The Use of Proteolytic Enzymes With Binders for Mold and Mycotoxin Detoxification
We have discussed much about the many forms and roles of detoxification in the body after one has been injured by mold. The resultant production of inflammatory cytokines can produce many symptoms which can include disruption to the circulatory system, neurological difficulties and impairments, digestive issues, psychological presentations—anxiety, OCD, depression, and orthopedic indicators. In this article, I want to take a step further down the path of treatment to discuss the formation of biofilms and the use of binders, and how and why binders may be helpful in the healing process.
Biofilm and Toxins
Several months ago we talked a little about biofilm, but as a refresher, biofilm is the interaction between secretions of bio-organisms and the membrane layers in the body including the intestinal lining, the walls of blood vessels, and the nasal and lung mucous membranes. The interaction of these organisms with tissues and mucous membranes creates a “film” of sorts which protects the organism from destruction and allows it to continue to propagate and cause more inflammation. A similar situation of biofilm formation can evolve with the presence of toxins, which can be mycotoxins from molds and chemicals from solvent exposures. We think of these toxins as mainly stimulating the cytokine storm, but due to both chemical and electrical charges that these compounds carry, the interaction with the membranes can be much like the biological entities, and a biofilm of sorts can form around them too.
For this reason, it has been helpful in some patients to include a proteolytic enzyme in their treatment plan. These enzymes actually help to break up the biofilm “glue,” so that the offending substance can be reached and moved out of the body more easily. This also allows better functionality of the affected organ in question, which may mean better circulation, better mentation and clearer thinking, less nasal and pulmonary congestion with mucous, and cleaner bowel function. The good news is that these proteolytic enzymes rarely cause side effects. They do not thin the blood, upset the GI tract, or cause severe allergic reactions.
Proteolytic enzymes come from several sources and are known by several different names and brands. Serraflazyme, Lumbrokinase, Nattokinase, and Wobenzym are some of the more commonly used ones, all of which are available on www.Wellevate.me/susantanner. They are also comparatively less expensive than some other interventions.
How do you know if you would benefit from a proteolytic enzyme? In my opinion it is worth just trying one if you have problems with your circulation, with musculoskeletal pain, thick mucus, or poor wound healing. There is really no downside other than not seeing any improvement in symptoms.
Binders and Biofilm
Along with proteolytic enzymes, another important part of clearing out biofilm is the use of binders. Binders are products that, true to their name, bind up the byproducts of cell metabolism and help them transit through the bowel without being reabsorbed back into the bloodstream. Heretofore, we have discussed binders only in their ability to soak up ingested or inhaled toxins, but their role in biofilm treatment is not to be ignored.
Binders for Mold-Related Illness
A well-known researcher in mold-related illness who termed the condition “Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome“ or CIRS is Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker. The use of prescription binders is often the first step in his treatment protocol. He recommends Cholestyramine, which was first released as a treatment for high cholesterol. This product does work well for binding toxins and is used daily in Shoemaker’s protocol until mold patients “pass” a Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) Test, a marker for mycotoxin inflammatory response or injury. I have used cholestyramine quite a bit in my practice, and still do with some patients. As insurance does not always cover it, and the cost can be significant in some areas, I also have found a few alternatives that have worked well and can be used long term. One is activated charcoal and, when mixed with bentonite clay, it seems to work quite well. Activated charcoal also comes in a capsule rather than a powder, so I have found better compliance with my patients in taking it. The brand that I use is called GI Detox, and it is also available on www.Wellevate.me/susantanner. Another great binder is ZeoGold, made from Zeolite, a volcanic rock. It also is in capsule form.
It is important when using binders that they be used away from food and supplements, as they really need to get into the GI tract unopposed, and also such that they do not bind up any nutrients, either from food or supplements. Ideally, binders should be taken twice a day, but at least two hours away from anything else. Even once daily use in midafternoon seems to help and decrease reabsorption of toxins from die off, detox, and proteolytic biofilm breakdown. An analogy that I would make, just to give a little visual here, is that the proteolytic enzymes scrape off the rusty, clingy parts that clog up the works. Then, the binder comes in and vacuums up the mess.
Combining Enzymes and Binders for Mold Detox
A question you may have is “Do I need both a biofim buster (an enzyme) and a binder?” The answer is that it depends. Everyone’s body and situation is different, thus the treatments are really quite individual—some patients prefer to only use a binder, and feel that their detox mechanisms and programs are working well enough without adding in yet another modality. It is fine to try using just a binder, but if you have, as I mentioned above, significant symptoms that would suggest that blood flow and thus oxygenation of tissues is compromised, you have little to lose and much to gain by trying the combination of proteolytic enzyme and binder.
