Some of the symptoms of Long Covid, a condition that impacts almost 2 million individuals in the UK alone, include lethargy, discomfort, and damage to the muscles, resulting in the inability to recover as expected from exercise.
Scientists have discovered proof that biological changes, such as mitochondrial issues, significant muscle damage, and microclots in the body, cause these symptoms. The research covered 25 patients with Long Covid who reported enduring exhaustion after exercising and 21 persons who had Covid but wholly recovered.
Blood samples and skeletal muscle biopsies were obtained one week before and one day after the task, and participants rode an exercise bike for about ten to fifteen minutes. On average, exercise capacity was reduced in the extended Covid group compared to the healthy group. Because healthy cells have fewer capillaries and more power-producing structures called mitochondria, the researchers observed that people with Long Covid had more muscle white fibers.
Additionally, the scientists discovered indicators that mitochondrial function was impaired in healthy subjects compared to those who suspected that they had Long Covid. This helped to explain, at least in part, why those afflicted had less exercise ability.
Additionally, they discovered an increase in amyloid protein clumps in their skeletal muscles. However, contrary to what other experts have suggested, there was no indication that these so-called “microclots” were obstructing blood arteries.
By comparing samples obtained before and after cycling, researchers found that those with lengthy Covid had mitochondrial dysfunction after exercise, much more significant tissue damage, and indications of the body trying to heal itself. This can be why some patients feel sore muscles after working out.
According to University of Oxford professor Betty Raman, some people with Long Covid are exhausted due to mitochondrial malfunction. The most recent research lends credence to the idea that therapies to enhance mitochondrial health may have positive effects.