How to strengthen your defences to winter viruses

Nov 17, 2021

Updated 01 Aug 23 based on the latest scientific evidence

Vaccination isn't the holy grail for preventing and treating COVID. Vaccines are not going to rid the world of the virus, create herd immunity or end the pandemic. Vaccines won't stop you getting COVID or developing long COVID

In preparation for having a happier and healthier holiday season, the most important and simple steps to strengthen your defences and improve your outcome are ones that you can take yourself without medical intervention. These are listed below

Before we go into these, first let's look at how the virus SARs-CoV-2 enters our body and causes COVID-19 to better understand how these interventions work

The scientific facts about COVID

The infection COVID-19 occurs when the virus SARs-CoV-2 enters our cells

To help understand how the virus works, we will use the analogy of an enemy attacking a castle in a kingdom that you own. The enemy in this analogy is the virus. The kingdom is your body. The castle is your cells

The goal of strengthening your defences is to prevent your castle from being attacked and importantly the enemy gaining entry into your castle walls and depleting your food store that feeds your kingdom and your soldiers

In the context of COVID-19, it is known that the attack by the enemy (the virus SARs-CoV-2) will solely be at the front gate to your castle, not scaling the walls

So how does this happen?

Attack by the virus to gain entry into your castle is a multi-step process:

Step 1 - Attack. The virus sends soldiers to cling to the castle walls and door. Biologically part of the viral spike protein clings to the substance heparin sulfate, which is part of the coating of all mammalian cells

Step 2 - Unlocking of the gates. The virus sends specially selected soldiers to gain entry, by using a key the soldiers all possess to unlock the castle door. Biologically the protease furin shortens the viral spike protein, allowing the Receptor Binding Protein (the key) to attach with ACE2 (the lock)

Step 3 - Castle breach. On unlocking the castle door, the handle of the castle door can be turned opened by the enemy allowing access. In the process the lock (ACE2) of the castle door is rendered useless and the castle has been breached

Biologically the S1 segment containing the receptor binding site binds to ACE2, which is inactivated, creating inflammation and preventing ACE2 for fulfilling its vital functions. On entry into the cell, ACE2 is destroyed

Once the virus is inside the cell, it seeks to evade immune surveillance. It does this by changing its state. This is the equivalent of the enemy soldiers removing their uniforms and looking like ordinary people working inside the castle walls

Biologically the viral RNA (the command centre) directs the viral protein to change, preventing early anti-viral response of the innate immune system. In essence the soldiers on watch inside the castle walls (your cells) do not sound the alarm that the castle has been breached

Once inside the cells, the symptoms you experience will be dependent on the extent of ACE2 activity loss and ACE2 suppression, as well as what cells in your body the virus has been able to gain entry to

As ACE2 is destroyed by the virus inside your cells, the inflammation that occurs damages a vital component of your cells called the mitochondria. Mitochondria are tiny powerhouses that generate 90% of all the energy we need to function

Think of the enemy soldiers in the castle burning 90% of all the food you have to feed your kingdom. Ultimately your soldiers and people run out of food and the kingdom starts falling

Virtually all complications observed can be traced back to the deficiency in ACE2 as a result of the viral attack

All three steps listed above can be utilised to prevent transmission, yet few are currently explored. These steps for the virus to gain entry are discussed in more detail in Dr Leo Galland MD's Coronavirus Guidebook

There are many steps that we can take to strength our defences by ourselves, without the use of drugs or medical intervention

In fact there are no drugs to support mitochondrial rescue following COVID-19 infection, which are the vital energy generators in our cells. Rescue can only be done with supplementation

The top 10 preventative steps as advised by Dr Leo Galland MD are summarised below. Please refer to his detailed presentations at the top of his page to learn more about long COVID and preventative steps you can take. This will be summarised in the next blog

How to strengthen your defences to viruses

These steps are broken down in order of importance and cost, focusing on the most important, lowest cost steps first

Step 1 - Make an informed choice about whether mRNA vaccination will help or hurt you


