Atkins & die-off/herxheimer reaction

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by kramlow, Apr 1, 2003.

  1. kramlow

    kramlow New Member

    Has anyone here experienced die-off (a herxheimer reaction) when going on the Atkins "diet"? If so, what were your symptoms?

    Since I started, I have the admit the headaches and brain fog are significantly lessened, I mean to a great degree, but I've since developed:

    1. Something like a cold but it's not, involving extra swollen glands, body aches, muscle weakness, runny nose, sneezing, minor congestion, VERY run down, lingering for days on end and no change in the way I feel from one day to the next, not even while using Zicam (zinc in the nose);

    2. HIVES!! Weird. On my left wrist and between my eyebrows!
  2. nct

    nct New Member

    I've been on Atkins now for nearly 8 months.

    Only time I've ever had hives was after going off antibiotics for strep throat.

    Now I guess its possible you could get die-off, especially if you were very high sugar diet beforehand.
    But as you aren't on the candida diet, which is even more restrictive than Atkins, I would be surprised. But your cold symptoms sound a little like die-off.

    How long have they lasted? I mean, the first week or so on low carb, most folks feel lousy while their body is going through carb withdrawal.

    But I lost 61.5 pounds on Atkins, and am in better shape, despite the CFS, etc.

  3. goingslowlycrazy

    goingslowlycrazy New Member

    Yes I have!

    I am just starting my second week of induction and feel completely drained physically. But, like you, my brain fog has lifted to a huge degree and I feel much sharper mentally.

    But I do have, as you said...

    "1. Something like a cold but it's not, involving extra swollen glands, body aches, muscle weakness, runny nose, sneezing, minor congestion, VERY run down, lingering for days on end and no change in the way I feel from one day to the next, not even while using Zicam (zinc in the nose);"

    I must admit that I havn't been drinking anywhere near enough water over the past couple of days and I think that is affecting me. My apetite has also shrunk dramatically so I am having a job to actually eat enough!

    But I AM going to stick with it, cos I figured I felt c*** before I started it, so I might as well be thin and feel like c***! LOL

    Let me know how you get on......addy is


    Mary xx

    JAREDKIRI New Member


  5. Dlebbole

    Dlebbole New Member

    Throughtout the twenty or so years I've been restricting my diet in one way or another, I've definitely noticed a Herx reaction when I make changes, ESPECIALLY when I decrease carbs. In fact, if I were eating, say, four helpings of starchy carbs a day, I would decrease it very slowly over many days. First to three for several days and wait for the inevitable die-off, then two then one, then off. My herxs with food have always been as big as any from meds. Diane
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    When they are removed from the system, no doubt, a lot of little beasties die off. The power of diet in our illnesses cannot be overstressed.

    Love, Mikie
  7. kramlow

    kramlow New Member

    I've had these symptoms for about a week now. Still getting periodic hives on my left wrist and a strange sort of itching/burning sensation in my left hand (and sometimes my right).

    I don't seem to be handling the cheese though. I've never been a big cheese-eater but it's so big in the Atkin's diet. My problem points to candida, if you ask me. So, I'm trying to lay off the cheese. I ate a fair amount of cheese yesterday and today I feel more tired and hungry, craving sweets, and my nose is extra stuffy - more sneezing today too. I'm sure it's as Atkin's book says: I have a candida problem and the cheese is making it worse.

    Unlike others, I am ferociously hungry. I haven't lost a pound and have been exercising more than usual because I feel out of control (weight-wise). As a matter of fact, I think I'm fatter. I have to admit, eating all this fat is scaring me. I understand the science behind it, but it still goes up against everything I've understood up to this point. I thought a whole foods, basic vegetarian diet was the way to go.

    I'm not very overweight at all, but for some bizarre reason, I've picked up several pounds over the last 2-3 months. There was no logical reason - no overeating, same amt. of exercise. However, I did change one thing: I stopped taking Enada. Now my pants and shirts are all too tight and I either need to lose weight immediately, or buy new clothes. This is very disheartening for me.

