Toxin Binders: A Modern Necessity
We live in a world that is over-burdened with toxins, from household chemicals and perfumes to car and airplane exhaust, heavy metals, and dirty drinking water.
Fortunately, and amazingly, nature is full of solutions.
Curious inquiry into nature’s offerings is one of our greatest opportunities when dealing with any health challenge. Einstein once said about his genius, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” If this is true, we all have the opportunity to find genius!
Toxins: A Persistent Problem For All Of Us
It does not matter what gut condition or illness one struggles with, it is only a matter of time before toxins and heavy metals begin to take their toll.
For instance, leaky gut may have originally been caused by food sensitivities or glyphosate exposure, but eventually leaky gut can lead to susceptibility to numerous gut infections and pathogens. And here is something you might not know: many gut pathogens use heavy metals to multiply and thrive.
Biofilms and Their Relationship with Pathogens and Heavy Metals
Pathogens use heavy metals to create biofilm. Essentially, a biofilm is a strong housing created from polysaccharides, proteins, DNA, heavy metals and minerals. It shelters the pathogen to be able to sequester itself and survive within the body, often protected from detection in conventional stool samples.
This means that if we want to get rid of pathogens, we first have to get rid of the biofilm that protects them. Attempting to destroy a pathogen with the biofilm still intact can cause the release of biotoxins along with many unpleasant symptoms. If you have ever experienced this, you know what an unpleasant reality it is. It is also completely ineffective as “treatment”.
Detoxing: Another Challenge for Effective Pathogen Treatment
In addition to being bombarded with environmental toxins and internal pathogens, many of us are also living with compromised detoxification capacities. This leads to a vicious cycle of absorbing and recirculating toxins, rather than eliminating them.
Whether detoxification is over or under-stimulated in the body, the imbalance results in inadequate reserves of essential nutrients like vitamin B6 and zinc, causing "ripe" conditions for accumulating excess toxins.
The Foundation Of Detoxification Lies In The Gut
You likely know that the integrity of your gut is paramount to all healing, whether your healing is strictly gut-related or linked to other conditions and symptoms.
Of course, healing your gut means eating the right foods for your individual biochemistry and metabolic requirements. This creates the best opportunity for your metabolism to operate at peak capacity, as well as to maintain the right balance in your microbiome for optimal immune function.
But it also means something else very important – you must facilitate the successful binding of toxins created through the liver, gallbladder, and gut every time you eat.
What Does Your Gallbladder Have To Do With It?
Your gallbladder is the "storage tank" for bile. Bile is necessary for proper digestion, emulsifying fats (like soap). Many people have deficiencies in their bile production and many people have had their gallbladders removed, due to gallbladder attacks and sometimes medical misconception that the gallbladder is not "necessary" to the body. While we can survive without it, there are certainly deficits that need to be compensated for and most often people are not educated about this in a medical setting. The use of bile salts and/or bile-stimulating herbs and foods can help compensate for poor bile production.
When you eat and food enters your stomach, release of a peptide known as CCK (cholecystokinin) is triggered in the small intestine by the presence in the stomach of hydrochloric acid, fats and proteins. CCK causes contraction of the gallbladder, which in turn stimulates secretion of bile into the small intestine and of bile salts into the biliary system. Meanwhile, the liver stores some of your body’s processed toxins within the bile, to be released and (hopefully) removed from the body during digestion and elimination.
Unfortunately, this process is often hindered. In many of my clients, the excretion phase has broken down and toxins do not get removed from the body. Instead, they are reabsorbed in the intestines and recirculate through the body.
When Toxins are Not Excreted
When toxins are not "bound" for excretion through the bowels, they may go through what is called enterohepatic recirculation. Essentially, that means toxins that have already been processed by the liver will reabsorb in the intestines, forcing the liver to filter them again.
As you might imagine, this process drains precious energy stores, as the liver struggles over and over to filter the blood and detoxify the body. This is like washing the dishes again and again without ever putting a new meal on them.
What we’re talking about here is an evolutionary problem. Our bodies were not designed to process the sheer amount of toxins we are currently faced with, so we have not evolved at this point to handle the processes effectively. Add to that any other complicating factors in our nervous, immune, and circulatory systems and we are likely to experience difficulties with these daily basic functions.
Every cell in your body is competing for energy (ATP) in order to complete its specific job. If inefficient and repetitive function are occurring, important healing and rebuilding get compromised in turn.