Since this blog was first written the overwhelming evidence, published in October 2022, outlines that the risk of vaccination with the mRNA vaccine far outweighs the benefit you will receive

This is outlined in Dr Aseem Malhotra's interview on DoubleDownNews here

Be informed about the decisions you are taking with regarding vaccination for your short and long-term health

Step 2 - Optimise your sleep

It's really important to strengthen your immune system army to allow them to be prepared for any attack. This starts by ensuring they get enough rest to fight the battle. Your body and mind need sleep to ensure its immune system - its soldiers are rested and replenished

Focus on achieving regular hours of sleep and sleep activity, going to bed and getting up at the same time to support your circadian rhythm and allowing your brain the time to clean itself of toxins and replenish itself

When Dr Ruth caught COVID the priority was getting enough sleep to allow her immune system soldiers to fight the battle. Make this a priority before the battle commences so your soldiers are well rested and ready to fight hard

Step 3 - Eat a whole food, plant based diet that strengthens your defences

A very well controlled study was undertaken in six different countries of health professionals, looking at those that had recovered from COVID-19. Reviewing the diets in the year preceding COVID they found a 40% increase in vegetable consumption created a 70% reduction in risk of moderate to severe infection

If this 70% reduction in severity was the outcome of a new drug, everyone would be talking about it and taking it

Diet had no effect in who tested positive, or got sick, but had a dramatic effect on how sick people were. Those that experienced the least sickness were more likely to use beans, nuts and seeds for sources of protein as apposed to meat. This anti-inflammatory diet also enhances ACE2

A nutritional plan with the strongest anti-inflammatory effects is a whole foods, plant based diet

Eat whole food, minimal processed foods, increasing your vegetable consumption. Your diet needs to focus on high fibre to feed your gut microbiome to support your immune system and produce butyric acid, which has anti-inflammatory and protective effects on the brain

Food that contain polyphenols - in particular flavanoids or bioflavanoids reduce inflammation and enhance ACE2 activity and build up your castle walls with a coating that reduces the opportunity for the enemy to hold onto the walls and gain access to the castle gate

The top ten foods that contain flavanoids are berries, red cabbage, onions, kale (go organic), parsley, tea, red grapes, dark chocolate (aim for no sugar, high chocolate content), citrus fruits and soybeans

In essence focus on eating from the rainbow

This step is the equivalent of feeding your soldiers the right nutrients to enable them to fight effectively and building your castle defences

You wouldn't build an army and then not feed them. You wouldn't build an army and then allow them to get drunk every night before battle. They would be completely ineffective when it came to fighting

Rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, spearmint and lemon balm used to make a tea are good sources of rosmarinic acid, a natural promoter of ACE2 activity.

Avoid foods made with high fructose corn syrup, alcohol that depletes the good bugs in your gut microbiome and sugar and sweeteners that feed the bad bugs in your gut, increasing the risk of leaky gut and depleting your immune system

As it's almost impossible to get the right level of nutrients in our body through food, we recommend also supplementing with a high quality multi-vitamin, such as Neurovite Plus by BrainMD

In the context of COVID the primary focus is increase vegetable consumption, focusing on a whole food, non-processed food diet

Step 4 - Do intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting of 12-16hrs between the last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day has been shown to raise and enhance ACE2 levels. In essence allow a period of at least 12hours of no food or snacks between meals

This step is the equivalent of enhancing your gate security 24/7

Step 5 - Move daily

Starting with walking, aiming to walk like you're late for 30mins every day. Start with doing whatever is comfortable - if you have to rest the next day you have done too much. You should be able to walk every day

If you are unable to walk or walk easily, consider using resistance band exercises lying down. If can’t walk easily, lie on back and use resistance bands to exercise legs to build strength and stamina. A recommended resource is

This step is the equivalent of exercising your soldiers so they have more stamina for the fight and so can fight harder and longer

Step 6 - Optimise your Vitamin D levels

Studies have found the mortality rate of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 is inversely proportional to the blood level of vitamin D. In essence the lower your vitamin D levels, the higher your risk of mortality

