ALL ABOUT BINDERS AND HOW TO USE THEM

May 10, 2024 7:00 am

All About Binders And How To Use Them

Binders are a crucial part of any healing protocol.

Yet, there seem to be many misnomers about using them.

The clinical observations presented in this blog post are not just theoretical, but are grounded in published scientific research and a decade of real-world experience, including over 3000 autonomic response tests. 

Why are binders important?

The autonomic nervous system actively regulates the body’s health and disease processes. It also controls the immune system.

Consequently, health depends on the autonomic nervous system’s ability to regulate the body in the presence of stressors. 

Significantly, four distinct categories of stressors, namely electrical, emotional, toxins, and infections, can impact the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, toxins can significantly burden the body.

The body knows how to detoxify toxins, and whole organs are designed to do so.

However, problems occur only when the volume of toxins surpasses the body’s detoxification capacity,  overwhelming the detoxification organs.

As such, when toxins and other stressors mount, the immune system, which is under the direct control of the autonomic nervous system, begins to become active.

Indeed, around three-quarters of my client base have detoxification organs blocking their autonomic nervous system and immune system from functioning effectively.

How Binders Work

How do binders work?

Firstly, binders are fibres that sit in the gut.

Subsequently, when the liver processes toxins, it binds them to bile and excretes this into the gastrointestinal tract. There, the insoluble fibres bind with them and eliminate them via stool.

However, when insufficient fibres or binders are in the gut, the overflow of bile is recirculated via the hepatic portal vein to the vagus nerve. Importantly, toxins can be a leading cause of small intestinal issues. 

As a result, excess toxins travel from the vagus nerve to deposit them into the body’s internal organs.

Therefore, binders speeds up the amount of toxins eliminated, preventing toxins from recirculating and reducing the body’s load.

What are some common myths about binders?

MYTH #1

Nanoparticle zeolite is a binder

If you have been told this

You probably weren’t told…
That nanoparticle zeolite is a chelator not a binder

Binders sit in the gut. In contrast, nanoparticle zeolite goes beyond the gut and is absorbed intracellularly to chelate toxins and draw them into circulation. 

The real issue is often fixable with the right knowledge.

I’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people restore their health.

Zeolite Heavy Metals Binder

MYTH #2

Zeolite binders are unsafe as they contain heavy metals

If you have been told this

You probably weren’t told…

Zeolite “pulls into” their structure heavy metals.

The question, therefore, is not whether zeolite contains heavy metals but whether it retains them.

Zeolite with silica: aluminium ratios > 5 retains heavy metals and is classified as a medical device in Australia. 

The real issue is often fixable with the right knowledge.

I’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands of people restore their health.

MYTH #3

Binders should not be used with mercury amalgams

If you have ever been told this

You probably weren’t told…
Binders do not chelate the mercury in amalgams

Using a binder is actually crucial to protect your body from the mercury that leaches from amalgams. 

The real issue is often fixable with the right knowledge.

I’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people restore their health.

Binders Mercury Amalgams
Binders Thyroid Issues

MYTH #4

Binders should not be used with thyroid issues

If you have ever been told this

You probably weren’t told…
The thyroid is affected by toxins

It is, therefore, vital to take binders when there are thyroid issues.

The critical point is to take them away from thyroid medication. 

The real issue is often fixable with the right knowledge.

I’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people restore their health.

MYTH #5

SIBO needs specialised binders

If you have been told this

You probably weren’t told…
Binders are not absorbed in the small intestine

Therefore, any binder can be used.

Furthermore, using a binder is crucial, as small intestinal issues can be caused by small intestinal toxin overload. 

The real issue is often fixable with the right knowledge.

I’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people restore their health.

Binders and SIBO
Food Based Binders

MYTH #6

Food based binders are sufficient

If you have been told this

You probably weren’t told…
That food based binders are relatively week binders and can be contaminated with toxins

This is why many food-derived binders, such as modified citrus pectin, are structurally modified to enhance their toxin-binding capacity.

The real issue is often fixable with the right knowledge.

I’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people restore their health.

MYTH #7

Don't take a binder if your nervous system is dysregulated

If you have been told this

You probably weren’t told…
Toxins can dysregulate the nervous system

Toxins are a leading cause of blocked regulation. Therefore regulating the nervous system requires working on electrical, emotional, toxin, and infection stressors.

