Do you find that sometimes when you change your diet – eating healthier food like kimchi, tempeh or drinking probiotics drinks like water kefir or kombucha, you experience headaches, diarrhea, rashes or even nausea?
Then you would be wondering to yourself, why were you feeling unwell when you were supposed to be eating more healthily? Then you stopped your new health regime and slipped back into eating processed and sugar laden food?
Well, DON’T! Because you may be experiencing Candida Die-off effects and it is temporary. So, WHAT is Candida Die-off?
What is Candida Die-off?
If your gut health isn’t optimal, sometimes when you first start consuming probiotics food like milk kefir, kombucha or other fermented food, you may experience the “Candida Die-Off”. This happens when you introduce probiotics into your body and yeast cells are rapidly killed, a die-off (or Herxheimer reaction) occurs and metabolic by-products are released into the body.
The Candida yeast cells actually release 79 different toxins when they die, including ethanol and acetaldehyde. These toxins cause allergic reactions and inflammation that lead to an array of undesirable symptoms.
Die-Off symptoms will vary from person to person, as each will have different degrees of infestation. If you are having severe Die-Off symptoms, reduce your dosage of probiotics. The liver is your main pathway for eliminating toxins, and the Die-Off symptoms mean that it is being overwhelmed.
When will you experience Candida Die-Off ?You will usually experience Candida Die-Off when you change your lifestyle :
- Switching from processed food to a real food diet (starving the pathogens to death)
- Starting or increasing probiotics dosage through food or supplements (increasing the number of good soldiers which eventually overwhelms the pathogens)
- Starting or increasing dosage of antiparasitic, anti-yeast or antibiotic (death of pathogens by bombing)
What are the Die-Off Symptoms?Here is a list of some of the symptoms you might experience during a die-off (otherwise known as a Herxheimer reaction).
- Headache, fatigue, dizziness
- Swollen glands
- Bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea
- Increased joint or muscle pain
- Elevated heart rate
- Chills, cold feeling in your extremities
- Body itchiness, hives or rashes
- Skin breakouts
- Recurring vaginal, prostate and sinus infections
How do you cope with Die-Off effect?These symptoms normally clear up within a week or so, but could last a little longer (so hang in there). However, there are a few things you can do to slow down this reaction or expel the toxins faster.
- Reduce your dosage of probiotics.
- Increase water intake to flush out the toxins faster.
If you want to feel better, all those byproducts that are released by the Candida yeast need to leave your body. You can give them a push by drinking more water.
4 Common Body Reactions Which may not be Due to Candida Die-off
However, the following 4 body reactions may not be due to Candida Die-Off.
1. You started on a new food and your symptoms worsened. So you tell yourself “Die-off usually happens when I add new food to my diet.”
Die-off usually happens during the initial stage of switching to a new diet e.g. SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) or Paleo (Caveman) diet. However, if you have been on the new diet for a few weeks and you suddenly develop symptoms when you add a new food, then it may be a sign that your body is indicating to you that something is not quite right.
You may have introduced the new food too fast and too much to your body and your body is not ready to handle the dosage or frequency. Therefore, you will need to start off the new food on a small dosage so that your body can adapt to it.
2. You suddenly develop symptoms out of nowhere but you have not introduced any change to your diet.
This is definitely not a sudden die-off experience. If you have not altered your diet, then your body is sending you a signal that you have underlying health problems that you need to fix. It is advised that you consult your medical practitioner to conduct some tests to determine the root of the problem.
3. You started on a new supplement and suddenly you feel worse.
Well, this is not a die-off effect. If you have not added an anti-parasitic, anti-yeast or antibacterial agent, then you are experiencing a reaction to the supplement. The reaction may be caused by fillers in the supplement, the substance itself or even the dosage amount. You may want to look into the substance in the supplement and stop taking it if you feel that the symptoms are getting worse.
4. You feel that you have a lot of pathogens (Candida, Parasites, Bacteria etc) in your body, thus you get die-off often.
If you are constantly varying your antiparasitic, anti-fungal or antibiotic dosages, then you MAY be getting die-off more often. Usually this should be done on the advice of your medical practitioner.
However, if you are not doing the above, then your body is sending you a signal that :
- What you are trying to kill, is very much well and alive. One fine example is parasites. Parasites have different life cycles and they can lay dormant before springing back to life and thus, triggering the symptoms all over again.
- Good news! You have killed or suppressed the bad stuff. BUT, you have not dialed in to your new diet and supplements and thus are reacting to them.
- You may be experiencing a secondary infection. This is because your immune system has been compromised when you were combating the first infection. So you may have picked up several kinds of bugs.
In the above 3 cases, you are not experiencing a die-off, but a reaction to the underlying health problems.
Candida die-off is not a straightforward subject. Take the cue from your body, by listening to it and interpreting the subtle clues given.
Meanwhile, it never hurts to eat real food (not processed food), especially probiotic food like kefirs and kombucha which put good soldiers in your body to combat the pathogens.