Find out about a the best treatment for a Herxheimer reaction during detox in this article.
What is a Herxheimer detox reaction?
A Herxheimer reaction, also known as die-off symptoms, are symptoms that appear when microbes or parasites die off in your body.
What causes a Herxheimer detox reaction?
When you treat a bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection, the membranes of these organisms are destroyed.
As a result, they release toxins in your body.
If more toxins are released than your liver and kidneys can process, they circulate in your bloodstream, causing unpleasant symptoms.
What are the symptoms of a Herxheimer detox reaction?
- Fever or chills
- Muscle ache
- Nausea or vomiting
- An increase in heart rate
- A rise in blood pressure
- Skin rash or skin lesions
- Worsening of initial symptoms
Can a Herxheimer reaction cause anxiety?
Herxheimer detox reaction symptoms in general also manifest as:
- Brain fog
- Irritability or nervousness
- Ringing ears (tinnitus)
Is a Herx reaction harmful?
How long does a Herxheimer reaction last?
It depends on the cause and the severity of the infection. Usually, if you continue the treatment, the die-off symptoms last between three to 10 days.
Herxheimer reaction during detoxification
Although the Herxheimer reaction was first described when syphilis patients were treated with mercury or antibiotics2,3, natural remedies that kill microorganisms and parasites can also induce a Herx reaction.
Furthermore, when you detox your body of pollutants (such as heavy metals, radionuclides or PCBs) with supplements, juicing, foods, or fasting you may also experience die-off symptoms.
The reason is that pollutants create an environment in your body where microbes and parasites proliferate.
When these pollutants are removed, microbes and parasites are also eliminated from your body, hence the Herx reaction.
The allergy mistake
This mistake can sometimes lead to an interruption to the treatment.
It is all the more unfortunate that those who experience the strongest die-off symptoms are the ones who need the treatment the most.
An extreme example
On the website of a dietary supplement reseller, a customer wrote a review in which he mentioned that he had started taking 15 capsules of betaine-HCl for acid reflux daily.
After a few days, he had to go to the hospital due to intense heart palpitations.
Betaine-HCl is, namely, a dietary supplement that kills intestinal parasites and fungi.
According to this customer, he was extremely allergic to betaine-HCl.
These symptoms are an extreme Herxheimer reaction and could have been avoided if he had taken a much lower dosage.
1. How to avoid a Herxheimer detox reaction
When you start taking a new supplement:
- Begin with a low dosage and wait 3-4 days to see how your body reacts. Then gradually increase the amount.
- If the reaction is really bad, you can even wait 2-3 weeks before taking the supplement again.
- With time, you will start experiencing the health benefits of the supplement.
2. How to reduce a Herxheimer detox reaction
If you are already experiencing die-off symptoms:
- Soak in a warm bath to which you have added a handful of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate).
Epsom salt has powerful detox properties. It draws out toxins from your body.
When you are soaking in the tub, it is almost the whole surface of your skin that is in contact with Epsom salt.
Your skin will absorb it and release the toxins through your pores.
Summary: Best Herxheimer reaction during detox treatment
The treatment of a bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infection, can induce unpleasant symptoms known as a Herxheimer detox reaction.
These symptoms are due to the release of toxins in your body when harmful organisms die off.
To prevent this reaction when you start taking new supplements, juicing, or eating detox foods, is to:
- Begin with a small dosage and slowly increase the amount.
Furthermore, the BEST way to reduce die-off symptoms is to:
- Take an Epsom salt bath.