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What Are the Symptoms of Die Off?

Q. Cynthia, I have been weaning myself off sugar and really getting stronger about the meat and veggies only. I’m still not 100% yet (I might have a glass of wine in the evening still) but I’m doing so much better. I’m taking probiotics and a product called Candida Clear also. Are headaches, slight dizziness, and feeling kinda tired and sick, symptoms of getting better, or “die off” as I’ve seen written? ~ Beth

A. Hi Beth,

Congrats on the progress you are making with your diet. Yes, the change over to the Candida diet is sometimes a long process. However, you need to be aware that alcohol is the worse thing you can consume when trying to overcome Candida. Alcohol is a sugar. It is the most refined sugar you can ingest, because it doesn’t even have to be digested. It’s absorbed immediately through the GI wall. Drinking alcohol is like giving your yeast an IV of its favorite food source. Not to mention, the impact on the liver and the GI tract.

The liver is typically overloaded with yeast toxins and it needs to be functioning as optimally as possible to get through die off and detoxification of these toxins. Drinking alcohol will greatly impair your ability to get through die off and increase your symptoms.

Additionally, alcohol degrades the health of the GI tract, which is already impaired because Candida burrows holes into it and causes inflammation. Alcohol will inhibit the ability of the GI tract to heal and depending on the amount that’s being drank, also cause more damage.

When you take an antifungal like Candida Clear and you drink alcohol simultaneously, you create a war inside your body. The antifungal is trying to destroy the enemy with grenades, but the alcohol provides the enemy with a bomb to throw back. This will create much more severe die off than would be experienced without the alcohol, and it creates a never ending war zone. The antifungal will never be able to make any progress as its grenades can’t stand up to the bombs and eventually the enemy with the bomb will overtake the area.

Also, feeding the Candida (with sugar, carbs or alcohol) while killing it at the same time, also increases the risk and speed in which the yeast may develop resistance to the current antifungal in use.

Yes, headaches, dizziness, feeling tired and sick are common die off symptoms, but they could also be the result of feeding the yeast with alcohol while you’re trying to kill it. They can also be symptoms of withdrawal, which typically occurs when one gives up sugar. However, since you are still drinking alcohol, I doubt you are having withdrawal.

Other common symptoms of die off include, irritability, nausea, anxiety, heart palpitations, sore throat, muscles and joints, chest tightness, impaired cognitive function and an intensification of cravings. Be sure to read my Candida die off page for a more in-depth conversation on die off. There are a variety of things one can do to reduce die off, like charcoal tablets, bentonite clay, vitamin C, enemas and colon cleanses. But, the most important step is to reduce the sugars, which includes alcohol.

Best,
Cynthia

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • mike December 2, 2011, 3:38 am

    what happens if one is hypoglicemic and also trying to kill Candida? The other day I only ate tomatoes [to kill it] and at night i went into a hypothermic fever running 94.3. I felt drunk. I think the lack of sugar and also the toxins released from the Candida sent the body into toxic shock. I felt like i was burning up, but knew i had to stay covered up to keep up the body temp. Two days of sleeping and fever, I’m trying to starve the Candida. I bought Grape Seed Extrace, Olive Leaf Extract, and also am taking Echinea-Golden Seal Blend and Pro-biotics. May GOD Bless you richly Cynthia, in JESUS’ Name

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins December 12, 2011, 10:20 pm

    Hi Mike,

    Many people with Candida have hypoglycemia. It’s pretty common. Following the Candida diet will also help alleviate hypoglycemia symptoms. Tomatoes are not going to kill Candida. Tomatoes actually make Candida proliferate. So it is unlikely that your symptoms were the result of die off. When one has hypoglycemia it is very important that meat and fat be eaten with each meal and that one eats at least 3 meals a day or 5 small meals. You’ll want to read the following pages:

    https://www.holistichelp.net/blog/how-does-candida-cause-hypoglycemia/

    https://www.holistichelp.net/hypoglycemia.html

    Sounds like you’re taking too many antifungals at one time. This will result in intense die off. I would cut it down to one or two and be sure to rotate antifungals to prevent mutation and resistance.

    Best
    Cynthia

  • michael A April 23, 2012, 1:04 am

    Hi, i get chest tightness whenever i take anything directed and canddia that impeeds my progress which usually starts after 3-4 days on something(grape seed, berbiere, threelac) and gets better after about 4-5 days off. Could this be a symptom of toxins building up not being detoxed or something else?

    thanks michael

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins April 24, 2012, 4:03 pm

    Yes, Michael, that could indeed be die off. That’s what it sounds like to me. When die off is too severe, the dosage needs cut way down to miniscule doses. Then be sure to follow other steps for reducing the effects of die off that can be found at the link provided above for the die off page.

    Best
    Cynthia

  • Rebecca September 10, 2012, 3:39 pm

    I have been battling Candida since May. Was perscribed Diflucan in May, June, and July by my gyno and finally decided to take things into my own hands and search for other types of help. I started researching and went on a Candida diet in August along with taking Enzymes and Probiotics that were recommended to me at a local health food store. I was able to stave off the vaginal breakout during my August cycle. At present I am taking Candizyme and 30-50billion probiotic per day. I was feeling much better the first half of the month, but now I am at the stage of my mentrual cycle where the vaginal yeast would have revved up, but instead I am experiencing renewed die-off. Saturday I had burning under my skin on my back, arms, upper lags and hips. Yesterday and today I’ve got the awful pressure in my head, throat and chest along with cloudy vision.

  • Stacy October 22, 2015, 7:16 am

    I’ve been following the Candida diet and on Day three I ate a few strawberries (although I know it’s not on the diet). Within a couple of minutes the base of my back neck started hurting and had a fullness feeling in my head. Later in the day I had a full panic attack, and then another mild panic attack at night. Today (Day 4) I am experiencing weakness, tingling, stomach discomfort, and a heavy head. Are these die off symptoms or is this due to the sugar from the strawberries that I ate?

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins October 27, 2015, 11:49 am

    Hi Stacy,

    I can’t say for certain, but this sounds like a histamine reaction. Many people with Candida have high histamine, because Candida itself can stimulate histamine and the damage it does to to the gut leads to food and toxins getting out of the gut, which causes a histamine response. Additionally, strawberries stimulate the release of histamine. You can read about histamine on the following page.

    https://www.holistichelp.net/blog/the-low-down-on-histamine/

    It’s also possible, that the symptoms came from an increase in overgrowth in response to the sugar content. However, the sugar in a few strawberries is not very much and considering the fact that your symptoms came on so suddenly, it seems more likely it would be histamine.

    Best,

    Cynthia

  • donnalee December 19, 2016, 5:49 pm

    I am so tired of this candida. I have had it since January 2016 almost a year now, I feel any small cheat (or treat) like strawberries throws my into a reaction. Will I need to eat bland food for a lifetime? Thanks for all you do. Doctors have their place, but when it comes to this they are basically clueless.

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins January 17, 2017, 5:03 pm

    Hi Donna,

    Yes, the changes in diet should be permanent and life-long.

    Best,

    Cynthia

  • Amanda August 18, 2017, 6:33 pm

    Help! I didn’t realize candida die off even existed until this week. I have been trying to lose weight (diet and exercise) but still was having a high carb intake. Monday I tried Greek yogurt and fell in love! I didn’t know that eating a good bit of probiotics in yogurt would cause the die off symptoms. Wednesday my throat was sore and I was experiencing the flu like symptoms. I went to the doctor today and was diagnosed with strep throat. I’ve never been positive for strep throat before. Can the candida die off be so intense that it causes a flare up of strep causing strep throat? Or is it just a coincident that this happened at the same time?

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins September 12, 2017, 12:02 pm

    Hi Amanda,

    Yogurt is high in lactose (milk sugar) which feeds Candida. If you’re eating a lot of it, then it can make Candida proliferate.

    Additionally, it sounds like you may have SIBO in addition to Candida. You can learn about it on the following pages

    https://www.holistichelp.net/blog/sibo-101-a-comprehensive-guide-to-small-intestinal-bacterial-overgrowth/

    https://www.holistichelp.net/blog/sibo-treatment-diet-and-maintenance/

    https://www.holistichelp.net/blog/candida-sibo-or-h-pylori/

  • Jeff S October 11, 2017, 1:17 pm

    I’m wondering if you have any idea how long heart palpitations can last as a die-off symptom. I took an anti-fungal herbal supplement for just one day. I developed very sensitive skin on my back and underarms as another die-off symptom, but that’s gone away. Heart palpitations started a few days later, but they’re still going on. It’s been a little over 2 weeks now. Thanks.

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins November 19, 2017, 10:01 am

    Hi Jeff,

    Sounds like the herb you took increased an excitatory neurotransmitter. Probably norepinephrine. Many of them do. You should take a look at the following pages.

    https://www.holistichelp.net/blog/nutritional-supplements-that-can-be-counterproductive/

    https://www.holistichelp.net/blog/when-nutritional-supplements-make-you-worse/

  • Gillian T. April 1, 2018, 2:36 pm

    Hi I’ve been on a candida treatment for the past 3 and a half, almost 4 weeks now. My naturopath thinks its a bad case of candida in my gut. I’m taking huge doses of garlic in pill form and caprylic acid in pill form once a day with my dinner. My concern is my heart palpitations. I seem to get them from the time I wake up until I eat and it continues intermittently throughout the day. Is this something to be concerned about? How long is this going to last? And is there anything I need to be be doing to treating differently? My Naturothic doctor didn’t seem to have any experience and or advice with this symptom. I wondered if its being caused by the toxins perhaps?Would drinking lots of water help with this? I was starting to feel worried and wondered if I should go off anti-fungals? Though I really want to get rid of this terrible condition, so I’m willing to do what’s necessary! Thank you for your advice!
    -Gillian

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins April 26, 2018, 9:01 am

    Hi Gillian,

    Would take too long to explain. You should take a look at my new book on the subject, found here.

    https://www.holistichelp.net/blog/get-my-new-book-healing-chronic-candida-in-bookstores-now/

    Best,

  • Debbie June 22, 2018, 12:22 am

    Hi..
    Was diagnosed with thrush appx.3 weeks ago..in mouth and esophagus after going to E.R. with bad chest pains. Prescribed Nystatin which I took all of religiously. Thrush is I believe completely gone from my mouth , but my esofagu s is still a little sore. Decided to start taking virgin coconut oil-gradually internally.in my coffee. Maybe 1 teaspoon a day. Since I have been doing this I am feeling neasaus and getting extremely bad headaches. All day long.
    Bottom line I’m starting to freak out and don’t know what to do anymore? I have no insurance and am sooooo tired all the time.
    I also began taking Vit.D3.to help strengthen my immune system. The reason I was given for the thrush., weaked immune.
    Am I doing the right things?
    Please help?
    Thanks

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins June 30, 2018, 10:33 am

    Debbie, I have hundreds and hundreds of pages on this site that provides free information on how to address Candida effectively. Additionally, you might want to consider my new book on the topic, which you can learn about on the following page.

    https://www.holistichelp.net/blog/get-my-new-book-healing-chronic-candida-in-bookstores-now/

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