Our bodies are exposed to more chemicals now than ever before. Every day, new chemicals are added to our environment through the food we eat, the products we use, and even the air we breathe.
Unfortunately, heavy metals, such as aluminum, mercury, and lead, have found their way into our bodies due to our environment. Add to that mycotoxins from mold and endocrine-disrupting Bisphenol A (BPA) found just about everywhere, and you have three of the worst offenders leading to toxic overload.
Possibly the most concerning factor behind all these chemicals is there are few to no barriers in the process to prevent chemicals from being used in our everyday items. Meaning, your body is slowly taking in small amounts of new chemicals and toxic buildup over time.
Toxic overload is a war of attrition.
This constant chemical bombardment your body is fighting every day just to keep you healthy is the reason you should detox. We need to reduce our toxic burden wherever possible, support our body’s natural detox pathways, and incorporate detox binders into our health routine.
I want to focus on this last strategy—using binders for detox—because I’ve seen binders work well in my personal practice, and I want to share them with you.
What Are Toxin Binders and Why Use them for Detox?
Toxin binders assist your body in reducing its toxin levels. As their name suggests, binders effectively “bind” to and eliminate toxins from your body.
On its own, your body has the ability to remove some toxins, but when the toxic load gets too high, your body needs help. That’s where toxin binders come in. Binders are incredibly beneficial for detox and work by:
- Clearing out toxin buildup
- Inducing biofilm removal in the gut
- Alleviating gas and bloating
- Preventing acute poisoning
When your body is working correctly, your intestines, gallbladder, and liver all work together to break down and eliminate toxins. Unfortunately, many of the patients I see in my practice have compromised detoxification pathways. Meaning, their bodies are unable to effectively process and excrete toxins.
Without the use of binders, your body is prone to “enterohepatic recirculation.” This happens when toxins are not “bound” for excretion through the bowels and instead go through continuous cycles of processing by your liver, reabsorption by your intestines, and then recirculation by your liver. This repeated process puts a massive amount of strain on your body as it works to detoxify itself.
Binders help your body from getting stuck on repeat. You can effectively clean out toxin buildup and stop enterohepatic recirculation by using binders for detox. Binders also induce the removal of biofilms that cause dysbiosis in the gut—meaning, your gut has more harmful than beneficial bacteria.
How Biofilms Impact the Detox Process
You can think of biofilms as protective armor used by pathogens that shelter them from detection by your immune system. When harmful pathogens take up residence in your gut, they adhere to your gut lining and use heavy metals and polysaccharides, among other things, to create a strong physical barrier around themselves.
This helps pathogens to survive inside your body where they continue to produce toxic byproducts. Biofilms also prevent pathogens from being identified in conventional stool samples. So, the only way to effectively rid your body of these pathogens is to first break down the biofilm sheltering them, then clear out the released toxins.1
However, the first step is to equip your body with the tools needed to bind and eliminate released biotoxins. Using biotoxin binders for detox is an excellent way to do this.
Two Effective Binders: G.I. Detox and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal
When it comes to ridding our bodies of toxins, I’ve found two binders work particularly well:
G.I. Detox and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal are two effective binders that help with daily detox from mold, heavy metals, and other toxins. They’re also strong enough to use in more targeted therapies, such as mold exposure treatments.
G.I. Detox actually combines multiple toxin binders:
- Zeolite clay
- Monomethylsilanetriol silica
- Humic and fulvic acid
- Fruit pectin
- Activated bamboo charcoal
We’ll take a closer look at each and see how it’s helpful for binding toxins. Using G.I. Detox assists in restoring gut microbial balance and is recommended as an effective detox strategy.
We’ll also look at Upgraded Coconut Charcoal which is very effective on its own and alongside G.I. Detox.
Zeolite clay works by trapping a wide variety of toxins in its cage-like structure, encapsulating them, and escorting them out of your body. It’s particularly helpful at drawing out and removing any toxin with a positive ionic charge, such as heavy metals, BPA, and pesticides.2
Zeolites are formed when lava comes in contact with water, forming a microporous structure. Zeolites are then ground into ash and purified before they’re used as a consumable toxin binder.
Zeolite clay is used in G.I. Detox as a powerful chelating agent—binding to and neutralizing toxins like mercury. Using both adsorption (to bind to) and absorption (to swallow up), zeolite is incredibly helpful in restoring gut microbial balance.
One study shows supplementation with zeolite significantly decreased zonulin—a little molecule that plays a big role in causing leaky gut.3 You can read more about zonulin and leaky gut in my article “Zonulin: A Discovery That Changed the Way We View Inflammation, Autoimmune Disease, and Cancer.”
Known for its broad range of benefits, zeolite also works well as an antioxidant, anti-diarrheal, and water and air purifier.4
Monomethylsilanetriol (MMST) silica is a special type of silica with even tinier molecules, known for its impressive detoxification capabilities.5 G.I. Detox uses MMST silica specifically because of its amazing ability to help heal the gut lining. Similar to zeolite clay, MMST silica works by binding toxins and preventing their absorption in your gut.6
Silica is a naturally occurring substance found in the earth’s crust, plants, and some vegetables. It’s made of silicon and oxygen and helps rid your body of toxins and heavy metals like aluminum.
