Coping with a Candida Cleanse
If you're currently participating in my Beat the Bloat Cleanse or following a Candida Cleanse protocol, you may notice unfavorable shifts in your symptoms in the first few weeks of getting started where things actually get worse before they get better. Read on to learn why this may be a good thing and how you can help to mitigate some of the adverse symptoms and best support your body's process!
If you’ve read our 10 Signs You Have Yeast Overgrowth blog and are convinced you have candida or bacterial overgrowth from a symptom assessment or lab, read on! If unsure, you can check out this Candida Quiz for more info on how to proceed and take our Probiotic Challenge to assess the current state of your microbiome and whether you need a cleanse.
It is actually very common to experience die-off symptoms when doing a bacterial or yeast cleanse, or even during a course of antibiotics. This is known as the Herxheimer Reaction, where symptoms get worse before they get better. This is due to the endotoxins released by yeast and microbes when they break down during antifungal or antibiotic treatment. You can think of this as the body becoming overburdened or overwhelmed by a sudden release of toxins where the immune system goes on high alert, triggering systemic inflammation. This has been widely documented in the case of infections such as Lyme Disease and Syphilis but is also very commonly seen with yeast and bacterial infections. (1)
Common Die-off Symptoms Include:
- Loose bowel movements or diarrhea
- Bloating and gas
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle or body aches
- Joint pain
- Brain fog
- Skin rashes and breakouts, itching
- Oral thrush, white coating on tongue
You are more likely to experience some of these symptoms if your body’s detox pathways are already not in their prime such as with genetic mutations like MTHFR, if dealing with a highly processed diet, consuming excessive alcohol or living or working in a toxic environment. If this sounds like you, our 10 Day Real Food Detox would be a great step after your cleanse!
The greatest concern with Herxheimer reactions is that most fear their current plan or protocol is not working with the onset of these symptoms and quickly abandon it in fear they are making matters worse. In actuality, the detox symptoms are a very good sign of shift in microbes in the body. In fact, if you do a cleanse and you don’t experience die-off, you might need to kick things up by tacking on our GI Reset supplement or adding some Biofilm Busters like Cellular Antiox and Inflammazyme, more on this in Episode 174 of the Naturally Nourished Podcast: The Dysbiosis Disease Connection.
Managing Die-off or Herxheimer Reactions:
Support Your Detox Pathways
As the body is burdened with toxins during a cleanse it is important to ensure proper nutrients that protect the body during the activation occurring in phase 1 detoxification, while supporting the body during the conversion and excretion in phase 2 detoxification for proper elimination of waste from the body. First, it is important that the diet is rich in antioxidants to help protect from harmful oxidation that occurs during phase 1 as toxins become oxidized by the body in preparation for conjugation and excretion from the body.
As a candida diet or bacterial reset protocol is restricted in carbohydrates, these antioxidants must come from from low-glycemic choices such as: turmeric, green tea, rooibos tea, leafy greens, cacao, and nuts and seeds.
Favorite Detox Supporting Recipes:
Once healthy antioxidant intake is achieved, phase 2 conversion becomes the primary focus, as excretion is essential to safely remove the toxins or die off byproducts from the body. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts will be high in sulfur compounds that aid in phase 2 detox, which supports conjugation and prepares toxins for elimination from the body. In the Naturally Nourished Clinic, we use Ultimate Detox to help mitigate detox symptoms during a cleanse as it contains sulfur-containing amino acids to aid in phase 2 detoxification. This is included in the Beat the Bloat Candida Cleanse Bundle and we recommend a baseline of 2 per day, up to 6 daily if dieoff symptoms are severe.
Ensure Bowel Regularity
Beyond nutritional and biochemical support, it is important to aid in the mechanical process of removing harmful endotoxins from various microbes that have been prepped for excretion. It is extremely crucial to ensure proper elimination and bowel regularity; this is why fiber and water intake is so crucial. Each day the body goes without having a bowel movement is allowing toxins from the bowel to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream. High fiber foods such as leafy greens, beans and legumes and nuts and seeds can promote healthy motility and elimination. Our Naturally Nourished Phytofiber is an excellent whole foods source of fiber to ensure adequate fiber intake in the body but also promote healthy detox. Be sure to drink at least half your body weight in fluid ounces of water each day, since fiber can either act as a broom or a brick in the intestines, and without ample hydration, the brick-like action occurs. If still struggling with daily elimination during the cleanse, Relax and Regulate can be used as a tool to relieve constipation and support bowel motility.
Move Your Body
When discussing detox it is also important to consider the lymphatic system, which is responsible for filtering out foreign organisms including pathogenic bacteria, yeast or parasites. Sauna, hot yoga and massage help promote detoxification as well by stimulating lymphatic flow and filtration. Low impact exercise is also recommended such as walking, pilates and other forms of gentle movement.
Ensure ½ your body weight in fluid ounces of water daily during your cleanse, more if you are losing fluid through diarrhea. This will support detoxification and help with headaches, nausea, constipation and beyond.
Incorporate Food As Medicine
Try my Detox Supporting Turmeric Lemonade as a shooter in the morning (made without the honey!) to help cope with die-off symptoms. This promotes bile flow which in turn supports healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients and supports healthy motility. An Epsom salt bath is another DIY detox supporter that works by drawing toxins out of the skin through the use of reverse osmosis. You can add to the experience by using essential oils like lavender or tea tree oil or grapefruit which aid in healthy bacterial balance and support relaxation as well.
During a yeast or candida cleanse specifically, it is important to limit the source of energy of the yeast by altering the diet. Patients undergoing a yeast cleanse are typically instructed to limit carbohydrates to 60 grams per day as well as avoid any dietary sources of yeast and fermented foods for the time being. Dietary changes are made in conjunction to providing antifungal support in the form of food and/or a nutraceutical compound such as berberine, oregano oil, caprylic acid and beyond. Read more on our Beat the Bloat Protocol here!
Remember, when yeast begins to die in the body they give off toxic chemicals to be eliminated as waste. It is not uncommon to experience detox symptoms such as loose stools, headache, muscles aches, fatigue etc. as mentioned above, this is actually a good sign in that it signifies the death of unwanted yeast in the body. Support your body and push through the process for successful outcomes that will be worth the process with a reset microbiome to support health throughout your whole body!
Benefits of a Candida Cleanse Include:
- Weight loss
- Reduced bloating
- Increased energy
- Improved cognitive function
- Regulated digestive health
- Improved micronutrient status
- Clearer skin
- Vaginal health
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved autoimmune symptoms
- And more!
….Jump in with our Beat the Bloat Candida Cleanse!
More of a data driven person or still experiencing symptoms after completing a cleanse? Consider a Stool Test to look at bacterial, yeast and parasite populations as well as markers of inflammation and absorption in the gut!
1. Chia-Jui Yang, Nan-Yao Lee, Yu-Hui Lin, Hsin-Chun Lee, Wen-Chien Ko, Chun-Hsing Liao, Cheng-Hsin Wu, Chia-Ying Hsieh, Pei-Ying Wu, Wen-Chun Liu, Ya-Chu Chang, Chien-Ching Hung, Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction after Penicillin Therapy among Patients with Syphilis in the Era of the HIV Infection Epidemic: Incidence and Risk Factors, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 51, Issue 8, 15 October 2010, Pages 976–979, https://doi.org/10.1086/656419