Do Detox Binders Actually Work? A Look at the Best Toxin-Binding Supplements | Dr. Jill Carnahan, MD

It’s no secret that we live in a highly toxic world – with toxic compounds lurking just about everywhere we turn. The good news is, our bodies have some pretty complex systems in place to help us filter out, eliminate, and detox these compounds. But the bad news is, we may be exposed to such a high quantity of toxins that our natural detox mechanisms can’t keep up – meaning we have more toxins coming in than going out. 

But that certainly doesn’t mean we’re simply at the mercy of our environment. Luckily, we have some pretty effective tools that can help us supercharge our ability to get rid of these troublesome toxins. And one such tool is the use of supplements known as detox binders

Today, we’re going to explore exactly what detox binders are, how they exert their impressive toxin-eliminating effects, how to choose the very best detox binders, and go over some other strategies you can incorporate to keep your detoxification pathways in tip-top shape. Let’s dive in.

What Are Environmental Toxins and How Are We Exposed to Them?

An environmental toxin is an umbrella term that encompasses thousands of different compounds that have been found to have a toxic or harmful impact on your health. These toxic compounds can include a wide variety of different substances such as:

The most concerning factor behind all these chemicals is there are few to no barriers in the process to prevent chemicals from being used in our everyday items. Meaning, your body is slowly taking in small amounts of new chemicals via your environment on a daily basis – with environmental toxins being found in:

Now, in a perfect world, our bodies’ natural detoxification pathways would be more than capable of keeping up with the influx of naturally occurring toxins in our environment. So let’s briefly zoom in on exactly how our bodies are designed to process out these toxic compounds.

How Exactly Does Your Body Flush Out Toxins?

When your body is working correctly, the following systems work together to break down and eliminate toxins from your body:1,2,3,4

Unfortunately, due to the massive amount of toxins flooding into our environment paired with our modern-day lifestyles, many of us have compromised detoxification pathways – meaning, our bodies are unable to effectively process and excrete toxins. There are a couple of distinct ways in which these toxins can essentially become lodged within our system – evading excretion and continuing to accumulate. These are:

Enterohepatic Recirculation: 

This happens when toxins are not “bound” for excretion through the bowels and instead go through continuous cycles of processing by your liver, reabsorption by your intestines, and then recirculation by your liver. This repeated process puts a massive amount of strain on your body as it attempts to detoxify itself.5 


You can think of biofilms as protective armor used by pathogens that shelter them from detection by your immune system. When harmful pathogens take up residence in your gut, they adhere to your gut lining and use heavy metals and polysaccharides, among other things, to create a strong physical barrier around themselves. This helps pathogens to survive inside your body where they continue to produce toxic byproducts. Biofilms also prevent pathogens from being identified in conventional stool samples.6 

This constant chemical bombardment, recirculation, and accumulation can put a serious damper on just about every facet of your health. Which is why it can be immensely helpful to give your body a little extra boost when it comes to supporting your natural detoxification pathways. And one of the most effective ways to do this is by incorporating what’s known as detox binders.

What Are Toxin Binders and Why Use Them for Detox?

As their name suggests, toxin binders effectively “bind” to and eliminate toxins from your body. By latching onto toxin build-up, these toxin binders can remove toxins from the endless cycle of enterohepatic recirculation. They can also help induce the removal of biofilms in your gut – allowing your natural detoxification pathways to clear out any accumulated toxins that have been hiding out in their protective shelters. 

Binders can be an immensely valuable tool when it comes to helping your body detox and lowering your overall toxic burden. So how do you go about choosing the right detox binders to get the most bang for your buck?

Three Effective Binders: ZeoBind Plus, G.I. Detox, and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal

When it comes to ridding our bodies of toxins, there are three specific binders that work particularly well – ZeoBind Plus, G.I. Detox and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal. All of these binders work for a wide variety of detoxification protocols including:

Now let’s zoom in on the ingredients in each of these potent binders and how they work their magic on the toxins in your body.

