The Herxheimer Reaction

So, in the last few days I have been surprisingly reminded of just how lousy I could feel. In fact, I had been making significant progress throughout the last couple of months ever since I had my mercury amalgams removed. I was on path of recovery and enjoyed the perks. I could do activities that was once too much for me to even think about. That was until a today! Boy what a rude awakening. Last night, I went to sleep with a headache. I could hardly think or do anything. I was staring at a movie, not really watching, like it was hypnotizing. I couldn’t function. My head hurt and I was extremely tired. I fell asleep right when I laid down that night. During the night, I awoke around 5 or 6 times to use the bathroom. Each time my head hurt, I was dizzy, and parched. I probably drank 1/4 of a gallon just in the night. I had cotton mouth like you couldn’t believe. I felt my heart beating out of my chest. Just walking to the bathroom made me winded. Each time I woke I found myself covered in sweat with a dull roar of nausea. Several times I swear I was on the verge of blowing chunks. I slipped in and out of my odd state of sleep every 2 hours or so. It was horrible. I had the craziest dreams/nightmares, and not just one, but a few. It was just weird. The next morning I woke up with a huge headache and dizzy feeling. I did my daily routine and started eating breakfast. Halfway through I got nausea and quit eating. I just felt sick. I made my way to work. By the time I got in I was breathing like I had just ran a marathon. During the morning I pee’d almost 6 times. I didn’t get any work done. It was hell on earth once again. Back to my old ways.

I started thinking “what could have triggered such a sudden onset of feeling so bad?” Then it dawned on me. I had just started a regiment of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and grapefruit seed extract (GSE) 3 days earlier to improve my skin and clear some Candida I had let take over while slacking on my low carb. diet (I do love potatoes). “Duhh…”, I thought. I was having a herxheimer reaction, die-off, or herx. And was it was a bad one. I haven’t had one in a long long time, so I guess it was about due. I started taking way too much MSM (0 grams a day to 2 grams a day). I didn’t even think to go gradual. I got a bit cocky I assume. Anyways, I write this to share die-off effects and what symptoms they produce, so you know what to expect as you introduce new natural supplements in your daily regimen.

The herxheimer reaction is the release of endotoxins after a large quantity of bacterial, fungal, or parasitic organisms die. During a herx. the amount of endotoxins released far outweighs the bodies detoxification capabilities thus producing “fever, chills, rigor, hypotension, headache, tachycardia, hyperventilation, vasodilation with flushing, myalgia (muscle pain), and exacerbation of skin lesions.” This sounds oh so familiar, especially the tachycardia which was really freaking me out. My heart was probably at 120 BPM while sleeping!

When you begin to experience a herx. reaction you should immediately begin a detoxification protocol. Actually, if you plan correctly you may be able to completely remove the herx. reaction from your healing process. If you begin to detox before adding a new supplement, that could potential cause a large number of pathogens to die-off, than may be safe from a herx. reaction. If you gradually build up the dosage of your new supplement you may also be safe from a herx. Personally, I feel that feeling the herx. is sometimes good, that it reminds you the new supplement is actually doing what is supposed to. It is a blessing in disguise.

You can expect a herx. To last anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. No longer than 2 weeks should be felt, however in some extreme cases this may happen. I have only had a few last longer than 3 days. Usually when you begin to feel a die-off reaction you should decrease the dosage to a lower amount until the symptoms are more manageable. Once the symptoms begin to clear you can then up-the-anti and take more of the supplement, ultimately reaching your goal dosage.

A good way to aid your body in removal of the endotoxins is sweat, water, and vitamin c. Make sure you drink around a gallon of water a day. Take a detox bath at night before you go to bed. This bath includes 2 cups of Epsom salt, and 1 cup of baking soda. You can add some lemon or lavender if your feel the need for some aromatherapy (always helps). Do no make it too hot because this will add more burden to your body. Soak in this solution for 30 mins. When you get out drink plenty of fluids then go straight to bed. Most cases you will be so fatigued that the bed will seem like a stretch to get to. Also, make sure you take plenty of vitamin c and antioxidants throughout the day. Taking 1 gram of vitamin C every few hours is a good idea. This will help your liver flush out toxins. Don’t forget to take your daily dose of milk thistle to aid your natural biological filters. Remember to eat healthy and avoid sugars and caffeine. Get lots of fresh natural air. Go for a walk; try and keep your mind off the symptoms. Thinking about it only makes it worst. I wouldn’t suggest any painkillers or OTC medicines during a herx. These only plug up your natural detoxifies and makes things worst.

All in all, a herx reaction can be very painful and discouraging, especially if it comes out of the blue like my last one did. It can make you feel really bad for several days and do numbers on your emotions and mental progress. Keep in mind though it is only temporary and there is light at the end of the tunnel. When you get there the bluest of blue skys will be revealed. You will feel more clear and pain-free. It is a pleasant surprise. You energy will improve, your brain fog will subside, and your overall sense of well being will be greatly improved.