That Time I Got COVID

Mark Sisson sitting in a blue shirtJust before Thanksgiving, I got COVID. Or the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV2. Whatever you wish to call it, I had it. Here’s how it all went down…

I was driving in the car with someone for 45 minutes who tested positive the next day. They didn’t appear to be symptomatic, perhaps they were presymptomatic (the positive test was a surprise to them), but at any rate they ended up testing positive for COVID. That was on a Monday.

Immediately after they told me they’d tested positive, I self-isolated. Stayed home, avoided the gym, all of that. Just to be safe. I scrapped my Thanksgiving plans and ate steak alone in my room (which actually worked out, because I never much liked turkey).

How Was It?

I started getting symptoms the Friday following. It started as a single bout of water diarrhea on Friday. One bout, and then it resolved and never returned. No further GI problems. I began getting sniffles and some mild congestion and chest congestion later that day, so before bed I took an antihistamine and slept pretty well.

Next morning, I had an in-home PCR test from a local private company. End of day I had results: positive for COVID. By then, the symptoms had gotten a little stronger or maybe the same. More sniffles, congestion. But again, I managed to sleep well and woke up feeling quite fine. By the end of Sunday, all respiratory symptoms had resolved.

My sense of smell and taste took about a week to come back to normal. But I never had a fever, never felt like I was even close to knocking on death’s door. All in all, it felt like a fairly mild summer cold other than the loss of smell and taste.

Long  Term Effects

I was most worried about that. After all, smell and taste aren’t “tongue” or “nose” senses, they happen in the brain. What was happening to the portions of my brain that manifest those sensations? There are reports of people with altered taste and smell sensations even after their bout with COVID has concluded. As a lover of food (indeed, it’s basically my entire brand), I didn’t want that to happen.

Luckily it didn’t. A week was all it took to return to normal. Everything I knew and loved before COVID tastes and smells the same.

 
One suggestion I’ve seen is that the virus affects the ability of the brain cells responsible for taste and smell to metabolize glucose. The idea is that this could inhibit their function and make it very difficult to smell and taste. If that’s the case — and I want to reiterate that it’s just a hypothesis and there are other candidate explanations — then I can imagine being fat-adapted and ketone-adapted would be very helpful for staving off the worst of those effects. After all, I have an “alternate” fuel source available and my brain is ready and willing to utilize it. Now, this being true is contingent on those portions of the brain being able to metabolize fatty acids or ketones; some parts of the brain must run on glucose, no matter what.

Again, all speculation.

After all my symptoms had resolved, I still took a week to start working out and another week to resume life as normal. Again, just in case. I didn’t notice anything from my time away from training — breathing was normal, performance the same when I got back to my workouts.

My experience was mild and fairly ideal, from what I can tell. That doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a real virus that’s hitting some people very hard. And I won’t present myself as a refutation of the severity of COVID. I am but a case study, an N=1 experiment. I’ll be watching for any latent symptoms cropping up down the line, but for now I have to say I feel pretty good.

I know people who look really good on paper health-wise, who have had a much worse experience with COVID than I did. Researchers have found a few factors that determine whether you have a mild or severe experience with COVID, but not all of them. Even though I had a relatively easy time with it, I still hold that this isn’t something to mess around with. Take your precautions.

Biomarkers of Note

I did find a few things interesting about some prior bloodwork and how it possibly related to my experience.

A couple weeks prior to my experience, I had bloodwork done. My vitamin D levels were well above normal. My total cholesterol was about 265, with low triglycerides, moderately “elevated” LDL, and high HDL. My fasting insulin level was 2 with a normal range of 3-20. Overall, my metabolic health was pretty good going in.

  • Vitamin D: In the early days of COVID, I was uncertain whether vitamin D supplementation would increase or lower your risk due to vitamin D increasing ACE2 receptor expression, the pathway through which the virus infects a person. But subsequent data shows that vitamin D is protective against COVID and COVID severity and I strongly suspect that my vitamin D levels were an important reason why I had such a mild case.1 I can’t say for sure whether one vitamin had a major impact, a minor role, or no effect at all, because hundreds of other factors could be in play.
  • Cholesterol: Cholesterol doesn’t exist in our body to kill us and give us heart disease. It plays many important roles, including roles in the immune system. One reason why some researchers suspect hunter gatherers and other non-industrial people tend to have such low cholesterol levels is that they are fighting off infectious diseases and parasites. Could somewhat elevated cholesterol be protective? Who knows.
  • Good metabolic health: If I were to have elevated cholesterol with low HDL and high triglycerides, I probably would have been at a greater risk, as that profile indicates poor metabolic health — another major risk factor for COVID severity. In fact, one study found that hospitalized COVID patients with high triglycerides and low LDL cholesterol levels were at a higher risk of dying from the disease.2
  • Fasting insulin: Some studies have found links between higher insulin levels and COVID, just like they have with many other diseases and health conditions. Although the most important explanation for the relationship is that low fasting insulin is a strong marker of metabolic health, one paper did find that diabetics who used insulin therapy were at a greater risk of dying from COVID than diabetics who did not use it.3
  • Low stress: Stress inhibits the immune system, especially if it’s chronic. Since I wasn’t very worried about the virus and was quite confident I’d be okay if I did get it, I wasn’t stressed out about how it would affect me personally (I still didn’t want to give it to anyone else, which is why I isolated just to be safe). My baseline stress levels were low, and low cortisol levels could improve immune function. Being wracked with stress (from any cause, including constant digestion of scary pandemic news) would have made me more vulnerable to the virus.

In other words, I could say that I’ve been training for this my entire life – not just this virus, but anything that could present an insult to my biology. Did all the stuff I’ve been talking about and practicing for decades help me stave off this disease? I’ll never know. But I’m going to keep it up.

COVID is a unique virus. It’s not a stressor any of us have ever encountered. But that’s where the power of good metabolic health comes in: it’s a catch all. It helps prepare you for a lot of things that come your way.

