Researchers recommend that individuals with long Covid should steer clear of vigorous physical activity.

Study reveals potential reasons why individuals with persistent symptoms experience muscle pain and fatigue for weeks following exercise.

Researchers suggest that people with long-term effects of Covid-19 should avoid intense workouts.

Long Covid affects a significant number of individuals in the UK, with symptoms worsening after physical activity.

New evidence points to biological changes, including severe muscle damage, mitochondrial issues, and the presence of microclots in the body, as factors contributing to the phenomenon.

“This study confirms that there are underlying bodily issues associated with the disease,” said Dr. Rob Wüst, a co-author of the research conducted at VU University Amsterdam.

Published in the journal Nature Communications, the study involved 25 long Covid patients who reported feeling unwell after exercise, and 21 individuals who had fully recovered from Covid-19. None of the participants had been hospitalized due to Covid-19, and all were in good health before contracting the virus.

During the study, each participant underwent a 10-15 minute cycling exercise, with blood and muscle samples obtained a week before and after the activity.

The results revealed a noticeable difference in exercise capacity between people with long Covid and healthy participants, although there was some variation among patients.

Analysis of the pre-exercise muscle biopsies indicated that individuals with long Covid had a higher proportion of white fibers in their muscles compared to healthy participants. These fibers had fewer mitochondria, the structures responsible for energy production, as well as fewer capillaries.

The researchers also noted impaired mitochondrial function in people with long Covid.

Dr. Wüst explained that these findings partially explain why individuals with long Covid have reduced exercise capacity.

Additionally, the study found increased presence of amyloid protein clumps in the skeletal muscles of people with long Covid. However, there was no evidence that these “microclots” blocked blood vessels as previously suggested by some researchers.

Comparing the pre- and post-exercise biopsies, the researchers discovered that the function of mitochondria worsened after exercise in people with long Covid. These participants also exhibited more tissue damage and signs of reparative processes.

“This can help explain the muscle pain experienced by these patients after exercise,” added Dr. Wüst.

He emphasized that people with long Covid should refrain from intense exercise as it can further harm their muscles, worsen their metabolism, and prolong muscle pain and fatigue.

Prof Betty Raman from the University of Oxford, not involved in the study, suggested from her own research that mitochondrial dysfunction might contribute to the fatigue experienced by some long Covid sufferers. She further emphasized the potential benefits of treatments that improve mitochondrial health.

Raman acknowledged that fatigue may be linked to metabolic abnormalities, but also noted that other factors, such as persistent inflammation, could play a role.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *