Toxin build-up is common in people going through Lyme disease treatment due to the fact that Lyme can compromise the body’s detoxification mechanisms, especially liver function, and people with Lyme often have genetic issues that compromise the detox pathways in the first place. In addition, environmental toxicity is common in nearly everyone nowadays, and people with Lyme battle neurotoxicity not just from environmental toxins, but pathogen die-off.
For these reasons, detoxifying your body with natural toxin binders is a crucial component to recovery from Lyme disease. Some of us are more susceptible to symptoms from environmental toxicity than others, so it’s a good idea to work with a Lyme-literate doctor who also understands how to test for and treat environmental toxicity.
For some simple tips on how to detox your body and home from environmental toxins, you may want to read Dr. Lee Cowden’s and my book, Create a Toxin-Free Body and Home, Starting Today. Dr. Cowden is a Lyme-literate doctor who is an expert in detoxification, and his insights and wisdom have helped many thousands of people with Lyme to get their lives back.
Natural Toxin Binders
One of the best toxin binders that I have always loved for detoxifying my body from environmental contaminants is chlorella, because it is a fairly gentle remedy that also supports the body’s health in a variety of ways.
Chlorella is a single-celled micro-algae considered by Joe Mercola, MD to be one of the world’s most powerful detoxification supplements. Whole chlorella is difficult to digest so it’s important to use cell wall cracked chlorella. Using a highly purified supplement is also crucial, as not all chlorella products are created equal.
Chlorella is one of the most widely used supplements in Japan, where over 10 million use it regularly for its detoxification benefits. It is known to remove heavy metals, such as mercury, cadmium and lead, as well as pesticides, DDT, PCB, and other environmental chemicals from the body.
Chlorella may be best known for its ability to remove heavy metal toxins from the digestive tract. According to some heavy metal experts it doesn’t remove them from deep within the tissues, but I know a number of health practitioners who recommend it as a gentle overall approach to heavy metal removal.
Anecdotal evidence and doctors’ experiences with their patients also seem to suggest that chlorella may help to bind and remove metals, although it may be less powerful than traditional metal chelating agents like EDTA and DMSA. (Unfortunately, DMSA is no longer available over the counter in the United States). Chlorella therefore may be a suitable detox substance for people who can’t tolerate the stronger biotoxin binders, but when used for that purpose, I always recommend working with a competent integrative doctor who understands heavy metal detox as doing it improperly can cause metals to be redistributed throughout the body.
Renowned Lyme-literate medical doctor, Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, has long recommended chlorella as part of his Lyme disease treatment protocols. In my book, New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, he recommends it for binding heavy metals and other toxins, such as ammonia, a neurotoxin, which increase Lyme disease symptoms, caused by Borrelia. The dosage that he recommends for his patients is 8-16 250 mg tablets, 3 times daily, 30 minutes before meals, or at bedtime. Taking the chlorella before meals enables it to bind with any toxins that are released in the bile during digestion.
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Neil Nathan, MD, also featured in New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment, sometimes recommends chlorella to bind tricothenes and aflatoxins, two types of mold toxins that are typically best removed with bentonite clay, activated charcoal, and chlorella.
One of chlorella’s most redeeming qualities is the fact that it helps to remove a wide variety of contaminants from the body, and is a good “catch-all” supplement that, unlike some other binders, is useful for a wide variety of purposes.
For instance, chlorella isn’t just a toxin binder that removes a variety of chemicals and microbial toxins, including mold, but it’s also a food with substantial nutritive benefits. It is composed of 50% protein and is considered a complete amino acid based food and can therefore be used as a viable source of supplemental protein, especially for vegetarians.
Among its other benefits, chlorella improves immune function and digestion, increases energy, balances the pH, normalizes blood sugar and blood pressure, and provides a rich source of B- vitamins. Furthermore, it contains chlorophyll, which is known to be a high-energy substance that increases oxygen to the tissues, cleanses the detox organs and the blood, and promotes tissue repair and growth.
A Closer Look at Chlorella
Many studies have been conducted on chlorella worldwide, the results of which suggest that it may also do all of the following:
- Control body weight and improve metabolism in menopausal women
- Modulate mild to moderate hypertension
- Relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia
- Stimulate immune function by enhancing NK cell activity and producing interferon-γ and interleukin-12 as well as interleukin-1β
- Improve anxiety and depression
- Provide a rich source of B-12, a common deficiency found in those with Lyme disease
- Improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake
- Cleanse the digestive organs and liver
- Protect the body against cancer
- Protect against oxidative stress that damages cells
What to learn more about chlorella? Studies that demonstrate all of these effects can be found at: GreenMedInfo, in the Research section. Simply input “chlorella” in the search engine box, to find all research abstracts and studies on this magnificent superfood.
Because chlorella binds with toxins, it’s always a good idea to start out by taking just a few tablets or a small amount of powder daily, and ramp up over a few weeks or more to a higher dosage, according to your doctor’s recommendations. This could be anywhere from just a few tablets daily up to 45 or more. Ask your doctor for a recommended brand to determine which one would be best for you.
This article was first published on ProHealth.com on June 5, 2017 and was updated on July 13, 2019
Connie Strasheim is the author or co-author of 11 wellness books, including the recently released New Paradigms in Lyme Disease Treatment: 10 Top Doctors Real Healing Strategies that Work. (October, 2016) and Beyond a Glass of Milk and a Hot Bath: Advanced Sleep Solutions for People with Chronic Insomnia. (March, 2017). She is also a medical copywriter and an editor at ProHealth.com, as well as Editor of the Alternative Cancer Research Institute (ACRI). Her passion is to help people with complex chronic illnesses find freedom from disease and soul-spirit sickness using whole body medicine, and she collaborates with some of the world’s best integrative doctors to do this. In addition to Lyme disease and insomnia, Connie’s books focus on cancer, nutrition, detoxification and spiritual healing. To learn more about her work, see: www.ConnieStrasheim.org.