There are other factors too, many of them unknown and lurking beneath the surface. Genetics plays a role, as does basic luck of the draw. At the very least, however, being fit and healthy won’t make anything worse. It’s not a cure-all, but it doesn’t hurt. There is no argument for being less healthy, fit, or strong. There’s no argument a person can make that being in good health, staying active, and eating well will leave you more open to diseases.

Am I immune? Of course not. No one is. I got it, didn’t I? Eating and moving well can’t bestow immunity. But it has to be part of everyone’s battle plan to give them their best shot at avoiding and beating this thing.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

If you’re comfortable sharing your experience with COVID, please do so down in the comment section.

TAGS:  COVID-19

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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94 thoughts on “That Time I Got COVID”

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  1. Oh man. So glad you’re feeling better and that your course was mild and short-lived. No doubt your lifestyle was a major protective factor. I have family members and friends who have had it; their cases were mild and recovered fine. Some patients I work with, however, are in pretty bad shape as many have underlying metabolic, cardiac and/or respiratory problems, which is no doubt contributing to their higher medical needs and length of stay. So I’ve seen different outcomes for different folks. Best thing to do is keep yourself metabolically healthy. Like you said it’s a good battle plan.

    I’m sure it’s a very vulnerable feeling to disclose all this. I think you’re stronger for it. Thanks for sharing this and letting everyone know you’re doing well.

  2. When you were in the car with your friend were you guys wearing masks? Would that have helped?

    1. Something tells me that the Sisson isn’t all that big of a “mask guy.” I could be wrong, but with familiar company and in an isolated environment like a car, I’m guessing that masks weren’t worn by the two. I’m not saying he’s an anti-masker, just that, like many rationally minded people, we pick and choose with reasonable discretion when we wear these respiratory diapers.

      1. But it’s odd that he doesn’t even know if the guy he was in a car with developed symptoms….

      2. Wow, judgmental much!?! People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Pretty sure you yourself haven’t been the “perfect” human on any level. So chill man. Peace.

        1. The word “mask” does not appear in his post on COVID-19. If he wasn’t wearing a mask during his long car ride, he should have admitted it and asked people not to make the mistake that he made. We need more role models to model good behavior and take ownership if they don’t.

          1. You are aware of the CDC study that acknowledges more than 70% of people who contracted the virus wore masks ?

            Remember the illogical non sense that masks don’t protect you, they protect others from you????

          2. Let me guess. You’re THAT person. Who wears a mask. Alone. In a car. We don’t need role models so much as we each need to take personal responsibility for our OWN decisions using good common sense. I’m sick to death of so called celebrities and politicians telling me what I should be doing when they turn around and do the complete opposite as if they are special and rules don’t apply to them. It’s no one’s business if he wore a mask. Be grateful he came thru it. Chill.

          3. The only mask that protects against COVID is the N95 and then only if it’s worn correctly. Most people don’t wear N95 correctly…which is why, as a healthcare provider, we are FIT tested. The various masks that people wear out and about do not protect you from getting COVID.

      3. Mask or not, I require windows to be down and no heat/air conditioner blowing when I take rideshare. I don’t know if it even matters but that’s me using logic based on some articles I’ve read.

        Also you can’t really be 6 ft away in a car.

      4. Oh Lord, in one of the healthiest online communities, we still have anti-maskers (respiratory diaper? Seriously?). Masks are not political, they just aren’t. they are a way to lessen the spread of COVID, not eliminate it. Why wouldn’t you do that for your fellow Americans?Do you think the guys at Valley Forge complained it was too cold? Do you think the guys who charged up Omaha Beach complained about their head diaper? Snowflakes.

  3. My husband and I got it right before Christmas. We had taken a short road trip and along the way saw his father to do a gift exchange. His father (who is a doctor) was coughing the entire time but swore it was his allergies acting up. We believed him because A. He’s a doctor (who had told us awhile ago he was only doing telemedicine visits, but declined to mention at some point he had gone back to the clinic). B. He’s my husband’s father, so he wouldn’t do anything to put us in danger, right? Boy was that a mistake.

    We’re both 40 years old and had somewhat different experiences. I had two very bad days where I felt like I had the worst hangover of my life. My sense of taste and smell seemed to be gone in the mornings (I’d have coffee but it could have been any hot liquid) but would come back in the evenings. My husband – who has a terrible diet and is severely overweight – had a fever and a nasty cough that still persists almost one month later. He had no appetite for a week and subsisted on watered down gatorade and OJ. I was so worried he was going to need to be hospitalized because I know he’s not metabolically healthy, but luckily he stayed out of the hospital.

    1. I would suggest you use a humidifier at night if you live in a dry climate and it “might” help your husband’s cough. You could always borrow one. If you use distilled water it will stay cleaner easier. We live in the Reno NV area, and it is very dry here. We use a humidifier every night and it prevents me from being jolted awake in the middle of the night with a very dry throat.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience with covid. It is important in these times. I think it is also important to remember that healthy diet and lifestyle doesn’t make us immune but helps mitigate the impact of the infection.

  5. Oh my goodness! Glad to hear you’re all right, Mark.
    And thank you for sharing your experience with your usual calm and sensible demeanor. No sensationalizing, no false claims or hyperbole. It appears that a baseline of good health is a huge factor in COVID susceptibility and outcomes, but we all have to take this very seriously. None of us can predict whether we will get it, and how we will fare, regardless of our health status. I see rhetoric coming out of the keto world where people I otherwise like and trust are making it sound like keto and vitamin D make you immune, and there’s so much very ugly judging going on — with connotations of, “If you’re overweight, out of shape, or have a metabolic illness, you *deserve* to get sick.” It’s truly disappointing and disheartening.

    I value your rational voice so much.

  6. Great article. I got the start of my nutrition education from Atkins, and found it greatly improved my lipid readings, more so than a statin. Taking a good probiotic formula also had significant improvement in lipids per lab tests.
    Thanks Mark, for your very important work.

