Detox Symptom: Hives

edited October 2015 in The Bulletproof Diet
This post is to open a conversation with anyone struggling or who has struggled with hives or detox when they start the Bulletproof diet.

I began drinking the coffee roughly 2 months ago. I began to read the website, forums, ordered Dave's book, some Bulletproof cookbooks and began to do the diet as suggested. I was very strict for 3 weeks: ordered Brain Octane for my coffee, Bulletproof coffee beans, grass fed or wild caught proteins, no gluten or grains, no refined sugars (only raw honey or xylitol), no cheese, yogurt, cream or milk, no cheats that contained mold, no yogurt or milk, under 50 grams of carbs per evening as my last food with two carb refeeds a week. I lost a few pounds (started around 173 lbs, 5ft5 female). More than the weight loss, I noticed that my body was changing: less puffy in the face, less inflammation in my hips and waist. BOUNDLESS energy.

After three weeks, I got bored (just being honest here) and one at a time began pulling in foods in the yellow zone: garlic, onions, nightshades, potatoes, organic chicken. It may have started then, but at some point, I began to get hives. At the time, I thought it was bug bites because of the size and pattern. We had a bed bug hound come out and check the house. There was not one insect found (the cats got big accolades for that).

At the time, I was taking all my regular supplements (fish oil, an intestinal formula, a multi vitamin, etc.) and in addition, I had added in Bulletproof Unfair Advantage instead of my coq10 capsule. At some point, I also started Bulletproof anti-aging capsules and took activated charcoal if I was nervous about anything (that stuff is the bomb). Still thinking I was getting bitten by bugs at work, I added in Bulletproof Choline Force and began stepping my foot deeper into the orange section of the diet occasionally. I would order an organic salad and if it had little sprinkles that I knew had gluten, I'd eat them anyway. The hives got bigger. I still thought they were bug bites, because I'd never had hives before.

I went to my doctor (who is a functional medicine practitioner), as I realized that I might have hives. I also realized, simultaneously, that I had detoxed so much from the beginning of the diet, that my body could not handle poison in any way at this point....and that I was not supporting my liver AT ALL. I had Bulletproof Glutamine Force, spirulina and calcium d-glucarate shipped ASAP, started taking them and the hives stopped popping up.

Then, I noticed that anytime I stepped into the orange zone of the diet, it was small disaster and I'd either get hives or some sort of intestinal reaction. I also noticed that eating carbs made some of the bacteria calm down and go back into their reverie. I have just completed a week of pretty consistent carb eating which has not helped my weight loss, but definitely evened out some of my body's detox reactions. I am heading back into intermittent fasting today.

In conclusion, my solution for hives was 1) stay in the green zone of the diet 2) take all of the recommended cleansing supplements 3) if it gets too bad, eat some more carbs to slow down the death of the bad fungus/bacteria (I'm not all that savvy about what exactly they are or do).

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

― Ernest Hemingway



  • I don't know what  you mean by hives, but when I started the BPD from SAD I had some weird skin reactions which eventually went away within 3-6 months. Don't be afraid to eat outside of the green zone. Be wary of psychosomatic signs and symptoms.


    My recommendation would be to eat as many  leafy greens and colorful veggies as you can and don't skip your one serving of starch a day. Tracking what you eat with myfitnesspal or chronometer isn't a bad idea either it will let you more easily visualize the amounts of stuff your eating. 


    You don't mention what your previous diet was like...depending on where your coming from I would expect a variety of physiological changes as you change your diet. I love supplementation as much as the next person, but watch out that your not throwing too much at yourself.

    Make, [then,] thyself to grow to the same stature as the Greatness which transcends all measure; leap forth from every body; transcend all Time; become Eternity; and [thus] shalt thou know God. Conceiving nothing is impossible unto thyself, think thyself deathless and able to know all,—all arts, all sciences, the way of every life.  – Corpus Hermeticum XI “The Mind of Hermes”

  • Well, what I mean by hives is diagnosed by my MD as hives and clearly a reaction to food or toxicity. Definitely not psychosomatic: each hive has an ID badge that says "hive" on it ;)

    I'm not afraid to eat outside the yellow just makes me feel crappy. Dave puts it perfectly in chapter 14 of his book: why would I want to spend half the week recovering from Chinese food when I can feel awesome all the time? I choose to remain as close to green as I can get. Even activated charcoal has its limitations.


    I like your idea about leaning more into leafy greens. I'm going to experiment with that this weekend.


    My previous diet was pretty wholesome. I abstained from sugar, wheat and GMO's for years. The big changes are grass fed dairy, no cheese, rice only (no grains), less fruit.

    For a long time I thought my inability to lose weight was about eating. Now I can see that it's about inflammation, cortisol imbalance (high adrenaline job), and maybe mold toxicity. It's all good....just a journey to finding out what exactly happened to get here.

