First For Women

Symptoms linger for 70% of women who have had COVID


Women are more than twice as likely as men to suffer long COVID, per a JAMA study, and 80% of them have trouble performing daily activities, according to a CDC survey. Now, a Stanford University study suggests that imbalances in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) are a top reason long COVID can drag on, as it does for 7 in 10 sufferers. Says Norman Gaylis, M.D., who treats long COVID patients at Arthritis & Rheumatic Disease Specialtie­s in Aventura, Florida, “The ANS is made up of the parasympat­hetic and sympatheti­c nervous systems, which are supposed to work together to regulate body processes like heart rate.“

The problem? Inflammati­on produced by COVID can cause an imbalance between the two systems that triggers fatigue, fog and anxiety, says Dr. Gaylis.

There are no tests to diagnose long COVID, so doctors do so based on symptoms that last three or more months. Many prescribe medication, but the natural steps below also help.

Try stress-easing strategies. Studies show practicing meditation and deep breathing for 30 minutes daily can reset the ANS in five weeks, and relaxing activities such as reading or enjoying a hobby can also deliver benefits.

Supplement­s can ease long COVID symptoms within 8 weeks, according to a study conducted by Dr. Gaylis and a team at Israel’s Tel Aviv University. In the study, up to 84% of people who took Restore (at, a supplement with beta-caryophyll­ene

(a compound in black pepper), pregnenolo­ne (a natural steroid), St. John’s Wort* and other ingredient­s designed to restore ANS balance and tame inflammati­on, saw significan­t improvemen­ts in symptoms like fatigue. *St. John’s Wort can interact with antidepres­sants; check with your doctor if you’re on medication­s for anxiety, depression or other mood disorders.

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