September 30, 2022 7:00 am

All About Binders And How To Use Them

Binders are a crucial part of any healing protocol.

Binders are essentially insoluble fibers. While dietary fiber is essential in daily detoxification, selective binders increase the excretion of specific toxins.


binders. histamine intolerance, autoimmunity, mast cell activation, Alison Vickery, Health

The process of detoxification is a multi-stage process that involves mobilizing, transforming, and eliminating toxins.

When the liver processes toxins, they get bound to the bile, excreted into the gastrointestinal tract, bound with insoluble fibers, and then eliminated via the stool.

When insufficient insoluble fiber or binders absorb the bile, the overflow is picked up in the colon and recirculated via the hepatic portal vein and onto the vagus nerve, where it recirculates and accumulates in the body’s internal organs and bone marrow, impairing homeostasis and immune function.

Therefore, binders reduce the number of toxins recirculated, reduce the load on the liver and kidneys, and speed up the process of elimination, preventing toxin overload.


Health depends on the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis, and toxins or foreign substances can cause a loss of homeostasis.

Removal of toxins or foreign substances is integral to the body’s design. Whole organs, including the liver and kidney, are dedicated to detoxification.

Problems only occur when the volume of toxins exceeds the body’s ability to recirculate them, and the autonomic nervous system can become overwhelmed, resulting in a blocked autonomic nervous system.

The immune system is under the control of the autonomic nervous system, so the minute it becomes overwhelmed, histamine intolerance, autoimmunity, and mast cell activation are inevitable.

As Dr. Klinghardt recently said:

“Most psychiatric disorders, most neurological disorders, most chronic illnesses are not a failure of the genes. It’s the number of toxins stored in the central nervous system and immune system that determines the fate of us humans.”

In around one-third of my client base, toxin overload is the root cause of mast cell activation.

Restoring homeostasis, therefore, requires reducing exposures to toxins and blocking their absorption or upregulating the elimination of toxins (through, amongst other things, the use of binders).

Food As Binders

Our diet provides a vital source of fiber to detoxify our daily exposure to toxins.

Many foods bind to bile and assist the body in detoxifying toxins.

Therefore, a healthy diet with plenty of fiber is crucial for toxin elimination.

However, the absorption ability of dietary fiber depends on its chemical structure and its capacity to bind specific heavy metals. 

The table above compares the bile binding capability of fibers from common food sources to that of cholestyramine (Questran).

This is not an exhaustive list, and many fibrous foods (including barley, oats, lupin, corn, rice bran, and psyllium husks) have been shown in the research to act as binders.

Agricultural bi-products are frequently used as toxin binders (including biochar, plant leaves, agricultural peels, cactus, tree barks, wastes of olive oil, cashew nutshells, pomegranate peel, papaya peel, and orange peel, however, they are modified prior to use as absorbants for toxin removal.

Manipulation aims to increase dietary fiber’s surface area and porosity to enhance the absorption of metals. 

Activated charcoal, modified citrus pectin, chlorella, and chitosan are good examples of modified bi-products.

histamine intolerance, autoimmunity, mast cell activation

Binder Selection

While a healthy diet is essential to daily detoxification, diet alone is unlikely to be sufficient in the modern world.

Specialized binders are typically essential for restoring homeostasis and ongoing maintenance.

The selection of a suitable binder for the right toxins is a skill. The binder that works well for someone can differ significantly based on their toxin load, and what works well can also change during different phases of healing.

While there are many studies on individual binders, few comprehensive studies compare all binders. I have, however, now tested using autonomic response testing for hundreds and hundreds of people. This is, therefore, a detailed study of which individual binders work for which toxins. I am unaware of any other way to get such precision testing for hundreds of products across hundreds and hundreds of people.

My free eBook, The Insiders Guide to Binders, summarizes the one or two products that work for most people based on autonomic response testing.

The brand used matters. The products used mustn’t introduce new foreign substances. This is true for all binders, especially bentonite clay, and zeolite, contaminated with aluminum.

Here are some of the binders that test well and that I use with clients:

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is manufactured from wood, peat, or coconut shell. The charcoal is ‘activated’ during manufacturing by creating holes within its structure. Activated charcoal is a broad-spectrum binder that will bind a little bit of everything. This means it will bind toxins, mycotoxins, vitamins, minerals, and inflammatory molecules.

It is best used in acute poisoning or chronic die-off situations. Alternatively, in small amounts as part of a blend for a limited time.

