If you’ve ever felt icky, low on energy, or brain-fogged out of the blue, there’s a good chance that toxins played a part. Toxins cause oxidative stress, inflammation, and inhibit mitochondria (parts of the cell responsible for energy production), which can cause a wide variety of symptoms such as:
- Brain fog
- Sensitivity to lights, sounds, or smells
Maybe you just spent time in a moldy building, or breathed in car exhaust or cigarette smoke high in heavy metals. Perhaps you have been exposed to toxins from your home or work, and have a lot of them built up in your body. Or maybe you have no idea what you did to introduce toxins into your system, and just want to get your energy back.
When toxins and low energy strike, what do you do? Toxin binders seem like an obvious answer. Swallow a few capsules of charcoal or another binder, and you should be good to go right? But anyone who’s done this knows that while taking binders orally produces relief, it’s not 100%. You’ll still have some of the symptoms. It feels like some toxins have missed the binders and are still floating around.
There’s a better way.
In my journey of healing from years of mold and heavy metal toxicity, finding the fastest, most effective methods of eliminating toxins has been absolutely critical. I’ve found that whenever I feel groggy, tired, or unfocused, toxins almost always have a role.
I know what it’s like to be laid out by toxin exposures like moldy buildings, exhausted and unable to do much for the next few hours or days. To realize that if you keep feeling unwell, you’ll face further problems like lack of productivity/achievement or addictive habits to mask the pain, that you’ll never amount to anything great.
I know what it’s like to feel that you’re not eliminating toxins fast enough. To worry you’re not making progress in healing from chronic or environmental illness quickly enough. To worry that all the toxins in your body are going to contribute to or exacerbate further conditions like new autoimmune diseases.
I have found a method that has allowed me to quickly overcome the symptoms of toxins. This method has played a large part in my rapid progress. Within the span of one year I went from constantly brain-fogged and having difficulty walking straight to scoring a 100th percentile on the MCAT (medical school admissions exam) and travelling the country for medical school interviews and gaining acceptance. I have endured challenging environments high in mold and EMFs with much fewer symptoms and pain than would be expected.
In this post, I will explain:
- Why oral binders can’t reach all toxins and bring full relief.
- How The Direct Elimination Method can instantly eliminate most of the toxins from your system and bring immediate relief.
The Direct Elimination Method involves using toxin binders in enemas. While other enemas such as coffee enemas are very useful, I will keep the first few posts in this series focused specifically on toxin binder enemas. If you’re looking to improve your health after a known toxic exposure (like a moldy house or dental amalgams), beat chronic illness (like autoimmune disease), or overall feel better and have more energy to conquer the day, this powerful detox method is for you.
How does detox happen?
A basic understanding of how the body handles toxins will help us appreciate how different binder intake routes work. This is a simple overview of a complex subject. Let’s take a look at the steps that happen when a toxin enters your body.
Toxins can enter your body through various routes: inhalation, swallowing, eyes, skin contact. After entry, they go into the systemic circulation – the main volume of blood constantly flowing through the whole body. For the body to eliminate toxins, they must go from here to an organ of detoxification.
While there are many detoxification organs, the liver is the major player. The liver handles toxins in 4 steps, called phases.
Enzymes (proteins with a biological function) transform lipid soluble (dissolve in fat) toxins into intermediate metabolites (products). These are further processed in later phases.
It’s important to note that the products (called reactive metabolites) produced by Phase I can actually be more toxic than the original toxins. This will be important later.
Intermediates from Phase I are transformed into water soluble compounds through processes collectively known as conjugation. This allows these compounds to be excreted through urine, bile, or sebacious and sweat glands.
Think of the purpose of phases I and II as preparing compounds to be eliminated through various means. They both require many nutrients, such as glutathione, calcium D-glucarate, etc.
Proteins called antiporters come into play. They pump metabolized toxins from Phase II into the bile ducts, urine-conducting ducts, and intestinal lumen (space within the intestinal tube). This sets up the toxins for final excretion in Phase IV.
The toxins, now in the bile and intestines, are finally removed from the body. This can include processing by the microbiome, healthy bile production, peristalsis (movement of the intestines), and excretion of feces. Toxins are placed in the bile, which ends up in the feces, which leaves the body.
Science nerd note: While the term ‘Phase IV’ is occasionally used in the scientific literature, in relation to humans, it is mainly a phrase used by clinicians.
How do oral binders work?
Oral binders are a key part of Phase IV. After swallowing, they pass through the GI tract into the small intestine. Here, they bind to toxins in the intestine, or to the bile containing toxins. For binders that are not absorbed into the body, the binders stay bound to the toxins and leave the body with the next bowel movement.
Where do oral binders fall short?
1. Oral binders do not capture all toxins, leaving residual symptoms.
Oral binders can only reach toxins once the liver has processed them. As you can see, there are many steps before toxins reach Phase IV. These take a lot of energy and time. The liver can only process a limited amount of toxins at a time. What if you have a lot of toxins in the systemic circulation?
In that case, toxins end up floating around the body, coming into contact with cells and causing symptoms. Eventually they distribute themselves in the body tissues, particularly adipose (fat) tissue. This leads to lasting problems like hormone disruption, weight gain, and cognitive issues.
By using only oral binders, you don’t address these additional circulating toxins. Since the liver hasn’t processed them yet, oral binders can’t capture them. This is why when you take oral binders like charcoal, you may feel a bit better but still have lingering symptoms.
2. Relying on oral binders can contribute to organ stress.
As we’ve just gone over, oral binders only work on toxins the liver has processed. They do nothing to help eliminate toxins before they reach the liver. Even though it will miss some (point #1), the liver will do its best to metabolize as many toxins as it can. If you have a lot of toxins floating around, the liver starts working even harder to try to process them all.
