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Is die-off real? Or what is this?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 25, 2011 at 8:03 PM

I've been eating less than 50g of carbs daily for over three weeks now for health reasons. Since January I have had onset of ulcerative colitis + brain fog + fatigue + fasciculations + paresthesia + IBS-like symptoms. I'm basically aiming for a low carb GAPS diet, since I was already eating an almost-paleo diet with added rice/potatoes (on average over 160g of carbs daily) before and that didn't help. I felt a lot of slow improvement going low carb concerning most symptoms. Now, after starting another probiotic, those symptoms sort of returned, I had bloating and my energy fluctuates a lot. So, what might be going on? Is this die-off?

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on May 26, 2011
at 03:43 PM

Yes, I have also suspected candida. That test was positive when I did it a a long time ago and again when I did it recently. I'm not sure how reliable it is. I took Nystatin for a few days recently, but it led to diarrhea while I was also taking magnesium and iron. Maybe I'll start again some time. I guess the low carb diet, probiotics and garlic all help with whatever it is. A low carb GAPS diet looks a bit similar to an anti candida diet.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:51 PM

Also, not sure if this'll help - your symptoms sound exactly like the ones my partner have (shy of tinnitus and blurry vision), and he self-diagnosed candida overgrowth about 6 months ago using this test: http://www.candida-albicans-cure.com/candida-test.html Whether or not you "buy into" holistic medicine, it might be good to do the spit test, just to rule it out.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on May 26, 2011
at 03:29 AM

It's just a different way of looking at it, I suppose. Doctors study diseases, so it would be called 'die-off' as opposed to 'healing reaction.' I would never say antibiotics are evil/should *never* be used, but I would be extremely surprised if you weren't exposed to toxins on a daily basis, unless you lived in a bubble. And, toxins include the things that are already internal, like bad bacteria the body has managed to vanquish. Or spent hormones. All it means is something the body needs to expel.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on May 25, 2011
at 11:18 PM

I'm not yet on a broad spectrum probiotic as recommended by GAPS, the probiotics I'm taking so far are Mutaflor (e.coli, helps with UC) and one called Omniflora (l. gasseri and b. longum). I agree about them possibly causing more symptoms or die-off. Garlic seemed to increase this as well. Good to hear it's working out for you!

F087e79f7e8a76613c9b82528ab6dc3f

(580)

on May 25, 2011
at 11:00 PM

Dean, the first three weeks of very low carb , I felt ok. Now i am dragging. Every muscle hurts... Has for the last four weeks.

F087e79f7e8a76613c9b82528ab6dc3f

(580)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:58 PM

THANK YOU!!!!!! I have been dealing with this for the last 4 weeks. I quit working out thinking I have a virus. Everything aches. Especially trying to lift weights. I guess the recumbent bike will be my best friend for the next few days.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:22 PM

Thanks, I'll read the whole thing soon. In the meantime, I wonder: Wouldn't I have felt a low carb flu sooner than after three weeks? I seem to be running very well on fat and was feeling worse before than after going low carb, mostly.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:14 PM

Thanks for you response, but I disagree with this article. It reads like alternative medicine as much as many pro die-off texts. Somehow I doubt it's validity, from a personal standpoint as well as a scientific one. Personal, because I've been living clean and haven't been exposed to "toxins", and there would be no reason this reaction should happen now. I haven't been treated with antibiotics for a decade. Scientific, because die-off seems to be well documented in some diseases. Antibiotics are necessary sometimes, they can save lives.

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6 Answers

2
F4215ac71b6df4a5e7501773a96d503b

on June 30, 2012
at 07:14 PM

I don't know about your problem, but die-off is real, and it's called: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herxheimer_reaction. There's no citation mentioning Candida, but a variety of bacteria and even parasites can cause similar reactions when dying.

2
B4ec9ce369e43ea83f06ee645169cee0

on May 25, 2011
at 10:46 PM

You said that you recently started a new probiotic. Would it happen to be Bio-Kult? I had been taking probiotics before but then started Bio-Kult and had the same symptoms you are having. It took a couple months for me to normalize.