  7. So happy that your case was mild, Mark.

    I developed COVID on Thanksgiving (spent alone, fortunately! My husband was in India, my siblings were having large-ish gatherings (!), and I’ll be forever grateful that my mom and I decided not to get together). For two days, I felt run-down and congested and assumed it was the start of a cold. The weekend was awful with intense fatigue, fever, chills, muscle and joint aches, and nausea but hardly any respiratory symptoms. Never lost my sense of taste or smell. I tested positive the next day. By Monday, I felt back to normal. Good energy level, no fever; the only symptoms that lingered for a couple weeks were the constant need to clear my throat and a slightly hoarse voice.

    The likely source of infection was my manager, who was asymptomatic when we had last worked together, 5 days prior to my symptom onset. We are vigilant about masks at work and no clients enter our spay/neuter clinic. The manager and I have minimal contact, since I work at one end of a long room, and she usually pops her head in to say hi and then goes to her office. Of course, I could have been infected by some random encounter elsewhere, but 4 out of our 6 employees tested positive (3 sick, 1 asymptomatic).

    I do believe that my healthy diet and Crossfit 3-4 times a week helped, but like you said, COVID should not be minimized and there are plenty of healthy younger people who have died of it. I’m 53 with no medical conditions and my vitamin D levels are low (thanks for the reminder to take my supplement!); cholesterol is around 200 mg/dl.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Mark.

  8. My husband and I both got it around Thanksgiving, too. We suspect that he got it at work where his company and co-workers are extremely careless. Otherwise we’ve been isolating since March and I work from home.

    He started having a funny feeling in his throat Thursday which we attributed to allergies. Then on Saturday overnight he had what we thought at the time was food poisoning, which was better by morning.

    That day (Sunday) I also started to feel a tickle in my throat and a strange taste in my mouth. I had an important work project due that week and started to feel pressure to get it done in case I came down with something worse, so I worked a very long day Sunday feeling good and energetic (at home/isolated). I woke up Monday feeling really weird in a way I can’t even describe, which gave me a sense of dread more than any other symptom. That’s when I started to suspect I had more than a cold. I was really worried about getting this project finished since it was behind already so I crawled out of bed, and by the time I had a cup of coffee and was dressed I felt completely normal with plenty of energy.

    Later that day after a few hours of work (and finishing the damn project, yay!) I felt tired like I would with a common cold. I took a nap and woke up feeling good.

    By this time my husband’s COVID test had come back positive, so I went to be tested the next day and was also positive. After those first few days both of us were just a little extra tired, we both had a tickle in our noses and some congestion, and we both had a slight dry upper chest cough (the cough did last a few weeks). Neither one of us had a fever or loss of taste/smell, though we did both have a strange metallic taste in our mouths. Neither one of us had much of an appetite but other than my husband’s first GI symptoms but we didn’t have anything further.

    Basically we were really surprised that we tested positive. This felt like a mild but lingering cold for us, which as Mark said is not a reason to dismiss the seriousness of it for others. If anything my takeaway is to take any and all symptoms seriously and don’t assume that because they’re not bad that it’s “just allergies” or a bout with a normal stomach bug or cold.

  9. Mark, could you please post the Vitamin D level? I would like to compare to what my last one was (in the 70’s). Thank you.

  10. Thank you for sharing your experience. My family contracted it in March of last year. I was 3 months postpartum at the time and I got it bad. I never had a fever but I had severe respiratory symptoms. My bronchial tubes were inflamed and on fire, my chest was heavy and I was very short of breath. I also lost my sense of taste and smell for a while. It took me over 45 days to feel better and then I was left with heart palpitations. My husband experienced cold like sypmtoms for a few days and was better. Two of my children had mild symptoms but then went on to have kawasaki-like sypmtoms 6 weeks later. Im hoping if we contract it again, our bodies can fight it a little better.

  11. Hi Mark,

    So glad you had a relatively mild experience with the virus!

    I believe I had it last January before the world called it Covid. In fact, Christmas time we were at a family gathering and we suspect it began there. Some fell quite ill within the week between Christmas and New Years , mine hit the week after spending time with my niece.

    It seemed to circulate throughout everyone who was at Christmas except very few ironically, my 94 year old grandmother didn’t get it!

    I was completely clogged with a light fever for a few days, and a heavy feeling in my
    Chest, definitely no taste or smell

    This lasted about a week until it began to subside but I did feel very sick. In hindsight, I’m glad that the virus was not really confirmed and publicized at that time, because my anxiety would have made it worse and at that time, I assumed it was a virus ! Since then I have upped my vitamin d and have just been extra cautious.

    Glad to hear you are ok , meditation, exercise , faith and prayer ??

    1. I believe that I had it the same week, around New Years’ 2020, long before the world started talking about it. There was a weird junky cough, weird headache, mild muscle aches and mild lethargy — but no fever, no loss of taste/smell. It cleared out in 5 days, which is normal for a mild case.

      I remember reading other people on social media complaining about a horrible 2-week flu at that time, and me wondering if it was the same one. Little did we know it had already reached our shores…

  12. Yep, I experienced it too. For me, pretty much lasted a week. No lung/breathing problems, no fever. My biggest symptom was flu-like body aches, which seemed pretty intense. Several days later, I still feel off. Being age 69, pretty happy my body was able to effectively deal with it though.

  13. I’m a 45 year old female and metabolically healthy with slightly elevated LDL. My symptomatic boyfriend (ten years younger) tested positive in June, and I tested negative. I isolated anyway, assuming I had it but was too recently infected to test positive. Four days later I had a slightly stuffy nose that was gone by the morning, and so was all taste and smell. That loss was my only symptom and lasted a little over two weeks.
    The BF doesn’t have a spleen, and had a significantly harder time. He was in bed for about 7 days and doesn’t remember much of it. He said brushing his teeth took as much out of him as an 8 mile mountain hike. About three weeks after infection, he was back to normal.
    Like Mark, despite feeling great, I eased back into working out just to be safe. There are so many unknowns, better to be patient and safe.

