Sometimes we learn things the hard way…
That's how it was for me when introducing probiotics while on the GAPS diet!
Probiotics — an essential part of the gut-healing GAPS diet — are how we repopulate our guts with all of the good stuff we've been missing. However, as we introduce them, our bodies can experience difficulty. This is why it's important to begin eating probiotic foods or supplements slowly.
It took some painful lessons on my part to realize that this healing journey is a marathon — not a sprint. I hope my story helps you avoid making the same mistakes I did!
Making Up For Lost Time
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends getting to a therapeutic dose of probiotics (15 to 20 billion bacterial cells/day for an adult) and then holding there for about 6 months. With this in mind, I slowly started adding a probiotic supplement after a first round of the Intro diet. I started with 1/4 capsule and increased up to 2 capsules per day without too much of an issue.
After that, I forgot about continuing to increase the amount I was taking. A few months later, it dawned on me that I should have been increasing this whole time. I realized I needed to make up for lost time, and I was determined to do it quickly!
Within a few weeks I was up to 3-1/2 capsules per day. This wouldn't have been so bad — if my body wasn't sensitive to increases, and I hadn't been increasing my probiotic foods at the same time.
Probiotics In Food
Yes, there are probiotics in food too! It may seem obvious, and I knew this at this time, but I still didn't think about how increasing both my probiotic supplementation and food intake would cause such strong die-off reactions.
Take kefir, for instance. Kefir is highly detoxifying, especially if you let your rapidly growing kefir grains stay in your milk. Ask me how I know!
I had never made kefir before starting GAPS and didn’t know that I should get rid of my extra kefir grains. I just let them keep growing and growing, which made the kefir even stronger, which caused even more die-off symptoms.
Gradually, throughout the month or so that I was increasing my probiotic supplements while also consuming my super strong kefir, I felt worse and worse. I got severe headaches every day, dealt with extreme exhaustion, and had a spreading rash.
…And then I connected the dots, and realized that I needed to slow it way down.
4 Tips For Introducing Probiotics Slowly & Without Die-Off
After my own experiences, I put together these 4 tips for introducing probiotics slowly, so hopefully, you will experience little or no die-off.
#1 — Start More Slowly Than You May Think
Yes, it's tempting to hurry up the process. For me, 1/4 capsule increase per week is very manageable. If you aren't as sensitive, perhaps you'll be able to increase by 1/2 capsule at a time — or more.
Although some may be able to increase quickly and reach their therapeutic dose in no time, take it slowly, especially in the beginning while you figure out the swing of things! This leads me to my 2nd tip…
#2 — Pay Attention To Your Body
Look for signals that you're going too quickly. Do you have headaches, rashes, or exhaustion? Whatever signs you experience will be unique to your own body. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, slow down a bit.
#3 — Watch Your Probiotic Foods Intake
#4 — Finally, Take Breaks
My body responded better if I didn't continually increase. If you're now at 1 capsule per day, take a few days to a week before starting to work up to 2 capsules per day.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You are responsible for your own health and for the use of any remedies, treatments, or medications you use at home.
Have you dealt with die-off from introducing probiotics too quickly?
This post was featured in 82 Ways To Heal Your Gut.
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