Recent studies show that a particular type of charcoal (AST-120 or Kremezin®) available in Japan and Korea is exceptionally effective with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) due to its high histamine binding capability.

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay is also known as Montmorillonite clay. It is perfect for absorbing mycotoxins in peanuts and on some grains, pesticides, herbicides, and cyanotoxins in lakes polluted by harmful algal blooms. Bentonite clay also has intrinsic broad-spectrum antibacterial properties and has a healing effect on the gastrointestinal lining. Due to contamination, including the presence of aluminum, the source matters.


Chitosan is equivalent to Welchol, used for mycotoxin binding, cholesterol, and weight reduction. Chitosan works by binding to the bile salts themselves, so it binds to all fatty acids. For this reason, it should not be used long-term. Derived from shellfish, chitosan results from the enzymatic treatment of chitin, a shell component. People who are allergic to shellfish may not tolerate Chitosan.


Chlorella is a blue-green algae rich in vitamins, minerals, iron, and amino acids. It has a high affinity for heavy metals, but not aluminum, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, herbicides, and mycotoxins. Because chlorella is a living organism, it has evolved to bind only to toxic substances, not essential minerals. For this reason, it can be used long-term with no risk of nutritional deficiency over time. 

Ecklonia Cava

Ecklonia Cava is an alga with essentially the same properties as Chlorella. It is often tolerated when nothing else is and can be used long-term. Ecklonia cava also has various compounds that have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-retroviral, and prebiotic activities. It is also used for prostate and erectile difficulties.


Enterosgel is a silica-based gel that is a household name in Russia and has been extensively studied. Despite its chemical-sounding ingredients, it is exceptionally well-tolerated and does not bind to micronutrients or beneficial bacteria.

Like zeolite, it binds to histamines. It is marketed for radiation poisoning, food poisoning, traveler’s diarrhea, and a hangover. It also has extensive studies showing it improves irritable bowel syndrome, candida, urticaria, dermatitis, and eczema.  It also has a very high affinity for aluminum.

Humic and Fulvic Acids

These are made from decomposed plant matter. They are best known for binding to environmental chemicals such as glyphosate. Taking humic and fulvic acids before a meal may counteract any glyphosate consumption in that meal. They are also relatively weak binders of heavy metals suitable for daily maintenance use.

Humic and fulvic acids also provide antioxidant protection, improve immune defense and microbiome support, restore nutrients, and are safe for long-term use.

Modified Citrus Pectin

Modified citrus pectin is manufactured from the inner white pulp of citrus fruit peels. It has a high affinity for lead and a moderate affinity for arsenic and cadmium. It does not bind to nutrients or minerals, making it safe to consume long-term and in conjunction with meals.


Unlike most binders, which do not bind to aluminum, silica selectively binds to aluminum and other metals like thallium and tin.

You can get silica through 1 liter of silica-rich mineral water like Volvic (30mg a liter), Fiji (91 mg a liter), or Acilis water, but these come at the expense of being in plastic bottles.

Purified Silica

Purified silica attaches to thiolic (sulfur) metal-binding groups. It has a very high affinity for methyl-mercury, lead, and cadmium.


I have written extensively about how Zeolite binds histamines.

It also binds to mercury, cadmium, lead, and mycotoxins. It tests exceptionally well as the binder of choice in over half of my client base.

Klinghardt reports that a Russian study found it superior to all other binders (including cholestyramine and bentonite clay) in detoxifying mycotoxins. Indeed, it covers mycotoxins well.

Due to its mineral content, zeolite is highly alkaline. Taking zeolite in capsules is vital to altering this balance if you have low stomach acid.

The zeolite source matters as there needs to be sufficient silica to bind the aluminum naturally contained within the zeolite. The ratio needs to be more than 5 silica to 1 aluminum molecule.

Timing of Binders

Binders should be taken away from food so as not to interfere with nutrients.

It is generally recommended that they be taken at least 30 minutes before or 1 – 2 hours after eating or taking any supplements or medications two times a day. Charcoal should be taken three hours away from food, supplements, or medications.

In people with a gallbladder, the binder’s timing coincides with the release of bile in response to food.

People who have had their gallbladder removed so that bile flows continuously may benefit from dispursing binders four times a day.

Binders can also be taken acutely, in higher dosages, during “die-off” reactions.

For example, with a histamine flare, I take two to three times the amount of zeolite, regardless of whether my stomach is empty, and it resolves in 30 minutes.