  14. I became symptomatic in March, on my 41st birthday. Mild headache behind my eyes, like I was wearing the wrong prescription glasses, a teeny tiny dry cough and my heart would race at weird, random times. I may have had a fever for a night or two. Notably, my sense of smell vanished.

    The symptoms started on a Monday and by Thursday I felt fine. My wife convinced me to get tested because I have asthma, even though I felt ridiculous and a little guilty using up what was then a precious test. Sure enough, the positive result came back on Monday – 5 days after I started feeling better.

    The next day my body went into full-blown freak out mode: hands shaking uncontrollably and a feeling of ice spreading through my veins even though I wasn’t cold. Anything I did would trigger an attack: reading the news, watching a movie, or playing cards with myself would get me going and I’d have to immediately stop what I was doing to lay down. It was like my body was panicking and leaving my mind to wonder what the heck was going on. It was honestly one of the scariest days of my life.

    A day later I woke up feeling like a million bucks and haven’t looked back. My sense of smell still isn’t what it was 10 months ago, but it’s returning. Even with that, I know I’m fortunate to have gotten off as lightly as I did.

  15. When I started having symptoms I thought it was cedar allergies and then I started my period so I figured I just felt tired due to that. I had been under a ton of stress with trying to get closed on my house and sleeping on my daughters daybed with three dogs while we waited with delay after delay. Put into the mix I’m also a nurse who is taking care of covid patients every day. I worked three days thinking it was allergies and woke up on the fourth day at home with full body aches and fatigue. Thankfully off work so stayed home. The next day or so I started noticing my taste and smell was off. That only lasted a few days. What was most intense for me was the bottomless pit of fatigue that lasted another week. I had bad body pain for several days that would wake me out of sleep. My hair follicles hurt my toenails hurt! Lol I never was shob but did have the bronchial tightness with a reactive cough. The cough lingers a little here and there still a month later just cedar is still high here. My symptoms resolved by day 13 and I enjoyed increased energy and focus for approximately two weeks after. Wish that would have stayed! So my overall health isn’t bad, I’m 50 and on no medications. I do carry 50 lbs more than I should am premenopausal and I drank a lot of wine leading up to! I don’t eat out much and almost never touch fast food. I cook my own I eat primal I guess. I’m allergic to grains mostly so low carb is my game. One thing I had allowed in my life during the whole process of home buying was sugar. I am a no sugar gal mostly but it had snuck in and I’m sure that contributed. Covid is real for sure however what we are eating and putting in our mouths makes all the difference. I see time and again the people coming in to the hospital the sickest are the ones that are diabetic or ore diabetic. I’ll be paying attention to cholesterol as well now.

  16. Sorry you went through that. I’m glad to hear of your complete recovery.

  17. I am working in a retirement community in MN. And while we have done pretty good so far (I personally have tested negative 22 times so far) I have seen in really kick some people’s butts. Yes most of the residents are over 80 and it has killed 16 plus people in our little community. However, several of our staff have had a really hard time when they have gotten it. The biggest complaint I have seen is fatigue for weeks and weeks after. I have noticed the staff while most of them are young that have gotten sick tend not to be the healthiest. I consider myself quite healthy and think that has helped immensely. I also received my first dose of the vaccine a few weeks ago and will get the second shot next week.

    COVID is very real, it has kicked a lot of peoples butts, but working on the front lines so to speak it really does seem to pick on the elderly and those who are not very healthy to begin with. Just more reason to take care of your health the best you can.

  18. My husband and I play the “if I were president” game. He decided he would have partner with a multi vitamin company and roll out a subsidized multi of vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin c. Anyone who wants it, gets it. Because popping a pill is easier than making people change behavior…we are also fairly certain we had Covid last feb or March based on symptoms. Glad you came through it just fine.

    1. We say the same thing over here! Why hasn’t the government dropped off a packet with all of those vitamins that last over a year! I strongly believe it would have a HUGE impact.

      1. Yep, instead they send you home with nothing. But other countries send you home with a packet if vitamins and ivermectin to start treating the infection immediately. (google “FLCCC Dr Kory” for many studies on ivermectin and covid)

  19. Thank you for sharing your COVID story.
    I also had COVID in November. I have been following the Primal lifestyle for about 4 years and consider myself healthy with a strong immune system.
    COVID kicked my ass. Luckily I had a mild/moderate case but I was in bed for weeks with a fatigue I can not put to words. The recovery lasted longer than I would have anticipated. I even started to doubt my Primal ways. There are some people in the “Paleo” world that have the opinion if you are metabolicy healthy you are immune to COVID or will have minor symptoms. I was feeling that it was my fault I was sick.
    Now that I’m on the other side I realize perhaps my illness could have been much worse and my primal ways helped me through.
    I appreciate that you shared your story and I am glad you are well.

  20. I am also in peak health (albeit I am a whole plant foods only high carb/low fat vegan…but no processed foods at all in my diet; no added sugar, oil, or salt…so I eat differently than you do). I had COVID recently….very mild for me. 1 day of a 100.5 fever and a couple days of a light cough. Lost sense of smell for about 4 days (started returning after 2 days gradually). I was working out at full capacity (1-3 hours of exercise) (isolated in my apt) by day 4 of my illness because I had full energy and the only remaining symptom was an occasional cough. I agree with you completely that being in excellent health seems to indicate a mild experience. I would also add that I still have NO idea where I got it. No one I know with whom interacted had it as far as I know.

  21. Similar experience about two weeks after your timeline (headaches, fatigue, sore throat, cramps/aches but no fever, cough, or loss of senses)- I know you’re not much of a device fan but I’ve seen elevated resting heart rate and lower heart rate variability. Potentially confounded with other factors (less cardio in cold weather, elevated stress, holidays, etc) but notable nonetheless. Glad you’re doing well, sir!