The real issue is often fixable with the right knowledge.

I’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people restore their health.

binders, nervous system

What are the main types of binders?

There are many types of binders available on the market today including:

Activated Charcoal

Firstly, activated charcoal is manufactured from wood, peat, or coconut shell. 

During manufacturing, charcoal becomes ‘activated’ by creating holes within its structure to increase its binding capability.

This process results in a versatile binder that binds to many substances, including toxins, mycotoxins, vitamins, minerals, and even inflammatory molecules. As such, it binds indiscriminately. 

It is especially effective in treating acute poisoning and managing chronic die-off situations, including short-term cases of diarrhea. It can also uniquely bind to some mycotoxins. 

Interestingly, recent studies indicate that a particular type of charcoal (AST-120 or Kremezin®), available in Japan and Korea, effectively treats irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) due to its high histamine binding capability.

Bentonite Clay

Next, is bentonite clay. People also refer to bentonite clay as montmorillonite clay.

It uniquely absorbs some mycotoxins, pesticides, herbicides, and cyanotoxins in lakes polluted by harmful algal blooms. As such, it binds more discriminately. 

Additionally, bentonite clay has intrinsic broad-spectrum antibacterial properties and a healing effect on the gastrointestinal lining. 

However, the source matters due to potential contamination, including with aluminium.

Chitosan

Furthermore, chitosan serves the same purposes as Welchol, helping with mycotoxin binding, cholesterol management, and weight reduction.

This compound binds to the bile salts, so it binds to all fatty acids. As such, it binds indiscriminately. Consequently, it should be used only for a short time.

Additionally, manufacturers derive chitosan from shellfish by enzymatically treating chitin, a shell component. Therefore, people who are allergic to shellfish may not tolerate Chitosan.

Chlorella

In addition, chlorella is a blue-green algae rich in vitamins, minerals, iron, and amino acids.

It has a high affinity for heavy metals, with a lower affinity for aluminium, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, herbicides, and mycotoxins. 

Importantly, because chlorella is a living organism, it has evolved to bind only to toxic substances, not essential minerals. As such, it is an intelligent binder. Thus, it can be used long-term with no risk of nutritional deficiency. 

Ecklonia Cava

Also, ecklonia cava is an alga with the same properties as chlorella.

Clients often tolerate it when they cannot tolerate anything else.

Notably, this algae contains various compounds demonstrating anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-retroviral, and prebiotic activities. It is an intelligent binder that is suitable for long-term use.

Moreover, it is also used for prostate and erectile difficulties.

Enterosgel®

Next, enterosgel, a silica-based gel, has become a household name in Russia due to extensive studies.

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.

Manufacturers market it for radiation poisoning, food poisoning, diarrhea, and hangovers.

Furthermore, extensive studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in improving conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, candida, urticaria, dermatitis, and eczema.

Additionally, it also has a very high affinity for aluminium. It is a discriminating binder.

Humic and Fulvic Acids

Another option is humic and fulvic acids. Primarily, these are made from decomposed plant matter.

They are best known for binding to environmental chemicals such as glyphosate.

Moreover, taking humic and fulvic acids before a meal may counteract any glyphosate consumption in that meal.

While they are also relatively weak binders of heavy metals suitable for daily maintenance use, they also provide antioxidant protection, improve immune defence and microbiome support, and restore nutrients. 

They are an intelligent binder suitable for long term use.

Modified Citrus Pectin

Moreover, modified citrus pectin is manufactured from the inner white pulp of citrus fruit peels.

Additionally, 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 an intelligent binder and safe to consume long-term with meals.

However, in my experience, it is rarely, if ever, tolerated by clients with histamine intolerance or mast cell activation.

Purified Silica

Next, we consider silica and purified silica, which specifically binds to thiolic (sulphur) metal-binding groups. 

Notably, it has a very high affinity for methyl-mercury, lead, and cadmium. It is a discriminating binder.

Zeolite

Finally, zeolite, which I have written extensively about in Zeolite binds histamines, is a discriminating binder. 

It binds to mercury, aluminium, cadmium, lead, and mycotoxins. 

