17 November 2012

Tips for Dealing with Herxheimer or Die-off Reactions

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Dealing With Yeast Die-Off (Herxheimer) Reactions
Yeast overgrowth can happen in response to improper diet, poor immunity, difficulties in digestion and antibiotic use. Poorly digested food can lead to putrefaction (rotting) and encourages the growth of organisms.  Antibiotic use destroys the normal balance of gut flora and leaves an open field for bad bacteria and fungi to move in.  Hormones and steroids can make this condition worse, too.  Most importantly, over-consumption of simple sugars & refined carbohydrates will feed the yeast.  If the immune system is weakened or there are not enough probiotic ("good" bacteria) to combat the yeast, then it begins to grow unchecked and cause symptoms, such as "leaky gut".

In this blog, I am addressing specific patients who are being treated for fungal dysbiosis (yeast overgrowth), who may experience a worsening of their condition after starting a program for yeast control. This may be very unsettling & discouraging if it is not understood.  It must be addressed effectively in order to avoid worsening symptoms. Here are some strategies to minimize the chances of suffering unnecessarily from a Herxheimer (die-off) reaction.

Common Symptoms of yeast die-off include:

Fatigue, brain fog, gastrointestinal distress such as nausea, gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, low grade fever, headache, sore throat, body itch, muscle and joint soreness or pain, flu-like symptoms. Other symptoms include: lethargy, intense sweet cravings, rashes, irritability, joint stuffiness, or muscle pain. In susceptible individuals with pre-existing neurological symptoms such as hyperactivity, irritability, tantrums, and difficulty concentrating, their symptoms may temporarily intensify.

Yeast die-off reactions are not necessarily a sign that yeast treatment is succeeding. It may be an indication that yeast cells are dying in large numbers, and an indicator of the body's toxic overload. At that point, more poisons are being released than the body can adequately cope with at one time and may be a sign the system's elimination pathways (liver, kidneys, & bowels) are overburdened or blocked (as in constipation or liver congestion)

If properly undertaken, treatment for yeast related health problems should not lead to severe yeast die-off reactions.  Patients with elevated heavy metal levels may more problems with “die-off” symptoms

Strategies to minimize discomfort & shorten duration of die-off reactions

·       Reduce the dose of anti-fungals: Some patients may have to stop altogether for a few days. Dr Jill will generally start doses slowly and increasing them over time to help you deal with the possible die-off symptoms
·       Enzymes: Adding enzymes with meals may improve the digestion of foods and limit putrefactive short chain fatty acids with enzymes.  Use pancreatic enzymes, NOT fungal or plant based enzymes.
·       Stay hydrated:  Dr Jill recommend 4-6 fluid ounces of warm water every forty-five minutes, throughout the day.  Mineral water may help, too!
·       Get your sleep:  It is imperative to rest when experiencing yeast die-off reactions – 8-10 hours per night is essential.
·       Neutralize toxins:  There are ways to neutralize fungal toxins. Dr. Jill may recommend molybdenum, biotin, pantethine or liver support to accomplish this.  Activated charcoal may also help.
·       Alkalinize:  You may buffer the toxins by taking alkalizing agents immediately upon experiencing die-off symptoms. Such products as AlkaSeltzer Gold. Drinking mineral water may also help.
·       Antioxidants:  Provide extra antioxidants to quench the oxidative reactions created by the toxins.  Dr Jilll may prescribe vitamin C, Vitamin E or A, alpha lipoic acid or N-acetylcysteine.
·       Sauna & baths:  If you have access to a sauna, begin slowly (15 minutes per session) scrub all skin surfaces with a stiff brush and shower immediately afterwards. Another helpful detox regimen is Epsom salt baths – use 3-4 cups in hot bath and soak for 20min every night.
·       Keep your bowels moving:  You must address any issues with bowel elimination if you have constipation – if you are not eliminating, you will reabsorb any die-off toxins being released! 

More remedies for constipation:
·       Use magnesium citrate 500-1000mg daily or until normal, soft bowel movements 1 or more X daily.  You may also add Ascorbic Acid 5-10grams daily to bowel tolerance.
·       Start every morning with a tall glass of warm water.  8 oz of coffee may also be helpful.
·       Try a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, several times daily on an empty stomach.
·       Mix 2 TBSP of ground flax or chia seed into water & stir , let sit for 10minutes, stir & drink on an empty stomach.

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