  22. Glad you had a mild case and recovered quickly and fully and we’re proactive about not passing it on! I’ve known people who had mild cases that ended up turning into pretty debilitating cases of long covid, and a few people who have had terrible cases or died from it, even being pretty healthy 40 year olds. Your note that your experience doesn’t discount those other outcomes is very well put! Just because one has a mild case it doesn’t discount the more serious and devastating cases. Both can be true, cause like all things biological, it’s a complicated disease/virus.

  23. My wife had Covid. Bit more than Mark, but not serious. I must admit I was not perfect on the same day her symptoms started, but it was just a dry throat and not being ‘fully present’ at work. We isolated as a family. I decorated the house as I had purchased paint with a lock down in mind. I had aches across shoulders. Nothing more! Children did not get the virus at all.

  24. Mark, I’m glad you had such a mild case of covid. Can you please talk about the safety of the various vaccines, both short and longterm?

  25. Mark, I respect how you show up as a voice for health sanity… Would you comment on whether you and your friend were wearing a mask in the car?
    The fact that you didn’t mention it, and that you did get Covid from that interaction, makes me think that neither of you were masked. If that’s true, please SAY SO and remind everyone to wear masks.

    If you were wearing masks, and still got covid: what else could you have done to reduce risk? Windows open? Rear passenger seat? Not shared a car at all?

    Be a leader by telling the truth about your experience, and be willing to admit if you were wrong.

    1. I second this. There’s so much misinformation and disinformation around the mask issue, when it’s one of the most important precautions we can take. I’ve been a huge fan of Mark’s Daily Apple for many years now (despite occasional things I disagree with), but side-stepping this issue is irresponsible. I would love to see this post amended with the truth about the mask detail included.

    2. All along the experts said “Wear the mask to keep from spreading it”. It is less effective in protecting you from it.
      That said, I still wear mine when I go in a store or business, which is EXTREMELY rare.

    3. 45 minutes of closed space exposure definitely increases the chances of covid even if masked. Having a mask neither confirms it’s ineffectiveness and nor does not having a mask is the reason for spread. I see why Sisson might avoid talking about mask and perhaps the right thing to do – to avoid making broad conclusions from one data point.

    4. Weird comment frankly. Masks have never shown to reduce ILI transmission in the community based on any RCT with verified infection endpoints. This of course included the 2020 Danish mask study. Modeling based on proxies in 2020 has people now convinced they work. These models lead to unfalsifiable claims like “we could save X amount of lives by April if…” . That is not science. Current empirical evidence would dispute their effectiveness and the vast majority of those who have caught the virus report wearing a mask. Seems you have made up your mind though and are looking for an anecdote to support your preconceived notions.

      1. I’m just amazed anyone can look at things and objectively believe community mask wearing has had a positive impact at all. Even forgetting that EBM pyramid places the RCT’s far above these mechanistic proxy experiments and theoretical models. Just observing the empirical real time evidence. Mask mandates don’t slow spread and not having mandates don’t increase it based on any honest and objective look. Further, there are as many theoretical models to harm that they may be causing. The nebulizing effect of masks creating smaller aerosols that hang in the air for longer periods with high viral loads; the contamination of these things by a largely untrained public; the psychological or physical distress by those who are vulnerable to such….ect. IMO masks need treated like any medical intervention and be subject to an individuals right to medical freedoms and self autonomy.

    5. Yes! It was completely irresponsible of him to be traveling in a car with someone he doesn’t live with. The information was definitely available at that time. Sure, he had a mild case. Doesn’t take away from the fact that people doing these things are keeping this pandemic thriving and the virus mutating.

  26. Hi Mark,
    First off, so glad you are feeling better!
    I follow your blog and always find great info/insight into what you share. My story sounds very familiar to yours except it is was yesterday January 19th (My 56th birthday) and I was diagnosed with covid due to weekly testing I receive because I help my mom in an assisted facility. Other than having a slight cold and a little loss of smell, I am very healthy, have similar cholesterol ratings, low body fat, strong immune responses, Vit D levels are high and physically workout each day between Peloton, strength training, meditation and stretching. I keep my stress levels down, do not watch meandering news and keep a positive mindset. I knew I would eventually get Covid but it doesn’t fear me. I am a graduate of IIN in 2016 and I follow many great people like yourself that put it into real “life” protocol. After all, it is our duty to respect and appreciate what God has given us and I am happy to travel this journey with many great folks like yourself, doing great work for the good of us all, through your own experiences in sharing. Thanks for being real and I look forward to continuing to hear your great work!

  27. My husband and I tested positive in early December. In our mid 50s, he experienced more severe symptoms, but within a week felt much improved.
    I was able to continue teaching (virtually!) my second graders throughout my ordeal.
    However, I still have a slight, nagging headache (daily) and an odd buzzing noise in my brain. Anyone else experiencing anything like this?

  28. Great post, had some similar features

    Mine started with nasal congestion, next day congestion lifted but quite sore cough, also felt very lethargic, was feeling chills (but didn’t have high temperature) also had a strange tension headache

    Next 2 days felt quite rough but like you say, more similar to a cold than a flu. Solpasinus (contains paracetamol and pseudoephedrine) gave good comfort to headache and congestion. On day 4 most of the symptoms lifted in afternoon and felt a lot better.

    No loss of smell or taste or any fever throughout.

    I’d been on pretty strict(and clean!) keto from October – December so found your comments about glucose metabolism really interesting. Have also been taking a multivitamin + additional vitamin D since pandemic began

    Male, 35 years old, based in Dublin, Ireland. Had positive antigen home and health service PCR tests

  29. Hi Mark,
    I hope that analysis tied to insulin talks to type 2 diabetics – NOT type 1. Obviously I take Insulin to live. BUT – am as healthy as can be with lower stress, good triglycerides and high Vit D. And us type 1 diabetics are lower on the list for the vaccine so hopefully that means we are less at risk (if we have good AIC numbers). I always like to clarify and I know higher AIC’s do put us at risk for many things. Glad you recovered easily.