Additionally, it binds to histamines. Interestingly, over half of my client base tests exceptionally well with it as their binder.

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

Due to its mineral content, zeolite is highly alkaline. Therefore, if you have low stomach acid, taking zeolite in capsules is vital to maintaining a balanced acidity level. 

Moreover, the zeolite source matters as there needs to be sufficient silica to bind the aluminium naturally contained within the zeolite and to hold toxins within its structure. Specifically, the ratio must be more than 5 silica to 1 aluminium.

Do binders bind to nutrients?

All types of fibre, including dietary fibre, bind to nutrients in some way.

Importantly, food-based binders generally exhibit weak binding properties. Therefore, to effectively bind toxins, we need to use them in large quantities, which also increases the risk of binding larger amounts of nutrients. Furthermore, our food itself can be a source of toxins.

However, we can modify the structure of food to make it preferentially bind to toxins over nutrients.

Therefore, we can broadly classify binders based on their ability to bind to toxins intelligently, discriminately, or indiscriminately.

Firstly, intelligent binders, such as ecklonia kava, chlorella, modified citrus pectin, and fulvic and humic acids, do not actively bind to nutrients.

Secondly, discriminating binders, which include zeolite, bentonite, enterosgel, and modified silica, have structures that preferentially bind to toxins rather than nutrients. 

Finally, indiscriminate binders like activated charcoal and chitosan actively bind to a little of everything.

So, why don’t we solely use intelligent binders?

Ecklonia kava is extremely expensive, chlorella is not suitable for everyone (it causes blockages for 50% of my clients, who test for zeolite instead), modified citrus pectin interferes with all my histamine and mast cell activation clients, and fulvic and humic acids are best for binding glyphosate.

Furthermore, both discriminating and indiscriminating binders show a high affinity for specific toxins.  As such, other binders may be better suited.

Which binder is right for you?

While many studies have been conducted on individual binders, no comprehensive studies have compared all binders.

Nevertheless, I have used autonomic response testing results for over three thousand people to determine which binders work for most people. 

Consequently, my free eBook, The Insiders Guide to Binders, is a practical resource summarising the one or two products that work for most people based on autonomic response testing.

Furthermore, the guide lists the specific brands used. The brand is essential as different brands test differently in my clinical experience.

Binders

How do I use the Insiders Guide to Binders?

The binder that is right for you will depend on the toxins present, whether they are present in large quantities, and your level of sensitivity. 

I use autonomous response testing to tailor it to your specific needs.

However, here are a few clinical observations that may help you when using The Insiders Guide to Binders

Firstly, if you cannot tolerate any binder, it could be a sign of a mineral deficiency that must be addressed before introducing a binder.

Next, the mast cell activation binders are likely the best choice if you are sensitive. As you progress, you will likely be able to move on to other binders.

Moreover, if you have a high level of a specific toxin, the binder with a high affinity for the specific toxin is likely the best choice.

Finally, we want to settle on a maintenance protocol with binders that bind to mercury, aluminium, lead, and glyphosate. This approach ensures we have coverage for most environmental toxins. 

Therefore, the selection of a binder is highly individual.

When do I take binders?

Ideally, discriminating and indiscriminating binders should be taken away from food, mineral supplements, and medications so as not interfere with nutrients. 

It is generally recommended that discriminating binders be taken at least 30 minutes before or 1 – 2 hours after eating or taking any supplements or medications twice daily. 

Charcoal and chitosan, indiscriminating binders, should be taken three hours before food, supplements, or medications.

Furthermore, if you have had your gallbladder removed, you may benefit from smaller quantities three or four times a day.

Finally, binders can also be taken in higher doses at any time, not just on an empty stomach, during die-off reactions. Die-off reactions typically indicate the need for more binders, not less. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, binders have been used for centuries as a remedy for toxin exposure. They are even used in acute hospital settings today.

They are a foundational part of any supplement protocol and the first product I reach for when I have a histamine flare, diarrhea, or die-off. 

Your circumstances will determine which binder would work best 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 Binders

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Binders

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.

Chitosan Binders

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).

Humic and Fulvic Acid Binders

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).

Zeolite Binders

See Zeolite Binds Histamines