06 Mar Why Binders Hold Back Healing
The anecdotal stories of the healing powers of noni spark hope of recovery in people suffering from conditions conventional western medicine hasn’t been able to fix. But is the hope springing forth from this French Polynesian fruit substantiated by published, peer-reviewed studies? According to Dr. Josh Axe and his team, the answer to this question is yes—science now backs up popular noni folk remedies. (1)
The Power of Folklore
It was the folklore of noni’s ability to neutralize blowfish toxins that drew me and my family to the noni fruit when we were ill from exposure to mold and chemicals after Hurricane Katrina. Little did we know that our own quest for recovery would result in our becoming advocates for other mold victims and authoring a book, MOLD: The War Within, so others could benefit from our journey of research and recovery.
The first thing to understand is that people ill from mold exposures also face the ill health effects of mycotoxins, which are mold poisons. Trying to find a way to remove the mold poisons from our bodies led us to noni juice. It was rational to believe that if folklore was true and noni could neutralize blowfish toxins, why wouldn’t it neutralize mold toxins. We were open to alternative treatment options and had already tried several, albeit unsuccessfully, after traditional medicine had worsened our condition. One of the ineffective alternative treatment options we had tried to deal with the mycotoxins was natural binders.
Beware of Binding Agents
There are several different types of binding agents, but some of the most common ones are the following:
- Bentonite Clay
- Psyllium husks
Ingesting these binding agents has the potential to deplete the body of the valuable and much-needed nutrients required for healing. They can be nutrient-robbing agents even when consumed several hours between meals. In this way, binding agents can hold back healing and recovery.
Natural binding agents also run the risk of containing contaminants and increasing the body’s toxic load instead of detoxifying it. Take bentonite clay, for example; it comes from the earth and is formed from volcanic ash. (2) Soils of all kinds contain microorganisms, such as harmful bacteria and ferociously tenacious molds. Soils can also contain contaminants such as heavy metals, which can end up in soil-derived natural “health” products.
In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) issued a warning, alerting consumers not to use the bentonite-based product “Best Bentonite Clay”. FDA laboratories had found elevated levels of the heavy metal lead in the product, posing a risk of lead poisoning to users. According to the FDA, the product was marketed as a medicinal clay with labeling instructions stating that it could be ingested as well as used topically. (3)
According to the FDA, “Exposure to lead can cause serious damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and immune system. In children, chronic exposure to lead, even at low levels, is associated with cognitive impairment, reduced IQ, behavioral difficulties, and other problems.” (4)
Risk of Intestinal Blockage
An even greater risk associated with the internal use of bentonite clay is that eating it can cause bowel blockage. According to the doctors of WebMD, “Doctors don’t recommend eating clay. It could cause a blockage in your intestines. And it can affect how you absorb nutrients and electrolytes. Plus, clay or soil can have high levels of harmful germs and heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and mercury.” (5)
Summary of Binder Risks
The risks of consuming bentonite clay include the following:
- Nutrient and electrolyte malabsorption
- Toxic Contamination
- Intestinal blockage
Eat Dirt or Drink Juice?
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) points out an interesting fact about the noni plant; it often grows among lava flows. So, the composition of volcanic ash from which bentonite clay is derived is the same “soil” in which the noni plant draws its nourishment. The roots of the noni plant act as a natural filter of potential contaminates, creating a plant and fruit scientifically proven to be rich in potent antioxidants. (6)
“In laboratory research, noni has shown antioxidant, immune-stimulating, and tumor-fighting properties,” reports the NCCIH. (7)
Dr. Axe and his team concur, “…noni is a fruit that’s earned its name as a superfood due to its many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” (8)
So, what do antioxidants do for the body? Harvard Medical School explains, “Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons. In making this sacrifice, they act as a natural ‘off’ switch for the free radicals. This helps break a chain reaction that can affect other molecules in the cell and other cells in the body. But it is important to recognize that the term ‘antioxidant’ reflects a chemical property rather than a specific nutritional property.” (9)
We know that air pollution can cause oxidative stress, which occurs with the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidant defences. (10) Antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals and disarm them, so increasing our intake of antioxidants is a good thing. However, antioxidants are best when sourced from foods high in antioxidants rather than synthetic sources as synthetic forms of antioxidants have been reported to be harmful to health. (11)
Given the choice to eat dirt to bind toxins or drink juice to neutralize toxins, which would you choose?
Information on Dosage Levels
Your doctor has likely heard of noni juice but may not have ever prescribed it as a natural treatment option. For this reason, we included in section II of our book, MOLD: The War Within, the dosage levels of noni juice our naturopath prescribed for treatment of mold- and mycotoxin-related illnesses as well as the dosage amounts prescribed of other supplements. Dosage levels can vary depending on factors such as age, size and current medications. The dosage information is included so people can share it with their treating physician, not for people to self-treat. It is important to consult with a licensed medical professional who knows your full health history and medications, as people can respond differently based on these factors as well as others such as genetics, exposure levels and duration, and other variables.
Sourcing Noni Juice
We primarily used raw noni juice during our mold recovery, but whether to use a raw or pasteurized noni juice product is a decision that should be discussed with your doctor. Raw noni juice is not readily available but both raw and pasteurized noni juice is available from HealingNoni.com. This brand ferments its juice much like the company (now closed) from which we sourced our noni juice after Hurricane Katrina. There is a coupon code in our book that Healing Noni has extended to readers who desire to try their noni products after consulting with their physicians.
In order to give your body the best opportunity to fully recover from mold and mycotoxin exposures, it is vital to remove yourself from the source of exposure or reduce exposures to tolerable levels, which can vary per individual. For information on testing methods of structural molds, order of steps that must be taken to ensure a successful remediation and other important tips, check section I in our book, MOLD: The War Within. It is best to become informed as much as possible before making decisions regarding mold remediation of your home, because the choices you make will not only have a lasting impact on your largest investment but also on your health.
- Is Juice Healthy? Doctors Issue Warning for Parents, Alyssa Lowery, May 25, 2017, https://draxe.com/nutrition/is-juice-healthy/
- Bentonite Clay, Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/science/bentonite
- FDA warns consumers about health risks with Alikay Naturals – Bentonite Me Baby – Bentonite Clay, March 23, 2016, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-warns-consumers-about-health-risks-alikay-naturals-bentonite-me-baby-bentonite-clay
- FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use “Best Bentonite Clay”, March 23, 2016
- Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bentonite-clay-benefits#2
- The Potential Health Benefits of Noni Juice: A Review of Human Intervention Studies, Bret J. West, et al., Foods. 2018 Apr; 7(4): 58. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5920423/
- Noni, https://nccih.nih.gov/health/noni
- Noni Juice: The Superfruit Beverage that Boosts Immunity, Jillian Levy, CHHC, January 14, 2020, https://draxe.com/nutrition/noni-juice/
- Understanding antioxidants, Healthbeat, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-antioxidants
- What Is Oxidative Stress?, DJ Betteridge, Metabolism, 49 (2 Suppl 1), 3-8, Feb 2000
- Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health, V. Lobo, et al., Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul-Dec; 4(8): 118–126, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
Copyright 2020 Lee Ann Billings