5 Die-Off Myths Everyone Needs to Know About

by Steven Wright

5 die-off myths exposed

Here’s a recent question from Jake about die-off myths:

“I’ve made great progress on the diet, 7 weeks ago I was moody, tired and my bowel movements were all over the map. Almost every area of my life is better, but I’m just not happy yet, I feel like I can’t get over the hump. Every other week I hit a couple day stretch where I feel awful, what is causing this die-off and when is it going to end?”

It could be die-off, but I’ve noticed a recent trend that must be corrected. Just because your symptoms get worse doesn’t mean that you’re having die-off. Most times, simply your symptoms got worse. Some call it a setback or flare, but in general it’s a reaction to something you’ve changed in your treatment plan or a failure to change something.

I’m sure that last statement was confusing for some, so let me break it down for you. You can have reactions from changes like:

  • Altering the dosage of drugs
  • Altering supplements
  • Trying new foods
  • Lifestyle events, changes and toxin exposures
  • And you can have a reaction from the inflammation in your body getting to the point at which it starts to affect you

But first, let’s talk about die-off. In this article, we stated that die-off unusually lasts 3-7 days, which is true but that doesn’t mean that any worsening of symptoms or reaction that lasts 3-7 days is a die-off event.

What Is Die-Off Then??

Die-off is shorthand for a Herxheimer reaction (Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction). This term was coined to describe what Karl Herxheimer saw when he administrated drugs to patients. The reaction is thought to happen when toxins from dying pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites, candida, etc.) overwhelm the body’s abilities to clear them out.

This creates a toxic state in the body which produces symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Muscle Aches
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Skin Rashes
  • Excess Mucus Production
  • Brain Fog
  • Increased GI Problems (diarrhea, constipation, etc.)

These symptoms are often reported by many to feel very flu-like or cold-like. Your whole body is generally sluggish and it usually feels as if your body is working harder – almost fighting something.

Why spend so much time on what’s really going on?

Because I hear the term die-off being thrown around way too much these days in situations that are unlikely to actually be die-off. And that’s important because making the correct change for your health is dependent upon the interpretation of what your body is actually trying to tell you.

What Really Causes Die-off?

There seems to be some confusion as to what might actually cause die-off. It’s led to us receiving several emails each week, like:

“I added broccoli and got an immediate die-off.”

“I upped my fat and now I’m having several days of die-off.”

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I know your body better than you do. But I am going to set the record straight on what is likely going on here.

To cause a die-off reaction, you need to actually make a very substantial change to your treatment plan. Because remember, die-off is a situation in which the toxins in your body overwhelm the natural ability to clear them.

The changes that might cause die-off are usually:

  • Switching from processed food to a real food diet (death of pathogens by starving)
  • Starting or increasing probiotic dosage (death of pathogens by good soldiers)
  • Starting or increasing dosage of antiparasitic, anti-yeast or antibiotic (death of pathogens by bombing)

In each of these scenarios, the change in treatment will cause substantial changes in gut flora and knock out a big portion of the bad guys. When that happens, they release toxins that need to be excreted by the body. So can you see how each of the major changes above actually causes a release of toxins?

Let’s look at another example:

Joanna adds avocado because she knows eating good fats could really help her health. Upon introduction, she starts getting an immediate increase in bowel movements from 2 to 5 a day. They are also looser than they’ve been in a long time. After checking around online she observes that this might just be die-off as a result of introducing more fat and a new food, so she continues eating them thinking that everything will get better soon if she could just push through this setback.

Can you see how she might think based on what she’s researched that she is making the correct choice for her health? Especially when she asks for help and hears back from people “oh don’t worry you’ll be fine, avocados are healthy it’s just temporary die-off.”  It’s likely all of us would keep pushing, never questioning whether or not it could be something else. However, if we thought this symptom change could mean a reaction, it would be easier to slow down or stop it altogether.

5 Die-off Myths You Need to Know About

I want to set the record straight with 5 very common comments we get that are not die-off.

MYTH 1: “I started [new supplement] and feel worse, I can’t believe I’m getting more die-off”

TRUTH: This is an unfortunate misinterpretation of what your body is trying to communicate. Unless you added an anti-parasitic, anti-yeast, or antibacterial agent, I can almost guarantee that what you are experiencing is a reaction to the supplement. This reaction can be caused by any number of reasons, like the fillers in the supplement, the substance itself, or even the dosage.