Length Of Use of Binders

When using binders as part of a healing protocol for chronic heavy metal toxicity, parasites, bacterial infections, candida, Lyme disease, or mold, it may be necessary to pulse the binders.

Some binders, such as chlorella and ecklonia cava, are “intelligent” binders that only bind to toxins and are safe for long-term usage.

Others, like activated charcoal, cholestyramine, and welchol, bind indiscriminately and are best used for days for acute relief (unless in a small amount in a mix).

Yet others fall somewhere in between. While prioritizing certain toxins, they can bind to small amounts of nutrients over time. I usually rotate them 60 days on and 60 days off.


Binders have been used for centuries as a remedy for toxin exposure. They are even used in acute hospital settings today.

They are usually the first part of the protocol I introduce. The first product I reach for is a histamine flare or die-off reaction.

Your circumstances will determine which binder is suitable for you. However, in my experience, using binders can dramatically improve protocol outcomes.

To learn more about how to use binders, download my free eBook, The Insiders Guide to Binders.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to continue the conversation.

Additional Reading

Food Based Binders

Kahlon, T. S., M. H. Chapman, and G. E. Smith. “In vitro binding of bile acids by okra, beets, asparagus, eggplant, turnips, green beans, carrots, and cauliflower.” Food chemistry 103.2 (2007): 676-680.

Kahlon, Talwinder S., Mei-Chen M. Chiu, and Mary H. Chapman. “Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of beets, eggplant, asparagus, carrots, green beans, and cauliflower.” Nutrition Research 27.12 (2007): 750-755.

Naumann, Susanne, et al. “In vitro interactions of dietary fibre enriched food ingredients with primary and secondary bile acids.” Nutrients 11.6 (2019): 1424.

Turley, Stephen D., Bruce P. Daggy, and John M. Dietschy. “Psyllium augments the cholesterol-lowering action of cholestyramine in hamsters by enhancing sterol loss from the liver.” Gastroenterology 107.2 (1994): 444-452.

 Takenaka, S., et al. “Effects of rice bran fiber and cholestyramine on the faecal excretion of Kanechlor 600 (PCB) in rats.” Xenobiotica 21.3 (1991): 351-357.

Iida, T., et al. “Clinical trial of a combination of rice bran fiber and cholestyramine for promotion of fecal excretion of retained polychlorinated dibenzofuran and polychlorinated biphenyl in Yu-Cheng patients.” Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi= Hukuoka Acta Medica 86.5 (1995): 226-233.

Raji, Zarifeh, et al. “A review on the heavy metal adsorption capacity of dietary fibers derived from agro-based wastes: Opportunities and challenges for practical applications in the food industry.” Trends in Food Science & Technology (2023).

Activated Charcoal

Tack, J. F., et al. “Randomised clinical trial: the safety and efficacy of AST-120 in non-constipating irritable bowel syndrome–a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics 34.8 (2011): 868-877.

Galvano, Fabio, et al. “Activated carbons: in vitro affinity for ochratoxin A and deoxynivalenol and relation of adsorption ability to physicochemical parameters.” Journal of food protection 61.4 (1998): 469-475.

Avantaggiato, Giuseppina, Robert Havenaar, and Angelo Visconti. “Evaluation of the intestinal absorption of deoxynivalenol and nivalenol by an in vitro gastrointestinal model, and the binding efficacy of activated carbon and other adsorbent materials.” Food and chemical toxicology 42.5 (2004): 817-824.

Nolan, James P., John J. McDevitt, and Gwendolyn S. Goldmann. “Endotoxin binding by charged and uncharged resins.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 149.3 (1975): 766-770.

Zhelezova, Alena, Harald Cederlund, and John Stenström. “Effect of biochar amendment and aging on adsorption and degradation of two herbicides.” Water, Air, & Soil Pollution228.6 (2017): 216.

Monge, María del Pilar, et al. “Activated carbons as potentially useful non-nutritive additives to prevent the effect of fumonisin B1 on sodium bentonite activity against chronic aflatoxicosis.” Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A 33.6 (2016): 1043-1052.

Nolan, James P., John J. McDevitt, and Gwendolyn S. Goldmann. “Endotoxin binding by charged and uncharged resins.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 149.3 (1975): 766-770.

Saif, Muhammad Jawwad, et al. “Removal of heavy metals by adsorption onto activated carbon derived from pine cones of Pinus roxburghii.” Water Environment Research 87.4 (2015): 291-297.

