We are all bombarded by toxic chemicals every day. Heavy metals, pesticides, molds, and even viruses and infections, even if we try our best to avoid them, they get into our daily environment.
Humans didn't always have this toxic burden upon us like we do these days. But with the increased use of toxic products on the market, our exposure to them is extremely common. The possibility of completely avoiding them is unrealistic. Did you know toxins, like pharmaceutical drugs, are even found in our drinking water these days?!
This is why you must be clearing out that "daily garbage", aka toxin build-up, so it doesn't accumulate and wreak havoc on your entire house (aka your body). Use this article, Guide to Choosing Binders for Detoxification Support, to help keep your body free of toxin build-up.
What happens when toxins build up in your body?
When your body gets overloaded with toxins or accumulates toxins without being about to eliminate them properly, it can damage your health.
Toxin build-up can:
Inhibit proper healing
Contribute to hormone imbalances
Lead to food sensitivities
Damage your gut
Lead to mood issues
The Wrong Way to Detox
Some people get excited to detox but end up doing it wrong. By the time they are done, they actually cause more harm than good. This is because your detoxification process is made up of 4 parts - phase 0, 1, 2, and 3. Phase 3 is removing the toxins from your body via stool, urine, sweat, breath. THIS needs to be optimized so prior phases don't build up. Many detox practices, programs or detox supplements encourage and speed up phase 1 of detox and don't focus on phase 2 or 3.
This could actually be harmful because during phase 1, harmful and sometimes even more dangerous compounds are formed as the by-product. This is why they need to go onto step 2 quickly, where the by-products become less reactive and more water-soluble for excretion.
Finally, the water-soluble toxins can be removed from the body through stool, urine, sweat, and breath.
Simply put, you want all phases to work effectively and efficiently, but it’s especially important for phase 2 and 3 to be optimized so toxins do not build up in the intermediate stages.
Let this be your wake-up call- if you are not having 1-3 daily bowel movements, you are missing a huge opportunity to support your body's natural detoxification!! It's not helpful for substances to go through your detoxification pathway, just to be reabsorbed because you are constipated or dehydrated!
What are Binders?
Binders are substances that 'bind' to toxins to help transfer them out of your body. What they do is attract (or bind) to toxins and transport them out of the body.
Normally toxins travel through your liver, where they go to your small intestine in the bile. If the toxins aren't bound to anything, many of them can get reabsorbed in your gut.
So, these binders work by attaching to the toxins to prevent reabsorption and enhance their elimination, keeping your toxic burden under control.
What Binders Should You Use?
The specific binder that is best for you can differ from person to person and even depend on which phase of healing or protocols you're in. I'll talk you through some common binders, but keep in mind that it's best to work with a detox expert to detox safely and effectively.
Best Binders for Detox
Modified Citrus Pectin
Humic and Fulvic Acids
1. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is created from wood being burned or "activated" by gas to create tiny holes. Since your body doesn't absorb charcoal, it passes through your gastrointestinal tract, grabbing onto unwanted toxins with it.
Since activated charcoal can bind to everything... vitamins and minerals are also being grabbed. Because of this, you want to avoid taking your supplements with this binder, or they could also get bound and excreted. Instead, take activated charcoal on an empty stomach.
You also shouldn't use this binder for long periods of time because it can deplete your body of essential vitamins and minerals.
This is a blue-green algae that is filled with vitamins and minerals, iron, and amino acids that are known to attract heavy metals to itself.
But the neat thing about chlorella is that it can also grab onto volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, and mycotoxins (from mold), but it stays clear from your essential minerals (unlike activated charcoal).
You can even take this binder before eating fish that are known to be higher in mercury, like tuna and swordfish to reduce your toxin build-up if they contain any.
3. Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay is an edible clay formed from the ash created by volcanoes. While it's not as specific in binding to just toxins (it grabs onto some nutrients), it's a bit better than charcoal. This binder is great for heavy metals, molds, and certain microbes.
4. Modified Citrus Pectin
Pectin is a fiber powder that is created from citrus fruits. This powdered fiber supplement is known to attract and bind to lead and other heavy metals. It's great for getting rid of biotoxins in your gut that are by-products of mold exposure. The benefit of this binder is that it's very gentle on your body, unlike some of the other binder options.
5. Humic and Fulvic Acids
Humic and fulvic acids are made of dirt. Yup, dirt. Well...decomposed plant matter. If you've been exposed to high levels of the pesticide glyphosate, you'll want to consider this binder. This binder also doesn't compete for other nutrients, so nutrient depletion isn't a significant side effect for this one.
Silica is a binder known to attach to metals like aluminum, thallium, and tin. Silica can be found in silica-rich mineral water.
Chitosan is a binder that is created from crustaceans. It's known to attract and bind to bacteria, fungi, and mycotoxins, such as aflatoxins.
8. Zeolite Clay
Zeolite is formed when volcanic ash reacts with seawater. This binder is great for heavy metals, BPA, and pesticides, and pathogens by encapsulating them and transporting them out of your body.
Important Note for Binders
It's important that you are having regular bowel movements when you are using binders. Constipation, lack of fiber, or gut motility issues could cause the resorption of toxins even with binder usage. Drink lots of water, consume fibrous foods, get active, and check your hormones and nutrient levels to help get those bound toxins actually out of your body.
Detox with Expert Guidance
If you want to detox your body from toxic overload, please reach out to me. This guide to choosing binders for detoxification support is a great start to understanding that binders and detox protocols should be individualized.
I'm Jessica Meyers, a Functional Health and Herbal Expert. I help clients live their healthiest life through personalized nutrition, targeted supplements, functional testing, and lifestyle recommendations. Apply to work with me here, and I'll create customized protocols unique to your body and walk with you through your health journey.