What is Candida Die-Off?

Starting any kind of new way of eating (aka a new diet) or adding premium quality supplements that have highly absorbed probiotics will likely involve some big changes in your lifestyle, but it can be made much more difficult by "detoxing", otherwise known as Candida Die-Off.

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This is particularly important because die-off symptoms are one of the biggest reasons why people prematurely abandon their nutritional lifestyle changes. Being prepared will help you to avoid this ‘bump’ in your new lifestyle when you are prepared for these symptoms and understand that detox symptoms can actually be a good thing. 

What is Candida Die-Off? 

This term was coined to describe what Karl Herxheimer saw when he administered drugs to patients. The reaction is thought to happen when toxins from dying pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites, candida, etc.) overwhelm the body’s abilities to clear them out.  The liver is your main pathway for eliminating toxins, and the Die-Off symptoms mean that it is being overwhelmed.

Candida is a type of fungus that can grow out of control. It tends to flourish in people with Adrenal Fatigue. Stress, which is associated with Adrenal Fatigue, can precipitate an outbreak of candida or make an existing outbreak worse.

This may sound counter-intuitive, but most chronic candida sufferers have a common history of previous multiple antibiotic therapy, naturally or otherwise.

Die-Off Symptoms

The symptoms of Candida Die-Off are sometimes compared to those of a common cold or seasonal allergies, but can be quite different from person by person. The toxic byproducts of Candida tend to cause inflammation, which can lead to a stuffy nose, blocked sinuses, and other allergy-like symptoms.

Metabolites like the neurotoxin acetaldehyde can also cause symptoms like brain fog, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Remember that these toxins are stressing your liver too, so having a sore abdomen (especially in the liver region) is also possible. 

Here are a few of the symptoms you might experience during a Die-Off reaction (otherwise known as a Herxheimer reaction).   

  • Nausea
  • Muscle Aches
  • Headache, fatigue, dizziness
  • Brain Fog
  • 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
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Skin breakouts
  • Excess Mucus Production
  • Recurring vaginal, prostate and sinus infections

These symptoms are often reported by many to feel very flu-like or cold-like. Your whole body is generally sluggish and it usually feels as if your body is working harder – almost fighting something.

What Causes Candida Die-Off?

To cause a die-off reaction, you need to actually make a very substantial change to your treatment plan. Because, remember, die-off is a situation in which the toxins in your body overwhelm the natural ability to clear them.   

The changes that might cause die-off are usually:

  • Switching from processed food to a real food diet (death of pathogens by starving)
  • Starting or increasing probiotic dosage (death of pathogens by good soldiers)
  • Starting or increasing dosage of antiparasitic, anti-yeast or antibiotic (death of pathogens by bombing)

In each of these scenarios, the change in treatment will cause substantial changes in gut flora and knock out a big portion of the bad guys. When that happens, they release toxins that need to be excreted by the body.  

If you begin a supplement with probiotics and begin experiencing Candida Die-Off, it is most likely due to the sudden influx of the "good soldiers" in your system.

As the environment for candida becomes less hospitable, the yeast will find it increasingly difficult to survive and begin dying off in great numbers. This leads to unpleasant symptoms, often causing people to give up on their new lifestyle changes or supplement regimen: it starts working, but as the candida dies, it produces toxic by-products, making you feel temporarily worse.

Symptoms differ from one person to another and can be worse in people who also have Adrenal Fatigue. Because the liver is often functioning at a sub-optimal level, this central organ of elimination is unprepared for the increased toxins. The liver is one of the most important organs that metabolizes and processes toxins.

Because those who suffer from Adrenal Fatigue tend to have congested livers that are working at capacity already, adding more toxins might push the body over the edge and cause the candida die off symptoms.  

Coping With Candida Die-Off

 These symptoms normally clear up within a week or so, but could last a little longer.  

There are a few things you can do to diminish this reaction, expel the toxins more quickly, and get back on track.

  • Take a liver-supportive supplement like molybdenum (found in premium lifestyle mix drinks) or milk thistle to help your liver process and expel the Candida toxins.
    Molybdenum in particular is very useful for those suffering from Die-Off. It is needed for your body to produce enzymes that convert the neurotoxin acetaldehyde into acetic acid, which is then expelled by your body or even converted into harmless acetic acid. Acetaldehyde toxicity can be a major source of unpleasant symptoms, so molybdenum supplementation can be very effective.
  • Cut back on your supplements
    Do not stop them, as you'll have to start the whole process all over again.
    Most antifungals work by breaking down the walls of the Candida yeast cells, which then release the many toxins that the Candida colonies have been producing. Reducing your antifungal dosage will cut down the amount of toxins being released into your bloodstream. When you feel better, you can start to increase it again.
  • Reduce your dosage of probiotics.
    Do not stop them, as you'll have to start the whole process all over again. 
    A course of good probiotics will repopulate your gut, crowd out the Candida, restore your stomach acidity, and boost your immune system. Probiotics are less likely than antifungals to cause Die-Off, but if you start to experience increased symptoms you can temporarily reduce your dosage.
  • 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.
  • Slow down and rest as much as possible.
    Stress can weaken your adrenals and reduce your body’s ability to fight pathogens like a fungal infection. And a Die-Off reaction will only increase the physiological and emotional stress that you are facing. Relaxing and taking some personal time will help your immune system to do what it was designed to do.
  • Try some alternative detox methods like skin brushing, saunas, or contrast showers.
    Most of these treatments are designed to increase your circulatory and lymphatic systems. They help you to expel the toxins that the dying Candida cells have released.
  • Take 1000 mg of Vitamin C twice daily.
    This multi-purpose vitamin boosts your adrenals and helps restore your immune system to health.