Many people have commented on having long-Covid...or trouble remembering, brain fog, and fatigue long after getting over Covid-19. New research is showing that there is a reason behind this.
A new British study has found that SARS-CoV-2 virus can impair cognitive ability in a way equivalent to making the brain age by two decades. Additionally, 69% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to government data. Is it possible that the vaccines themselves can also cause aging damage?
A recent study was conducted with COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized for severe illness between March and July in 2020. After these patients’ recovery from acute infection, the researchers conducted follow-up visits for an average of six months to analyze and evaluate the patients’ depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. Researchers found a significant decline in the patients’ memory, attention, and complex problem-solving skills, along with reduced accuracy and prolonged reaction time.
These cognitive deficits are like the cognitive decline a person would experience between the ages of fifty and seventy, which is equivalent to aging by two decades and losing ten IQ points. In addition, the recovery of cognitive ability is very slow in patients with COVID-19.
A recently published study in the journal Nature Communications answers this question. The study collected blood samples from 232 healthy individuals, 194 non-severe COVID patients, and 213 severe COVID patients, for DNA methylation analysis and found that the epigenetic age of COVID patients was significantly accelerated.
Epigenetic aging is seen in the graying of hair and loosening of teeth. However, on a cellular level, cells in the body also gradually age. Cellular senescence refers to a state of cell cycle arrest when cells are stressed, as well as the secretion of various inflammation cytokines at the same time. A Japanese research team stated that senescent cells don’t die immediately, instead they spread inflammatory cytokines to nearby uninfected cells, causing more cells to senescence.
Cellular senescence plays an important role in many age-related diseases, such as degenerative diseases of the eyes, nerves, heart, and lungs.
The Omicron variant does not cause as much senescence as the old strain. However, the vaccines currently being administered are still developed using the spike proteins of the old strain.
The Journal of Virology did a study in 2021. It was found that when the spike protein of the old strain was transfected into cells in vitro, that a large number of cellular senescence markers (including specific interleukins, cytokines, and specific enzymes) were found in the spike-transfected cells, compared to the control group.
In addition, the spike proteins increase inflammatory factors, cause mitochondrial damage, produce misfolded proteins, and cause genomic instability, all of which accelerate cellular aging.
Is there a way to reverse or slow down aging?
Our daily diet, work habits, and lifestyle all affect the epigenetic aging clock. In addition, recent studies are showing that individuals who meditate are actually slowing down their cellular aging. On average someone who is 50 and has mediated for at least thirty minutes a day for an extended period of time reflects the cellular of age of 42 and half year old. Showing that meditation may be a way to slow down the accelerated aging effects of Covid.
In addition, there are supplements that can be taken to improve brain function and help with aging. Such as Phosphatidylserine that help support attention and cognitive function, as well as supporting and improving processing speed, accuracy, and memory.
As mentioned, a healthy diet and lifestyle also play a large role in aging. By eating healthy and taking care of yourself physically you can also slow down the process.