MYTH 2: “I added this new food and my symptoms got worse, die-off usually happens when I add new foods”

TRUTH:  Not likely. Die-off may have happened when you initially switched to eating SCD, GAPS, or Paleo but it’s not happening now that you’ve been eating this way for a few weeks. If when adding a new food your symptoms get worse, then this is a sign that your body is saying, “Hey! Hold on, something isn’t right about this.” The truth is you could have introduced too much of the food too fast and need to slow down a bit or maybe your body isn’t ready to handle it yet and you should try again in a few weeks.

MYTH 3: “Out of nowhere my symptoms got worse, this must be another round of die-off”

TRUTH: Nope, this is what I was referring to at the beginning of the post: the situation in which upon observing your journal and life you can’t see any specific changes but all of sudden you feel worse. This is not die-off out of the blue. You could have more underlying health problems to fix but if I had to guess it’s actually stress from your life that is overwhelming your body. In general, what it means is that you need rest and/or you’re having a reaction to your current lifestyle, treatment and thought patterns. Stress can be very harmful to our health if not managed regularly.

MYTH 4: “I started to get better on SCD then got worse, now I’m getting more die-off”

TRUTH: Not likely. What is likely is that you haven’t taken the time to customize your diet and test foods like the four horsemen of setbacks. If you’re still very new to SCD, GAPS or Paleo, stop eating all four right away and see what happens. You can always add them back in slowly. The other reaction that could be happening here is that your body is in bad need of a specific supplement and you haven’t figured out what it is yet.

MYTH 5: “I have X pathogen (Candida, Parasites, Bacteria etc.) therefore I get die-off often”

TRUTH: This one is tough, because you could get die-off more often if you were constantly varying your antiparasitic, anti-yeast or antibiotic dosages. But, I’m not aware of any protocols that call for this so I’m guessing you’re not doing it. So what does this actually mean? It’s a great signal from your body for three things. The first is that what you thought you killed or are killing is actually alive and doing fine. Parasites are the best example, as they have different life cycles and can lay dormant before springing back to life and triggering your symptoms all over again. The second is that you’ve killed or suppressed the bad bugs but you haven’t dialed in your diet and supplements and are now reacting to them. The third and most frustrating is that you actually have a secondary infection of some kind. It’s not very unusual that once your immune system is compromised that you could have picked up several kinds of bugs. In each of these last 3 cases what you’re experiencing is a reaction and not die-off.

Understanding the Different Kinds of Clues From Your Body

As you can see, die-off is a nuanced subject and not always straightforward. But hopefully this article has shown you where you might have been misinterpreting some clues that your body was giving to you.

Understanding these subtle clues is often the difference between feeling amazing and quickly switching to the next fad treatment before feeling really good. If you need more help listening to your body and understanding what the subtle clues are telling you, we’ve put together a troubleshooting package for you that has helped many of our readers before:

–>Digestion Troubleshooting Class

-Steve

About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy June 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm

how very helpful and informative! thank you thank you thank you!!!!

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Dave September 27, 2012 at 3:04 am

I think any discussion of SIBO die-off has to include a discussion of leaky gut. If your gut is leaky and you eat something that leaks, you can feel pretty bad in various ways, like you’re being poisoned by IV. That’s not die-off. That’s your immune system revving up and fighting the too-large chemicals that got through your leaky gut. The poisoning can feel a little different with each kind of food, and you can taste the food chemicals from the serum going into your saliva.

The above statements are guesses from experience and from gleaning. Am I right?

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Thomas October 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Hi Dave,
I wondered for a long time about the die-off not die off situation. One thing I know for sure and that is that my body is nearly breaking down suffering from either. I started with the SCD and wonder if there is a way to chelate the toxins released by the bacteria? Do you know if ” Molybdenum Amino Acid Chelate” will help? If so is it allowed on the SCD? Do you know any other way to chelate? I never suffered psychologically but started to get panic attacks and anxieties when food is activating the immune system or if die-off is hitting me. I really need a stabiliser and havent found anything yet.

thank you very much
Thomas

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cait October 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

How do you know if its die off or if its just the symptoms of candida (systemic) and sibo spreading? I am so confused because I battle constant gas, fatigue, weight loss, brain fog, exhaustion after doing so many things daily.

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Jordan Reasoner October 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Hi Cait, die off only lasts about 3-5 days, anything beyond that is a sign you need to keep tweaking. It could be on the four horsemen that you’re eating, or it could be an adrenal issue you need to get tested, etc.

It’s a sign that you need to keep testing… hang in there, I believe in you.

