90 The Surprising Long Term Effect of COVID on Autoimmunity

Inna Topiler Health Mysteries Solved Podcast

How the Hidden Emotional Impact of COVID Threatens those with Autoimmune Disease

The Case: 

  • Alison has an autoimmune disease and struggles to fight off colds and flus
  • At the start of the pandemic, she took extra precautions including social distancing and taking extra vitamins
  • As things open up, her anxiety is heightened and she wonders if she’ll ever shake the fear of going out again

The Investigation

Alison reached out to me for help supporting her immune system so that she can start getting out more without the fear of infection and a flare up of her autoimmune disease. I knew there was a hidden threat to her health beyond being exposed to more people and germs. I knew we had to look at this from all angles to help her enter the post-lockdown COVID world with confidence. 

To help me explore the emotional impact of quarantine, pandemic fears, and increased anxiety on the immune system, I invited Dr. Don Wood back to the show. 

You may recall that Dr. Wood joined us on episode 62 when he shared insights into a potential underlying cause of inflammation and autoimmunity.  He is the founder of the Inspired Performance Institute. His research linked various forms of trauma to subconscious blocks that lead to all types of health issues. The IPI works with people to reboot the mind to release the mind from the impact of these emotional traumas.  

The Trauma Spectrum

When we think of trauma, our minds likely go to big traumas, or what is often referred to as Big T trauma like an accident or abuse. But, Dr. Wood notes that less obvious traumas can also have an impact, even if we don’t recognize them as trauma. These smaller traumas can be emotional and can stay with us for a long time without us realizing how they are impacting our physical and mental health

Emotional Concussion

Dr. Wood coined the term ‘emotional concussion’ to help people understand the impact of emotional experiences. We are familiar with physical concussions (thanks to the research being done on athletes) and we understand that physical concussions can be serious whether they are from one big incident or the culmination of many smaller physical events. Dr. Wood says the same can be said about emotional concussions. We might have a big emotional event that leaves a noticeable impact but we can also feel the impact of multiple smaller emotional events that add up over time. These smaller events over time can be harder to track or attribute a physical response to. This is the risk that some are facing with the Pandemic. The emotional impact of decreased socializing, stress, anxiety, and isolation can compound into an emotional concussion. 

Physical Effects of Emotional Concussions

When these emotional events start to build-up (like they may be doing with COVID-related stresses), they can activate your nervous system and cause inflammation. This is a normal response to trauma, and under normal circumstances it’s a good thing because it is a protection and repair response. But if it keeps happening for an extended period of time (perhaps because we are reliving the trauma emotionally because we haven’t processed it), we stay in that activated state. This can then cause or trigger autoimmune issues. It can manifest in various different ways. For example, the inflammation could show up in the intestinal area (potentially triggering Crohn’s) or the thyroid (related to Hashimoto’s).  

It can take time for the physical effects of the emotional concussions to show up – months, years and even decades. The response can also be from traumas that we don’t outwardly track as trauma. But if we have an emotional or physical reaction to the memory, then Dr. Wood says we relive the trauma in our mind. That memory, if it is vibrant enough, can continue to put the nervous system into an activated state. The person may not be aware that their mind is creating this trigger over and over to something that happened in the past because the mind doesn’t actually  know it’s in the past – it reacts as if it’s happening now. 

In the case of COVID, the anxieties being felt now can be re-triggered with memories or as we return to ‘normal’ life including going out without a mask, shaking hands, wondering if it’s safe to hug someone, or being in crowds. 

How to Reduce the Long-Term Effects of Pandemic Anxiety

The most important process in reducing the long-term impact of anxiety that has surfaced during COVID is to learn how to down-regulate your nervous system. In other words, to calm your nervous system so it doesn’t continue to feel the threats or anxieties of COVID after the threat is actually over. 

Calming the mind and body are the key to down-regulating your nervous system. Dr. Wood says that even if someone has never meditated before, they can still calm the nervous system with simple breathing exercises. He suggests doing what he calls ‘5-6-7’ breathing. Start by closing your eyes, breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for six seconds, and breathe out for seven seconds. Do this three times and see what yo notice. For most people its enough to see a significant shift in how they feel.

Resetting or ‘Rebooting’ after an Emotional Concussion

Meditation and breathing exercises are a great way to manage an activated nervous system in the moment but Dr. Wood has created a way to reset or reboot the mind so that old traumas no longer trigger a reaction in the nervous system. He works directly with clients to identify the trauma or memories (this isn’t always apparent to the patient) and then he walks them through a process of diffusing them for good. It’s called ‘The TIPP Method’. He explains the process in this episode as shifting the memory from high-definition (and emotion inducing) to low definition and the status of information-only. He does this in a 4 hour process that, due to demand during the pandemic, is now available online. This process works for people with multiple small ‘t’ traumas and for people dealing with big ‘T’ traumas. Dr. Wood shared that he’s helped individuals recover emotionally from extremely traumatic events like the Boston Marathon bombing and the Vegas mass shooting. 

Exclusive Offer for Our Listeners

Dr. Wood and the Inspired Performance Institute have generously offered our listeners an exclusive discount on access to the TIPP Method. To access this life-changing treatment and save 10%, go to GetTipp.com/Inna

Next Steps 

For Allison, we started with biochemistry and I ran a comprehensive blood test to check for deficiencies. She was low in many nutrients including vitamin D, iron, and B12. We also discovered various food sensitivities which all played a role in her immune function. We worked on her diet and I supported her in making the necessary changes based on her lab tests. 

In addition to the diet, we added the needed nutrients. Since her D was extremely low, I used the Hi PO Emulsi D from designs for health which I find works the quickest in getting vitamin D levels up. This formula is D only. It’s very important to have D and K together, but her multivitamin had K so we were set there. 

We added B12 ND, which is a liquid B12 with 3 different types of B12 in it for comprehensive support. And, we added a gentle iron called ferrochel iron. I worked on her gut and used Betaine HCL to counter her low stomach acid (likely the case of her low iron and low B12). We also added in 3000 mg of Vitamin C and 30 mg of zinc balancing it with 2 mg of copper. 

All of this helped in balancing her immune system but, as we know from listening to Dr. Wood, there are emotional triggers to consider as well. 

I worked with Allison to help her calm her nervous system by addressing beliefs and teaching her to tune into her body by practicing a body scan, breathwork and meditation.  At the same time, she is going through Dr. Wood’s TIPP Method (online program) which has been extremely eye opening. She never realized how much stuff came up from her past and how much it was actually affecting her. Her COVID anxiety was like adding fuel to the fire. 

Happy Ending

Allison is now able to see the reason behind her condition. She couldn’t be happier with the path to recovery she’s on. She now sees friends and even took a trip without experiencing any anxiety — all while staying healthy and feeling well. 

Eliminating Health Mysteries

For Allison we were able to find those missing pieces of the health puzzle and help her regain her physical and mental health. Could an emotional concussion or small traumas be the missing clues for you or someone in your life? 


Resources mentioned

Thanks to my guest Dr. Don Wood. To access this life-changing treatment and save 10%, go to GetTipp.com/Inna for the Health Mysteries Solved exclusive offer. 

Suggested Products

Hi PO Emulsi D

B12 ND

Ferrochel Iron

Betaine HCL

Vitamin C


Related Podcast Episodes:

An Underlying Cause of Autoimmunity and Inflammation w/ Dr. Don Wood

The Case of the Unresponsive Autoimmune Conditions w/ Dr. Connie Jeon

Unconventional Ways to Boost Immunity & Fight Coronavirus Fears w/ Dr. Mario Martinez

Thanks for Listening

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All information, content, and material on this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

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Hi, I'm Inna!

I am obsessed with getting to the real root of health mysteries. Whether you are suffering from a major health issue like an autoimmune disease or have nagging and frustrating symptoms like fatigue, stomach discomfort, pain, insomnia, brain fog, PMS, skin issues, etc… they have a big impact on how you live your life. You don’t have to suffer. Together we can change that!