Tan, Zengqiang, et al. “Removal of elemental mercury by bamboo charcoal impregnated with H2O2.” Fuel 90.4 (2011): 1471-1475.

Lalhruaitluanga, H., et al. “Lead (II) adsorption from aqueous solutions by raw and activated charcoals of Melocanna baccifera Roxburgh (bamboo)—a comparative study.” Journal of Hazardous Materials 175.1-3 (2010): 311-318.

Wang, Gui-xian, and Qi-Wei Zhang. “Adsorption Law of Bamboo-Charcoal for Heavy Metal Ions in Aqueous Solution [J].” Chemistry & Bioengineering 3 (2008): 024.

Wang, Fa Yuan, Hui Wang, and Jian Wei Ma. “Adsorption of cadmium (II) ions from aqueous solution by a new low-cost adsorbent—Bamboo charcoal.” Journal of hazardous materials 177.1-3 (2010): 300-306.

Jiang, Ya-Hui, et al. “The efficacy of bamboo charcoal in comparison with smectite to reduce the detrimental effect of aflatoxin B1 on in vitro rumen fermentation of a hay-rich feed mixture.” Toxins 6.7 (2014): 2008-2023.

American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists. “Position statement and practice guidelines on the use of multi-dose activated charcoal in the treatment of acute poisoning.” Journal of Toxicology: Clinical Toxicology 37.6 (1999): 731-751.

Bond, G. Randall. “The role of activated charcoal and gastric emptying in gastrointestinal decontamination: a state-of-the-art review.” Annals of emergency medicine 39.3 (2002): 273-286.

Bentonite Clay

Phillips, T. D., et al. “Reducing human exposure to aflatoxin through the use of clay: a review.” Food additives and contaminants 25.2 (2008): 134-145.

D. E. Diaz, W. M. Hagler, J. T. Blackwelder, et al., “Aflatoxin Binders II: reduction of aflatoxin M1 in milk by sequestering agents of cows consuming aflatoxin in feed,” Mycopathologia, vol. 157, no. 2, pp. 233–241, 2004.

Mitchell NJ, Kumi J, Johnson NM, Dotse E, Marroquin-Cardona A, Wang JS, Jolly PE, Ankrah NA, Phillips TD. Reduction in the urinary aflatoxin M1 biomarker as an early indicator of the efficacy of dietary interventions to reduce exposure to aflatoxins. Biomarkers. 2013 Aug;18(5):391-8. doi: 10.3109/1354750X.2013.798031. Epub 2013 May 22. PMID: 23697800.

Nones, Janaína, et al. “Organophilic treatments of bentonite increase the adsorption of aflatoxin B1 and protect stem cells against cellular damage.” Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 145 (2016): 555-561.

Li, Yan, et al. “Research progress on the raw and modified montmorillonites as adsorbents for mycotoxins: A review.” Applied Clay Science (2018).

Sukenik, Assaf, et al. “Removal of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins from lake water by composites of bentonite with micelles of the cation octadecyl trimethyl ammonium (ODTMA).” Water Research 120 (2017): 165-173.

Haydel, Shelley E., Christine M. Remenih, and Lynda B. Williams. “Broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial activities of clay minerals against antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens.” Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 61.2 (2007): 353-361.

Bhattacharyya, Krishna Gopal, and Susmita Sen Gupta. “Adsorption of a few heavy metals on natural and modified kaolinite and montmorillonite: a review.” Advances in colloid and interface science 140.2 (2008): 114-131.



Nolan, James P., John J. McDevitt, and Gwendolyn S. Goldmann. “Endotoxin binding by charged and uncharged resins.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 149.3 (1975): 766-770.

Gallaher, Cynthia M., et al. “Cholesterol reduction by glucomannan and chitosan is mediated by changes in cholesterol absorption and bile acid and fat excretion in rats.” The Journal of Nutrition 130.11 (2000): 2753-2759.

Gerente, C., et al. “Application of chitosan for the removal of metals from wastewaters by adsorption—mechanisms and models review.” Critical reviews in environmental science and technology 37.1 (2007): 41-127.

Tsujita, Takahiro. “Inhibiting lipid absorption using basic biopolymers.” Future Lipidology 2.5 (2007): 547-555.

Solís-Cruz, Bruno, et al. “Evaluation of Chitosan and Cellulosic Polymers as Binding Adsorbent Materials to Prevent Aflatoxin B1, Fumonisin B1, Ochratoxin, Trichothecene, Deoxynivalenol, and Zearalenone Mycotoxicoses Through an In Vitro Gastrointestinal Model for Poultry.” Polymers 9.10 (2017): 529.

