Natural Digestive Healing

Tips for dealing with die-off symptoms

When starting the GAPS diet, some patients experience “die-off,” which can cause symptoms to worsen. Here, we’ll discuss why this occurs and how you can help relieve some of its symptoms.

Exposing your body to years of antibiotics, poor diet, environmental toxins, heavy metals, alcohol, and drugs alters not only the bacterial environment within the gut, but can lead to organ dysfunction and an overload of toxins within the body.  These toxins can build up and be stored in your tissues and joints.  When starting a cleansing or healing nutritional protocol, it can initiate some pretty extreme healing reactions, known as die-off.

If you suffer from digestive dysfunction such as heart burn, reflux, colitis, IBS, etc, it could be a sign of pathogenic bacterial overgrowth in the gut.  Introducing beneficial bacteria in the form of fermented foods and probiotic supplementation, as well as other healing therapies can kill pathogenic microbes such as candida; as these microbes die, they release toxins.  If these toxins die more quickly than the body can eliminate, they may float around in the blood stream, being re-absorbed, and causing uncomfortable and sometimes intense symptoms.

These signs of die-off may include fatigue, nausea, chills, fever, vomiting, and skin eruptions. Often, die-off can feel like flu symptoms – a fact that can help you differentiate this problem from food sensitivity.

A man clutching his stomach in discomfort.Die off symptoms, like fever and nausea, can feel like the flu.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to overcome some of these symptoms when you start the GAPS Diet. Since die-off is caused by a buildup of toxins after the introduction of probiotics, you may benefit from adding these to your diet cautiously and gradually.

Taking supplements such as activated charcoal, seaweed, chlorella, spirulina and blue-green algae or antioxidants like black elderberry or green tea extract can combat the free radicals and support your immune system.

If experiencing particular symptoms, you may be able to take some natural remedies to ease the discomfort. For example, ginger tea may help alleviate your nausea. Also, since die-off can often be caused by too much yeast, temporarily removing fruits, nuts and honey in your diet may help resolve some of the negative effects.

You may also find help in clearing your bowel with a water enema followed by a coffee enema. In some severe die-off cases, some patients have had success starting with the full GAPS diet.

For further assistance, you can consult with a Certified GAPS Practitioner or visit the rest of our website for more information about starting the GAPS diet.