Some binders have an affinity towards certain heavy metals and other toxins. And silica has a high affinity for aluminum.7 If aluminum in your body builds up to toxic levels, it can seriously affect your brain and nervous system.
Notably, detoxifying your body of aluminum could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.8,9 This is exciting news in light of millions of Americans having their sunset years stolen from them by this disease.
Humic and Fulvic Acid
Made of tiny negatively-charged atoms, such as carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, the ionic nature of fulvic and humic acids attract positively-charged mineral particles, such as heavy metals, to its surface.10 Fulvic and humic acids are also particularly helpful at detoxifying your body from herbicide and pesticide biotoxins.
Fulvic acid is an important component of humic acid. These natural chelators are formed by the decomposition of organic matter, such as plants and animals, by microorganisms.11 It’s an organic compound found in rocks, sediment, soil, and bodies of water.
Similar to silica, fulvic acid also has the potential to fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that fulvic acid inhibits abnormal tau proteins from forming twisted fibers in the brain which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.12
Beyond detoxification, fulvic and humic acids have the ability to change metals and minerals into usable compounds and are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and memory-enhancing properties.
G.I. Detox uses fruit pectin as a binder—specifically apple pectin—because of its highly absorptive nature. Apple pectin is a fantastic chelating agent that attracts various biotoxins to its surface like a magnet.
Apple pectin is really helpful for binding metals, such as mercury and lead, as well as mycotoxins from mold exposure. Multiple studies show its effectiveness in significantly reducing the toxic heavy metal load in particular.13 It also carries a host of anti-inflammatory and prebiotic benefits.14
Activated Bamboo Charcoal and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal
G.I. Detox specifically uses bamboo charcoal in its formulation while Upgraded Coconut Charcoal is a supplement on its own. Because both of these charcoals are two types of “activated charcoal” with similar binder abilities, I’ll discuss them together.
Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from various carbon-based organic materials, such as bamboo and coconut shells. Through a chemical process, these materials are decomposed at high temperatures and combined with oxygen, making the charcoal “activated.”15
Activating charcoal creates millions of micropores on the surface of the charcoal, significantly increasing its adsorption of toxins. It works by essentially “mopping up” biofilm once it’s broken up, preventing the released bacteria, parasites, and other biotoxins from being reabsorbed by your gut lining.
Activated charcoal is even considered more effective than stomach pumping in poisoned patients because of its excellent ability to absorb nearly every type of poison with few exceptions.16
Considered one of the most effective ways of naturally ridding your body of harmful toxins, activated charcoal absorbs previously unabsorbed toxins. It also helps reduce gastrointestinal discomfort.17 This is why I recommend using activated charcoal on its own as well as in the G.I. Detox.
How to Use Binders for Mold Detox
You can use both G.I. Detox and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal to fight daily toxins or in a mold treatment protocol. However, to effectively rid your body of the mycotoxins produced by mold, you’ll need a comprehensive plan that lasts between six months to a year.
Here’s my suggested use for mold detox:
G.I. Detox: Take one to two capsules twice daily with Upgraded Coconut Charcoal.
Upgraded Coconut Charcoal: Take 1000 to 1500 mg (2-3 capsules) twice daily with water, G.I. Detox, and on an empty stomach.
Ultra Binders: Mix 1 teaspoon into 8 ounces of water once daily
For more specifics on mold detox protocol, you can read my “Mold Exposure Treatment Guide.”
Do Binders Interfere with Nutrient Absorption?
Because of the effectiveness of binders in their absorption and adsorption of chemicals and other biotoxins, it’s a completely logical concern to think they would also bind with beneficial nutrients.
In general, we need more research on this subject, but animal studies show adding zeolite to the diets of goats and activated charcoal to the diets of pigs had no negative effect on their nutrient levels.18,19 Also, toxins are predominantly positively charged, which is how the negatively-charged binders are readily attracted to them.
You can reduce the chance your binders will work on beneficial nutrients by taking them on an empty stomach. All binders should be taken at the same time and either one hour before or two hours after medications and supplements.
Other Detox Strategies Worth Considering
We live in a time where we’re exposed to more chemicals than ever before. Learning about detox strategies is now as important as learning how to eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Other detox strategies worth learning more about include:
Each of these can be used on their own or together for a compounding effect. Also, each of these is included in my “Mold Exposure Treatment Guide.”
Add Detox Binders to Your Daily Routine
There are steps you can take to combat the unprecedented number of chemicals bombarding us each day and reduce their overall impact on your health. I recommend incorporating G.I. Detox and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal into your healthcare routine.
G.I. Detox: Take one to two capsules once a day on an empty stomach—an hour before eating or two hours after.
Upgraded Coconut Charcoal: Take two capsules with other binders on an empty stomach. You can also take Upgraded Coconut Charcoal when you eat less-than-ideal food.
If you’ve been exposed to mold, you can take G.I. Detox and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal and read my comprehensive “Mold Exposure Treatment Guide.” Remember, these two binders are only part of a mold treatment protocol.
Now I want to hear from you. Do you incorporate detox binders into your health routine? Which binders have you found to be the most beneficial for you? Have you found other effective ways to reduce the toxins in your body? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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In Unexpected: Finding Resilience through Functional Medicine, Science, and Faith, Dr. Jill Carnahan shares her story of facing life-altering illness, fighting for her health, and overcoming sickness using both science and faith so that others can learn to live their own transformative stories.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.