Panith, Nootchanartch, et al. “Effect of physical and physicochemical characteristics of chitosan on fat-binding capacities under in vitro gastrointestinal conditions.” LWT-Food Science and Technology 71 (2016): 25-32.

El-Gamal, Rehab, et al. “The use of chitosan in protecting wooden artifacts from damage by mold fungi.” Electronic Journal of Biotechnology 19.6 (2016): 70-78.

Hope, Janette. “A review of the mechanism of injury and treatment approaches for illness resulting from exposure to water-damaged buildings, mold, and mycotoxins.” The Scientific World Journal 2013 (2013).


Biosorption of Heavy Metals. (1990). Egypt: CRC-Press.

Simonich, Michael T., et al. “Natural chlorophyll inhibits aflatoxin B 1-induced multi-organ carcinogenesis in the rat.” Carcinogenesis 28.6 (2007): 1294-1302.

Georgiou G. Scientific research on natural heavy metal chelatorstesting what works. Int J Complement Alt Med. 2018;11(5):262267

Volesky, Bohumil, and Z. R. Holan. “Biosorption of heavy metals.” Biotechnology Progress 11.3 (1995): 235-250.


Sears, Margaret E. “Chelation: harnessing and enhancing heavy metal detoxification—a review.” The Scientific World Journal 2013 (2013).

Enterosgel Research


Humic and Fulvic Acid

Seki, Hideshi, and Akira Suzuki. “Adsorption of heavy metal ions onto insolubilized humic acid.” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 171.2 (1995): 490-494.

Ali, Shafaqat, et al. “Fulvic acid mediates chromium (Cr) tolerance in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) through lowering of Cr uptake and improved antioxidant defense system.” Environmental Science and Pollution Research 22.14 (2015): 10601-10609.

Swidsinski, Alexander, et al. “Impact of humic acids on the colonic microbiome in healthy volunteers.” World journal of gastroenterology 23.5 (2017): 885.

Shehata, Awad A., et al. “Neutralization of the antimicrobial effect of glyphosate by humic acid in vitro.” Chemosphere 104 (2014): 258-261.

Piccolo, A., G. Celano, and P. Conte. “Adsorption of glyphosate by humic substances.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 44.8 (1996): 2442-2446.

Gildea, J. J., D. A. Roberts, and Z. Bush. “Protective effects of lignite extract supplement on intestinal barrier function in glyphosate-mediated tight junction injury.” J Cin Nutr Diet 3 (2017): 1.

Bard R. Effects of Humic Acid on animals and humans: An Overview of Literature and a Review of Current Research. 2002. pg. 3-7.

Gondar, D., et al. “Cadmium, lead, and copper-binding to humic acid and fulvic acid extracted from an ombrotrophic peat bog.” Geoderma 135 (2006): 196-203.

Hudak, A., et al. “The favorable effect of humic acid based complex micro-element preparations in cadmium exposure.” Orvosi hetilap 138.22 (1997): 1411-1416.

Klučáková, Martina, and Marcela Pavlíková. “Lignitic humic acids as environmentally-friendly adsorbent for heavy metals.” Journal of Chemistry 2017 (2017).

Modified Citrus Pectin

Zhao, Zheng Yan, et al. “The role of modified citrus pectin as an effective chelator of lead in children hospitalized with toxic lead levels.” Alternative therapies in health and medicine 14.4 (2008): 34-39.

Eliaz, Isaac, et al. “The effect of modified citrus pectin on urinary excretion of toxic elements.” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 20.10 (2006): 859-864.


Reffitt, David M., et al. “Silicic acid: its gastrointestinal uptake and urinary excretion in man and effects on aluminum excretion.” Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 76.2 (1999): 141-147.


Purified Silica

Clarkson, T. W., et al. “Tests of efficacy of antidotes for removal of methylmercury in human poisoning during the Iraq outbreak.” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 218.1 (1981): 74-83.

Rafati-Rahimzadeh, Mehrdad, et al. “Current approaches of the management of mercury poisoning: need of the hour.” DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 22.1 (2014): 46.

Clarkson, Thomas W., Hamish Small, and Tor Norseth. “Excretion and Absorption of Methyl Mercury After Polythiol Resin Treatment.” Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal 26.4 (1973): 173-176.


See Zeolite Binds Histamines