Jul 19, 2016
Reaction score
  1. Vegan
Hello everybody! I turned vegan 2 or 3 months ago and am struggling with what I think is detox. I'm looking for hope and advise on why I'm feeling so bad. Where do I start?
Hello Jim!

Have no fear. Please search 'Herxheimer reaction' here on the forums and you will see plenty of postings about the discomfort of detox and the horizon beyond :) if you have any further questions just post a follow up here.

Welcome to the forum.
I was ok for the first 2 months but the past 3 weeks has been a real struggle with muscle aches, headaches, feeling sick, ringing ears, etc.. all the symptoms of detox basically. I don't mind this suffering as long as there is an end to it. I am 44 years old and have always eaten meat and diary until turning vegan so I guess my body has a lot of clearing out to do. I just wish it would come to an end.
There is an end to it, unless of course your symptoms have nothing to do with your new found veganism.
If the symptoms are as a result of your dietary change, they will be the result of a Herxheimer reaction as I said. I experienced something similar at the same time as you - about three months after going vegan.

It is important, during this period, to be making sure there is enough iodine in your diet. You might wish to supplement. Iodine deficiency during this time makes the symptoms worse. For me the detox lasted around a month and then was over. I took Iceland Moss which helped speed up the process towards the end and eased the symptoms (I.Moss has amazing nutritive properties) - you will need to go to a specialised health store to get it, though.

Hope it clears up soon!
Thanks, that makes me feel better that I might only have a couple of weeks to go. I have got Lugols solution for Iodine. I take about 70mg a day. Is this something you agree with? I recently had a blood tested, during this detox, and my T4 was low and my TSH was high. I've got to go back in 3 months to have my T4 and TSH measured again. I'm a little bemused as to why my T4 was low when I take so much iodine.
I'm afraid I have absolutely no expertise when it comes to potential thyroid issues.
It's so frustrating. There is so little information on new vegans going through the Herxheimer reaction. The blood test doesn't pick up what toxins are in my blood so the doctor concluded that I must have caught a bug which doesn't even match my symptoms. How did you feel after getting past your Herxheimer reaction compared to before being vegan? I've noticed that I'm more happy in general, I seem to be more creative and capable of more mental work but I'm not fully convinced this is permanent.
Well, as for the toxins in your blood - a blood test would pick up pretty much every toxin that the cells are known to hold onto - a test wouldn't really help it would probably just astonish and confuse the haematologist. By the time a repeat test was done (within a few weeks) most of the toxins would be gone. The Herxheimer reaction is about the lymph fluid getting replenished and the cells feeling that it's safe to let go of the toxins now that the body is getting what it needs. Cells only retain toxins when it is at the body's advantage for them to do so. The Herxheimer reaction is therefore a very good sign - it means that your body is likely to make a full recovery (if it wasn't likely, the cells would keep holding-in the toxins).

After, I must confess, it left me scarred. Literally. I didn't take iodine therefore I was left with scars on my face (almost like little pox marks) due to severe iodine deficiency, which becomes even more acute during Herxheimer reaction period. Yes, I wish the vegan community was more open about HerxR but many people don't seem to want to discuss it because it temporarily challenges the idea that the vegan diet is superior. Likelihood is fewer people will try it, after all, if they get warned about a severe detox period which can last a month. So I've made it my mission to make sure, whenever I can, that others don't experience the same mistakes I made. I am fortunate that the scarring has faded and you wouldn't notice it if I didn't deliberately point it out.

But apart from the problem with iodine I felt that my body was simply much more acute. The slightest discomfort I can now feel, and I get warnings about what I might be doing wrong loud and clear. These are both distinct advantages to have - to be able to listen to one's body better. Before, especially when I had dairy in my diet, these messages just didn't seem to cut through the muck - they were dull and slow. Everything now is clean and clear and, yes, I have noticed some stability in my mood too. I have also not experienced any sickness or caught any 'local bugs' since going vegan. The only time I have ever been ill was when I failed to get a decent night's sleep for several days in a row. Or when I have actually consumed too much vitamin C which resulted in mouth ulcers - not many people seem to be aware that you can actually overdose on vitamin C.

There are mental health charities that advocate a vegetarian diet and increased fructose, so I am not surprised you are feeling more mentally agile. I suspect you would feel even more so if you increased the amount of fruit that you eat.

Hope this helps!
Last edited by a moderator:
Yes, it really does help, thank you very much!
I should have added that I've now been vegan for 27 months so that's a pretty good track record on the sickness front!