  30. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for sharing your candid comments !

    I got COVID too in mid-December, and what you wrote is very, very similar to what I experienced.

    Thanks to the discovery of your book in 2014, I’m firmly convinced that all this investment in my metabolism has paid off by having very mild symptoms and disruptions to my body.

    Also, I almost never catch colds or other illnesses, which is another testament to the fact that, well, the primal/keto way works for my metabolism.

    Thanks for being such an inspiration for us all. You are indeed changing lives, one person at a time.

    Patrice

  31. Mark, thanks for the helpful info! Just curious if you have you had a recent chest x-Ray? There is increasing information coming out that those diagnosed with covid who are showing symptoms and even asymptotic have impaired lungs worse than a smokers lung on recent x-Ray.

  32. My first symptom of Covid was waking up with a massive headache and sore throat, followed with a temperature of 101 that evening. Next day I went to the walk-in clinic and tested positive. I was hit hard and fast!

    Fevers continued for the next eight days with coughing and congestion. By day five I felt worse so I went back to clinic for chest X-ray and they confirmed pneumonia. Difficulty breathing followed and unfortunately I ended up in the hospital by day eight. Thank god I went, my oxygen was at 88 when they admitted me.

    I’ve been in the hospital for four days now and doctor put me on a drug called Remdesivir for covid. It’s an antiviral drug. The drug prevents the virus from producing a particular enzyme that is necessary for the virus to spread through the body. It’s a 5 day IV treatment and has been helping me tremendously along with steroids for the pneumonia.

    I am a 56 year old female, post menopausal, in shape eat healthy with no underlying health issues and I am on no medications. I’ve been taking loads of supplements for years along with probiotics. I know I contracted the virus at work even though we take many precautions there. The only thing that may have contributed to me getting hit so hard is the extreme amount of stress I’ve been under for the past 15 months. Stress can be a killer and it’s something I need to work on.

    Everyone stay safe and healthy.

  33. My first symptom of Covid was waking up with a massive headache and sore throat, followed with a temperature of 101 that evening. Next day I went to the walk-in clinic and tested positive. I was hit hard and fast!

    Fevers continued for the next eight days with coughing and congestion. By day five I felt worse so I went back to clinic for chest X-ray and they confirmed pneumonia. Difficulty breathing followed and unfortunately I ended up in the hospital by day eight. Thank god I went, my oxygen was at 88 when they admitted me.

    I’ve been in the hospital for four days now and doctor put me on a drug called Remdesivir for covid. It’s an antiviral drug. The drug prevents the virus from producing a particular enzyme that is necessary for the virus to spread through the body. It’s a 5 day IV treatment and has been helping me tremendously along with steroids for the pneumonia.

    I am a 56 year old female, post menopausal, in shape eat healthy with no underlying health issues and I am on no medications. I’ve been taking loads of supplements for years along with probiotics. I know I contracted the virus at work even though we take many precautions there. The only thing that may have contributed to me getting hit so hard is the extreme amount of stress I’ve been under for the past 15 months. Stress can be a killer and it’s something I need to work on.

  34. Appreciate your insight and glad you’re okay. I like your outlook in that you respect the virus, know what you don’t know, while also not being overwhelmed by fear and confident in the life-long preventative measures you’ve taken to build your immune system for something like this.

    There are a lot of people in the health space that knew-it-all in early March, used the opportunity to promote their supplements, and seemed to find proper diet and adhering to guidelines incompatible (i.e. it’s possible to eat healthy AND avoid large gatherings). And instead of being grateful that they weren’t hit hard by COVID, they use it to humblebrag and sell more supplements.

    So thanks for your rational voice. I’m also encouraged by the sentiments by your followers in the comments!

  35. I’m happy to hear you’re well! I too had very little trouble with COVID. My husband was a little sicker for a little longer than I was. Since he recovered, he cut out processed food and most of his usual carb intake. He’s down 15 pounds and running faster sprints than ever. Maybe since he’s over 50, getting sick motivated him to be more ready for the next pandemic.

  36. My good friend (guy in his early 60’s, P90X fit) came down with COVID about the same time as you & described it much the same way you did – no worse than a mild cold. Losing his sense of taste & smell were the worst of it for him, it lasted only a few days, & he was able to visit with me (driving from Michigan to Florida) at Christmas.

  37. Did you take any of the so called “recommended” drugs, such as ivermectin or chloroquine?

    I am big fan of yours and it´s great that you recovered rapidly.
    Not so unlucky as 200,000 people dead here in Brazil due to Covid.

    1. Ivermectin is easy to get and cheap and safer and has been data on in than hydrochloroquine so that would probably be the go to for most people IMO.

      1. Easy to get? How is that? I’m absolutely positive that I would not be able to find a doctor to prescribe that for me.

  38. Thanks for sharing Mark! I havent had covid but I know quite a few that had it and your experience is similar to theirs. A few were even asymptomatic, including an 80 year old woman with previous respiratory illness. I am 41 this year and follow a primal/kketo diet and exercise regularly so I dont fear it and would honestly just be curious if I did get it.

  39. Both of my parents got it, who are no where near the health of you, and both were asymptomatic. I believe you have a 99.9% chance to survive, its just that .1% is a lot of people…

  40. I attribute my very mild Covid symptoms to good metabolic health and my Vitamin D, C, Zinc and Magnesium I have been taking. I was also in the middle of a fitness and nutrition challenge which definitely helped!

  41. I’ve been hit with the virus at Christmas. And it was rough. My blood pressure was going up and down. I did a blood work before and after. What I didn’t appreciate was that my insulin level was 24.
    So my symptoms were mainly blood thickening and hypertension. Whcih I never had before.
    Now I’m working on my metabolic flexibility so I can feel like myself again.

