do not use tVNS as a sole component of care. This is because we have often seen that to obtain optimal results related to vagus nerve health required us to apply a comprehensive and individualized functional medicine protocol of steps to lower systemic inflammation that allow the tVNS to work much better. Here are some links about vagus nerve stimulation applied to Long-Covid:



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