Jordan

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Vanessa November 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Hi
I have been on SCD since the beginning of August. I had minor die-off just after the intro diet, and since then I’ve been steadily feeling better and better until I was better than I’ve ever been before. About two weeks ago, I started feeling something like an infection coming on – swollen glands, very sore teeth, bleeding gums, sore ears and joints, and all over exhaustion. I haven’t introduced anything new, but I have been drinking stinging nettle tea and melissa tea, drinking swedish bitters every day, and been using a special detox cream on my skin. Could any/all of these things have triggered a die-off reaction? And should I be concerned that after nearly two weeks I feel terrible and I’m not sure what to do. Is it time for the doctor, or should I just tough it out.
Thanks!
Vanessa

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Jordan Reasoner November 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm

It could have been die-off, but it’s more likely either an infection or a latent parasite/bacterial infection that is revived.

I’d recommend you get this DNA/PCR test to make sure you don’t have any bad bugs inside: http://www.metametrix.com/test-menu/profiles/gastrointestinal-function/gi-effects-microbial-ecology

In good health,

Jordan

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Martin @ Leaky gut research January 9, 2013 at 11:37 pm

I am so glad you covered this, you can hear people attributing their food reactions to bacteria/candida die off all over the internet.

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Chris McGeragle January 13, 2013 at 11:06 pm

I am looking for some much needed help. I am a 40 y.o. male who has been fighting with digestive problems for years and no doctor has been able to find the root cause. I have been diagnosed with Leaky gut, depression, anxiety, brain fog, acne, skin rashes, severe constipation, chronic fatigue, IBS, hypothyroid, adrenal problems, Parasite unknown, high levels of saccromyces (yeast), muscle and weight loss, gluten and dairy intolerance. I can only eat GROUND TURKEY, BLACK BEANS and ROMAINE LETTUCE (that is it). I have been on this diet for over 3 years and it is killing me. I eat over 4000 calories a day and I can barely maintain my body weight at 180 lbs, I am 6′ 5″ and very thin. I dropped from 200 lbs. I would estimate my body fat easily under 6%. I use to be very muscular before this illness. I cannot change anything in my diet without a severe reaction of almost instant ance, bloating, headache, anger or mood changes, fatigue you name it. I have been to Stanford University, Mayo-clinic etc and no help. A doctor in L.A. found the unknown parasite and yeast fungi problem and tried to treat me for it, no change. I am just looking for someone to point me in the right direction of another M.D. or whatever I need to do before this gets the best of me.

Thanks for any help

Chris

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Steven Wright January 14, 2013 at 8:49 am

@Chris – We would love to help you out. We work with clients 1-on-1 and most of them are tough cases like you describe above. Email us at Jordanandsteve@scdlifestyle.com.

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Chris January 14, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Steve,

Thank you for getting back to me, I can use all the help I can get. The above E-mail address did not work. Is there another way I can get in touch with you.

Thanks
Chris

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Brad May 4, 2013 at 2:59 am

Google fermented foods and kefir. It saved a girls life who was unable to eat ANYTHING without throwing up. Now, after much fermented food intake, she is able to eat most everything and got back her healthy weight.

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Brad May 4, 2013 at 2:59 am

Google “Macrobiotic Diet” as well. Youre welcome.

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Pauline March 9, 2014 at 12:20 am

Hi Chris,
Your story sounds incredibly disheartening and I really hope my suggestions steer you in the right path. Have you ever had a heavy metals test done? The reason you may not be getting better is because of heavy metals in your tissues which is severely preventing your body from healing. Metal toxicity allows parasites and fungi to thrive in the body and severely weakening the immune system. Have you had metal fillings placed in your teeth or any root canals performed? Metal amalgams are notorious for causing mercury poisoning and root canals create a perfect environment for anaerobic bacteria to thrive thus eventually leading to systemic disease.

Please see an integrative doctor or naturopath who can do the proper testing and hopefully allow you to live more fulfilling, prosperous life. I wish you all the best in the quest for health and longevity.

Regards,
Pauline

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Todd March 9, 2014 at 11:31 am

