Discovered the mechanism of action that leads to the state of fatigueor disabling exhaustion, related to LongCovid which affects 1 in 3 people infected with SARS-CoV-2: is triggered by a deficiency of arginine, an amino acid naturally produced by the body. This is demonstrated by a study on long Covid conducted by the Agostino Gemelli IRCCS University Hospital Foundation – Catholic University Campus of Rome.
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Chronic post-Covid fatigue
According to research, the chronic fatigue of post-Covid syndrome is precisely associated with an alteration in the metabolism of arginine. This amino acid stimulates the synthesis of nitric oxide, which is crucial for boosting the immune system and protecting the endothelium. Currently, in the absence of large-scale available therapeutic approaches against long Covid, restoring arginine levels, the researchers say, could represent a new effective integrative strategy against chronic fatigue. Fatigue, one of the main and most widespread symptoms of long Covid, on which the scientific community of the Italian Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics (SIGG) is working, may therefore no longer have any secrets. The biomolecular alteration process that underlies the extreme fatigue linked to the post-Covid syndrome is described for the first time and the results of the study are being published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
Covid, the researchers point out, will be difficult to eradicate and the new emergency is precisely long Covid, which affects 1 person in 3, even among young people. In fact, according to estimates by the World Health Organization, there would be 65 million in the world and 17 million in Europe the people struggling with the Coronavirus infection queue. However, the knowledge and progress of the scientific community on the therapeutic treatments available against the post-Covid syndrome, characterized in many cases by fatigue, which causes prolonged and disabling exhaustion associated with muscle weakness, insomnia and tachycardia, are few. The new study, coordinated by Francesco Landi, past president of SIGG and director of the Department of Orthopedic and Rheumatological Sciences of Aging at the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome, has highlighted that in patients with long Covid there is an alteration of the metabolism of arginine , an amino acid produced naturally by the body, which stimulates nitric oxide, a key enzyme for proper immune and vascular function.
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The researchers also demonstrated that the administration of 1.6 grams of arginine and 500 mg of liposomal vitamin C for 28 days restores the metabolism of arginine to a normal level and effectively counteracts fatigue. The study involved 57 people, 46 adults with long Covid eight months after diagnosis and 11 people matched by sex and age with no evidence of previous Sars-CoV-2 infections. The patients with long Covid were divided into two groups: 23 received the mix of arginine and liposomal vitamin C and the other 23 a placebo for a period of 28 days. «Before starting the treatment we measured the concentrations of arginine in the blood, observing significantly lower levels of arginine in patients with long Covid – says Landi -. At the end of the 28 days we discovered that the concentrations of arginine in the blood of patients with long Covid had risen, reaching ‘healthy’ levels such as those found in patients belonging to the control group”. “We have demonstrated for the first time that arginine metabolism is altered in patients with long Covid compared to people with no history of Sars-Cov-2 infection,” adds Matteo Tosato, co-author of the study and head of the post-operative day hospital unit. Covid of the Gemelli University Hospital. Currently, “in the absence of available treatments against a syndrome of which we still know very little, restoring arginine values could represent a new effective integrative strategy against Long Covid fatigue, which can be associated with immune and vascular dysfunctions, which times they increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease,” concludes Landi.
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