The Reason I Crave Milk, Contemplations, and Could this really explain ‘die off’?

This is only a small portion of what has been whirling around in my brain while GAPS resurrects it. How did I not notice how severe the mind fog was until it began to lift???

I am so pleased with Dr. Natasha’s blog post that tells us to listen to our bodies and why when it comes to nourishment. I have been feeling at odds with the diet insomuch as it was starting to feel like a one size fits all – especially intro -, and that just doesn’t sit well with me. Though I have no medical training, I have intuition and a lot of research into natural healing that allows me to interpret what is working for me. Plus, my body tells me differently. I am so glad she felt the need to write this blog post, as I have been reading over and over lately about how people are floundering with different issues and feel too restricted to use help not outlined in the GAPS protocol. It’s made me question if this is the right avenue for us or if I need to research some other similar nutritional advice and tweak things to work for us. GAPS has done too much for us in this short time to completely abandon it. I’m amazed at its healing capabilities and the gains we have seen in less than two months. I just feel a tickle in the back of my mind that I’m skipping over some things that we need. I’ll keep you all updated as I find them. I have a feeling that most, if not all, will be GAPS appropriate just a little mind tweak towards food as alternative medicine than ‘meal’ food if that makes sense.

I still have too much of that most frustrating mind fog to be able to discuss or cite things intelligently in these early stages of GAPS and having a toddler in tow all day – and to be honest, they suck out a bit of your life force when you’re around them. Where do you think they get all of that energy from??? -, so bear with me as I ramble about the things that are bumping around my brain. It will get better as the cobwebs clear.

Here’s what has really caught my attention lately. There was a post in GAPShelp that I came across that kinda knocked me back. I have been looking into the theory like mad, because it really resonates with me. I like the slow and low approach to healing and this explains a great reason to do so. I don’t think overwhelming our bodies with die off is healthy. That’s why I hands down support doing full GAPS for some time and then increasingly incorporating intro soups until your body tells you that it’s ready for the intro program. This approach may not work for everyone, but from reading the blogs that have been part of our ‘intro community’ and the comments of those who are/were doing it with us, I can tell you that those who have been on GAPS for some time had an amazing experience on intro and the rest of us were just wrecked. Here’s the thread for those of you who can login. Here is the main post for those of you who can’t:

This is something I found while doing research about oxalates, autism, candida, etc. I will post the entire quote, it explains what happens when we have ‘die-off’ or ‘oxalate dumping’ when going on elimination diets and how heavy metals are very much intertwined in all of it.

I hope you will find the information useful as well! It is from a low oxalate group on a celiac forum, they obviously don’t know about the healing GAPS diet, but for some reason I thought this was the best explanation of why we might react to oxalates or anything that causes die-off, its not necessarily the toxins released by the bacteria or yeast, its actually the heavy metals being released back into the body… because actually candida is a protective mechanism to prevent you from being poisoned by mercury! I would love for Dr. Natasha to have explained this better in the book because it is VERY dangerous to allow those heavy metals to circulate in the body without having something to remove them or to assist the kidneys in excreting them, they can do a lot of harm when released (I found that out the hard way when on a raw food ‘cleanse’).

This is taken from the bottom post from this thread:

“It makes sense that candida would flare during “dumping”.

Our bodies are a whole eco-system…there are metals, bacteria, yeast, oxalates….and all sorts of toxins playing a role when we have symptoms of chronic illness.

These things are not hanging out seperately…they are very much living together in the most toxic areas of our bodies. You cant treat one thing without also disturbing all the rest. If oxalates are binding with yeast and metals….if the oxalates start moving…so do the metals and yeast. This causes a flare-up of symptoms…die-off, dumping, mobilized metals….whatever you choose to call it…its basically the same thing.

Every one of my Dr.’s explained this to me at the start of my treatment. Once we start chelating metals….*anything* to move the metals will cause yeast symptoms to increase…significantly. Same thing with yeast treatment…if there is nothing in place to protect from the release of metals and redistribution….we will most definately feel it taking place.

I imagine that its no different with oxalates…there will be mobilization of metals and a flare up of yeast as well. Metals and yeast go hand-in-hand….in nature yeast/molds have the highest ability to bind heavy metals.

This is where toxin binders are important…especially when it comes to the metals. You dont want metals to be redistributed (where they can possibly cause even more damage)…you want them to be excreted.

Also the kidneys are particularly vulnerable because they are usually already heavily burdened by heavy metals (mercury tends to accumulate in the kidneys). A release of metals from other areas can put a great deal of stress on the kidneys. The kidneys really require alot of support during detoxification. Lots and lots of water, toxin binders as well as some type of kidney support can prevent alot of the symptoms of “dumping”.

I believe that these are all tied in together….its not likely that the increase in symptoms or “flare-ups” are solely caused by oxalates. These are typical symptoms of heavy metal redistribution.

Personally, I think all toxins which are released and circulating are putting alot of stress on the body…but the ones that can do the most damage are the metals.

Its very well known that yeast binds with mercury. The worlds most experienced Dr. with regards to heavy metal detox had his own theory about yeast die-off. Basically, he didnt feel that it was yeast toxins causing these terrible die-off symptoms…he believed it was the metals which are released into the system when we do anything to kill off the yeast.

