What causes Candida Die Off?

candida die off

  • Your immune system is always trying to keep a healthy balance, and in the process candida get’s killed.

That’s one of the reasons why you don’t feel well at the moment. Because your body is constantly killing candida.

Whilst you are still eating a “normal” diet you are at the same time encouraging candida growth!

But you can only win this game if your candida die off score is higher than its growth rate.

That’s where the Candida Diet comes in. You eliminate old candida and prohibit any new growth at the same time. Result!

  • Eating things like garlic, ginger and coconut oil does also cause fairly substantial Candida Die Off.

That’s why you’ll experience a lot more symptoms after eating a hot curry with strong spices. These act as natural antifungals that kill yeast.

(and unfortunately also the friendly bacteria – hence you should keep these types of dishes to a minimum whilst you’re on the candida diet.)

  • Thirdly there is the big group of pharmaceutical antifungals that you take as supplements specifically for killing candida.

Depending how severe your candida overgrowth is to begin with you might only be able to tolerate a low dose of antifungals at first.

Otherwise, as the candida die off process is triggered so well that your body might get overwhelmed if it’s done too sudden.

What’s happening in your body when candida is killed?

  • When your body kills Candida it produces poisonous by-products that cause a whole range of severe Candida symptoms.

This is also called Candida Die Off or “Herzheimer reaction”. And it’s effects can be extremely overwhelming. Making you feel truly awful and ill.

  • This occurs if there are too many of these yeast by-products in your bloodstream to be processed by your liver.
  • As these byproducts are floating around in your body they are causing more inflammations and reinfections of previously healed areas.
  • It is quite common “to feel worse before you feel better”.

Where in your body does the Candida Die Off happen?

  • The yeast related signs of candida elimination can literally pop up in any part of your body if not in several at the same time (see complete list of candida symptoms here).
  • The new onset of inflammations caused by the Candida die off process is not a relapse.
  • It is generally a sign that the treatment is working and Candida is being killed.

But watch out, if the symptoms don’t subside this could mean that the Candida strains have not all been eliminated and have become resistant.

  • They might have found an area in your body where they have an ideal environment to thrive again.
  • This can easily happen when you have eaten something sweet or had a lot of stress or caught a virus perhaps.

Can the Candida Die Off Symptoms kick in delayed?

  • Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between new symptoms and those caused by Candida die off, as neither occur in a timely manner.

You might eat something and feel fine for two days until you experience the first onset of break out.

  • As you go through the Candida Diet you’ll notice that your body as well as the Candida Die Off symptoms itself go through cycles.

You’ll soon be able to recognise symptom patterns straight away and treat them quickly before they can spread to other areas in your body.

  • I’m thinking of showing you examples of those patterns from excerpts of my food diary. At the moment I’m too busy to really go through this mountain of data -we are talking 2.5 jears worth of daily entries here! But this is something I would like to do in the future if this is of interest to you…

In the meantime check out these tips and if you have a question, ask it in the comments at the bottom of this page or shoot me an email.

Follow these 11 Simple Tips to Get Rid of Your Candida Die Off Symptoms:

  1. Eat light and early (between 5.30pm and 6:30pm works best for me))
  2. Drink 2-3l of water and nettle tea
  3. Swish a mixture of sunflower oil and essential oils of thyme, cinnamon bark and tea tree around your mouth for 15 mins before breakfast, rinse well (10 parts sunfl – 1 part other oils)
  4. Drink warm water before breaky and hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice during the day
  5. Reduce eating yogurt
  6. Use a steam bath or sauna (this all aids the candida elimination process)
  7. Avoid using garlic and coconut oil and take less antifungals for 1-2 days
  8. Take a rest after lunch (guided relaxation meditation or self-hypnosis help)
  9. Take herbs that aid your liver’s ability to break down toxins (drink dandelion & burdock tea to minimize bloating.)
  10. Avoid having a huge bulk of veg with supper
  11. Avoid eating lots of beans or lentils at supper

A small portion of beans or lentils might be ok, no more than a big handful though otherwise you might get abdominal problems. The excess protein is also likely to wake you up at night or lead to a blocked nose.

I explain why this happens in one of my next blog posts.

Until then please just take my word for it that it’s best to stay away from it as a supper option whilst you are struggling with the raised levels of candida toxins in your system. It’s just as nice for lunch.