Chris,
Your story sounds very similar to my own. I have only recently found the possible link between hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and leaky gut. Working now with a couple months worth of education, vs the garbage that is marketed to the public IE name brands for IBS, indegestion, gas, ect… most are garbage and the truth is if you just ate the right herbs and founds you would get the best of those items leaving the negatives behind. I hate public common knowledge at this point, truely a melting pot our humanity which I think is part the problem, we have forgotten our animal instincts.
What i have to say is this, I too have lossed weight. At one point worked out several times each week at which time I was using protein supplements “whey” mostly, as well as other supplements like creatine, L-Glutamine, and an array of others. I have heard that huge intake of protein can alter how your body interprets it and cause some sort of allergic reactions. I used roughly 1gram per pound of body weight for training, have heard this is far too much. I have had indigestion since age 12 waking up at night with heartburn, in my early 20’s I started on weights and supplements, not long after mid 20’s my symptoms of indigestion maintained by calcium carbonate at the time began to include gas and bloating, and sweating made its way in too, not sure if it has to do with nervousness from bloating and gas or other. Around that time I switched from tums taking too many times a day to proton pump inhibitor OTC as it was the new thing “big mistake” I think now that I find the need for acid in the gut and the issue that follow PPI’s, I now prefer an acid reducer in a crunch like Rantidine “Zantac” if I have uncontrollable break down and cry reflux which works intimidate unlike PPI which need to build up toxicity levels in your body first. It was around this time I ended up in the hospital for a thyroid issue “infection” I don’t recall the viral infection name but anitbiotics cleared it out after 10day trial. Symtoms since mid 20’s to now currently 32 have worsened “specially bloating, cramps and gas” indigestion I have learned to control by the wrong methods. Suddenly within the last year, I have worked toward educating myself to the natural way of things something should have done first off. What I do now is drink Kefir a fermented milk or sugar juice solution that is cultured with Kefir grain a bacteria that has many dozen probiotics that naturally occur in a healthy gut. This stuff is amazing! Try it if you have not. Like turkey it has Tryptophan in it which might work for you. Look into it and 5-htp amino acid. Try valerian root maybe. What I found interesting was that all the years I had gas bloating symptoms, even indigestion, and sweating; on the days I was sick with cold or flu for the most part my gut symptoms were gone. Weird! Being sick sometimes felt better that normal everyday life. I write this up to a bacterial imbalance within my body.

TRY KEFIR! Very digestible protein source, high in calcium and B vitamins. God send if you believe in a god otherwise it is just plain wonderful. I make my own at home :)

Other interesting thing, when drinking alcohol gas and bloating seem to be alleviated, is this yeast, protein to sugar transition, or state of mind not sure why, but tends to work temporarily while drunk, though the next day I pay for it. Recently I am looking at the possibility of hyperthyroidism and possibility of candida so I am using the Kefir for the gut with herbs like ginger, cannabis, licorice, ect.. and going to try milk thistle to clear my waste/detox for a period of time each month, while using marshmallow root to help my thyroid gland get under control. After i eat “usually lunch” also other meals but lunch at work is the big one, an hour to 4 after eating while digesting i get very bloated and gassy, anxiety and brain fog, and headache.

Over this whole experience I have found one thing is clear to me. Society has forgotten mother nature, and thinks they can create something better than what has nurtured us for our entire existence. Its no wonder things like cannabis are illegal, a different conversation all together. Look up endocannabinoid system or how the us government has put patents on THC and CBD in the mid 90’s. Why if they say has not medical use and should be illegal do they patent? Because they want your money, better stated they want to hold power over you. Don’t be fooled, the power is mother nature.

The “right” god is truly great!

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Lauren February 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Hi Guys,

I just bought your book and am two days into the intro diet. I have battled fatigue for years and have celiac. Other than the extreme fatigue and brain fog, I do not have any other symptoms. Two days into the intro diet I am so tired I can barely get through the day. Any advice? Im too tired to keep looking through the internet! So pathetic!

Thanks
Lauren

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Steven Wright February 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm

@Lauren – Hang in there the first 5 days are the hardest. Make sure you read chapter 3 in the eBook about eating enough calories that is a common mistake that adds to fatigue.

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bianca March 14, 2013 at 10:37 am

Moodswing, is that a die off symptom? I took bentonite and fiber for the first time and an hour later I was having mood swings. Two hours later, moods swings still persistnat, I took an additional dose of elimination herbs: blacknut hull, cloves, irish mosh, milk thistle, pau d’arco, woodwoorm herb. Obviously I started feeling worse. I took an epsom salt bath to try and rid some this feeling. I did feel a bit more relaxed. Today I’m feeling just as moody.

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Matt April 12, 2013 at 5:27 am

Great post. But what on earth is a “health engineer”? That sounds made-up.

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Jacques V May 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Hey guys,

I just want to start off by saying thank you for everything that you do for us in the SCD Lifestyle community.

I am currently undergoing a research study for fecal transplant for UC. I had my first fecal transplant today, but within about an hour and a half I started getting chills, and I feel the way I do when I have a cold with a headache.

Could that be die off?

Regards

Jacques V.

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Jen June 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Steven,
I have just come across your site while looking up die-off. I have started taking coconut oil and I am experiencing die-off, I am starting my second week of really bad flu/cold symptoms. I emailed Br. Bruce Fife who recommends and is pushing coconut oil, he said it could last weeks (at worst). As you think 7 days max for die-off maybe people are experiencing it for longer periods.