  42. Look at the relationship between chronic hyperinsulinemia and phospholipid production. This will lead to poor surfactant production in the lungs. Without adequate surfactant, you cannot deal with the results of a cytokine storm on the lungs.

    1. But anti inflammatories can really help quite a bit, that’s why they are using corticosteriods for those that get more sick. Vit D is also an anti inflam..

  43. I know about 6 people who have had it so far, we are all middle aged, they all had similar mild courses. No one had GI issues of the ones i know. Only one had a longer case of it, she described it as a lingering sinus infection, she felt fatigue and headache and it took a few weeks to pass but mostly she felt bored. Some of those peeps eat SAD diet too and they were still fine. None were super frail though.

  44. Have you done any biomarker testing since recovering? It would be interesting to know if you saw changes. In my experience, I had a pretty bad case but managed to stay out of the hospital because my O2 level stayed high. I had just about every other symptom in the book. Previous to Covid, my numbers looked good and I was in great health at 65. Many symptoms remained for almost 10 months. The most debilitating was extreme fatigue and lethargy. Not only did I not want to get up and move, I often couldn’t do much when I did. Only this past month have I been able to tolerate any sort of aerobic or strength training exercises. I still weigh about the same as before, but my body composition has changed quite a bit. Sad, and I now have a lot of work to do to get back where I was.

    Now, my blood pressure consistently runs about 20 points higher (about 120/72), I get random heart palpitations, or periods when it feels like my heart is going to pound itself right out of my chest. Oh, and my cholesterol is WAY up, though HDL and triglycerides are still good. I’m on my way to the doc to get an idea of what might be going on. I think I should have checked on this a while ago, but that “get it done” button was out of commission.

  45. I’ll admit I am not ‘fat adapted’ and I eat starchy foods and feel alright in doing so. I did once a eat a fattier diet and my cholesterol level was up. I returned somewhat to a more carb based diet after various reading. Any way, I had the virus in November and the worst of my symptoms were cold chills, body ache and fatigue, along with the loss of the two senses. Smell has somewhat returned, recently, but taste is gone. I was told by a friend of someone who has lost their taste for 10 months. As depressing as it is, at this point I am pretty much resigning myself to the distinct possibility it will never return.

  46. I was diagnosed positive on 12/30. I had 3 days of extreme fatigue and a bad cough. Never had a fever or lost any sense of smell or taste. Thought I was going to skate through it but the residual effects have been challenging – muscle weakness, fatigue, and low oxygen sat levels. Every day I try to do a little more and push myself gently. I find it interesting that my 76 year old husband did not get it. I attribute it to his complete dedication from the beginning of Covid – taking his C with quecertin, D3, and zinc. I was completely hit and miss on the same vits and think I paid the price. On a completely different note, Mark … thank you so much for your ideas back in December about having an intentional celebration. You inspired me to put together a Shutterfly-type book for each member of my small family – I got input from everyone as to their favorite photos, recipes, books, quotes, music of the year. Everyone loved it and wants to make it a new family tradition.

  47. I’m glad you had a mild case, and recovered quickly. My family and I had the same mild case at the beginning of December. I am so thankful it wasn’t worse. It spreads far faster than people think.

  48. Thanks for the good info. A nurse friend told me that she had read if you have a percentage Neanderthal in your DNA, you have a better ability to fight the virus (and any virus actually) and get through it pretty quickly. So I researched and found that there is evidence to support this. A month ago I had a DNA analysis done through 23 & Me and, aside from being 96% Scandinavian and some Finnish, I have Neanderthal DNA. My question to you is, have you had a DNA analysis, and is there Neanderthal in it? I ask as my sister had COVID-19 and got thru it pretty quickly – a matter of days. Thanks!

  49. Very similar experience, after about 5 days most symptoms were gone – no temperature, which never got high anyhow, no headache which was my first symptom, and no congestion. Metabolic health helps but I found Vitamin C and glutathione IV’s helped a lot! Lots of bone broth! My Vitamin D level is +70ng/ml and trying to get it to 100.

  50. Mark, your case is predictable on a number of points, other user comments are very useful, your weekly news is useful. I am an investor expert in cell biology.
    Question are you ready for either of the vax shots to boost the temp immunity you have gained?

    Just your personal choice would be interesting.
    FYI, I follow you because 40 years ago, when I did stay in shape I sometimes competed in mid length triathlons.
    I was born fast twitch 4.3 40 yards, your age & height but twice the muscle mass. I for sport was just in top 1/3 & happy to just Finnish there. One year it seemed that all I ever heard was your name. One of my friends was normally in top 10 & top 5K guy like you, I asked him who is this Mark guy that is killing everyone this year in mid range format, happy you are still killing it and Covid-19 40 years later. Thanks for being that health guy & sharing tips and tricks on health.

  51. Yes, as others have commented, I agree that a calm, rational discussion is very valuable. And also, yes, if you haven’t encountered a certain virus before, you most likely won’t have immunity, but the state of your health and especially your immune system will play a huge role in how the first encounter plays out. And after, you will have immunity. But the virus will continually mutate and evolve, and so we most likely won’t be immune to the mutated versions. This is all what life on earth is about. One important fact to note is that if you take any of the vaccines, you won’t be immune to the virus either, and if you read the information insert included with the vaccine, it says this clearly. It will only decrease the severity of the episode. So will your own immune system if it’s operating in good condition. This body is our best tool in negotiating life as a human.

  52. I am a 62 year old nurse practitioner who got a moderate covid case in March after working in. NY hospital. I gave it to my 70 year old husband, my son in law and 1 grandson ( his identical twin, another sibling and his mother did not get it- even though they were all exposed.). My husband and I were on keto and my son in law is a vegan. We all did well. After 10 months, I still have antibodies!