Start supplementing with vitamin D before any symptoms begin, particularly in the winter months. This applies for both adults and children

Many of our clients are deficient in vitamin D. Irrespective of what outdoor activity you do, during the autumn and winter months from October to May in the northern hemisphere, you will not get enough vitamin D through the skin to meet your daily needs

If you wish to optimise your levels and boost your immune system, use a daily supplement. You can get your Vitamin D levels checked at low cost using the trusted provider OmegaQuant. Use the code RuthMaryAllan at checkout to get 5% off

In the context of COVID, the recommended Vitamin D dose by Dr Galland MD for adults is 2000-6000IU/day. A daily dose of 400IU/day is considered safe for babies. This equates to 10micrograms. According to the NHS 400IU/day - 1000IU/day can be taken for children aged 1month to 18 years

Focus on supplementing with Vitamin D3 which is more affectively absorbed

Step 7 - Optimise your Omega-3 levels

Studies have shown that those taking Omega3 have had better outcomes than those who don’t. Omega-3 raises the peptide hormone apelin, which enhances the effects of ACE2 and ACE2 levels. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and beneficial effects on the brain

Omega-3s are incredibly important for brain development, irrespective of age. DHA is particularly important for children and studies have shown low levels affects a child's ability to concentrate and learn

The active ingredients in Omega-3 is EPA and DHA. Dose is very important. For adults Dr Galland MD recommends aiming for 1200mg to 2000mgs/day with food for children and adults from the age of 4 and upwards

Current recommendations are often too low to be of any benefit. Focus on optimising your Omega-3 index

Many of our clients are deficient in Omega-3, which can be verified through an Omega-3 index test using the trusted provider OmegaQuant. Use the code RuthMaryAllan at checkout to get 5% off

Our clients that have increased their Omega-3 levels and sought to optimise them have noticed a reduction in physical pain and improved mood

Please consult with your practitioner or connect with us if you have any brain health struggles to ensure you optimise your EPA/DHA balance for your brain type

Aim for high quality Omega-3 supplements, such as Omega-3 Power by Brain MD as many of the 'shop bought' supplements contain insufficient Omega-3 levels to be of value and can also be loaded with toxins

This step is the equivalent of strengthening the castle door locks to avoid entry into the vital food store within the castle walls, and reducing the impact of step 3 of the virus gaining entry into your cells

Step 8 - Take a daily Curcumin supplement

Curcumin is found in turmeric. It has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It prevents scarring of the lungs and has also been shown to prevent the virus spike protein from attaching to ACE-2, the cellular receptor

For adults, Dr Galland MD recommends taking 750-1000mg/day with food. It is best to take liposomal form

This step is the equivalent to preventing the enemy from putting their key in the castle door lock (preventing step 2 of the virus gaining entry into your cells)

Step 9 - Take a daily Resveratrol supplement

Resveratrol is well documented as having anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing effects. It enhances ACE2 and ACE2 acuity

For adults Dr Galland MD recommends taking 150mg once or twice a day with food

This step is the equivalent of enhancing the locks (reducing the impact of step 3 of the virus gaining entry into your cells)

Step 10 - Take a daily Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) supplement

Alpha Lipoic Acid acts as an anti-oxidant that enhances ACE2 activity. It also enhances effect of Omega-3 fats in protecting the brain. Inflammation has negative effect on ACE2 and causes ACE2 to be shed from cells so it becomes much less active. This impact of inflammation can be reduced with ALA

For adults Dr Galland MD recommends taking 600mg per day - i.e. 300mg twice a day with food)

Further support

If you are struggling with the physical and / or psychological impact of COVID, we are here to support you. Much like functional medicine, we take an integrated approach to supporting our clients achieve optimal brain and whole body health, with reach back to medical specialists.

To arrange a FREE 15minute consultation please contact us.

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This blog is for educational purposes only. For professional advice specific to your needs, please connect with us or consult with your primary care doctor. 

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