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Mojdeh June 21, 2013 at 11:24 am

Hi there,

Thanks for this informative post. I have a question that I was hoping you could explain to me. and let me apologize for my long post in advance, but I thought in order for you to be able to answer you might need to know a bit about my background! so here we go:

For the past 2,1/2 years I’ve been suffering from a lot of health problem which no GP or specialist could figure out what the source was! It started with lots of tremors and extreme weakness after a round of antibiotics I have for what was thought to be a sinus infection! after that my health just spiralled down with my symptoms changing frequently! to cut it short I’ve been suffering from lots of GI problems including huge amount gas, intense abdominal pains, nausea, extreme acid reflux, as well as fainting and light-headedness, brain fog, etc!

After doing a lot of tests with no answer I started seeing a naturopath and after trying a lot of different herbal formulas and supplements (some of which helped my constant nausea and some other symptoms to some extent), I finally did a comprehensive stool test and the results came back that I have a lot of “Blastocystis hominis” as well as potential Pathogenic “Klebsiella pneumoniae” . So, my naturopath got me started on a anti-parasitic, anti-microbial tincture (including black walnut, barberry, etc), as well as garlic pills and oil of oregano. A week after I started this medication I had a day that I had very intense body pain, headache and sore throat and then I felt unbelievably weak to the point that I had to be carried to my bed and couldn’t walk or talk any more! then I slept for 13 hrs straight (not waking up even once which never happens to me!) and when I woke up I had to go to bathroom 6-7 times and felt weak for the rest of the day. When I woke up the day after all the pain and weakness was gone and for about 16 days after I felt much better than I’ve felt in more than two years!! my abdominal pain was almost gone, I have no more bloating and I could eat without pain in a long time! … But then again last Friday (ie. 17 days after that first episode of what we thought was a severe die-off), I got so dizzy and almost fainted in the subway coming back home! then I started to sweat all over and I was again extremely weak with and intense headache for the rest of afternoon! I was feeling better for two days after that, and then again I started feeling very weak and light-headed starting on the third day (Monday). I’ve been feeling once again extremely weak and faint (specially before my bowel movements which are very loose by the way!) to the point that I had to skip work for a day and leave early the other days! it’s now Friday and I feel a bit stronger today but still have abdominal pain and a bit light-headed! so my question is based on your experience do you think I was (or am still) going through a 2nd die-off phase? or do you think this is caused by something else?! I would really appreciate your thought on this.

Thanks,
-Mojdeh

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Annie July 9, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Mojdeh,
I see that your post has not been answered yet, and I don’t presume to know as much as The Guys, but it sounds like it may be time to back off the killing regime and bolster the “good gut flora” for a while. Such as: stop taking the tincture at least for a while (which sounded like it worked great! but it can be harsh on the body) and start taking a high end probiotic, garlic + lemon juice shots, dandelion tea, Ojibwa tea, milk thistle, lots of water and lots of rest. I often get similar symptoms to what you described when I over-do it (mentally or physically).

To me, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and you want to be good to yourself with a restful and healing lifestyle. You need to be in healing mode for a while, maybe for a long while. I stay away from raw foods and eat/drink a lot of veg broths including squash and carrot — the premade boxed ones seem good to me, and I have no energy to cook when I’m very sick. I think juicing might be too hard on my body yet, but I do drink pre-made fresh carrot juice and V-8 with sea salt. I get (and have always had) salt cravings, so the VAXA Buffer pH helps with that as well as sea vegetables (also have iodine). Table salt is acidic. You could also try warm baths with 1/2 cup each Epsom salt, baking soda and sea salt which has a soothing detox effect.

Again, I think that alkalizing the diet will help greatly. You could try dilute baking soda water before bed for a while, not long-term.

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Annie July 9, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Milk thistle plus licorice (capsules), psyllium, plenty of water, concentrated lemon juice plus finely sliced fresh garlic, “Detox Tea” (dandelion, etc.), and anything else that helps the liver may improve die-off symptoms. The largest die-off symptoms I’ve ever gotten were from monolaurin which did a fantastic job of killing bad flora, including the Epstein-Barr virus which I would suspect many people have and don’t know it. It causes unbearable fatigue, brain fog, muscle weakness/pain, joint pain, depression, flu-like symptoms, etc. (like having mono all the time). I’ve apparently had it for more than a year, and probably most of my life on and off. Also, alkalizing my diet and taking VAXA Buffer pH works for me. You need to test your urine during this. Before starting this regime, my urine pH was lower than the pH paper measured (5.5). It should be between 6.5 and 7.5. Probiotics help. I also poured a probiotic capsule on my tongue before going to bed one night, and my sinuses cleared up and my saliva improved.