To “test” his theory when he had patients who were going through major die-off symptoms he gave them a shot of DMPS…(a strong chelator of heavy metals). Whenever he did this the die-off would immediately stop. DMPS is a treatment for heavy metals….nothing else. If it truelly were yeast toxins causing those symptoms…DMPS would have no effect on the symptoms.

From what I’ve read about oxalates…they seem to have an affinity for binding with minerals….including heavy metals.

I did not have a problem with either yeast or oxalates until I became mercury toxic.

I know that there is an unproven theory (with studies currently underway) that the immune system *allows* for a yeast overgrowth in a situation of heavy metal toxicity.

This is the theory..

Most – if not all – chronic infectious diseases are not caused by a failure of the immune system, but are a conscious adaptation of the immune system to an otherwise lethal heavy metal environment.

Mercury suffocates the intracellular respiratory mechanism and can cause cell death. So, the immune system makes a deal: it cultivates fungi and bacteria that can bind large amounts of toxic metals. The gain: the cells can breathe. The cost. the system has to provide nutrition for the microorganisms and has to deal with their metabolic products (“toxins”).

That does not imply that the tolerated guest cannot grow out of control, as it sometimes clearly does. Therefore, there is still a limited place for antifungal antibacterial treatment – but only for the acute phase of the disease.

A so-called “die-off effect” (the sometimes severe crisis or even lethal reaction a patient can have in the initial stages of aggressive pharmaceutical antifungal or antibacterial treatment) is often nothing else but acute heavy metal toxicity – metals released from the cell walls of dying microorganisms as suggested by my own correlation of clinical syndromes and urinalysis for metals.

Colleagues in Germany are working on a study at this time. Preliminary results show a dramatic improvement in clinical and scientific parameters in chronic Candidiasis using the Klinghardt protocol or heavy metal detoxification.END quote
I personally very much believe that there is truth in this.

It makes me wonder about oxalates. If they have the ability to bind metals (in the same way that yeasts and molds do) it seems that as long as the metals remain in the body we will continue to have problems with oxalate containing foods.

As long as a person is toxic from heavy metals…. the body will always hold onto yeasts and molds for the purpose of protecting us. Maybe it does the same with oxalates??

The metals can do some serious damage if not for the yeasts ability to bind with them…preventing so much cell death and damage caused by metals moving around the body. ”


Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.

When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.

4 thoughts on “The Reason I Crave Milk, Contemplations, and Could this really explain ‘die off’?”

  • I was the one who posted that on the GAPS help group, I didn't really know how to answer people's questions though, I'm in the same boat as everyone else, just trying to figure things out, I do an enormous amount of nutrition research everyday I should be getting some sort of certification because of it! But knowledge is only knowledge until we can put it into practice and see results and gain an understanding. I've been questioning GAPS now for a couple weeks because I was doing so horrible with such a decrease in carbs. I know this doesn't really relate to the heavy metal stuff, but I've been learning that when you give your body the right amount and kinds of food you feel good, you have energy, you don't have brain fog, and your body takes care of things like it SHOULD. Yes, we need to eliminate the foods causing damage for awhile until the gut heals I love that about GAPS, grains are pretty damaging. I am gluten free and that has helped tremendously because my body isn't having to deal with that burden, I think that will do tremendous healing for both of us. Will we go on intro? probably at some point but a toxic body probably doesn't have the level of nutrients needed for detoxification in the beginning which is why I needed to get it out there that it could be dangerous. I know another nutritionist who said if you feel horrible… that means its too much, or something isn't working, detox shouldn't hurt. And people who do serious chelation like the Andy Cutler protocol sometimes stay sick for a long time. I am feeling really good just eating when I am hungry and not letting my blood sugar drop, I eat a lot of food, if I eat meat I always make sure to have fruit or something starchy to help with the cortisol spike from a high protein meal and help the adrenals out. I am seeing an increase in overall energy, no brain fog, better sleep acne is going away… I probably still have gut dysbiosis but I also have amalgam fillings and I am not going to attempt to get rid of the yeast that is keeping it in check, everytime I do I feel like it stresses my body. I don't know how this will relate to my son, he clearly has some issues that I would like to heal. I would keep trucking along with the GAPS, but make sure to take it slow, give time for healing, keep the bowels moving, keep blood sugar up to increase metabolism which increases all hormones. I love it that we are both trying to figure this out and be 'dr. mom' I wish there were doctors out there that fit the bill and were covered by insurance! But I truly truly believe food is our medicine, and to let the body do its thing and the toxic stuff will be handled properly as long as its not overburdened by a leaky gut, where most toxicity comes from.

  • Funny – I came across this post after just writing about my own crisis of confidence in GAPS. I'm glad there are smart mamas like you who are also looking for the answers!!! Nice to not feel alone.

  • Ladies, I think we are definitely on the right track together! It's great that we can all pool our knowledge, because, as Janelle alluded to, the amount of information out there is astounding. It's a full-time job trying to wade through it all to find what works for each of us. I truly look forward to reading about your journeys and learning about the new things that may help us along the way. Keep up the good work mamas!

  • autoimmune disorders/diseases suck…i have some of them and its a constant battle, even with my own “customized” diet.

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