Low Dose Naltrexone and Rhodiola for Long Covid?

There is great overlap in symptoms and physiology of Long Covid and ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Both are marked by Brain Fog, Cognitive Impairment, Post Exertional Malaise, with similar findings on studies of the immune system and the neuro-endocrine system in these conditions.

Here is a picture of organ involvement with CFS:

And here is a picture of Long Covid.

Do you notice the similarities and overlap?

The theories/clinical findings of studies regarding both have overlap:

Low Dose Naltrexone has been studied for many chronic ailments in small studies. Since this is available in generic form there are no big profits to be made by the pharmaceutical industry so do not expect large studies with this medication. (I wish NIH would get on the ball and fund studies of this and other interventions utilizing nutraceuticals such as Rhodiola).

Here is a very hopeful study with regards to Long Covid and Low Dose Naltrexone.

Recovery from symptoms, activities of daily living, energy level, pain, concentration, sleep quality and mood ALL IMPROVED!

If this were a patented drug it would be a BLOCKBUSTER for a pharmaceutical company.

And since Chronic Fatigue Syndrome represents a major portion of Long Covid patients, pathophysiology AND symptoms, here is a study of an adaptogen called Rhodiola (a plant nutraceutical in the category of ADAPTOGEN).

Look at the amazing improvement in major components of CFS/ME which represent the major complaints of many patients with Long Covid.

Post Exertional Malaise, Concentration, Memory and Sleep ALL IMPROVED by more than 50% within eight weeks.

But this is an over the counter supplement, so again, no big profits for big pharma.

Here is a link for a PUBMED search on Rhodiola.

Here is a link for a PUBMED search for Low Dose Naltrexone.

You will note the diversity of clinical applications for Low Dose Naltrexone including autoimmune disease (one possible mechanism of long Covid), neuro-inflammation (another probable mechanism of Long Covid and ME-CFS).

In the context of the COVID 19 pandemic I will close with the usual summary.

  1. Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
  2. Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
  3. Follow good sleep habits
  4. Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
  5. Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels. Supplement with Vitamin D3 to get your levels above 30 ng/ml, >40ng/ml arguably better.
  6. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
  7. Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
  8. Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet. These increase inflammation, cause metabolic dysfunction, and suppress immunity.
  9. Eliminate refined-inflammatory “vegetable oils” from your diet, instead eat healthy fat.
  10. Clean up your home environment and minimize your family’s exposure to environmental toxins by following recommendations at EWG.org with regards to household products, personal care products, and organic foods. (https://www.ewg.org/)
  11. Drink water filtered through a high quality system that eliminates most environmental toxins.
  12. If you are eligible for vaccination, consider protecting yourself and your neighbor with a few jabs. Age > 50 and/or risk factors (Diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, obesity, heart disease, COPD, asthma, cancer treatment, immune suppression) suggests benefit from a booster. Risk for complications of boosters in adolescents, especially males, without risk factors, may equal benefit. Previous infection with Covid can be considered as protective as a booster. Discuss risk vs benefits with your doctor.


Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.

Doctor Bob

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