• LaurenWallace

What Is Candida Die Off? 6 Ways to Manage Symptoms

Updated: 3 days ago

By Jillian Levy, CHHC

April 25, 2019

Original article and page source found here.

If you recently cleaned up your diet, gave up alcohol or went gluten-free and now you unexpectedly find yourself feeling worse than you did before, then you might be experiencing symptoms of “candida die off.” Many people describe candida die off symptoms — which can include headaches, brain fog, nausea and more — as being “flu like,” or similar to seasonal allergies, because they can leave you feeling downright exhausted and crummy.

Another name for candida die off is “herxheimer reaction” (or Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction), which is a negative reaction to endotoxin-like products that are released by the death of harmful microorganisms living in the body. What are endotoxins? They are toxins found inside bacterial cells that are released when a cell disintegrates. They cause the immune system to increase autoimmune responses and inflammation and can therefore contribute to a number of symptoms and even diseases.

You’re probably wondering: how long does a herxheimer reaction last? And what can you do to help manage symptoms? Below, we’ll cover a typical candida die off timeline you can expect, as well as natural ways to make symptoms more bearable.

What Is Candida Die Off?

Before diving into the details about how to treat candida die off, let’s start with the basics: what candida is and why candida overgrowth occurs.

  • Candida is a type of fungus that is normally found in a healthy human body in small amounts because it aids with nutrient absorption and digestion.

  • When candida overproduces, though, a candida fungal infection (also called candidiasis) can develop in a number of locations throughout the body, including the mouth, ears, nose, toenails, fingernails, gastrointestinal tract and vagina. This fungal infection is commonly just called “candida” and can affect both women and men. However, it is often misdiagnosed or never diagnosed at all.

  • Candida symptoms can include exhaustion, cravings for sweets, bad breath, a white coat on tongue, brain fog, hormone imbalances and more.

How do you kill candida? One way is to follow a candida diet plan, which is a low-sugar, yeast-free diet that helps “starve” candida fungus. A candida diet can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to be effective. Can candida be cured forever? It’s possible for candida overgrowth to return if someone resorts back to the diet and lifestyle that caused an overgrowth in the first place.

Why does candida die off occur?

While getting candida under control is very important for long-term health, rapidly killing off candida in your body creates a metabolic reaction that releases over 70 different toxins. This is responsible for the uncomfortable candida die off effect, which, unfortunately, means your candida symptoms (and others) may get worse before they get better.

When you experience candida die off, this is a sign that your body is temporarily inflamed, including your liver, adrenals, kidneys and other organs/glands. Metabolites like the neurotoxin called acetaldehyde or gliotoxin, as well as proteins and inflammatory cytokines (like tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 ) are circulating in your system, which causes you to feel “off.” The same type of herxheimer reaction can also occur when treating conditions like Lyme’s disease, some infections and other yeast infections.

You’re most susceptible to experiencing candida die off symptoms if any of these situations below apply to you:

  • You’ve recently given up foods like sugar, dairy and gluten, especially if you go “cold turkey” and eliminate them basically overnight

  • You recently started an elimination diet

  • You are doing “Whole30” or another AIP diet/elimination diet/cleanse/detox-type diet that you dive right into

  • You are avoiding alcohol, especially if you used to be a moderate or heavy drinker

  • You are taking medications such as anti-fungals or antibiotics, which affect your gut microbiome

Candida Die Off Timeline

When does candida die off start? Symptoms of candida die off can emerge within several days or weeks of you making dietary changes, or taking certain supplements/medications.

How long does candida die off last? Candida die off symptoms usually clear up in three to 10 days. After symptoms have started, within just a few weeks, you should notice an increase in energy and focus, as well as relief from other symptoms, as endotoxins are cleared from the body.

Die Off Symptoms

The most common candida die off symptoms include:

  • Impaired brain function

  • Headache

  • Digestive issues like bloating, gas, constipation, nausea and changes in bowel movements

  • Fatigue

  • Irritability and anxiety

  • Dizziness

  • Sweating and fever

  • Sinus infection, stuffy nose and sore throat

  • Skin breakouts (not limited to face), skin rash and itching

  • Insomnia

  • Chills and aches

  • Swollen glands

  • Soreness near your liver/abdomen

6 Ways to Manage Candida Die Off

1. Make Diet Changes Gradually

While making the switch to a clean, healthy eating plan is no doubt a smart move, you may be better off making changes gradually rather than suddenly starting an extreme detox diet or cleanse. Some practitioners who treat candida recommend gradually transitioning to a diet that includes less sugar and fewer carbs each day, rather than suddenly going sugar and grain-free.

If you’re taking a high-dose probiotic or antifungal, you may want to try reducing your dosage to help lower the amount of toxins being released into your body.