    No, I certainly wasn't gorging on the carbs before I started this diet - that would never work for me. Sugars always resulted in infections for me. As a matter of fact, I was always in ketosis. For 3 years, whenever I'd see the doctor and have a urine test for bacteria, they'd find a lot of ketones. I was definitely not on a low-carb diet, but I certainly wasn't eating cake and bread all day either.

    I forgot to add: I've had all "the tests" done and test negative for any herpes viruses, lyme disease, you name it. Kidneys and other organs are great, through blood tests and ultrasounds, no MVP (mitrovalve prolapse), etc.

    Your thoughts??

    [This Message was Edited on 04/02/2003]
  8. ladydi

    ladydi New Member

    Dear Kramlow,

    First let me say, I'm not really sure what a herx reaction would feel like. I'm thinking it would feel somewhat like a flu-like syndrome.

    About 20 years ago I got involved with a diet and
    medication program for Candida. For the first few days, yes, I did feel like crap. But, I didn't have FM then.
    (or did I?)

    Anyway, now I'm involved with a support group started
    by a Nutritionalist. She started it because her clients
    were telling her they had FM. Some have it more severe
    then others of course. Mine being one of the worst there.

    She swears that our diet play the biggest part in our
    FM. I don't know, she may be right. The more I notice what
    I eat, the more I believe her.

    She wants us all to take a "Food Sensitivity" blood
    test. She says this will tell us the foods that are causing
    our problems. I already know about the "Night Shade"
    vegatables". Yes, they are a problem for me. But, they're
    also the main foods I enjoy. So, I think most of us are
    not realizing how much better we could feel if only we knew what "not" to eat. I often feel deprived of the
    things I can't have. Also, I think the foods we "crave"
    are probably the ones we should stay away from. It's also
    very difficult to think of recipes that will satisfy our

    I haven't had my test yet, but, I'm sure there will be
    many things on the list I can't have. I already know that
    potatoes, corn, tomatoes, onions make me feel worse. But,
    then again, I always feel bad someway or another. I just
    can't see how foods can make your muscles ache. But, I do
    know that chocolate surely will give me a migraine for sure

    I have'nt really done much in the way of help you, but,
    I sure know where you're coming from.

    Good luck with the diet. And good luck in finding out
    more about your symptoms.

    Best wishes,
  9. healing

    healing New Member

    Kramlow, I hope you are feeling better. I think it's easy to get a herx effect from candida die-off in the early days of Atkins. Trust me, it goes away. Try to follow the candida diet that he outlines in his book. I kept my candida well under control for the whole 18 months I was on the diet. Alas, I am not on it now and am struggling with the candida, although grapefruit seed extract helps a lot. You might try it just to give your bod an extra hand with the candida.

    Lady Di, I had the IgG Assay done and found I had "secondary sensitivities" to all the foods I ate most often. The only thing I didn't react to was protein. I know there is a lot of medical controversy about this test, and although I did feel better when I withdrew all those foods, went on the recommended rotation diet, and separated grains and fruits/veggies from meat and dairy, I have to say that living that way made my psyche MUCH worse! On top of keeping all my meds straight, just getting through the days, having to work so hard at my daily food (not to mention organizing the shopping for it), plus the sense that I was really not eating a healthy diet (only green vegetable I can have is spinach), I have started to slide. I hope it works better longterm for you!
  10. goingslowlycrazy

    goingslowlycrazy New Member

    I have gritted my teeth and stuck to Atkins although when I last posted to you, I honestly wondered if I could stick it out, I felt so rotten.
    Well - for the last two days, I have felt so much better! The headaches are completely gone, I can feel bursts of energy coming back - so much so that I am having to be careful that I don't push/crash speciality!!!
    Are you drinking enough water? On the low carb messageboard they recommend 3 L + 250 ml for each 2 stone that you are overweight. Since I upped my water intake it has got the weight loss going again.
    And if you are hungry, snack!!! I have found that a stick of celery, stuffed full of full-fat cream cheese is a great quick snack - or just grab a slice of ham from the fridge.
    Good luck!
    Mary x