A-List Nutritionist Oz Garcia Details His Experience With Long COVID - Exclusive Interview

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many individuals are learning to live with the impact that long COVID symptoms are having on their bodies. While many recover from COVID-19, some patients are finding themselves affected by long COVID, also known as post-COVID or chronic COVID, with their symptoms persisting for as long as months or years after their initial infection, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nutritionist and author Oz Garcia was badly affected by COVID-19, and he details his journey with the after-effects of the condition in his book, "After Covid: Optimize Your Health in a Changing World."

As an A-list nutritionist and expert on anti-aging and healthy living, Garcia had no idea that COVID-19 would pose such a huge threat to his life. Following a near-death experience with the virus, Garcia struggled to recover from the effects of long COVID despite having a healthy lifestyle prior to contracting the illness. In an effort to heal his body, he developed a series of strategies and healthy living practices to try to fight off the lingering symptoms. 

In an exclusive interview with Health Digest, celebrity nutritionist Oz Garcia discussed his own recovery from long COVID and offered advice for anyone still experiencing the after-effects of the virus.

Oz Garcia developed methods for fighting COVID-19 symptoms

You spent a year fighting COVID-19 and almost died after contracting it. What was your experience with the condition like? 

I didn't think I needed this experience, but I now see how valuable life is. What I went through was terrifying. I lost full biological autonomy; I lost an immense amount of control over my thinking, and it was horribly debilitating. At one point, I had all hope knocked out of [my] system.

What helped you to manage and improve your symptoms?

The practices, protocols, and routines I put together were followed with tremendous discipline on a daily basis. They include getting sleep (no less than 8 hours), breathing routine daily, mindfulness meditation, ice shower and ice bath, morning stretches, and exercise.

I was especially careful with eating what I recognized as appropriate guidelines for me. In my case, I followed a "MediterAsian Diet" (a combination of Mediterranean and Asian [diets]), [and] intermittent fasting, as well as twice a week going to bed on an empty stomach. On those days, my last meal would be between 1:00-4:00 p.m. No alcohol or coffee, and caffeine only from green tea.

I was consistently getting bodywork — deep tissue massage weekly. I also had conviction with all my previous health knowledge that I would heal.

Are you still experiencing any symptoms of long COVID? How do you deal with them on a daily basis? 

Typically, the symptoms that bother me the most are fatigue-related. That tells me that I've had a trigger and need to readjust my protocols.

The fight against COVID-19 continues

Do you think long COVID will be an ongoing problem for years to come? 

Yes, 2022 had the highest amount of COVID, and it will continue. Sadly, this is the gift that keeps giving.

Is there anything people can do to prevent the effects of COVID on their bodies? 

Practice everything that is known in terms of public health policy. Vaccines are critical. Make sure you mask around groups of people. Use common sense, and keep immunologically strong by using supplements I recommend in my book. There's also now a nitric oxide nasal spray, which seems to reduce the risk of COVID infection.

You're a world-famous nutritionist and anti-aging expert. What small changes can anyone make in their day-to-day lives to better themselves and slow down the aging process? 

Sleep is central, [as well as] exercise, being outdoors, [and] becoming familiar with nutrients that seem to suppress telomere damage and damage to DNA. NAD [Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide], Resveratrol, Fisetin, Spermidine, and IV vitamin therapy are all terrific for longevity and anti-aging.

What are you working on next? 

[I'm working on] my next book, which will be on having a meaningful life. I'm going back through a reappraisal of my value systems after this experience. I'd like to learn how to live another 70 years, and some of my studies have ties to Buddhism, Stoicism, neuroscience, and the value of writing and journaling.

"After Covid: Optimize Your Health in a Changing World" by Oz Garcia is out now.

This interview was edited for clarity.