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Natalia Malone July 12, 2013 at 3:48 am

It did seem a little strange that everyone was throwing “die-off” around so much… I currently feel really bad flu-like symptoms and I don’t know if it’s because I just started on itraconazole (Sporanox) + anti-fungal cream, or that I’ve been trying to eat almost no sugars/carb rich food and my body is freaking out: “NEED.SUGAR.NOW.”

Either way, it’s really unpleasant, especially because acetometophen decreases the effect of itraconazole so I’m stuck with my headache and nausea. And although I’m not 100% sure if it’s die-off, the idea that it could be keeps me positive. If my flu symtoms get worse though, I’m going to the Dr.

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Hans July 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I do not know if there is any link between this post and my question but, here it goes.
I’d like to know if you would recommand Vaxa’s Buffer ph if I, for some reason, have some problems with weight. I exercise, I use more calories than I gain.
But my weight never drops. I heard that buffer ph could help this problem.
Is it true? Thank you for your help.

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Mona July 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Hi there I need some serious help. I’ve been very very sick for six months now. What started off with nausea and gas for two months led to ibs. Then I started having allergic ige reactions to so many foods. I got down to eating three things. I went to a new dr and they diagnosed me with leaky gut and said I had heavy metals. They then began a detox and my whole bdy went crazy. I had terrible brain fog, panic attacks and couldn’t move my body. I went to another dr who told me to stop all supple,nets and just start eating slowly. My chiropractor and acupuncturist say my liver is stopped up and not filtering out the toxins and my lymphatic system is also stopped up. I then got more tests done and was diagnosed with Lyme disease and am in my first week of antibiotic treatment. I’m so sick evey day I can’t take care of myself. I get brain fig everything I eat or I get emotional and can’t move, I get chills, I’ve lost 35 lbs etc etc. I tried keeling a food journal but it seems there is no consistency. Literally everything I Putin my mouth I have terrible reactions and sometimes they last all day. My quality if life is terrible and I’m very depressed. My infectious disease dr says my body is very inflamed which shows its fighting something. Can anyone help me?? Everything revolves around my gut. I need help so bad. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

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Zain July 17, 2014 at 6:47 am

Did you get any help, how do you feel now ?

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monkeymome3 August 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I began doing some infra-red sauna treatments and last night I felt an increase in joint and muscle pain. So, could this have any correlation or am I just having an increase!? Wondering if the toxins that are being expelled could be making me feel worse before I get better! Not saying “die off”.

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Biogal October 8, 2013 at 9:18 am

” Stress can be very harmful to our health if not managed regularly that’s why we built the calming reminder system to help with this.” Is the calming reminder system no long available?

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Wendy October 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm

This is very helpful. I’ve been on SCD for about a month now and haven’t been cheating, nor do I intend to. It’s been somewhat frustrating, though, to eat the way I’m supposed to and have a 5 on the “poop scale” and then have poop that’s a sand-like texture shortly thereafter and not understand why. I’m trying to be patient! Thanks for all the great help.

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Julie October 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

So is it good to get die off? Or should I back off so I don’t feel so crummy? I have candida and I’ve started to get blisters inbetween my fingers. I’m taking garlic, oregano, apple cider vinegar, threelac, not eating any sugar or carbohydrates… And the other day I thought I had the flu but now I see it might be this. Should I hold off on some of this stuff or keep going?
Thanks for ghetto insight!

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Steven Wright November 3, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Hey Julie – Sometimes it’s a good idea to back off. Also try and support your liver as it’s working very hard right now.

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Julie October 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Thanks for **the** insight. :)

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Stephanie November 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm

1 month ago, I eliminated gluten and dairy from my daughter’s diet. She is 2 years old. She had been constipated for 4 months and has eczema and wakes frequently (sometimes every 20 or 30 mins) in the night. She also has purple under her eyes and often goes very pale, almost grey. About 2 weeks ago I introduced a probiotic. Now for the past week she has been pooping 4-5 times each day and it is very loose. Her eczema has gotten much worse, but subsequently much better (but I did start using a new cream). THe purple under her eyes seems better and her complexion looks more rosey. Is she reacting to gluten free foods (I try not to give her much but she does get some of the pasta and a bit of the bread some days) or is this die off?

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Steven Wright November 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Stephanie – You need to work with a functional medical practitioner right away. This is not likely die-off and the longer your daughter is suffering please seek extra help asap.

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Ann November 22, 2013 at 3:28 am

Hi Steve only found out i has SIBO and only get symptoms once a month or so…but started the SCD intro diet to get these bad guys out of my body… First day had bad cramps and D..which thank you God i rarely get…i stopped the grape juice..today when i drank the soup again…it was worse, i had assumed there would be some die off at this stage…hopefully thats the whole idea right…but i dont feel like eating the soup again! Any ideas?? And i thank you..