My theory (unscientific) is that Bio-Kult has some strains of bacteria (there are 15 different ones in it) that I was not taking before and those were causing die-off. I mention Bio-Kult because you said you were on GAPS and that probiotic brand is popular with the GAPS crowd.

I'm still on Bio-Kult and things are much better now.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on May 25, 2011
at 11:18 PM

I'm not yet on a broad spectrum probiotic as recommended by GAPS, the probiotics I'm taking so far are Mutaflor (e.coli, helps with UC) and one called Omniflora (l. gasseri and b. longum). I agree about them possibly causing more symptoms or die-off. Garlic seemed to increase this as well. Good to hear it's working out for you!

1
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on May 26, 2011
at 03:03 AM

High doses of vitamin c can help alleviate some of the detox symptoms(take to bowel tolerance). You can also try backing up to a much lower dosage of your probiotic, and working slowly up to a higher dosage to allow your body time to acclimate.

1
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on May 25, 2011
at 08:09 PM

Dean, I don't know about ulcerative colitis.

You might find some answers at this blog of someone who has Crohn's.

http://crohnscarnivore.blogspot.com/

Hope this helps some.

0
9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

on May 25, 2011
at 08:42 PM

I found this article helpful and enlightening: http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/heal2.php

A lot of other good information on the site as well, if you wanted to peek around.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:14 PM

Thanks for you response, but I disagree with this article. It reads like alternative medicine as much as many pro die-off texts. Somehow I doubt it's validity, from a personal standpoint as well as a scientific one. Personal, because I've been living clean and haven't been exposed to "toxins", and there would be no reason this reaction should happen now. I haven't been treated with antibiotics for a decade. Scientific, because die-off seems to be well documented in some diseases. Antibiotics are necessary sometimes, they can save lives.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on May 26, 2011
at 01:51 PM

Also, not sure if this'll help - your symptoms sound exactly like the ones my partner have (shy of tinnitus and blurry vision), and he self-diagnosed candida overgrowth about 6 months ago using this test: http://www.candida-albicans-cure.com/candida-test.html Whether or not you "buy into" holistic medicine, it might be good to do the spit test, just to rule it out.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on May 26, 2011
at 03:29 AM

It's just a different way of looking at it, I suppose. Doctors study diseases, so it would be called 'die-off' as opposed to 'healing reaction.' I would never say antibiotics are evil/should *never* be used, but I would be extremely surprised if you weren't exposed to toxins on a daily basis, unless you lived in a bubble. And, toxins include the things that are already internal, like bad bacteria the body has managed to vanquish. Or spent hormones. All it means is something the body needs to expel.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on May 26, 2011
at 03:43 PM

Yes, I have also suspected candida. That test was positive when I did it a a long time ago and again when I did it recently. I'm not sure how reliable it is. I took Nystatin for a few days recently, but it led to diarrhea while I was also taking magnesium and iron. Maybe I'll start again some time. I guess the low carb diet, probiotics and garlic all help with whatever it is. A low carb GAPS diet looks a bit similar to an anti candida diet.

0
06d21b99c58283ce575e36c4ecd4a458

(9958)

on May 25, 2011
at 08:41 PM

See this explaination of Low Carb Flu:

http://www.gnolls.org/1984/the-science-behind-the-low-carb-flu-and-how-to-regain-your-metabolic-flexibility/

Be sure to read the comments from readers.

The Quilt on this board talks about taking 5HTP until the symptoms abate to raise seratonin levels.

F087e79f7e8a76613c9b82528ab6dc3f

(580)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:58 PM

THANK YOU!!!!!! I have been dealing with this for the last 4 weeks. I quit working out thinking I have a virus. Everything aches. Especially trying to lift weights. I guess the recumbent bike will be my best friend for the next few days.

F087e79f7e8a76613c9b82528ab6dc3f

(580)

on May 25, 2011
at 11:00 PM

Dean, the first three weeks of very low carb , I felt ok. Now i am dragging. Every muscle hurts... Has for the last four weeks.

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137

(1520)

on May 25, 2011
at 10:22 PM

Thanks, I'll read the whole thing soon. In the meantime, I wonder: Wouldn't I have felt a low carb flu sooner than after three weeks? I seem to be running very well on fat and was feeling worse before than after going low carb, mostly.

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