Welcome to day four of your detox guide! Many people worry about having detox symptoms, also known as Herxheimer reaction symptoms, so I wanted to briefly share some insights about it.
Occasionally, an individual undergoing a detox or cleanse program may experience a Herxheimer reaction (named after Karl Herxheimer). This generally occurs in people whose systems are especially toxic, but can happen to anyone whose body detoxifies too rapidly. Detox symptoms are caused by the blood stream being overrun with toxins and struggling to break down and eliminate so much at one time. This “healing crisis” can last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to 10 days or more (if your immunity is low and depending on how long you detox).
One way to help prevent severe symptoms is to ease into a detox program slowly. Some people might find that using a detox shake such as UltraClear from Metagenics once daily for several days or even a week or two prior to a full-fledged cleanse may help prevent symptoms. This is certainly not necessary, just an option that you might consider if you’ve never completed a detox before.
Eliminating caffeine from your diet is usually part of a detox program. A sudden withdrawal of caffeine can greatly promote Herxheimer symptoms such as headaches and irritability. I strongly recommend cutting back on caffeine slowly. For instance, if you normally drink 3 cups of coffee daily, cut down to 2 cups for a few days. Then, decrease to 1 cup for a few more days and then down to a half cup a few more. At that point, you should be able to eliminate caffeine without headaches and irritability – at least due to caffeine withdrawal.
You can follow the rest of a detox program or cleanse while reducing your caffeine intake. You still may experience some symptoms though, if you are extremely toxic or your immune system is weakened.
If you experience the symptoms of Herxheimer reaction, please don’t be alarmed that the process is not working. Just the opposite is the case. These reactions are signs that your body is at work cleansing itself. Some of the uncomfortable symptoms you may experience are outlined below, but they vary by person.
Aches and pains
Joint or muscle pain
Fever and/or chills
Drop in blood pressure
Change in emotions
Just as you should be taking extra care of yourself during the detox process, this is especially important if you experience the symptoms of Herxheimer reaction symptoms. You don’t necessarily need to stop your cleanse but don’t feel bad if you feel you need to.
If you continue, just slow down a bit until the symptoms improve. Reduce your activity levels and follow these tips.
Be sure to drink plenty of pure water
Get extra rest
Eat natural, whole foods
Avoid unnecessary stress
Practice relaxation techniques
Keep a positive outlook
See your healthcare practitioner, if needed
Some people have found relief by taking antioxidants and supplements to support liver health when experiencing symptoms. Consuming alkalizing green drinks can also be beneficial. One of my favorite greens drinks is the Dynamic Fruits & Greens Espresso Mix from Nutri-Dyn. As an added bonus, the espresso flavor helps with eliminating coffee from your diet, without the caffeine.
Here’s hoping that the Herxheimer reaction symptoms are not an issue for you. But if they are, now you have some helpful strategies to reduce the effects if one or more sneaks up on you during detoxification.
Tomorrow’s topic will be weight loss during detox.
If you’re reading this article, good job! You are learning more about the detoxification process and commitment is building. Good luck with your efforts today!
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featured image courtesy of Diamond Farah