However, if we rely only on the liver to handle these toxins, the liver can become stressed, damaged, or even diseased over time. You might be thinking – where could all these toxins be coming from? I probably don’t have enough of them to be straining my organs! But even if you eat clean, there are thousands of chemical compounds in our modern world that did not even exist decades or centuries ago. You are exposed to them every day, be it from the air to standard cookware to personal care products.
If we do not capture some of these toxins before the liver must process them, then the risk of high toxic load and liver strain is very real, not to mention the other bad results of toxin accumulation.
3. Oral binders are not as effective in the context of chronic illness.
If you have chronic illness (or are among the many undiagnosed), there is a good chance toxins play a role in your struggles. This is most clear in conditions such as mold or heavy metal toxicity. If you are sick, detoxification is especially crucial.
However, in a seemingly cruel twist of fate, those with chronic illness also tend to have compromised liver function. Remember those nutrients like glutathione required by phase 1 to get the liver detox ball rolling? Chronic illness, aging, and toxin exposure deplete them, meaning the liver doesn’t have the nutrients needed to process toxins through the four phases. If the liver is inflamed (common with chronic illnes) this further inhibits detoxification activity. Clinicians note that chronically ill patients or those with histories of toxin exposures tend to have impaired liver function.
So if you have chronic/environmental illness and rely on oral binders, what happens? The liver is already compromised, and the phases of detox become ‘clogged up’. The toxin load exceeds the liver’s filtration capacity. Since the liver can’t process these toxins, they never reach phase 4 to be removed by oral binders. Toxins continue to circulate through the body, causing harmful effects and depositing in tissues.
Remember how phase 1 transforms toxins into reactive metabolites? As a reminder, these metabolites are often more toxic than the original toxin itself. If the liver phases are backed up, toxins can enter and get through phase 1. But they then get ‘stuck’ and don’t make it through the later phases. The phase 1 metabolites can float around, contributing to potentially worse problems than the original toxins themselves!
Why enemas are the fastest detox
Given all this, how can we directly eliminate toxins from the systemic circulation? How can we avoid relying on and straining the liver? You guessed it – the butt!
When a (non-absorbable) binder is placed in the rectum, it sits next to the inferior (lower) iliac artery and veins (pictured below). These supply the rectum with blood flow. The key point here is that these vessels are part of the systemic circulation – the same systemic circulation that carries toxins right after they enter the body.
Toxin binders remove toxins because they have a very strong chemical affinity for them. Each binder, because of its unique structure, has a certain affinity for an opposite chemical charge on specific types of toxins. When toxins specific to the binder flow through the iliac artery and veins, they come close to the binder. Here – the charge attraction kicks in and ‘pulls’ the toxin towards the binder. The toxin diffuses (moves) across the blood vessel membrane. The binder captures the toxin. Finally, they both are eliminated by excreting the binder back out the anus. Using rectal binders accomplishes three important things:
1. Provide quick symptom relief.
We’ve already discussed why toxins cause symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and brain fog. Because oral binders do not capture circulating toxins, those that have yet to be processed by the liver float around and can cause symptoms. When you use rectal binders, you take out toxins right away, without having to wait for them to reach the liver. This leads to a quick relief in symptoms, anywhere from within seconds to minutes. It’s truly an amazing thing to feel tired and in pain one minute, and then pain-free and energetic the next. I will discuss specific applications of this in later parts of the series.
2. Lowers toxin accumulation.
Remember some of the toxins that don’t reach the liver in time deposit in the tissues? Since rectal binders take toxins right out of the systemic circulation, they don’t get the chance to float around and settle in your body. This spares you the long-term effects like hormone imbalance and weight gain.
3. Spares the liver from extra work and strain.
Unlike oral binders, rectal binders do not require toxins to go through the phases of liver detox before capturing them. They take toxins out of the body, before the liver ever sees and has to deal with them. This greatly eases the workload of the liver, which is especially important if you have chronic illness or existing liver stress.
Butt I don’t want to!
It is a very natural aversion to not want to stick something up your butt. It seems intimidating – stuff comes out that way, not in!
Yes, enemas are not the easiest thing to get used to. I remember when I first learned about this method, I was afraid and hesitant. I’m a heterosexual male. We generally do not like sticking things up our butts. But the physiology made so much sense to me, and the promises of quick symptom relief and detox eventually won me over.
I was not disappointed. This has been one of the most essential techniques in my healing journey.
I’ve used this to help recover from years of mold and heavy metal toxicity more rapidly than my wildest dreams. It’s amazing to feel tired, groggy, and brain-fogged in one moment, and then energized and clear-headed in the next. It is a miracle not to have to fear unfamiliar environments anymore. If I encounter toxins I can eliminate them immediately instead of being knocked back for hours or days. And it is incredible to see how over a short course of weeks or months, my body becomes less toxic. My skin gets clearer, excess inflammation subsides, my muscles are more defined and powerful. My sensitivity to environmental triggers like mold or chemicals has decreased. I am starting to get my life back!
If it’s any comfort, know that enemas are actually a healing practice with a long history that many cultures around the globe have used. And they’re not hard to do! Within several weeks, I was able to perform an enema in under two minutes (most of which is gathering supplies).
In Part 2 of the series, I go over instructions for how to perform simple enemas. In Part 3, I will address binder selection. Part 4 will provide information on safety concerns and troubleshooting.
Daniel Cagua-Koo, MD, MPH, PMA, pioneered the rectal binders technique and taught it to me. He has given me permission to share this information with you all.
Thomas O’Duffey, for helping me brainstorm a name for this method.