Using binders is an often overlooked but critical part of any strategy to heal the body. I actually consider these the unsung heroes in detoxification and here’s why:
As we detox the body of multitudes of toxins (gmos, pesticides, plastics, metals, xenoestrogens,ect), those toxins undergo mobilization out of storage areas (a variety of cells, particularly fat cells).
As those toxins are mobilized, they enter the systemic circulation, making their way through the liver. In the liver, toxins undergo a variety of biotransformations in order to prepare them to be eliminated through the bile and into the stool. The kidneys and lungs and even the skin are also involved in the biotransformational and elimination processes, though to a lesser degree than the liver.
The problem is that we run into problems when we mobilize more toxins than our liver and other detoxification organs can clear effectively.
Let’s look an example of what happens physiologically when we are “doing a detox” :
“The Juice Cleanse”
Let’s consider an example that some of you might be familiar with in order to understand that science stuff we just discussed: Consider that you decide to begin a detox. You have become increasingly aware of the radically high amounts of toxins in your environment, (indoor and outdoor), in your foods, your medications, your supplements, even your clothing. You’ve heard that you need to detox in order to get those nasty poisons out of your body (and maybe lose some weight)! So, you start your detox. Perhaps you start just doing a 3 day juice fast. You will get loads of minerals and vitamins naturally if you juice, so this seems like a logical approach and so you dive in!
Two days into the cleanse, you notice digestive irritability (if not sooner) and you think it is just because you aren’t used to such large amounts of fiber. Perhaps you are also noticing worsening brain fog, or fatigue. This is of course confusing since you thought juicing was supposed to give you energy (and it is). Some folks might even notice worsening joint pain, neck pain, muscle pain. Why would something so good for you be causing such issues if it’s good for you? Besides, juicing is not a convenient process, so why bother if you feel worse, right?
What is happening in this situation?
In our example of using juicing as a method of detoxification, let’s look at what is occurring in the body: Juicing is a powerful way to drive up lypolysis (burning of fat cells), which is one effective way to liberate those stored toxins and move them into circulation. Furthermore, those amazing minerals and vitamins you are adding to your intake through juicing is driving up the activity of the first two phases of the liver detoxification pathway.
Minerals and nutrients are needed to help drive the chemical reactions that occur to detoxify the liver. Without the proper minerals and nutrients, it is similar to trying to cook pasta in a pot of water with no heat.
Once we have gotten a toxin through the first two phases of detox, now we need to mobilize it out of the liver cells. This is the limitation for most people. Phase three detox (moving the toxin out of the liver cell) and the production of glutathione require certain amino acids. Most people’s diet is deficient (severely deficient) in the amino acids needed for these biological activities, so movement of toxins out of the liver cells (phase three), is significantly reduced. Some people have an even more difficult time because of genetic defects in this process, such as MTFHR.
Another weakness in the system comes from issues with the bile ducts, which are often clogged and functioning inefficiently (which is true for so many), you can experience a blockage of the removal of the toxins into the bile and stool.
Question: how many people do you know who have the gallbladder removed???
So what does all this mean????
With our example of juicing in mind, it means that you have moved toxins into the systemic circulation (your blood) and you can’t get them out of the body. Those extra free unbound toxins then cause damage – worsening inflammatory bowel, inflammation of connective tissue (joints, spine, ect), brain fog, muscle aches, ect.
The goal is to support the body’s ability to detoxify the mountains of stored toxins SAFELY and effectively, without causing more injury.
This leads us to the Binders…….
What they are:
Basically, binders are insoluble fibers that increase the excretion of SPECIFIC toxins. Dietary fibers are different- they are important for daily detoxification and digestive regularity and usually consist of soluble fibers.
What they do:
Binders selectively grab onto specific toxins and help eliminate them from the body. While the body has mechanisms of doing this using molecules like glutathione, it is often not producing these natural antioxidant binder-like molecules (glutathione) efficiently enough to handle the surge of toxins released during a proactive detoxification program.
A proactive detoxification program is one that is actively mobilizing toxins out their storage areas. Besides not having efficient enough anti-oxidant like binders (such as glutathione), most people also have far more stored toxins than they realize. The amount of stored toxins often exceeds the ability of even the most optimized innate detox pathways to clear.
Binders help us deal the excess toxins by performing a host of beneficial functions including:
- Absorbing die-off from viruses, bacteria, lyme, mycotoxins
- They often stimulate beneficial gut bacteria- (depending on the binder)
- Some absorb histamine and positively modulate the immune system.
Binders use the chemistry that is innate to them to do their jobs, so each binder has a unique affinity toward different toxins. Let’s take a look at the different binders and their attraction to the variety of toxins in the body in Part 2.