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Heather November 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Hello Steve,
Thank you for your article, it was very informative. I am starting an antiparasitic course in a few days so I’m trying to prep for a die-off reaction (I’ve never had one before.) Any suggestions for dealing with it? I’m planning to take a few days off from work and drink a ginger tea concoction recommended by my doctor. It looks like nightly baths might help. Any additional thoughts?
Thank you,
Heather

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Leo December 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

NEED HELP!

Hello, I started a Detox with ‘blacknut hull’ after a few weeks a develop a bad rash in the back of my ear and neck; it also left me with itchy skin all over my legs.

I decided to to take a less aggressive method by juicing and changing my diet to almos t vegan. The rash started all over again in my groin and legs. What do you think could be happenning.

Thanks for your help!

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Lee July 11, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Parasites? Get tested. No doctor wants to think people in America have it, but we do. Don’t let the itching get worse. I know how that goes.

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Gwen January 21, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Hi, I am curious what a round of pau d arco would do? If I start to have die off symptoms with this, would it be a good bet to eliminate the toxins by drinking a benonite clay and psyllium husk tea?
I am going out today to my vitamin shop to purchase these.
Thanks!

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juls February 5, 2014 at 10:54 am

Hi just wanted to ask a question,Ive been taking cell wall surpressar on last cycle.for candida overgrowth but im experiencing alot of inflamation in ears an head my ears feel blocked with ringing at times also alittle foggy im not sick just this ear prombems also tried psudifed alergy meds not working could you please help????? Thanks so much

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Julie February 18, 2014 at 7:58 am

I just read this post because of a notification in my email and tried to click on the calming reminder system link. Which is no longer available. Is there any way you can share it again, especially since it was mentioned in this post?

I was diagnosed with celiac’s in November and I’m struggling more than I can express. I’ve been completely gluten free since diagnosis but am just not doing well. Found your site in January and immediately started following. Please consider sharing the calming reminder again. I so wish you guys were taking new clients. Glad to have found this site though. Thank you for the informative emails. Best, Julie

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Lisa Truitt February 21, 2014 at 10:22 am

Die off is a a complicated subject and it can be hard sometimes to identify. You say that unless you have taken an antimicrobial supplement any reaction is unlikely to be die off. The trouble with that statement is that the assumption behind it seems to be that only very particular supplements are antimicrobial or anti parasitic and that just isn’t true. Many if not most minerals, vitamins and herbs have some or a lot of antimicrobial or antiparasitic effects. If you start taking them suddenly at high enough dosage they can provoke enough change in microbes and immune function to cause symptoms. Vitamins a, c, d, e, k2 can all do this as well as magnesium, zinc, iodine, boron, etc. Even culinary herbs are powerful antimicrobial/anti parasite herbs such as thyme, rosemary, mints, sage. Enough of them and you could very well feel the effects. I have studied herbalism from professional herbalists and these herbs are very potent.
So while I agree that you need to consider all the possibilities as to why you may have started feeling unwell, particularly the 4 horsemen, I think it is possible and even likely to have die off from a broad range of supplements and even foods.

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Martha March 21, 2014 at 10:11 pm

You have a really nice website and lots of valuable information.

Thank you.

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Aubrey March 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I’ve been doing SCD for 15 weeks as of today. The first month was fine; the only noticeable difference was when I would accidentally eat something that I wasn’t supposed to, and I would be sick the next day (bloating, loose and very smelly stool, etc.) Second and third months, I had way more energy, a higher sex drive, and less brain fog. Now in my fourth month, I’ve been having problems, and I don’t know why — wondering if anyone can help me out. Seemingly, I don’t think that I’ve done much to change dramatically what’s been happening — no new foods that I can think of or supplements or anything — but I’ve had loose and smelly stools off and on for two weeks now (last week was worse than this week). Last Wednesday, I had to sleep the entire day: I was awake for about 3 hours all day after attempting to wake up at 9am… instead, I slept until 7pm, and then I lasted until about 11pm, and then went back to sleep again. Now it’s 8 days later, Thursday, and I’ve got the same issue; slept all day long. On top of this, I’ve had chronic eczema for the last three weeks or so. It almost goes away and then it flairs up again. (This cold just be the unusually cold and dry winter we’re having, but I haven’t had eczema in about 8 years.)

Do you have any thoughts on what might be going on?

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Mark April 13, 2014 at 11:50 pm

I don’t believe that this Healing Crisis and Die-Off stuff is good for you and here is why?

