Herxheimer Reaction – Feeling Worse Before Feeling Better
Do you have the urge to rip someones head off? Feel grumpy, nauseous, irritable and just want to crawl into bed until it goes away? Well, that is not a bad idea. Crawling into bed and sleeping it off can help, as can the following suggestions, but the most important thing is to be very gentle with yourself and know that what your going through is normal and it will pass. Hang in there.
A Herxheimer reaction is the side effects of effective treatment or cleansing. While The No Sugar Challenge is not a detox, it is very hypoallergenic and cleansing in nature. It is a normal reaction your body has when toxins from dead pathogens are being dumped into the bloodstream faster than the body can comfortably handle.
Common symptoms include:
With this in mind, Herxheimer reactions are not necessarily a bad thing and not everyone experiences them. They are a good indication that the body is healing and toxins are being eliminated.
The technical term Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction comes from the observations of Adolf Jarisch and Karl Herxheimer. As dermatologists, they spent a great deal of time treating patients with skin lesions. They noticed that in response to the antibiotics, the patients would often show signs of fever, sweating, nausea, chills, or other symptoms. Both doctors also noticed inflammation and swelling in the infected area before remission and healing.
You may know the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction by a different name. It has been called: Herxheimer reaction, Herxheimer response, Herx, Herxing (My favorite), Herx effect, or Herx Reaction.
What is a Herxheimer Reaction?
A typical Herx reaction can last anywhere from a week to a few months. Each case is different and there are many factors at play when estimating how long the reaction will last. The biggest factor at play is the condition and status of what is being treated. Skin lesions and Lyme disease for instance are more likely to have a much stronger reactions than a simple sugar detox. Other factors that come in to play include how effectively the body is able to remove toxins and debris from the blood, and how healthy the body is overall. Also, note that everyone is different and will react differently.
The most important thing to remember during a sugar detox is that a Herx reaction is a good thing and the protocol should be continued as long as the Herxing is not extreme. Some people stop the treatment when they begin to Herx. They do not realize that Herxing is a good sign and they stop what they are doing before they have finished the cleansing process.
What Causes Herxing?
You may be wondering what exactly causes all the nasty side effects of effective cleansing or treatment. Below I will be referring specifically to the Herx reaction caused by the No Sugar Challenge, but the concepts are the same for most other cleansing or treatment programs.
Pathogens such as bacteria and yeast love sugar. When you remove sugar from your diet, you remove the food these little buggers feed on and they begin to die off. Afterwards the elements of the dead pathogen are released into the bloodstream to be cleansed from the body. The main components that are released into the bloodstream include fats and proteins but a variety of endotoxins from the pathogens are also released. The toxins are typically responsible for causing the Herx reaction we are referring to. As the body notices an increase in toxins in the blood, an acute immune response is triggered to help cleanse the toxins from the body.
Getting Through a Herxheimer Reaction
If the Herx reaction is severe, then slowing down the detoxification treatment is recommended. Very severe cases are uncommon, but can happen in cases when working with extreme infections, advanced disease states, skin lesions, Lyme disease, etc.
A mild to moderate Herxheimer reaction is completely normal but can be very uncomfortable. With that said, there are things you can do to ease the cleansing process. I have included a list below of some very simple but very beneficial tips.
Tips to Ease The Process
- Drink Plenty of Water – Water is known to help flush toxins from your body. Staying hydrated is also a must when you are cleansing.
- Eat Small Portions – Your body will flush most toxins out through your colon, thus it is essential to keep a healthy and clear digestive tract while cleansing. Eating small amounts or skipping a meal will help keep your digestive system running smoothly, and also keep the focus on eliminating toxins rather than digesting enormous amounts of food.
- Stay Away from Toxins and Chemicals – Because your body is attempting to cleanse a plethora of toxins from your blood, it only makes sense to limit the amount of toxins you are exposed to each day. Staying away from BPA in canned food, fluoride toothpaste, alcohol, smoke, and processed foods is a great idea.
- Cleanse the Colon Regularly – Oral and rectal cleansing of the colon is recommended periodically to keep things running properly. This is highly effective. If this is not your cup of tea, at the very least, make sure you are pooping daily.
- Supplement a high-quality probiotic – Probiotics detoxify heavy metals and other substances as well as support proper elimination and gut health. Keeping the colon healthy and moving will make the process much easier.
- Cut back on strenuous exercise – While very light exercise such as walking can be beneficial, strenuous exercise is known to cause acute inflammation in the body, which will add to the problem.
And if you have any questions or concerns at all, you could just reach out to me for reassurance, information, and solutions. I am here for you.