In alternative healthcare, a common part of a treatment protocol includes binders. Binders are defined as solid, insoluble particles that pass through the gut unabsorbed. They are meant to attract and bind toxins to facilitate their passage out of the body through the gastrointestinal tract.

The body’s most important detox organ, the liver, expels toxins into the bile, which is a digestive fluid that flows from the liver down into the small intestines. Ideally, the toxins move through the intestines and leave the body in the feces. But the lining of the gut has many veins and nerves that can pick up toxins and re-circulate them back into the body. This is where binders come in. Binders attach to toxic metals, chemicals, bio-toxins, etc, and shuttle them out of the digestive tract, preventing reabsorption.

By using binders and initiating moving toxins through the bowels, it also reduces the stress placed on the kidneys. With binders, the toxins are excreted through the feces instead of being absorbed by the bloodstream where the kidneys are required to filter them out. With the kidneys in charge of filtering, there is not only the added strain on the microtubules and filtering mechanisms in the kidneys themselves, but it also provides the potential to irritate and inflame the bladder walls where the toxins sit and wait to be excreted through urination.  

There are quite a variety of binders to choose from, each varying in their affinity for binding different substances. Some examples include charcoal, clay, zeolites, chlorella, modified citrus pectin, and silica. They are typically chosen on an individual basis with clinical history, toxic exposures, patient tolerance, and current treatment protocols in mind.  

Due to the nature of binders and how well they attach to different substances, it is important to make sure they are not taken at the same time as other medications and supplements. A general rule is to take binders 30 minutes prior to eating  and/ or taking any supplements or medications. 

Ensuring adequate hydration while taking binders is also an important consideration. Constipation is one of the most common side effects with binder usage. Drinking a glass of water with each dose can drastically reduce this occurrence. 

Binders are an extremely useful tool that can be safely used on a daily basis to eliminate toxins from the body. With our ever-increasing toxic environment, this is an integral component for the prevention and treatment of chronic illness. 

By Amanda Wilms, ND