This is where the use of binders comes in as a very helpful tool.
How Binders Can Help
Binders provide a gentle, initial solution to nearly any complicated GI or toxicity-based condition.
Think of binders as magnets for toxins. The magnetic action attracts and grabs toxins in the intestines and pulls them out. Different binders have varying affinities for different substances. Some examples are:
• Zeolite: a type of clay, excellent for mold, mycotoxins, and mercury
• Modified citrus pectin: binds most efficiently to lead and some other heavy metals (when lead is present in the system, it can prevent the removal/excretion of other metals in spite of properly functioning detox mechanisms, so MCP is a proper choice to precede other metal removal)
- Chlorella: an ancient algae which binds to mycotoxins and most heavy metals. Chlorella is considered to be a very intelligent binder, knowing how much and when of a substance to remove.
- Activated charcoal: with possibly the highest binding capacity, charcoal is broad spectrum and very effective for chemical toxins. With such high binding capacity, it is important to limit regular use as essential nutrients can be bound as well.
- Carbonized bamboo: a type of charcoal with greater surface area for binding and special affinity for radiation in addition to chemical and metal toxins
- Humic/fulvic acids: potent binders for glyphosate and insecticide/pesticide detoxification
- Silica: the most effective binder for removing aluminum from the body. Aluminum has an affinity for the brain and nervous system and is now known to be a major contributor in neurodegenerative and cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's. Fortunately, it is one of the easier metals to detoxify, but may accumulate with poor excretion patterns.
- Seeds: chia, hemp, flax and other seeds are packed with soluble and insoluble fibers which act in a synergistic fashion with healthy bacteria in the gut, aiding the detoxification of certain hormonal and chemical compounds. They also balance the pH in the intestines and regular water content, allowing optimal excretion patterns.
Picking The Right Binder For Your Needs
Always consult with a trained functional health practitioner. These are many binder types available, and certain health conditions may make binder types more or less desirable. Having a good practitioner help determine those choices for you is always advisable.
There are some circumstances, like certain autoimmune diseases and infectious conditions, that require the use of precaution and targeted choices with binders. Quality and proper sourcing are critical as with all supplements, as each of them can come with unnecessary risks if they are not high-grade/quality.
5 Solid Reasons To Utilize Binders In Your Health Program
There are numerous reasons to find the best binders for your own health condition, but here are the top 5, in my opinion, based upon clinical experience:
The longer a toxin remains in your body and poses risks for damaging your cells, the higher the likelihood of disease development. Get that toxin out today instead of having it recirculate. Toxins and pathogens (which live inside toxins) are the main root causes for disease creation and development, along with stress – a topic for a much lengthier discussion another day.
Your body needs to conserve the energy it is spending on re-circulating toxins. Most of us have very high demand on our energy systems already. Many of us are also dealing with lower nutrient food supplies than ever before, resulting in deficiencies and shortages. If you can prevent the usage of energy from enterohepatic recirculation, your resources for detoxification will be put to better use. It’s like turning off light switches to save energy and money!
Binders are like free hall passes! By using a binder on a regular basis, your body is spared the work required to process a toxin through the liver and gallbladder and is, instead, escorted right out of the body. This is not to say that binders guarantee complete detoxification; you will indeed be required to process many more toxins that binders can’t pick up! But by using binders, you’re at least lightening the load. In complex healing situations that involve toxicity, the use of binders is often a very necessary step towards success with deeper detoxification processes. Dr. Chris Shade calls this “push and catch.” “Pushing” involves stimulating detoxification while “catching” is the grabbing of the toxin with a binder.
Binders come with very few risks. Unlike many natural medicines and supplements, binders are considered, overall, to be very safe. If side effects are experienced, they are usually quick to pass and easy to correct. (Professional support can help you discover personal risks and the best timing/use of binders.)
Some binders provide additional health benefits. Alongside supporting the removal of toxins and reducing burden, some binders can provide additional benefits. For instance, modified citrus pectin has some immune modulating qualities; chlorella is very high in plant protein and antioxidants; and clays of various sorts improve skin health and circulation.
So, there we have it! 5 excellent reasons to discover your excretion and detox capacities and incorporate the just-right binder types for you and your health needs.
If this article highlights a health need for you and you’d like to explore working together, please contact me to begin your healing journey. Julie@truenaturehealthconsulting.com