Long-COVID, immune disease, inflammation and the potential of nutritional ketosis



Signs and symptoms of “long-COVID” appear to be similar to chronic immune diseases and some autoimmune diseases. Long-COVID is the long term, ongoing, chronic disease effects that persist after the viral infection.

Symptoms can be manifest in difficulty breathing, recurrent fever, muscle pain, loss of feeling, loss of sense of smell, brain fog, slurred speech, fatigue, neuropathy, episodic fast heart rate, episodic low blood pressure and fainting, etc.

The section of the podcast (shared above) that highlighted something for me and the need to discuss this in the community was the bright, young general practitioner doctor saying she had jaw ache when chewing her cereal. Cereal. Surreal to a keto practitioner. But that is main stream reality. That triggered the often shared idea that modern allopathic medicine is good at treating acute emergency diseases such as viral pneumonia, but when it comes to chronic diseases they fail. That is compounded by these doctors being treated as psychological patients with their ‘mysterious’ symptoms that are difficult to measure.

Which brings me to the topic of nutrition as therapeutics. I think of the work of Dr. Terri Wahls and the immune protocol for treating multiple sclerosis. I think of Paleo Medicina in Hungary and their use of the Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet (PKD) and aiming for a high blood ketones to low blood glucose ratio as a data point and therapeutic measurement goal. Of course there is the use of the ketogenic diet in treating epileptic seizures. Many of us experience the lifting of brain fog and increased mental acuity. And there are many accounts of reduction of body aches and pains from the reduction of a generalised inflammatory state using the ketogenic diet. On the fringe there is also the carnivore or zero carb dietary approach, which has become to be regarded as a very good elimination diet s part of identifying personal food reactivities, another manifestation of over stimulation or hyper vigilance of one’s immune system.

I think there could be a link here between therapeutic nutritional ketosis as a complementary approach to helping people with long-COVID. I wanted to write it as a topic to start the sharing on this emerging disease state. And would be interested on any observations or anecdotes of perceived benefits.

This topic may be helpful for searchers and researchers in 2021 and beyond.

(Robin) #2

Some good insight here. Lots to ponder.


Leptin. We know it from low carb healthy fats (LCHF) ways of eating (WOEs) as the hormone secreted by fat tissue the regulates appetite. When the body has enough stored fat tissue leptin blood levels and satiety signalling is high and hunger is switched off. When fat storage has available space leptin is lower and hunger signals increase. This gets messed up with leptin resistance in overweight and obese people on a high carbohydrate WOE.

Leptin is also a cytokine precursor. It is a precursor to interleukin 6 (IL6) which is a main pro inflammation signal. High levels of leptin production and circulation due to increased body fat (in particular visceral abdominal body fat) in leptin resistant people can result in a constant low grade inflammatory state for the whole body. This is part of the theory that obesity is an inflammatory disease. Increased leptin means increased baseline cytokines, which leads to an increased risk of the fatal “cytokine storm” and fulminating pneumonia and pleuritis of severe COVID 19.

Leptin and insulin are close intertwined in physiology. Many nutritional therapies aimed at lowering insulin, such as LCHF, will also lower leptin. Leptin lowering can be effective from the first day of LCHF.

Preparation to reduce side effects, long COVID, and death from a COVID 19 cytokine storm could include eating a well formulated low carbohydrate healthy fat diet with some additional supplements of zinc and magnesium.

As leptin spikes can be induced by dietary protein a moderate protein level in the diet (higher fat), classic ketogenic WOE, is a better option for COVID-19 preparation and recovery than some of the higher protein LCHF WOEs, such as zero carb (ZC) carnivore.

This information comes from two keto elders who may not currently be in favour with the community. But personalities aside, the information presented is convincing.

The podcast is remarkable as it is almost a year old, broadcast near the start of the pandemic, but still holds true with the benefit of hindsight.

