Binders are defined as solid, insoluble particles that pass through the gut unabsorbed. They are meant to attract and bind toxins to facilitate their passage out of the body through the gastrointestinal tract.
The body’s most important detox organ, the liver, expels toxins into the bile, which is a digestive fluid that flows from the liver down into the small intestines. Ideally, the toxins move through the intestines and leave the body in the stool. But the lining of the gut has many veins and nerves that can pick up toxins and re-circulate them back into the body. This is where binders come in. Binders attach to toxic metals, chemicals, bio-toxins, etc, and shuttle them out of the digestive tract, preventing reabsorption.
By using binders and initiating moving toxins through the bowels, it also reduces the stress placed on the kidneys. With binders, the toxins are excreted through the feces instead of being absorbed by the bloodstream where the kidneys are required to filter them out. With the kidneys in charge of filtering, there is not only the added strain on the microtubules and filtering mechanisms in the kidneys themselves, but it also provides the potential to irritate and inflame the bladder walls where the toxins sit and wait to be excreted through urination.
There are quite a variety of binders to choose from, each varying in their affinity for binding different substances. Some examples include charcoal, clay, zeolites, chlorella, modified citrus pectin, and silica.
Due to the nature of binders and how well they attach to different substances, it is important to make sure they are not taken at the same time as other medications and supplements. A general rule is to take binders 30 minutes prior to eating and/ or taking any supplements or medications.
Ensuring adequate hydration while taking binders is also an important consideration. Constipation is one of the most common side effects with binder usage. Drinking a glass of water with each dose can drastically reduce this occurrence.
Binders are an extremely useful tool that can be safely used on a daily basis to eliminate toxins from the body. With our ever-increasing toxic environment, this is an integral component for the prevention and treatment of chronic illness.
3) Bentonite Clay- Bentonite clay is a consumable clay originating from the ash created by volcanoes. It has been used for centuries around the world to help the body detox from illnesses. It soaks up toxins, heavy metals, and other harmful materials. Additionally, bentonite clay may be a beneficial source of bioavailable nutrients. It also contains antiviral and antibacterial properties. However, more research is needed on this subject to confirm the accuracy of these ideas. In some people, bentonite clay may cause digestive upset, so you need to take it with eight to 16 ounces of water per teaspoon to prevent constipation.
4) Activated Charcoal- Many Lyme patients find activated charcoal to be an effective, low-cost alternative for reducing the body’s inflammatory responses to various toxins. Like the other options, activated charcoal absorbs adverse substances and helps the body properly dispose of them. This supplement has an excellent safety record and provides a subtler method of detox than some of the other supplements and medications.
Renowned researcher and naturopathic physician, Amy Yasko, Ph.D., proposes following activated charcoal with a high dose of magnesium citrate to flush the bowels and rid the body of excess ammonia from Lyme toxins or genetic mutations like CBS.
5) Chlorella- Chlorella is a blue-green algae rich in vitamins, minerals, iron, and amino acids. This toxin binder works particularly well for removing heavy metals from the body; some biological dentists will use chlorella in conjunction with removing mercury amalgams to prevent this unwanted metal from entering the bloodstream. Since chlorella mobilizes metals, many health care providers tell their patients to begin slowly and work up to the desired dose to prevent unfavorable side effects.
6) Zeolite- Zeolite is a popular substance and is used as part of many herbal Lyme treatment protocols. Composed of a wide array of natural minerals, zeolite powder chelates metals and draws them out of the body. However, some doctors suggest that it’s a weak binder of mercury; though it may work better on other heavy metals. Also, some physicians will combine zeolite with some of the previously mentioned binders for a balanced detox plan.
7) Pectin- Pectin is a powdered fiber supplement made from apples, plums, grapefruits, or other citrus fruits. It helps to detoxify the body by sweeping up biotoxins in the gut caused by mold, Lyme, and other infections. In addition, pectin binds mildly with heavy metals. Many people say that pectin is easier to handle than some of the more aggressive detoxifiers. Like zeolite, pectin works well in combination with other binders and is relatively inexpensive.
Although this isn’t a comprehensive list, these are a few of the more common toxin binders recommended to Lyme patients. However, it’s always best to consult with your practitioner for more individualized recommendations before beginning any supplement or medication.