Keep grains at a minimum, too. I noticed that big bowls of porridge, quinoa, buckweat or millet all made my symptoms worse. So did eating eggs or pancakes for dinner – yeah alright, who eats pancakes for dinner anyway, ay ?

If you’re experiencing a flare up of some sort yourself I suggest you put your name on my email list now ?

I’ll be covering candida die off issues and info about healthy eating extensively in my upcoming newsletters and in personal email conversations.

One such topic that is scheduled to go out to my subscribers only is listed below:

Candida Die Off versus New Symptoms

= An 11 point checklist to help you determine if your symptoms indicate a decrease in yeast numbers or new candida growth.

These are some of my personal proven tactics to combat Candida Die Off.

Candida Diet: 5 Core Natural Remedies
Every Candida Sufferer Should Have! Get Your FREE Report Now


  • Leila moss

    Reply Reply July 17, 2012

    I have no idea whether I’m experiencing die off or if the yeast is growing again. How did you know?

    • Sandra

      Reply Reply July 17, 2012

      Hi Leila, the only way to know for sure that it’s die off is to stick to the candida diet religiously.

      If you eat/ drink something sugary then naturally the yeast is growing. You also have to be careful not to get too stressed as then your body pumps out your body’s own sugar reserves – which also feeds Candida (how unfair is that!).
      If you are then also taking antifungals, then you will certainly experience more symptoms.

      To be honest, I didn’t know it half the time – it drove me crazy. But once you are healing the phases in between the die offs get bigger and you are better able to judge what is causing you to feel worse and change your behaviour accordingly.

      Keeping a food diary helps a lot.

      Your best bet is to stick to the diet as best as you can most of the time and relax and sleep as much as you can.
      Start with a low dose of antifungals and only take more when your symptoms are at a manageable level. Then you have nothing to worry about.

      I have put together a checklist with my own findings that helped me differentiate between “die off” and “new” symptoms. You get it emailed to you when you sign up to my newsletter ?

  • Linda

    Reply Reply July 23, 2012

    How bad is drinking a red wine spritzer with perrier when you have Candida. Thank you-

    • Sandra

      Reply Reply July 24, 2012

      As far as alcohol goes drinking red wine spritzer is one of the least offending drinks. Diluting drinks with sparkling water or drinking a glass of water with your drink is a great idea. It prevents most dehydration based hangover symptoms the next day and helps your body metabolise the alcohol/ sugar.

      How bad this drink might affect you depends on how ill you are.

      If you are going through a hefty yeast infection right now, feeling really weak and poorly then drinking red wine spritzer would most likely make you feel worse (generally the next day not straight away). If you are feeling well and just notice a few minor symptoms then it is likely that you might get away with 1 or 2 spritzers (no more) without noticing more symptoms the next day.

      Try to avoid smoky environments and stress, eat nutritious food and get a good night’s sleep and you should be ok. But listen in with yourself – if you experience more symptoms in the days after your night out then it’s best if you give alcoholic drinks a miss until your immune system is stronger.
      Hope this helps.

  • Sarah

    Reply Reply August 14, 2012

    Hello Sandra!

    Thanks for all the great tips! I’m really enjoying all the info you are sharing, especially the “not so fun” info. It seems too many people are scared to tell the whole truth. So thank you! It’s very refreshing!

    Have you written a post yet about the antifungal supplements? I’m not quite sure where to begin with them?

    This is my second go at the candida diet. I did it for 5 months last winter but was so sick, I’m guessing now with die off symptoms, that I was put on antibiotics 3 different times, which only made me worse. I’m so glad I am more aware now to keep at it and NOT take more antibiotics. I’m also taking your recommendation to ease a bit more into it instead of being so hard core the first month or two. Hoping this will help too.

    It is true that the die off can almost feel worse then the original infection, but it’s also a relief to know that these are signs that the diet is actually working. I feel so encouraged reading your blog! :)


    • Sandra

      Reply Reply August 15, 2012

      Hello Sarah,
      thank you so much for your kind comments :-) It’s important to me to paint an authentic picture about living with candida. It’s a fine line though, as the truth can sound quite demoralising… And I want to encourage and motivate you :-)

      I am going to write a post about the antifungal supplements in the next few weeks. I am still gathering info at this stage, as it is such a comprehensive topic. Bear with me….it’s in the pipeline ?
      All my best,


      PS: Don’t let the die off symptoms get you down. Hang in there. You are doing your immune system the world of good!