The woe is in the thought that possibly tens of thousands of lives may have been saved, serious disease mitigated, or recovery improved, if people had known to get half an hour of daily sunshine on their skin and to eat (have eaten) a low carbohydrate diet based on eggs, fish and/or meat.

I wonder if anyone else in the keto community is/was as convinced by this information as I seem to be?


This seems to stand in line with this article.


Makes a whole lot of sense to me. I’m frustrated that Cummins has turned so many people off that many in the ancestral/keto community are rejected the entire question.


I think one issue is that for those who have been thinking about Keto/low carb/ancestral for a while, metabolic health is a fairly tangible concept and we recognize that you can improve metabolic markers relatively quickly even before there’s significant fat loss. However, for most folks “obesity” is an impossible dilemma, an unsolvable problem of Western civilization (or a question of personal integrity or value, which really doesn’t help the conversation…).


Thanks for replying and chatting Madeleine and Darren. I need your inputs to help me form my thoughts into better shape.

Selling something invisible feels like part of the challenge. Buying and selling are trust transactions. People buy and sell invisible things all the time. It couldn’t be too hard, could it?

Yes. Such a conundrum. Metabolic health improves (invisibly unless tracked) before the body fat mass reduces. And it’s the body fat mass not shifting that is regarded by new practitioners as a failure in the WOE, so they abandon it and form conclusions from their observations that “It did not work”. Society confounds and compounds it by observing the practitioner not achieving their goals. Especially if the overweight or overfat person made a public commitment (social media style), a launch event (in my opinion not recommended) full of vows and promises to turn their health and self around. Unfortunately the veil between a conclusion formed upon an observation, “keto WOE did not work”, and a belief “keto WOE does not work”, is gossamer thin. Then we end up with anti-keto believers, and worse, vocal detractors further antagonised because their main fall back option is the standard CICO advice which brought them to their ill health. Crikey, that reads as quite sad. (I acknowledge that vegans sometimes suffer at the proclamations of keto preachers)

I think couching the aim of improved health and a robust immune system for the general public might require a simplified clearer directive that each nutritional faction can agree upon. Take action to eat better. Seek, find and eat whole foods. That may require concerted effort in a convenience food culture. Reduce processed foods until they are eliminated. Choose not to consume industrial seed oils. Maybe that message is more digestible than trying to describe LCHF to an anxious or panicking person.

Once healthy and with clarity of thinking, one can dive into the beautiful detail of the interaction between the human immune system and human nutrition.


I think about this a lot. Even very early on in the pandemic it was clear that metabolic disorder significantly increased the risk of serious illness and death, and the fact that there was so little mention of that from official sources is something I find very frustrating.

But for all my griping about the official message, I have to admit it’s a tricky issue. It’s not easy to walk that fine line between urging people to improve their metabolic health and dropping into fat shaming or victim blaming.

To your point: I wonder if the main thrust of the message could the result rather than the means. Something like “[This] is insulin resistance and [this] is what it does to you. You don’t need medication to address it. Go find an approach that works for you.”


So do we want leptin to be high or low? This statement sounds like high is better, because who wants to be feeling constant hunger? Or are you saying higher leptin is associated with obesity?

(Old Baconian) #10

What we want is for leptin to rise and fall, as it is supposed to. This is why we advise eating to satiety: don’t eat until you are hungry, stop eating when your hunger goes away, and don’t eat again until you are hungry again.

Most people on a ketogenic diet continue their old eating pattern for a couple of weeks and then their appetite signaling starts working properly again. As they go along, and their body adjusts to the new way of eating, people find that they can go hours between meals without feeling the need even for snacks. This is how the body is intended to work. The high-carb strategy of eating three meals a day plus frequent snacks is an attempt to cope with the leptin-blocking effect of too much insulin. Insulin blocks the receptors in the ventromedial hypothalamus that are supposed to register the the leptin secreted by the adipose tissue.

If you think about it, this makes sense, because when the berries appear, we want to be putting on weight for the winter, so we want to be hungry. Then our body will have the reserves to feed on during winter hibernation.

closed #11