A groundbreaking clinical trial at Keck Medicine of USC is exploring the potential of a special diet to alleviate long COVID symptoms.
With around 7% of Americans experiencing persistent health issues after recovering from COVID-19, this study could open new avenues for treatment.
The Link Between Diet and Inflammation
Long COVID, characterized by symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and chest pain, has puzzled medical experts. Recent theories suggest it might be due to a prolonged inflammatory response initially triggered by the virus.
The USC trial, led by Dr. Adupa Rao and Dr. Nuria Pastor-Soler, is investigating if dietary choices can reduce this inflammation, potentially easing long COVID symptoms.
The study focuses on a low-carbohydrate diet combined with a special medical food that increases blood ketone levels. Ketones, especially beta-hydroxybutyrate, are produced when the body has limited access to carbohydrates.
This combination is believed to lower inflammation. The trial will enroll 50 long COVID patients from Keck Medicine’s Covid Recovery Clinic. They will be divided into two groups:
- Dietary Intervention Group: This group will follow the low-carb diet and medical food plan for 30 days.
- Control Group: The second group won’t receive any dietary intervention.
At the end of the trial, researchers will assess:
- Patient Tolerance: How well participants tolerated the dietary regimen.
- Inflammation Markers: Changes in inflammatory markers will be compared between the two groups.
- Symptom Comparison: A comparison of long COVID symptoms before and after the intervention.
Should the nutritional intervention prove effective and well-tolerated, the plan is to expand the trial to include a larger group of patients. This could significantly advance our understanding of long COVID and lead to new, effective treatments.
A Step Toward Relief
This clinical trial at USC is a crucial step in uncovering the mysteries of long COVID. By focusing on diet as a potential solution, it offers hope for improved quality of life for those suffering from prolonged post-COVID symptoms.
The results could pave the way for more targeted and effective approaches to managing this complex condition.
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