  • Jacqueline

    Reply Reply September 16, 2012

    2 yrs ago i had gotten rid of systemic candida that i had taking the 3 pack antibiotics for this ulcer in my stomach, couldnt even finish the rouund when i developed all sorts of rashes, vaginal infections, thrush in mouth, well i followed the diet, went down 35 lbs and eliminated candida, but it seems im very allergic and have to take antibiotics for sinus infections so recently i had to take antibiotics and developed thrush so doctor gave me nyastatin, now i have these horrible flu like symptoms, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, how long is this die off period, so does this mean i have to start the diet again???

    • Sandra

      Reply Reply September 16, 2012

      Have you thought that your allergies might be yeast related? Most systemic candida cases go hand in hand with leaky gut syndrome. So might be something you have to adress and sort out to get rid of your allergies. Antibiotics are not going to help you long term – they only weaken your immune system. They might have suppressed your underlying yeast problem while you were following the candida diet and now the overgrowth has bounced back.

      To prevent the problem from coming back I’d suggest you take some natural antifungals. But since you have been prescribed nystatin you might as well see this treatment through. Ask your doc if you should lower the dosage to minimise the die off. You should not have to suffer like thist! I’m afraid you do have to follow the diet again to get this under control. There is no other option.

      The die off can last anything from a few days to weeks. But as it is directly related to how much sugar you put in your system, how many antifungals you take and how well your liver is supported in this challenge -you have a lot of control over the intensity of the die off symptoms. Key is to reduce the load on your system and get plenty of rest and extra water, vitamins & minerals.

      There is also a trace mineral called “Chelated Molybdenum” that might help you. It has helped numerous people to reduce their die off symptoms. I haven’t tried it myself. But it might be worth investigating…

  • erin vaughn

    Reply Reply November 3, 2012

    Hi Sandra, quick question, can you use guar gum instead of agar-agar because it’s so expensive and I noticed with soba noodles all the ones I found have a little sugar in them, would it set me back if i ate some that contained less than 1 gram?

    • Sandra

      Reply Reply November 3, 2012

      Hi Erin, you can use small amounts of guar gum. What are you using it for? I’m using ground arrow root to thicken soups & sauces.

      Regarding the soba noodles – is the sugar content the listed carbohydrates content or is this actually added sugar you mean? If it’s the latter then I’d stay away from it. I checked the ones I’m eating and they contain 72g carb per 100g and the soba&sweet potato ones have 56g carb – that’s ok in my opinion.

      What I would also like to say though is that it is important to watch what you are having with the soba noodles. For instance I got into the habit of frying red peppers and leek with olive oil and spices because it is so quick and delicious. But I noticed that I wasn’t getting better and had more flare ups. It was only when I started eating soups & fish instead of my beloved new favourite dish that I quickly got better. I think oily spicy food is really hard to digest and it interferes with insulin in your body preventing the carbs in the soba noodles to be properly digested before they are hitting your intestines where the candida tends to linger… Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. So my advice would be enjoy soba noodles dishes but don’t eat them all the time and not late at night with an oily sauce :-)

      All my best, Sandra

  • Cat

    Reply Reply December 29, 2012

    Wow. I didn’t miss the two special updates to subscribers, did I? I just subscribed a few days ago…

    • Sandra

      Reply Reply December 29, 2012

      Hi Cat,
      not sure, what stage of the diet are you in right now? I can re-send you the most relevant info, for instance regarding a Candida Cleanse or Die-Off… Just let me know :-)
      All my best,

  • Hannah

    Reply Reply July 19, 2013

    I subscribed too late for the Die Off vs. New Symptoms checklist. Any way you can shoot it my way? I’m into week one of the strict diet and could use the reference.