  53. What a great read, thank you! Perfect timing for me because I am on day 5 of Covid from when symptoms started. I had been on Keto for 9 months, lost 10 lbs and my cholesterol went down to 180 from mid 200’s. I felt great and was happy eating that way but plateau’d for a month and seemed to be losing muscle even with lifting/and mild cardio. 2 1/2 weeks ago I started something different as a challenge and test and started eating a different macro ratio diet with a reintroduction to higher carbs, high protein and lower fat. My body has been adjusting to say the least. I have retained a lot of water and have had some mild GI issues constipation and gas. My trainer said it will eventually work itself out. Well, then I got Covid. Makes me wonder if my body was in an a higher insulin and inflammatory storm so to speak and I became more susceptible to getting the virus. It make me wonder! I am an RN and I am around Covid positive patients here and there on my unit at the hospital and I have been safe up until now (not confirmed I got it there) but its just interesting that with my change of diet I am suddenly facing this virus. Something to ponder.

    1. I should also say I am glad you are feeling better and that this was a fairly easy Covid viral course for you. Mine so far is very similar to yours. I am on day 5 and its is mild-moderate cold symptoms, mild cough. No fever. Lost taste and smell but it is coming back as of today. I take Vit D, Zinc, Vitamin C, multivitamin, daily and have religiously since Covid started. AND, as an RN I had received my first of two vaccines for Covid 3 weeks ago. And, I still got this virus! Hoping the symptoms are less severe because of that.

  54. I had the Covid-2 by mid November.
    I was working as a deliveroo bike rider at the cold weather in London from 4pm to 10pm, 5 days a week. As a bike rider, my body warmed up and I started sweating when cycling, and it cooled down when I waited for orders to pop-up or be ready. The up and down of body temperature on cold weather weakened my immune system, I suppose, as I’m carnivore-ish with plenty of liver, sardines, cheese, meat and eggs. One of my flatmates had the virus, but didn’t notice until the symptoms got worse.

    It started as a cold, then developed to GI stress, a headache that felt like a sinusitis, dry nose, no sense of smell or taste whatsoever.
    Day 4 of the infection was the worst, with strong breathless sensation.
    Day 5 I got better, day 7 didn’t feel anything other then the lack of taste or smell (the former came a little bit on that day, but the latter only came back 2 days later, just a little bit).
    On day 10, I was tasting as always, but my sense of smell was around 50% normal, and it only came back to 100% by day 20.

    It was like a very strong cold for me and my flatmates. Thanks to God, no one had to go to the hospital.

    Even as for today, I still have breathless feelings every now and then, with my blood oxygen going below 85%, but as someone that’s been training for triathlon, I hope that gets better soon.

    That’s all I have to share, stay safe everybody.

  55. Thanks for the info on your Covid experience. I have been wondering if being primal in my diet and exercise would help keep me from catching it. I would be interested if you took a survey among your followers to see who has not caught it and of those who have how bad was it.

  56. Gee thanks for not updating us on the fact you began Vit D again. I stopped taking it when you said you stopped because of the ACE 2 receptor thing you talked about, and I trusted your reasoning. I even asked for updates in your Sunday posts. My hair has now fallen out in bloody handfuls. I’m really cheesed off and feel upset.
    It’s nice you got better, though.

  57. In my world way too many people have died. Teenagers, kids as young as 10, 37 year old with no risk factors. Too many people have only seen the sniffles cases and/or have not had exposure to some of he horrible deaths.

    We need to wear better masks now when we have to be out and about, but they are more expensive. The kn95 is a good choice.. very comfortable and easy to breath through. Google mask types for information. Good old Amazon

  58. I had a similar experience with COVID-19 over Christmas. My symptoms were very mild. I took no medications and exercised while I had the virus. I lost taste and smell for about a week. I am 70 years old and have kept fit over the years with running and recently shifting over to weight based training. I take supplements including vitamin D and practice intermittent fasting. I believe that my strong immune system and healthy habits saved me from a worse case of this virus and for that, I am thankful. There is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle and I appreciate you, Mark Sisson, and others like you who are getting the correct information out to us.

  59. Mark-
    I’ve often looked to you for advice on many areas of health and wellness. Thank you so much for sharing your Covid experience with us. You have reduced my fears by boosting my personal commitment to health. Turns out even though I work in retail and have a large family circle, my strengthened immune system and balanced cholesterol are in fact keeping me healthy,

  60. Thanks for sharing. Out of interest, you think the virus was passed when sharing a car journey. We’re you both wearing masks?

  61. Hello – sorry to hear, but if you were just eating raw plant diet, I am sure u would not have got Covid ! Mark – hope u consider, raw is great for body ! regards, Amanda.

  62. Glad your ok Mark,
    I think the importance of stress in ones life as you mentioned is so important. It’s been my observation that people I know who seems overly stressed about getting Covid and do get it, tend to have much more severe symptoms. Thanks you sharing your experience.

    Happy Joyous Health!

  63. Thanks Mark for mentioning your bloodwork results ?
    But you just give raw numbers which prevents from making any comparisons : could you please also indicate the units used (and equivalents if there are several common ones) ?

  64. I feel compelled to add my view on covid and masks and such. I view covid like I view cigarette smoke. If the person(s) i am with were smokimg and I could smell it then if they had covid and I didnt know it I could get it. Outside with a breeze I wouldnt smell their cigarette smoke so they are no concern to me. In a car or house or bar I could smell it so if they had it and didnt know it I am breathing it.

  65. Mark, I have COVID now and experiencing strong pains/aches in my hip joints. I don’t take pain relievers, but might need something in order to get some rest—I keep tossing and turning and cannot get comfortable. Any suggestions for natural pain relievers? Thanks.

  66. Will you be getting vaccinated? I’m wrestling with this issue quite a bit. Thanks.

    1. I am too! I read good arguments for and against. My wife and daughter who is 23 had no issues with the shots. My co-worker though had the J and J just before it was paused yesterday and he had a fever over 101 last night.

      My health and blood work is like Mark’s but this virus seems anything but predictable.