Boosting health recovery by food supplements: the case of ME/CFS versus Post-Covid-19 Syndrome, by Frank Comhaire and Jan Pen in J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2021;2(3):JCPT-02-1022
Background and objectives:
Other than the direct impact of cardiopulmonary sequelae, COVID-19 disease may cause persistent signs and symptoms describes as post-COVID syndrome or long COVID. The clinical presentation and neuroimaging aspects of patients suffering from this condition are remarkably similar to those seen in patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Inflammation, immune disorder and oxidative damage have been documented to cause metabolic deregulation with decreased glycolysis and impaired mitochondrial function.
Purpose of the study:
It is suggested that these alterations may be improved by the oral administration of a nutraceutical, Meldonium and sodium dichloroacetate (group designated as “oral treatment”; n=79) or intermittent intravenous infusions of magnesium sulphate together with multivitamins and essential amino acids (group designated as “infusion treatment”, n=18).
Materials and methods:
97 patients suffering from ME/CFS (n=79) or post-COVID syndrome (n=9) were included in a pragmatic prospective open-label trial using either oral or infusion therapy for 1 month, and the effect of treatment was assessed by the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS).
Upon interim analysis of 97 cases of ME/CFS and/or Post-COVID-19 syndrome therapeutic approach by either the oral or the infusion therapy was found to result in a reduction of the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) in two thirds of patients. The quotient of FSS after treatment divided by the FSS before treatment decreased by an average for all 97 cases by 14% within one month, with no difference between oral and infusion therapy (P=0.70), nor between the ME/CFS patient (mean quotient: 0.85, SD: 0.16) and the post-COVID cases (quotient: 0.87, SD: 0.16). Among the successful cases the FSS decreased by an average of 31%.
Preliminary results of the oral and the infusion therapy suggest a similar beneficial effect on fatigue in a substantial proportion of patients suffering from ME/CFS or Post-COVID syndrome. The result should be confirmed in a controlled trial, while the long-term efficacy is presently being investigated in a larger group of patients.