What Are Binders?
Simply put, binders are substances that chemically or physically can attract toxins and help move them out of your body.
They use a process called adsorption, which is a little different than absorption:
- Absorption refers to one body engulfing another body entirely.
- Adsorption attracts and pulls along elements, resulting in a type of loose attraction and moving out, as opposed to a total trapping of toxins.
Why would we want to use adsorption? In the digestive tract, when fat-soluble toxins are deposited into the bile and then into the intestines, the body often tries to recycle the bile. And, unfortunately, that can mean you're recycling back toxins as well.
However, if you use binders in the digestive tract, they can help remove toxins from the body instead of recirculating them.
Some binders claim to be actually getting into the bloodstream and helping remove toxins on a cellular level. I don't believe there’s been enough study on that particular topic, but I can tell you that there have been a lot of studies on binders helping to reduce mycotoxins. Much of the study was done on an animal feed field because animals who are getting feed are exposed to mold and mycotoxins in their feed.
What Are Some Binders Out There?
Quick note on usage: You can use binders long-term, but you sometimes want to mix them up and take them away from foods. Just use them in a period that you are detoxifying or try to pulse them on and off. Then if you are in a maintenance phase, just try to rotate as needed, and maybe lean more towards just pure fibers.
Fibrous foods: One major category of binders is just fibrous foods! If you don't tolerate other types of binders we'll talk about, just eating a greater variety of fibrous foods can help. Some fibers that are used in binders are glucomannan, and modified citrus pectin is another. And that one is documented to help support the blood-brain barrier.
A fiber that I love and recommend a lot is MegaPre by Microbiome Labs. It's a biome-friendly fiber that feeds your good bacteria.
But you can also get more fibers from things like hemp seeds and chia seeds, beets, and all the things.
Activated Charcoal: One really great low-cost supplement option is activated charcoal. It's sort of porous or burnt. Coconut shell is one example and it can help, again, attract things in the gut. It's very affordable. It's great if you've got stomach flu, 10 bucks a bottle, it can be a little constipating. If that's the case, you can add magnesium or try a different binder. You always want to take a binder away from foods and supplements because while it's gently attracting and pulling things away, it can also pull a little bit of nutrients and medications.
Modified Citrus Pectin: This is a great one for inflammation and has been used in cancer treatments. It’s also considered good for some heavy metals, and is fairly well tolerated.
Biotoxin Binder: This is a product by Cell Core which is helpful for gently binding toxins, and it contains fulvic and humic acids. This one can be taken closer to meals and/or supplements. CellCore states that they use a technology that allows the carbon in those fulvic and humic acids to go to the bloodstream.
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Liquid binders: If you’re looking for a liquid binder, there’s one by GreenSmoothieGirl and another by Body Ecology. These can be a really nice, gentle one to start with. It's very mineral-rich and you can just put it in water and you can take as little as one drop. It could be a good one for kids as well.
Mi Toxin Binder: My binder is called Mi Toxin Binder. It's my formulation, which I specially designed as a blend of binders. It has charcoal, fulvic, and humic acid, modified citrus pectin, glucomannan, and a few others to especially bind for mycotoxins. It's a blend and it has a couple of other ingredients to help keep the bowels moving and to help move the bile. (As mentioned previously, binders can be a bit constipating for some!) I really wanted to target bile movement in my binder, since healthy bile is an important aspect of detoxification. I recommend just starting with one capsule at night but you can move up to two or three. I do not recommend it if you're a person with diarrhea and IBS. But I'd love for you to give it a try and I hope that gave you a better sense of binders in general.
To recap, to receive the benefits of binders, you can just start with eating more fiber, and eat an apple every day, as they say! And you can rotate in binders as needed, for what you are currently working on. Any kind of binder usage is going to help move toxins out!
She is the founder of FunctionalDetoxProducts.com and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Toxic Mold Recovery: Take Back Your Home Health & Life, available in audiobook, Kindle and paperback on Amazon.