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If Your Child Has PANS/PANDAS, They Need to Detoxify. Here’s How to Do It Safely.

When I work with a child affected by PANS/PANDAS or another complex or autoimmune disease, one of the things I focus on is detoxification.

When your child is dealing with a complex illness, they have a lot going on. It’s not just the illness itself. There are imbalances and issues in the body that have opened up the door to illness. So I go beyond addressing just the specific condition. I look at the body as a whole and work to bring things back into balance.

Part of that process is identifying and eliminating toxins from the body.

We all have a toxic load. It’s impossible to live in this modern age and not be exposed to toxins. There are toxins in our food, packaging, and the environment all around us.

And while our bodies have detoxification systems and processes in place that can eliminate toxins, sometimes the modern toxic load is just too much. So our bodies have to find a place to store the toxins, which end up being stored deep in our tissues, including the brain.

When you go through a detoxification protocol, it’s important to be smart about it. You have to make sure that the body’s detoxification pathways are open. You never want to encourage your body to release stored toxins without a clear path to eliminate them. Then you just end up with toxins loose in the body that can cause further damage.

If the detoxification pathways are open, the next step is to make sure that the toxins get out safely. One way to do this is to provide something for the toxins to attach to as they leave the body. You want the toxins to hitch a ride on a binder.

What are Toxin Binders?

Binders are natural adsorbents like clays, charcoal, and zeolite. You want these binders to be available to bind with toxins in the digestive tract. The binders will then help safely remove the toxins from the body, keeping the toxins from being reabsorbed back into the bloodstream.

Binders can help the body eliminate a variety of toxins:

Heavy Metals, Chemicals, and Plastics

  • Mercury
  • Aluminum
  • Lead
  • Chemicals
  • Radiation
  • Herbicides and Pesticides
  • Plastics
  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)

Biotoxins Released By:

  • Bacteria
  • Parasites
  • Molds

How Do Binders Help With Detoxification?

To understand how binders function, first you need to know a little bit about how detoxification works. The liver is the main detox organ. It processes fat soluble toxins and then pushes them out into the intestines through the bile. When the body is strong and draining effectively, these toxins are then excreted efficiently through the stool.

But if the detoxification pathways are compromised, this process doesn’t always work as it should. If there are conditions present like leaky gut (which is common with autointoxication), constipation, gallbladder or bile issues, or mitochondrial dysfunction, then detoxification doesn’t happen efficiently. Instead of being excreted with a bowel movement, the toxins are reabsorbed and recirculated in the body.

Then you end up with detox reactions (herxheimer reactions), systemic inflammation, and increased total toxic load.

Binders help the body release the toxins, even if the detoxification system isn’t working perfectly.

Which Binders are Safe for Detoxification?

There are a few types of binders that can help to safely detoxify the body. Different binders attach to different toxins. So it’s important to work with an experienced practitioner to make sure you know which toxins to target, how to target them safely, and which binders are best for those specific toxins.

Here’s a breakdown of the types of binders I use in my practice:


Activated charcoal is the most common binder. It’s great for acute situations like stomach flu, traveler’s diarrhea, and food poisoning. It’s a black, odorless, flavorless powder made from carbon-based compounds and treated with oxygen at very high temperatures to make it more porous.

The negative charge and porous texture allow it to absorb toxins so they can be safely eliminated. It’s very broad acting so it can absorb nutrients as well. So it’s important to take it away from food and medications.

Bentonite Clays

Calcium bentonite clay is an absorbent clay that is formed from volcanic ash. The unique make-up of this clay allows it to absorb toxins. Although it’s found all over the world, it gets its name from Fort Benton, Wyoming — the largest source of this clay.

Each clay has a different specificity. But generally bentonite clay binds heavy metals, chemicals, mycotoxins, and biotoxins. It’s important to take it away from food and supplements because it binds minerals as well.


Zeolites are highly absorbent, porous minerals. They are excellent for detoxification and reducing inflammation. In a study on lead-poisoned mice, zeolite reduced lead accumulation in the intestine by more than 70% and showed protective effects on brain tissue.

Zeolite is good for detoxifying heavy metals, chemicals, mycotoxins, and biotoxins.


Chlorella is a single-celled algae found in freshwater. It’s effective at removing heavy metals, as well as weakening heavy metal toxicity of the liver, brain, and kidneys.

Chlorella is very gentle and nutrient-dense. It won’t bind to minerals so it is safe for long-term use.

Apple/Citrus Pectin and Fiber

Pectin is a type of fiber found in the cell walls of plants. You can find it in apples, citrus peel, quinces, cherries, and plums.

Pectin is a natural fiber that has the added benefit of being good for gut bacteria. Pectin binds heavy metals, herbicides, mycotoxins, and pesticides.

Fulvic and Humic Acids

These substances naturally occur in soils, compost, and marine sediments. Fulvic acid is a product of decomposition and can be extracted from compost or soil.

Fulvic acid has negatively charged ions that attract positively charged toxins. It’s very gentle and is particularly effective at detoxifying glyphosate, heavy metals, and chemicals. This supplement can be taken with food.

Some research suggests that fulvic acid may also promote brain health.


Silicon dioxide, or silica, is a natural compound made of silicon and oxygen — two of the most abundant minerals on earth. Silica is found in water, plants, and animals. In fact, the earth’s crust is 59% silica. And it makes up more than 95% of the known rocks on the planet.

Silica is great for binding mycotoxins, aluminum, and other heavy metals. It has additional benefits for bone, hair, skin, and connective tissue. Silica is very gentle and does not deplete minerals.

How Should I Take Binders?

Since many binders do affect mineral and medication absorption, it’s best to take them away from food or medicines. I recommend taking them 1 – 2 hours after eating.

It’s a good idea to rotate your binders. As I mentioned above, specific binders attach to specific toxins so it’s good to switch binders from time to time. Any time you take the same supplement for long periods of time (even a safe one), you run the risk of throwing your body out of balance.

If you find your binders are causing constipation, make sure you drink extra water and try adding in a magnesium supplement. When you are flushing toxins out of your system, it is critical that you are eliminating efficiently. And some of these binder can be… well, “binding”. So make sure you address constipation if it becomes an issue.

Detoxification can have the side effect of eliminating nutrients your body needs. So make sure you are taking a multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement (per your practitioner’s recommendation).

You can take binders at any time of day. But most practitioners recommend you take them in the evening before bed. Nighttime is a time of natural detoxification for your body. The brain detoxes while you sleep, so it’s a good idea to have the binder present to mop up any toxins released by the brain.

My #1 Piece of Advice for Detoxifying Safely

Work with a practitioner. Too often someone will decide it’s time to “detox”. And they’ll put themselves — or their child — on a protocol that their body is not ready for.

It’s critical to detoxify gently. The last thing you want for a body that is already struggling is to flood it with stored toxins. And as I mentioned above, you need to make sure that the detoxification pathways are open and ready to help the body safely remove the released toxins.

If you’re ready to help your PANS/PANDAS affected child detoxify naturally, I’m here to help. When I work with my clients, I do a thorough assessment that includes lab testing. Then we can safely target the toxins that are the most likely to affect your child’s health.

If you’d like to talk, click here to book your Discovery Call.