A strict Candida elimination diet is no easy task to begin with, but it can be made even harder by something called Candida Die-Off. The point when the die-off symptoms kick in is the time when many people prematurely abandon their Candida diet, so its important to be prepared.
When 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.
Acetaldehyde in particular has a whole host of detrimental effects on your health and wellbeing. It can impair your brain function and even kill brain cells. Your endocrine, immune and respiratory systems can all be affected, and it also damages the membranes of your red blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen round the body. Again this directly affects your brain, so you can see how acetaldehyde is linked to Candida symptoms like brain fog and fatigue. These by-products also cause allergic reactions and inflammation that lead to an array of undesirable symptoms.
Candida 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, slow down your treatment and reduce your dosage of probiotics and antifungals. The liver is your main pathway for eliminating toxins, and the Die-Off symptoms mean that it is being overwhelmed.
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
The Die-Off, or Herxheimer reaction, has been documented in research on antifungals. One 1980 study (see here) of the commercial antifungal Nystatin found the following:
“One phenomenon deserving emphasis is seen occasionally when therapy is initiated. It suggests the Herxheimer reaction … The reaction is usually limited to a flu-like syndrome of mild generalized aching and lowgrade fever, but may also encompass an exacerbation of the patient’s allergic manifestations.”
Coping with Candida Die-Off
These symptoms normally clear up within a week or so, but could last a little longer. However, there are a few things you can do to slow down this reaction or expel the toxins faster.
- Take a supplement like Candidate, Molybdenum or Milk Thistle to help your liver expel the toxins.
Molybdenum in particular is very useful for those suffering from Die-Off. It converts the neurotoxin acetaldehyde into acetic acid, which is then expelled by your body or even converted into helpful digestive enzymes.
- Cut back or temporarily discontinue antifungal supplements.
Antifungals work by breaking down the walls of the Candida yeast cells, which then release the many toxins that the Candida has 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.
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 the 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. 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.
For more information on choosing a detox supplement and reducing your Candida symptoms, take a look at my Ultimate Candida Diet treatment program.