We are continuing our review of the most commonly used binders in this section. To review other binders available, go to Binders Part 2
Also called “fossil shell flour” because it is made of fossilized skeletons of single-celled algae (see a pattern here?) called diatoms, these little guys are surrounded by a glassy crust made of silicone dioxide.
Silicone dioxide, which makes up most of the content of DE, is often used as a food additive, so chances are, you have consumed it. DE is often added to the feed of livestock to bind mold and kill parasites. In fact, many in the holistic world believe in the use of DE to help combat parasites. It is also a decent binder of heavy metals and is used to remove them from wastewater on a large scale.
Downside: the ability of DE to bind heavy metals is very much pH dependent, making it pretty unreliable as a good toxin binder.
There are a wide variety of diatomaceous earth products, including industrial brands, therefore careful selection is necessary to ensure you are using only clean food-grade DE.
Personally, I use food grade diatomaceous earth in my garden, but not to deal with human toxins.
This binder has basically all the properties of Chlorella and is also an algae, but it is distinct in that it is often tolerated by very sensitive people when everything else fails.
It is safe for long term use without unwanted side effects.
Modified Citrus Pectin
As it sounds, this binder is made from the pulp of citrus fruit peels. To make it more absorbable by the bloodstream and increase its binding activity, the soluble fibers are modified into smaller molecules.
This binder has a high binding action with lead and modest with cadmium and arsenic.
There really aren’t any major downsides to report, as this binder is tolerated really well long-term without any issues with binding nutrients or medications.
This category of binders would encompass drugs like Wellchol and Cholestyramin (Questran) and are potent for binding mycotoxins.
These drugs have been used off-label for decades to treat severe cases of mold toxicity.
Essentially, these drugs work by tightly binding mold toxins into the bile as the toxins pass through the gut.
They are also effective for binding perflourinated compounds (PFC’s) which are commonly found in water repellant products and non-stick pans.
These PFCs are linked to cancer, reproductive issues, kidney damage, ADHD and developmental disorders.
So, if mold and PFC is a serious issue for you, these binders may be among your considerations, particularly for complex mold issues.
Downside: As with most drugs, these do not come without issues, most concerning of which includes worsening hypothyroidism and mitochondrial dysfunction. We do not need either of these issues when undergoing detoxification or when trying to deal with chronic health issues like EBV, parasites, lyme, complex mold syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), ect. So, this downside is a significant one.
This category of binders is also known to interfere with fat soluble vitamin absorption (ADEK) and the metabolism of certain drugs.
Other bothersome side effects include constipation (also not desirable when undergoing detox) and bloating, gas, indigestion.
Silica Gel (Entersogel)
This is a one-product category. As far as the information I currently have, there is only one brand of this type of silica-based gel binder, Entersogel.
It has been used widely in European and South American countries to address biotoxins from unwanted microbes such as E.Coli, Shigella, and even C.Difficile. These bugs notoriously lead to horrible diarrhea.
It is also considered as a useful option in situations including food poisoning, hangovers, irritable bowel syndrome, candida, dermatitis, and eczema.
This binder works strictly inside the gut to remove unwanted toxins, including histamine! There is some limited data that shows it is also helpful in binding aluminum within the gut.
Downside: Its usefulness is limited to the gut alone and it can interfere with absorption of certain medications, so it must be dosed carefully at least two hours away from medication.
Silica is not just a binder, but an essential mineral with loads of health benefits including supporting collagen production (better skin, hair and nails), improved joint health, better mineralization of bones (strong bones), strengthens blood vessels and muscle tissue and it helps support the repair of a damaged or inflamed digestive tract.
Silica is unique in its binding as it selectively binds aluminum and metals like thallium and tin.
BioSil (Amazon) -this link is for the capsules. This product is also available in liquid form, but has a very distinctively unpleasant taste. If purchasing the liquid to save some money, I recommend purchasing some vegetable glycerine capsules (Amazon))
This form of silica has been altered by hydrolysis making it have a greater affinity for sulfur-groups of certain harmful chemicals, such as methyl-mercury (think amalgams), lead and cadmium.
No long term side effects and tolerated well.
Quicksilver Ultrabinder* – a blend with other binders
Zeolite is a natural volcanic mineral composed of aluminosilicate minerals and is found extensively in North American. The type that is most stable as a binder is zeolite clinoptilolite, as it is the more stable in acidic environments (think the stomach).
It is a rare type of mineral, in that it possesses a negative charge which lends itself to binding with positively charged toxins. Furthermore, it has a honeycomb- like structure, which captures these toxins and binds them strongly.
This binder is the MOST superior binder available for binding mycotoxins. It is also an excellent binder of histamine as well as toxins like cadmium and lead.
There are two main types of zeolite available- powdered and liquid, but there is also a third category called nano-zeolite. For the sake of keeping this a general overview, we will hit the high points of each of these and help you be able to judge wisely about products in this category.
As you may have noticed, zeolite is aluminosilicate, meaning this mineral contains the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust- aluminum. We will discuss the differences between toxic forms of aluminum vs biologically-necessary ones in another blog, so for now recognize that the form of aluminum found in this mineral is beneficial to the body.. as long as it is kept in the right ratio.
Now, with regards to the ratio of silica and aluminum found in zeolite, it must contain a 5:1 (silica: aluminum) ratio, so sourcing really matters.
This is particularly important in the liquid and nano-zeolites. Nano-zeolites are able to cross the blood-brain-barrier and so enter the nervous system. Therefore, it is important to be sure that you are not introducing more toxins into the nervous system.
Furthermore, naturally occurring zeolites will contain impurities when first mined. These impurities must be safely removed without using chemical solvents, before they can be used as a supplement, or else they will potentially introduce more toxins into the body.
I often get asked about the nanozeolites that are designed in a lab, lab-synthesized or not naturally occurring. Though the premise is to avoid the toxins that are naturally bound to zeolite, this is no different than using a synthesized sugar in place of sugar cane. It is simply not as complex and does not function the same as those designed in nature.
In the case of liquid and nanozeolites, it is also important that you can verify the CHEMICAL COMPOSITION (how much aluminum, magnesium, silicon, and potassium is contained), not just the purity. And be sure to check the ratio of aluminum to silica. Be cautious with brands that will not provide this information.
In addition to providing support in detoxification as a binder, zeolite also has benefits toward supporting the microbiome and inflammation within the body.
This binder has very few downsides and is tolerated well over long periods of time.
Microbiome (Specific probiotics)
Everyone these days has some understanding of the need for probiotics and the benefits they provide. But, did you know that many bacteria and yeasts in the gut bind mycotoxins (mold toxins)?
The important part of using microbiotics for this purpose is to be sure you are using the right strains and as always, source matters.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus CG (Amazon)
Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Boulardii) (Amazon)- this is my top recommendation for mycotoxins
Lactobacillus Caseii Shirota (Amazon) – this product combines L. Rhamnosus and L. Caseii as well as acidophilus
*These products are also available on Fullscript or Wellevate often at a discount. These dispensaries also allows use of FSA/HSA accounts. You can register for these accounts on the links above, and feel free to contact us at [email protected] for help with supplement questions. For all amazon products listed, we have thoroughly investigated the sourcing to ensure the products have not been relabeled and come directly from the manufacturer.