I tried something call Lauricidin (Aka monolaurin) a few years back. No matter how I dosed it I always got tired and sick. Very sick, upper respiratory infections and sinus infections that would require anti-biotics if I did not know how to treat them naturally.

I stopped using it and threw away $200 worth of that garbage. Since then I have been only since for about 24-48 hours never seeing a doctor or on Anti-biotics. If I feels sick I take Soverign Colloidal Silver and I also added Lugol’s Iodine into my diet. I live on super foods. I also take a lot of L-Glutimine.

My rule is if it makes me feel good and gives me energy I eat, if it robs my energy and makes me tired I don’t.

Now I’m having a flu-like reaction to Colostrum same thing that the Lauricidin did to me. I won’t be taking it again. People can spead years trying herx out toxins. And I can see it if you have a lifestyle of Pharma Drug, Rec Drugs, Alchohol, Crap food and are generally not healthy.

But I was in perfect health and had no issues at all until I too the Colostrum. So to me that stuff is poison, not something cleaning me out.

There are other ways to rid your body of toxins that is more gentile. For example the Cold sores/Herpies Virus can be killed with the Silver I mentioned. Coconut oil also is more gentile and kills viruses. Healing should not make you sick.

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Mel April 29, 2014 at 10:10 pm

I’ve recently been on a quest to not take any OTC or pharmaceutical meds..I started using essential oils with improvement. I had a reaction to one of the oils. I had eczema when I started them. The eczema is worse and someone said I may have a phenol reaction which then turned into I have systemic candida. I had read on that years ago, and I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, positive RA factor, I have chronic sinus infections, and IBS. I used to take a lot of antacids and had my gallbladder out last year…so I know my liver is working hard. I’ve always had a high carb, high sugar diet but not over weight but over my required weight for height. I started a no carb/gluten diet two weeks ago. For some reason I thought corn would be ok? For 3 days I’ve done the candida diet that you eat nothing but a piece of chicken and veggies on…my skin is on fire itching!! My eczema seems to be clearing but I aggravate it by scratching like mad!!! I just got over a terrible cold with just oils. I’m taking a probiotic and oregano oil. My body is on fire itchy..is that die off?? And what do I do…& I don’t think I can continue this diet. I’m hungry and itchy and cranky. And itchy!!
Thanks.

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ida May 19, 2014 at 2:48 pm

When I started the candida diet I too thought I had die off. Two weeks of hell followed by a total body collapse & five days in hospital with a near fatal asthma attack. I refused to go back to my old ways bread, sugar & junk food. So persisted with trying different diets, I was severely ill for a couple of years and it now appeared that I was allergic to EVERYTHING. After trying the gaps diet I had a particularly BAD reaction. I googled information on the GAPS diet and it dawned on me I could be salicylate intolerant. I also have chronic candida. I cannot have many herbal antifungals as it shuts down my breathing. I am now studying a science and health related course at Uni & recently discovered a scientific paper that suggests candida can also live on phenols as well as sugar and carbs. Salicylates are in the phenol group meaning that the reaction I get to salicylates could be either true salicylate intolerance OR acetaldehyde toxicity OR possibly both. Not sure where to go from here but I am currently experimenting with digestive enzymes. The reaction I get from eating salicylate foods are: hives, brain fog, confusion, migraine, nausea, dizziness, angry. If I ignore the warnings & do not cut out all salicylates completely, it very quickly progresses to hormone imbalance, paranoia, suicidal depression, IBS, tearfulness, chest pain, twitching, asthma symptoms, hives spread from legs to other parts of the body, severe anxiety, insomnia, back pain, joint pain and sometimes hallucinations. Strangely I have found that Hypericum perforatum controls many of the symptoms despite containing salicylates. I also have an extremely bad reaction to perfume.

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June July 25, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I was put on the SCD because of I was diagnosed with dysbiosis in 2004 due to a long-term history of antibiotic use. My primary symptom with that has been anal itch. I’ve been off and on the SCD since then (mostly on). I’ve been very strict on the SCD for 6 weeks now. I’ve been trying to tweak it by going on the intro diet and using your phasing plan. I still had the problem after doing the intro diet for 3 days. I’m only in phase one now and believe I will have to go totally off fruit for a few days to see if that will help. Do you have any suggestions for me that will help me clear up this problem? I haven’t really been able yet to figure out the culprit.

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Brent Kovacs July 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Hi June,

Thanks for reaching out! We’re so grateful for this opportunity to connect with you.

Based on what you’re telling us, we would suggest working with a skilled functional medicine practitioner to get the right tests to rule in or out any root causes like GI infections through stool testing and/or HPA axis dysregulation (adenal fatigue) through cortisol testing. Use http://functionalmedicine.org to search for a practitioner in your area.

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