The Importance of Binders
Let’s talk RESULTS. Enough already.
In every facet of my life lately, I just want to cut to the chase. No fluff. Maybe it’s Fall. Maybe watching the rusted leaves spiral down to the earth remind me how fast this all goes. And I just want to be clear….but clear like jumping from my chair to catch the sound of my windchimes blowing, not clear like sitting at a red light staring, awaiting green.
So let me be clear – Binders are ESSENTIAL.
At minimum, I would say I speak with 3 people a week that call me and say, “I am taking such and such anti-microbial to kill my X, Y, Z gut infection and I am not getting results. Can you offer any reason as to why this is so?”
Of course, every case is so different, I have no blanket answer. However, time and time again, I respond by asking 2 very simply questions. The answer to these two questions often bestows the very reason(s) as to why results are elusive. Here are the two questions I ask, in their respective order:
- How frequently are you taking the anti-microbial? (Oil of Oregano, Colloidal Silver, Olive Leaf, Biocidin, MicrobeClear/X)
- Are you taking a binder? (Clays, Charcoals, Silica, zeolite, chlorella, pectin, fulvic/humic acid)
Most often, the person is either:
a) not taking adequate dosing of said anti-microbial (every 2-3 hours in beginning is neccesary)
b) not taking a binder or
c) Both (very common).
With these modern-day gut infections, that mutate, hide behind biofilms, have mastered cell mimickery, and grow with every bite of sugar and starch we ingest, it is essential to stay diligent with an effective dosing schedule of an anti-microbial, and, to take a binder!!!!
Yes, you are ‘killing’ the enemies with whatever natural antibiotic you have chosen. Hopefully you have even been given the advice to rotate compounds, as this is certainly the new gold standard for Functional Medicine practitioners to advise. However, as you are actively taking your ammo and throwing it at these wretched monsters causing dysbiosis, let me tell you what happens as they are dying – they are releasing toxins! So when you are on the couch feeling all yucky from whatever protocol that brings die-off, the symptoms that you are experiencing are most likely NOT from the actual beheading of your enemy…………it is from the toxins that they let loose as they die. These endotoxins (by-products of yeast, fungi, and heavy metals) and mycotoxins (mold by-product) can keep recirculating in the body, especially if the liver is overloaded and not functioning optimally. This is where binders come into play. They become the much-needed mop that comes along and sweeps out all the garbage. Binders are no small thing; I will not even recommend an anti-microbial protocol in the absence of binders.
Here are the 3 most important things that binders do:
- Remove Toxins
- Support the breakdown of biofilms (working synergistically with an anti-microbial)
- Aid in relieving some unwanted digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating and nausea
Let’s look at this word, bind. The definition of bind is to tie, fasten or cohere. So yes, most binders work by actually fastening to toxins. But how exactly does it do this? Does it just glare at all the toxins, become mesmerized by their evil ways, goes and bear hugs all its ugliness and wrestles it out of the body? Well, it might get a tad more scientific than that. What actually occurs is pretty straight forward science.
Toxins are mostly positively charged, and most binders are negatively charged, so they are like magnets instantly drawn to each other. Clay is negatively charged, but also binds well to gram-negative bacteria such as Klebsiella. Some binders work by trapping the toxins in their material (charcoals), some work by literally absorbing the toxins.
If you are taking anti-microbials or antibiotics, and having a herxheimer reaction to any detox regime, then binders might be the perfect choice for you. By eliminating toxins, you can greatly reduce fatigue, headache, body ache, fever, skin issues and mental funk like depression and anxiety that often accompany detoxification.
Take binders at least 2 hours away from medications and supplements to prevent cancellation. It is suggested to take binders 1 hour prior to eating meals. Generally speaking, binders are very safe; charcoal is used in hospital settings for some drug over-doses. That is how effective it truly is. You do not want to take charcoal long term as it can begin to deplete minerals -- up to a month is safe.
Of course, there are many options when it comes to choosing a binder. If you are on a tight budget, just straight charcoal is a good choice. Do try to find “Activated charcoal,” and if you can get your hands on activated coconut charcoal, even better. Bamboo charcoal is increasing in popularity, and it seems for good reason. The word in the FM scene is that it can be up to ten times more effective! However, I have yet to see any studies etc to back up this claim. That being said, it is the charcoal of choice for many top selling binding formulas. There are many types of clays used medicinally, bentonite being the most popular. French green clay has been studied and proven very effective against specific gut microbes causing infection.
In my practice, when it comes to prescribing binders, I prefer sophisticated formulas that contain 2-3 binders together, combined with a few soothing herbs for the mucosal layer to simultaneously protect and soothe. My absolute favorite is Byron Whites formula “GI Detox 2,” which contains charcoal, a very superior French green clay, with herbs like slippery elm. I myself got the best results from this one. My runner up is “GI Detox” by Bio-Botanicals. Both of these formulas are excellent at removing infection and alleviating die-off symptoms, each containing high-quality ingredients.
Everyone tolerates binders differently, so some experimentation is key. When you find the right binder for your condition, trust me, you’ll know. You will simply feel better. One side effect from binders can be constipation, due to the dense material of most, and also because of the build up of toxins on the verge of being expelled. You definitely want to keep the bowels moving when you are taking binders! If bowel gets sluggish (typical on binders), then up your dose of Magnesium (Malate or Byglycinate best). Up to 1600 mg can be taken safely- usually no more than 800 mg proves effective.
So. Binders. To be clear………..YES. Yes, and yes.