    • Sandra

      Reply Reply July 20, 2013

      Hello Hannah,
      no problem, I emailed it to you with some other info you might have missed. Hope you’re feeling ok.
      All my best,

  • Angela Knight

    Reply Reply October 10, 2013

    I also struggle with die off symptoms and new symptoms, I would love some info on this too. I also left a comment a couple of days ago and accidently unfollowed post, I cant find the thread anywhere ? Love your website too, very real and helpful , thanks Sandra ,

    • Sandra

      Reply Reply October 11, 2013

      Thank you Angela – I have emailed you the link to the post… x

  • anne marie fisher

    Reply Reply December 3, 2013

    thank you for all of your info. it is helping me greatly with my Candida. I am looking forward to becoming healthy again. God BLess you for the time and energy you put into your site.

    • Sandra

      Reply Reply December 4, 2013

      Thanks so much for keeping me motivated Anne Marie – you are lovely :)

  • Michelle

    Reply Reply January 2, 2014

    Hi Sandra,

    I’ve been on the strict diet for about a month and two weeks, have done 3 weeks of Natures Sunshine candida clear antifungals and am now doing a candida cleanse with caprilic oil, liquid bentonite clay and psyllium hulls two times a day. I have had success in managing vaginal flare ups while taking antifungals or having the yeast busters drink two times daily. When I stop these treatments is when I have symptoms come back.

    I am also taking probiotics

    I noticed some die off symptoms (like a sore throat, dizziness and brain fog, ezema flare up on my hands and weird skin condition on my finger tips – a type of dryness) when I was going strong at it (I.e. Antifungals, probiotics, diet, drinking pa d’arco tea, swallowing chunks of garlic mid-meal). I stopped the antifungals because my stomach would hurt and bloat really badly after week 3. Within two days of not taking the natural antifungal pills, I started to feel the same symptoms. The sore throat and brain fog went away but this new weird skin dryness has now been here for almost a month. Although it has improved it is still here.

    I am going to see Dr. Rona (who co-authored the Candida Yeast Guidebook) as I am feeling lost on what I am taking and how much – hopefully he will help. The last thing I want to do is create resistant strains. I have a feeling he will put me on nystatin…. What are your thoughts on this?

    Can you send me the emails with the die off symptoms checklist and any other you feel would be appropriate?

    I want to beat this thing so I can go back to my life. I believe it all started from reoccurring UTI’s which I took antibiotics to cure. I had a UTI almost every month for 2.5 years. Silly me, I never took probiotics after. I think this was my downfall as the vaginitis started while I was on antibiotics to cure a UTI. When I developed another UTI this year, my Symptoms flared up by the second day of antibiotic use.

    If you can provide any insight it would be much appreciated.


    • Sandra

      Reply Reply January 2, 2014

      Hi Michelle,
      it is quite normal to experience the symptoms you describe considering that you have been taking a lot of antifungals. The skin often reacts delayed so this might very well still be a reaction from when you were taking the antifungals and garlic. I take it you are not eating anything with sugar? What about wheat/ gluten? I noticed that my eczema flared up just from me eating meat or bread with gluten.

      How long have you had candida? It sounds as if you have had it a few years hence the reoccurring UTIs (this is how it started for me too). If this happens to you again while clearing the yeast from your system I recommend you take urva ursi drops or drink the tea – all natural and very effective.

      Generally if you have had the candida problem for a while I would not expect to clear it within weeks. It takes several months to re-balance your system. I cannot say much about Nystatin other than that some of my readers have tried it and as far as I know their symptoms came back as soon as they ate normal again. I haven’t tried it myself. What worked best for me was Oil of oregano and Olive leaf extract. You can rotate those if you fear the strains might become resistant…

      I’ll be interested to hear what Dr. Rona will recommend you. It’s definitely always a good idea to consult with a specialist. I presume he will also tell you to take a strong probiotic. I’ll email you the candida die off symptoms check list.

      Chin up, you’ll beat this thing. You’ve made a great start. Don’t be disheartened :)

  • carol

    Reply Reply January 3, 2015

    Please email me die off symptoms….this is first time I have tried to do the candida diet and Im finding it really difficult as different pages have different ideas and I am totally confused….A step 1 to 5 including everything I can eat would be great…please email me symptoms x

  • Cortney

    Reply Reply February 26, 2015

    Chlorella is supposed to be good for die off symptoms. It mops up the nasties that the dead candida leave behind.

    • Sandra

      Reply Reply March 21, 2015

      Couldn’t agree more — it also takes out heavy metals and helps with constipation. I wouldn’t want to be without it.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field