Toxins are everywhere, unavoidable and unintentionally ingested, making patients feel sluggish, weak or even confused. The liver, bile and digestive process naturally balance normal toxic load and remove toxins from the body. However, gut imbalances or a poor diet can sometimes cause toxins to be reabsorbed instead of being removed, leading to repeated filtration by the liver. This wasteful cycle of absorbing and recirculating toxins compounds their buildup, and toxic overload sets in, leaving your patients vulnerable to chronic conditions. To help your patients overcome toxic burden, consider a comprehensive binder solution.
What Are Toxin Binders?
In addition to adequate fiber in the diet, binders provide Phase III detoxification support to help reduce hepatic reabsorption. We all know that when the liver processes toxins, they get bound to the bile, which is then bound with insoluble fibers and eliminated via the stool. However, binders can help in this process by selectively absorbing toxins into their structure for elimination from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This is important because if there is insufficient insoluble fiber or binders to absorb the bile, the overflow is absorbed in the colon and recirculated via the hepatic portal vein. By reducing the amount of recirculated toxins, binders lessen the load on the liver and kidneys and thus speed up the elimination process.
Binders can also provide protection from a highly reactive immune system. Binders provide a shield for the gut lining, limiting the effects of die-off reactions and sweeping away toxins that may be associated with a variety GI conditions (e.g., dysbiosis, SIBO) before they have an opportunity to create immune responses.
You are probably familiar with activated charcoal. It is one of the best-known binders available. Activated charcoal has a long history of use in reducing the harmful effects of ingested poisons. Due to its carbon lattice and porous structure, it is ideal for trapping and removing a wide array of toxins and other unwelcome substances, preventing absorption by the gut lining and safely carrying the toxins bound to its negatively charged surface out of the body.1
Yet, binders are not “one-size fits all.” Different binders attach better to different substances. A binder that works well for some patients can be much less effective for others based on what they eat, their toxic load and other individual characteristics. Also, toxins come in many forms, and some are more difficult to remove than others. All things considered, it is not possible to get a single ingredient that will bind to everything.
Benefits of Broad-Spectrum Binders
In a broad-spectrum binder, the combination of several ingredients can gather and remove a wide array of toxins and debris. Diversity is needed for a more thorough detoxification protocol. A comprehensive protocol will include proven minerals and natural substances that can be incorporated to support enhanced clearance of common toxins—like heavy metals, aflatoxins and organic compounds like glyphosate—from the GI tract.2 Examples of such substances include zeolite and shilajit.
Zeolite is a unique mineral with high homogeneity of fine matrix crystals. The microscopic structure has a “cup” shape that easily entraps a variety of toxins, holding them securely for safe elimination. Alongside its distinct, microscopic shape, zeolite has an affinity to ionically bind to and adsorb heavy metals.3 It also has a high resistance to degradation in acidic environments and no absorption in the GI tract. These qualities make it an ideal binder for detox protocols.
Shilajit is another substance diverse in bioactive compounds, containing over 40 different minerals, including humic and fulvic acids. These types of organic acids have adsorbent properties best known to bind and chelate various noxious agents, including pesticides and organic pollutants like glyphosate. Particularly, the liposomal structure in these organic acids encapsulates hydrophilic and lipophilic compounds, making these vesicles extremely effective binders.4
The Bottom Line
Joseph Ornelas, PhD, DC is the Pillars of GI Health Brand Manager at Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. He holds a PhD from University of Illinois with concentration in Health Economics, an MA degree in Public Policy from the Harris School at the University of Chicago, an MS degree in Health Systems Management from Rush University, and a DC degree from National University of Health Sciences. As a licensed provider and health economist, Dr. Ornelas has published numerous evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, helping to improve quality standards of care and provide value for health care practitioners across several specialty areas.
- Zellner T, Prasa D, Färber E, Hoffmann-Walbeck P, Genser D, Eyer F. The Use of Activated Charcoal to Treat Intoxications. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2019 May 3;116(18):311-317. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2019.0311. PMID: 31219028; PMCID: PMC6620762.
- Vickery A. All about binders and how to use them. Alison Vickery. https://www.alisonvickery.com/blog/all-about-binders-and-how-to-use-them/. Published October 3, 2022. Accessed April 17, 2023.
- Rollmann LD, Valyocsik EW, Shannon RD (1995). "Zeolite Molecular Sieves". In Murphy DW, Interrante LV (eds.). Inorganic Syntheses: Nonmolecular Solids. Inorganic Syntheses. 30. New York: Wiley & Sons. pp. 227–234.
- Man D, Pisarek I, Braczkowski M, Pytel B, Olchawa R. The impact of humic and fulvic acids on the dynamic properties of liposome membranes: the ESR method. J Liposome Res. 2014 Jun;24(2):106-12. doi: 10.3109/08982104.2013.839998. Epub 2013 Oct 21. PMID: 24144352.