SARS-CoV2 may cause Retinoid Toxicity due to liver damage - a hypothesis paper.
The LongCovid community needs to pay attention to this - the solution is simple, but a huge change in diet - cut out vitamin A and carotenoids quite strictly.
I want to highlight this paper from 2021: Liver Damage and Exposure to Toxic Concentrations of Endogenous Retinoids in the Pathogenesis of COVID-19 Disease: Hypothesis, (Mawson, Croft, Gonzalez-Fernandez, 2021)
I am finally feeling a little more normal today after having a few more bad days due to salicylate or sulfate or phenols, or it isn’t really that clear why I am having so many bad days. Digestive issues are tough and inflammatory bowel problems tend to get worse under standard medical care. So, I have no complaints - I am still fully me, no surgical removal of my body parts has occurred. Sections of intestine may be surgically removed with colitis or Crohn’s disease, leaving life-long reduced absorption capability and possibly a need for higher dose supplements of some nutrients.
Less green leafy carotenoid sources has been one of my dietary changes.
Cutting back on carotenoid rich green leafy veggies has been part of my recovery strategy. With elimination diets you want to try to simplify things until you restore basic health and then retry things one at a time to pinpoint which are problems foods.
The problem with eliminating things is that you still need to eat, and then may be eating too much of something that had been okay as an occasional smaller portion, but now is a new problem because you started eating more of it. I did that with a few things - cruciferous vegetables - good in moderation, but not really in greater amounts. Cutting out green leafy lettuce and romaine and other greens, left cabbage and Nappa cabbage in my fridge. I now have iceberg lettuce in there too and am grateful for the additional potassium source.
The idea of going ‘carnivore’ to try to improve gut health has reportedly helped some people, but it would make me worse due to a sudden increase in vitamin A foods. Also, when gut health is already a problem, dairy and meats can be difficult to digest. Organic tofu has been my standby food for digestible protein even before I had eliminated meats due to what seemed like an albumin autoimmune reaction.
Someone with severe bowel symptoms in standard care might end up drinking cans of elemental protein-based formula - if you think Ensure is bad, you haven’t tried the elemental formulas. Seriously not good - yet if a toddler needs it and feels better, they will happily drink it. Gut pain is really unpleasant because it hurts to move around, and you have no energy from not absorbing food well and your electrolyte balance might be messed up due to diarrhea - leaving you with muscle cramps and a headache.
Retinoid Toxicity symptoms in brief and what might cause a lifelong problem of overactivation of retinoids from vitamin A or carotenoids.
Retinoid Toxicity can include symptoms of digestive upset but also has other symptoms of flu-like body aches, puffiness and fatigue. With too much active vitamin A, Retinoic Acid and other forms, then the body is trying to fight off something.
Activated vitamin A causes an immune reaction that would help get rid of an infection. If the infection was Epstein-Barr virus when you were a high-school student though, that leaves a lot of years of puffy pain with no flu virus or EBV virus present. The liver was just left with a gene change caused by the EBV virus because it helped it to infect more epithelial cells. SARS-CoV2 may be doing a similar gene change in the liver for the purpose of infecting more endothelial cells. Other reasons for liver trauma or damage can also cause an excess release of active retinoids.
Drug adverse reactions may also be causing liver changes that cause excess active Retinoids to be released. Excess not only causes the flu-like inflammation - possibly otherwise known as ‘fibromyalgia’, but also can increase histamine levels which in excess can cause weird mental symptoms - hyperexcitability of whatever mood is present. Mania and reckless behavior or paranoia and extreme anxiety. Self-harm or violent thoughts might occur. Histamine excess is dangerous but tends to be labeled “angry” or “anxious” or worsening to “mania” or “nymphomania” or “paranoia” or worsening to “schizophrenia” or “bipolar disorder” or at the very severe end: “Alzheimer’s dementia”. “ME/CFS” or “fibromyalgia” may be other labels, possibly “akathisia” too.
We need to collectively learn more about Retinoid Toxicity and do more elimination diets to see if it personally would lead to a HUGE improvement in symptoms. It really can. And then it can prevent years of mystery symptoms leading to a diagnosis of liver or kidney damage or the more severe mental illness conditions.
Simple but not easy to do solution - cut out practically all vitamin A and carotenoid foods, supplements and cosmetic or other medications with retinoids.
Night blindness would be present if a person is too low in vitamin A.
The body needs some vitamin A but you will know if you have too little if you have night blindness. If you can’t see in dim light after the eyes have a few minutes to adjust to the darkness, then there isn’t enough vitamin A to make the photo receptive rhodopsin needed to perceive dim light.
Can you see in moonlight? Anywhere with car headlights is going to interfere with our night vision.
The eyes need full dimness to switch to only using the rod cells. Cone cells perceive color in brighter light and rod cells perceive black/white differences in dim light. Bright car headlights at night would activate cone cell vision and interfere with our night vision. Or a bright night light would interfere with your ability to perceive dimmer light in a dark room. (Rod cells/chm.bris.ac.uk)
My page on Retinoid Toxicity - more of an introduction to the topic then a full How-To guide. (Substack)
My page on Salicylate sensitivity - people with fibromyalgia or ADHD may be made worse by salicylate rich foods or minty topicals or toothpaste, etc. (Substack)
Sulfite sensitivity is a newer addition to my things to avoid list. People with asthma or seasonal allergy type symptoms and may have digestive issues, might be reacting to sulfites - and it helps HUGELY to stop using those foods or foods made with certain preservatives. (asthmaandallergycenter.com)
and phenols cover the COX2 inhibitors - quercetin, bromelain, luteolin, and hesperidin and pomegranate peel phytonutrients. See this post: Retinoid Toxicity, COX2 inhibitors, and adrenal insufficiency (alcoholism too). (Substack)
When you are setting forest fires in your body with each meal, then you can feel LOADS BETTER once you stop setting forest fires in your body every day. It can take a few weeks or months to reach a stable better health because the body has to heal some significant inflammation to get there, but it really can happen. Stop setting yourself on fire from immune driven inflammation and you will feel better - quite simple really. The challenge is in making switches you never imagined having to make - iceberg lettuce - in MY fridge? really? Yes, really. I did find some organic though. Iceberg lettuce - carotenoids: 299 µg of β-carotene per 100 grams (3 ounces). The green leaf or Romaine has more like 800-900
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
(Mawson, Croft, Gonzalez-Fernandez, 2021) Mawson AR, Croft AM, Gonzalez-Fernandez F. Liver Damage and Exposure to Toxic Concentrations of Endogenous Retinoids in the Pathogenesis of COVID-19 Disease: Hypothesis. Viral Immunol. 2021 Jul-Aug;34(6):376-379. doi: 10.1089/vim.2020.0330. Epub 2021 May 13. PMID: 33983857; PMCID: PMC8392079. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8392079/
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