The Herxheimer Reaction aka Healing response
A strict elimination diet is no easy task to begin with, but it can be made even harder by something called The Herxheimer Reaction. When yeast cells, bacteria and viruses are rapidly killed, a Healing Response (or Herxheimer reaction) occurs and metabolic by-products are released into the body. For example, candida yeast cells can release 79 different toxins when they die, including ethanol and acetaldehyde. The point when the healing symptoms kick in is the time when many people prematurely abandon their elimination diet so it’s important to be prepared.
Acetaldehyde in particular has multiple 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. It also damages the membranes of your red blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen around 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.
Healing response symptoms will vary from person to person as everyone will have different degrees of infestation. If you are having severe healing response symptoms slow down your treatment and reduce your dosage of probiotics and antifungals. Your liver is the main pathway for eliminating toxins and the Die-Off symptoms mean that it is being overwhelmed.
Healing Response Symptoms
Here is a list of some of the symptoms you might experience during a healing response (otherwise known as a Herxheimer reaction).
· Flu-like symptoms
· 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
Coping with a Healing Response
These symptoms normally clear up within a a few hours to a few days, 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 fermented foods.
A course of good fermented foods will repopulate your gut, crowd out the Candida, restore your stomach acidity and boost your immune system. Fermented foods 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 detoxification 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.