People start a food elimination diet for a variety of reasons:
- To identify food sensitivities or allergies
- Cleanse and detoxify bacteria or fungus overgrowth
- To lose weight
The typical things people eliminate from their diet are: gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, processed and “fast” food, sugar and alcohol.
There is a common reaction that occurs when first beginning this type of program, that everyone should know about so it doesn’t throw you off.
What are “Die-Off” Symptoms?
The reaction is known as “die-off” symptoms, or the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction.
Antifungal and antibacterial supplements will enhance die-off symptoms by promoting the death of bacteria, yeast and fungus cells. The dying cells then release “endotoxins” into the bloodstream. The body immediately goes to work on removing these substances, or detoxifying them. However, it is common for the endotoxin release to occur faster than the body can remove them, flooding the bloodstream with more toxins.
The effect of this toxin tsunami is that it can make you feel a lot worse before you start to feel better. Many people experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches, body aches, gastro-intestinal issues, and/or if you’re dealing with a chronic disease, a worsening of your existing symptoms.
Be aware that die-off symptoms, if they occur, are a sign that things are on the right track; toxins are being removed from your bloodstream and the various systems in your body are undergoing serious detoxification.
Other things to keep in mind during your elimination diet:
- Stay hydrated – drink one-half your body weight in ounces of water and tea every day. Proper hydration ensures fluids are available to flush and remove toxins.
- Move your bowels at least once a day. Regular bowel movements are a critical aspect to detoxification and removing toxins from the body.
- Get a good nights’ sleep every night. The majority of the detoxification process occurs at night while we sleep.
- Take your supplements consistently and regularly. If your healthcare provider has recommended supplements to support detoxification and cleansing, be sure to take them regularly to support these processes.
Die-off symptoms are not a “given”, but they occur frequently. Typically they last anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks. Whatever your experience is, be optimistic, stick to your diet plan, and be assured that things are progressing as they should.
Wishing you health and happiness!
Note: This information is provided as a resource and for educational purposes only. These recommendations are not intended as a substitute for consulting a physician or licensed healthcare practitioner. Individuals dealing with a serious or chronic health issue should consult with your doctor before beginning a nutritional program, taking supplements, discontinuing medications or eliminating foods from your daily diet. This information is not intended to replace medical advice from your doctor or to diagnose any health condition.
Boroch, A. (revised 2014). The Candida Cure. Los Angeles, CA: Quintessential Healing Publishing, Inc.
Lipski, E. (2012). Digestive Wellness. 4th Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill