Long-COVID syndrome-associated brain fog and chemofog: Luteolin to the rescue

Biofactors. 2021 Mar;47(2):232-241. doi: 10.1002/biof.1726. Epub 2021 Apr 12.


COVID-19 leads to severe respiratory problems, but also to long-COVID syndrome associated primarily with cognitive dysfunction and fatigue. Long-COVID syndrome symptoms, especially brain fog, are similar to those experienced by patients undertaking or following chemotherapy for cancer (chemofog or chemobrain), as well in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) or mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). The pathogenesis of brain fog in these illnesses is presently unknown but may involve neuroinflammation via mast cells stimulated by pathogenic and stress stimuli to release mediators that activate microglia and lead to inflammation in the hypothalamus. These processes could be mitigated by phytosomal formulation (in olive pomace oil) of the natural flavonoid luteolin.

Keywords: COVID-19; brain fog; chemotherapy; coronavirus; cytokines; fatigue; inflammation; mast cells; microglia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain / virology
  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / physiopathology
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / complications
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / virology
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Fatigue / complications
  • Fatigue / drug therapy*
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Fatigue / virology
  • Humans
  • Luteolin / therapeutic use*
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity


  • Cytokines
  • Luteolin