ZeoBind Plus

ZeoBind Plus is a gentle yet powerful full spectrum toxin binder that actually combines a powerful fusion of different binding agents which includes:

Zeolite Clay

Zeolites are formed when lava comes in contact with water, forming a microporous structure. These microporous structures are then ground into ash and purified before they’re used as a consumable toxin binder. When ingested, zeolite clay functions as what’s known as a chelating agent – a substance that works by trapping a wide variety of toxins in its cage-like structure, encapsulating them, and escorting them out of your body. 

Zeolite clay’s unique structure allows it to function as both an adsorption agent (to bind to) and an absorption agent (to swallow up) – making it particularly helpful at drawing out and removing any toxin with a positive ionic charge, such as heavy metals, BPA, and pesticides. Zeolite is also incredibly helpful in restoring gut microbial balance.7,8  

In fact, one study shows supplementation with zeolite significantly decreased zonulin levels – a little molecule that is damaging to your gut and plays a big role in causing leaky gut syndrome. You can read more about zonulin and leaky gut in my article Zonulin: A Discovery That Changed the Way We View Inflammation, Autoimmune Disease, and Cancer.

Humic and Fulvic Acid

Fulvic acid and humic acid are natural chelators formed by the decomposition of organic matter (such as plants and animals) that’s found in rocks, sediment, soil, and bodies of water. Made of tiny negatively-charged atoms, such as carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, the ionic nature of fulvic and humic acids attract positively-charged mineral particles – such as those found in herbicides, pesticides, and heavy metals – to its surface.

Fulvic acid also has the potential to fight against Alzheimer’s disease – with studies showing that fulvic acid inhibits abnormal tau proteins from forming twisted fibers in the brain which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.9,10  Beyond detoxification, fulvic and humic acids have the ability to change metals and minerals into usable compounds and are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and memory-enhancing properties.

Activated Charcoal

“Activated” charcoal is a fine black powder made from materials like wood, peat, coconut shells, or sawdust that’s decomposed at high temperatures and combined with oxygen to alter its structure. Activating charcoal creates millions of micropores on the surface of the charcoal, significantly increasing its adsorption of toxins. 

It works by essentially “mopping up” biofilm once it’s broken up, preventing the released bacteria, parasites, and other biotoxins from being reabsorbed by your gut lining. Activated charcoal is such a potent toxin magnet, it’s even considered more effective than stomach pumping in poisoned patients because of its excellent ability to absorb nearly every type of poison, with few exceptions.11,12

Now let’s look at the second detox binder on our list.

G.I. Detox Full Spectrum Binder

Similar to ZeoBind Plus, G.I. Detox also utilizes a blend of different binding agents – also utilizing some of the same ingredients such as:

In addition to these ingredients, G.I. Detox also contains:

Monomethylsilanetriol Silica 

Silica is a naturally occurring substance made of silicon and oxygen that’s found in the earth’s crust, plants, and some vegetables. Monomethylsilanetriol (MMST) silica is a special type of silica with even tinier molecules, that’s known for its impressive detoxification capabilities. G.I. Detox uses MMST silica specifically because of its amazing ability to bind to toxins and heavy metals while helping to heal the gut lining. 

MMST has a particularly high affinity for the heavy metal aluminum – drawing out accumulated aluminum molecules and packaging them up to be excreted out of your body. Aluminum can be a troublesome toxin due to its potent effects on your brain and nervous system – even contributing to the development of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.13,14,15,16

Fruit Pectin

G.I. Detox uses fruit pectin (specifically apple pectin) as a binder because of its highly absorptive nature – attracting various biotoxins to its surface like a magnet. Not only is apple pectin excellent at binding to metals, such as mercury and lead, as well as mycotoxins from mold exposure, but it also carries a host of anti-inflammatory and prebiotic benefits.17,18 

ZeoBind Plus and G.I. Detox both contain a potent blend of toxin-binding ingredients that makes them a powerful tool in detoxification. And they can work particularly well when paired with the second type of binder we’re discussing – upgraded coconut charcoal.

