You are sick and tired of being sick and tired, so you do a total diet clean up. You have heard how wonderful everyone feels when they cut the sugar, gluten, processed foods and other inflammatory foods. So, you throw all the bad foods in the garbage. but after a short time on a clean diet, you are the one who feels like garbage. You wonder if a clean diet is unhealthy for your body, but someone says it’s just die-off. You’re left wondering, “What are die-off symptoms and why do I feel worse?”

This happens a lot and my best advice is to push through. What you’re feeling is normal and you will feel better after a certain amount of time. Many people have an overgrowth of yeast and bad bacteria from crappy foods. When they clean up their diet, they experience a wide range of symptoms and the symptoms can vary based on the individual. This happens during a detox and many people will feel worse before they feel better.

Some common die-off symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Rash or skin flare ups
  • Bloating and gas
  • Nausea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dizziness

Die-off and the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction

These common die-off symptoms happen because of Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction. This reaction was first noted separately by the namesake dermatologists in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. They noticed that patients who receive penicillin for syphilis had lesions that became worse before they got better along with other symptoms.

Why would patient’s symptoms get worse before they get better when they are being treated? It is because of endotoxins that are in the bacteria that are released when the bacteria die-off. This reaction can happen in the body whenever there is a large increase in die-off of pathogens, parasites and bacteria. That’s why many people experience common die-off symptoms when they are treating an infection or when they are actually eating healthier.

How Long Do Die-off Symptoms Last?

How long do the die-off symptoms last? Everyone is different and every pathogen is different. It’s normal for candida die-off or detox symptoms to last a few days to a week. If you are fighting a bacteria or pathogen you should talk to your doctor about your die-off symptoms.
While they might be normal, they are still uncomfortable so it’s helpful to know some tips on reducing die-off symptoms.

Reducing Die-off Symptoms

We most often here about patients experiencing die-off symptoms when they are detoxing, starting a clean diet, fighting candida or clearing an infection. They want to know what can help in reducing die-off symptoms. It can be very frustrating to feel worse before you feel better. I know it seems wrong that your efforts are rewarded with feeling crappier, but it is worth it when you get the benefits.

Trust me. I have been there, and I know it stinks (sometimes literally, especially when diarrhea and gas are some of the die-off symptoms). It will help to know that it is normal and there are ways to make yourself more comfortable by reducing die-off symptoms.

  1. Drink plenty of water – To help your kidneys flush out those toxins drink 1-2 cups of water an hour.
  2. Enjoy the sauna – Sweat out those toxins in a sauna or even a hot shower. There are so many benefits to a sauna and it will make you feel better.
  3. Get a massage – A massage will move all those toxins to the lymphatic system then the next stop will be the kidneys. So, drink enough water to help those toxins move out.
  4. Epsom salt baths – A nice, long soak will pull toxins and it will help you relax. It will also help keep things moving (I mean bowels) because your skin absorbs the magnesium from the Epsom salt very easily. Which, coincidentally, leads us to our next tip!
  5. Keep Things Moving – We have to talk about poop. It’s one of the ways your body gets rid of toxins so make sure you are pooping regularly. Take a quality magnesium supplement, eat lots of fibrous foods, and try an enema.
  6. Reduce your stress – Stress is so bad for your health and now is the time to take care of yourself. We have some tips for reducing stress.
  7. Reduce exposure to other toxins – Modern-day conveniences mean we are exposed to more toxins than ever. Check your personal care products, cleaning supplies, and other products for potential toxin exposure. Also, make sure you’re eating organic foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides.
  8. Rest and take it easy – Your body heals when you are sleeping. If you’re skimping on the sleep, then you’re skimping on the healing.

Die-off Symptoms are the Worst but It Gets Better

Die-off symptoms can be alarming and uncomfortable, but they are normal. They are also part of the healing process. How long were you sick and tired of being sick and tired before you made a change? It probably was a long time. You have to give your body time to heal when it has been sick for a long time. Many people experience more energy, clearer thinking, lower inflammation and less pain after they start eating a cleaner diet. Remember why you started this journey. It was time for a change.

Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn