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.