Upgraded Coconut Charcoal 

Similar to the activated bamboo charcoal found in G.I Detox, Upgraded Coconut Charcoal is a fine black powder made from coconut shells that’s been processed and “activated”. This ultra-fine powder harnesses the natural power of coconut shells to trap everyday toxins, harmful microbes, and damaging molecules – blocking them from being absorbed by your body.

Because Upgraded Coconut Charcoal, G.I. Detox, and ZeoBind Plus are such powerful and robust detoxifying agents, when combined, they can maximize toxin elimination and quickly restore balance to your natural detoxification pathways. But you’re probably curious if these detox binders have any side effects and if their impressive binding capabilities come with a downside – like interfering with nutrient absorption.

Do Binders Interfere with Nutrient Absorption?

Because of the effectiveness of binders in their absorption and adsorption of chemicals and other biotoxins, it’s a completely logical concern to think they would also bind with beneficial nutrients. In general, we need more research on this subject. But animal studies show adding zeolite to the diets of goats and activated charcoal to the diets of pigs had no negative effect on their nutrient levels. Also, toxins are predominantly positively charged, which is how the negatively-charged binders are readily attracted to them.19,20

Because we don’t have a clear black and white answer on whether or not detox binders can inhibit nutrient absorption, it’s best to take them on an empty stomach – that way they don’t interact with the nutrients you consume at all. All binders should also be taken at the same time and either one hour before or two hours after medications and supplements.

Let’s take a little closer look at how to add these detox binders to your daily routine.

How to Add Detox Binders to Your Daily Routine

ZeoBind Plus, G.I. Detox and Upgraded Coconut Charcoal are all safe and gentle enough for daily use – making them an excellent addition to your daily supplement regimen. For normal daily use, this is what I recommend:

If you’ve been exposed to mold and are trying to detox from damaging mycotoxins, I recommend doing a slightly different protocol to help your body properly remove any hidden mold spores.

How to Use Binders for Mold Detox

To effectively rid your body of the mycotoxins produced by mold, you’ll need a comprehensive plan that lasts between six months to a year. Here’s my suggested use for mold detox:

For more specifics on doing a mold detox protocol, be sure to head over and read my Mold Exposure Treatment Guide. Now let’s look at some other detox strategies that can help boost your detoxification.

Other Detox Strategies Worth Considering

In addition to taking detox binders, some other easy-to-incorporate detox strategies worth learning more about include:

Each of these can be used on its own or together for a compounding effect.

Ready to Ditch the Toxins and Supercharge Your Detoxification?

We live in a time where we’re exposed to more chemicals than ever before – and unfortunately, the toxins flowing into our environment aren’t slowing down anytime soon. The impact toxins can have on our health, happiness, appearance, and performance is often overlooked. But if you’re serious about prioritizing your health, environmental toxins are something you simply can’t afford to ignore.

Learning about and incorporating detox binders and other detox strategies (like those outlined in this article) is an excellent place to start. If you’re looking to learn more about how toxins influence our well-being and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones, be sure to browse through my blog and my YouTube Channel and sign up for my weekly newsletter (just input your information in the form at the bottom of this page). I’ve got hundreds of resources to help you navigate our increasingly toxic world and help you create vibrant health from the inside out.

And because true health encompasses much much more than simply our physical well-being, I also encourage you to check out my new book Unexpected: Finding Resilience Through Functional Medicine, Science, and Faith. This book contains not only tangible, actionable steps to help you take your health into your own hands, but also serves as a reminder of just how powerful the less tangible things are – like faith, resilience, and love – when it comes to tapping into healing at the source.

Now I want to hear from you. Do you incorporate detox binders into your health routine? Which binders have you found to be the most beneficial for you? Have you found other effective ways to reduce the toxins in your body? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.   The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician.  Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.

This content was originally published here.

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