    Thanks for your input.

    “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • i also had a similar problem with hives and skin rashes. The first time I took glutathione I had a nice clearing of the mind followed by fatigue, brain fog, and hives on my neck and chest. my skin is the first place to react if I detox too much. My integrative medicine doctor said the same thing. I needed to slow down with all the detoxing I was doing and support my liver. at one point I had dermatitis all over my body including my eye lids and on my ears! It was terrible! This was also the start of my detoxing biotoxins from mold and Candida so I had a lot going on.

    The liver support helped over time, but I think intestinal binders help me the most with my skin issues. I'm not 100% yet but I'm doing a lot better. Are you still taking the activated charcoal? I take diatomaceous earth, Chlorella, and zeolite. occasionally activate charcoal.

    I also feel like I am developing more allergies since my body has become "cleaner". I think I may now have a latex allergy and even some food allergies to cross reactive foods to latex like avocado and bananas. :( I was eating avocado every day and my rash is almost gone since I cut it out. l love avocado. Maybe some day I will try to reintroduce it back in my diet.

    So my suggestion from personal experience would be continue with the BP diet, and take liver support supplements, intestinal binders and probiotics/ prebiotics. Digestive health is also extremely important when detoxing.
  • That's super helpful, thanks.  I  am taking activated charcoal and spiralina, just ordered Amasai (suggested by Dave A. on some blog piece) and will start taking it after my blood test tomorrow.  I have a strong suspicion that my issues trace back to my gut bacteria (decimated as a teenager after years of antibiotics), so I ordered a uBiome kit to map my micro biomes.  It's all a journey.  :geek:

    “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • I did the same thing as a teen and even into my 20ies by taking antibiotics. Do you have a link to the uBiome kit? I'm interested in learning more about it.
  • I've been fully Bulletproof for almost 4 weeks now. Previously I was about 80-90% Paleo, but still eating a lot of crap here and there.


    For the last 4 days my scalp has been discharging some weird yellow/orange stuff and crusting over. It's super super itchy. Skin stuff is lame! Yesterday my stomach/gut went into full revolt after I ate some potato, which I've never reacted to. Now my brain is foggy and my ears feel like I'm under water. Detox is no joke. It is really strange how you suddenly start reacting to things you never (knew you) had an issue with. 


    Do you take charcoal/chlorella/zeolite all in the same day? Empty stomach? I'm having trouble timing everything right. Like, how long do you have to wait after you've had bulletproof coffee to take glutathione? Should I cool it with the glutathione to slow the detox a little? 

  • Chigirl43: ....I found a Groupon and ordered the 5 site test.

    Alliebirdo, I also had a wide range of detox symptoms hit after about a month on Bulletproof. The hives are the only thing still left (3 months now), but I have absolutely no tolerance for things I used to get away with. Wheat of any kind would set me back a couple days to recover from now. I'm pretty convinced that my body is releasing all kinds of poison and it's just a process of passing it.

    I believe that Glutathione Force helps me bind some of the toxins. My hives decreased in amount and frequency when I started taking it. I take it in the morning on an empty stomach while I'm making BP coffee. I take 2-3 Choline force with my coffee, an ample of Unfair Advantage and then nothing else until late afternoon. When I take my vitamins with my first meal or snack, I take about 4-5 spirulina tablets. Also, if I know that I have or will ingest something questionable (like canola oil or soy sauce in a salad), I hold off on the vitamins and take Dave's activated charcoal. That stuff just works better with less than the cheaper one I tried.

    I will be in the process of eating some stuff in the orange zone for the next 2 weeks, leading up to my allergy blood test (Genova Diagnostic food anitbodies test). It is suggested to eat things might produce anti-bodies. This will be extremely enlightening.

    “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • Be careful using the broad label of detox to describe your symptoms. There could be something else going on here. Going from paleo to bulletproof isn't a huge leap to warrant crazy detox symptoms, unless you were eating very loosely paleo haha. A lot of symptoms here look like they are gastrointestinal related, possibly a stealth infection of some sort.

    I'm not sure where you all are on your health journey but ideally you should be able to eat some gluten with a meal very occasionally and not get completely destroyed.. unless you have an allergy or autoimmune condition. If you are generally healthy and getting destroyed by stuff, it's probably due to a stealth gut infection.

    "Men are more easily wooed by imagination then by science" - Will Durant


  • Well, I suppose that the journey to finding out if there are allergies or leaky gut at play is through "detox" (defined as "ridding one's body of poisons").  Meanwhile, I trust my MD and acupuncturist to determine how serious the tone of my voice should be when I discuss all this (said with a very, very serious, er, sarcastic face)..

    “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

    ― Ernest Hemingway

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