Hello there Dr. Tanner and Good Folk,
If first starting out with the cholestyramine should I be taking binders with this as well as proteolytic enzymes while taking the Cholestayramine and if so when and how far apart from one another? I know this may have been previously asked however Id also like to know if there is anything else that should be considered for a person who has EHS as well. Im very sensitive around wifi/wireless tech and EMF/RF and ELF frequencies. They clump up my blood and I can feel thee lumps in my neck after exposure, I have had mold teasing done and have many species that were found just as the same that was in our previous apartment that had water damage and high levels of mold. The EHS is debilitating as well and I feel its the combo of the mold in my body and these toxic frequencies. I generally have to avoid dog into town and do not use wifi or a cell phone. What are your thoughts on Hydroxy***roquine for detoxifying mold and is there a protocol for this? Your help is appreciated. Thank you kindly.
Cholestyramine is generally a good binder for mycotoxins if you have gotten out of the moldy place and gotten rid of all the contaminated contents. It does sound as if specific detoxification for your needs should be done, and this may include multiple modalities. In general, EMF sensitivity gets better as the toxic load reduces.
Proteolytic enzymes may help symptomatically, but again, is not the substitute for adequate detox. My hope is that you are working with a knowledgeable practitioner who can help you navigate this course!
Thank you for this information – I recently found I have ochratoxin A in my body and I don’t really have much guidance beyond that. I went to a sinus surgeon who found a fungal ball in my sinuses – he put me on an antibiotic. I’ve been on binders before this as well as other supplements. Where would we see this biofilm exit our bodies? Through urine, stool, nasal? I am just wondering if some of the ‘slimy’ things I’ve seen might be the biofilm. It is crazy to me how many doctors just ignore my comment when I tell them I have toxic mold in my body and they go about their isolated treatment. Thank you for sharing information.
Typically you don’t see biofilm exit the body. It is more of a biochemical reaction between the mucosal lining and certain bacterial or fungal organisms and is a microscopic phenomenon. I think your next step would be to return to the ENT doctor who found to fungal ball to see if it is gone or not. Sometimes these require surgery and also must be diagnosed by CT scan as some are in the sinuses inaccessible to visual observation. If you still have ochratoxin and you are certain that your environment and contents have been thoroughly treated, then it’s likely still in your sinuses.
I was wondering, I have been given nystatin and candi bactin AR and BR, but my motility is very slow and I am scared to just do the antimicrobials and antifugals with out having a pathway cleared for detox. If I was to do binders and biofilm busters. When would I incorporate the other treatments?
Sometimes motility can be helped by using magnesium citrate, as it pulls more water into the colon as well as helps muscle function. Some motility issues are due to a decrease in the number of nerve endings to stimulate the colon and in these cases, avoidance of laxatives is important as it makes the problem worse. If magnesium and aloe do not help you then very gentle warm water enemas may help get things started. Elimination is important. Once you have established a pattern for elimination then very small doses of binders can be added, such as a charcoal and clay combination. Biofilm busters could be added at this time as well. As you get the microbiome better balanced then you may find that motility improves as well… some of that could be caused by toxins! Another thing you can try is the use of clove tea. You can google the recipe from Dr. William Davis as he discusses this in his book, Super Gut.
Thanks so much for this. I do take both zeolite and protelytic enzymes. You mentioned to take the enzymes before a meal. Wobenzyme is recommended to be taken away from food as well so as not to be used as digestive enzymes. How much time before a meal do you suggest taking them. Is 30 min enough?
Yes, proteolytic enzymes are taken away from meals. I usually try to put them 30-45 minutes before any meal.
Dr Tanner, what would you recommend if the GI Detox binds you up too much that you have trouble passing your toxins? I need something I can take every day.
I would say that GI detox remains my number one choice. Pectasol is another choice but hard to compare efficacy. Zeogold (zeolite) is a third that may not be as constipating.
To counter those effects I do recommend increasing magnesium at night, especially magnesium citrate.
Hope this helps!
This is a great article thank you for publishing it. Following this protocol, of both enzymes and binders how long do you recommend continuing ?? Also how long before seeing/sensing results??
Response to these therapies can vary quite a bit. Much depends on the environment, but also on what other treatments may be used simultaneously. In general, I would say that improvement happens within a month of therapy. There are certain blood tests that can monitor improvement, but also how you are feeling and the decrease in inflammatory symptoms are good ways to monitor benefit. As long as these benefits stay in place then the enzymes and binders can be tapered down and even eliminated as long as improvements hold.
Timing, when taking enzymes and cholestyramine, is still not clear to me. I understand both are on an empty stomach, and enzymes before binder. Do I need to take them a certain amount of time apart or just anytime during the day?
I usually recommend enzymes before a meal, and the cholestyramine perhaps about 2 hours after eating..
Hope that helps.
Thank you for being who you are and doing what you do! Sharing this possible life changing information and your experience is a blessing to me and probably many who don’t know how to make their health better. I have used both binders and enzymes but will now try the combination. Will give feedback. .
We would love to hear your feedback. Please write to us after you give the combo a chance. We value our readers and always want to know what information is most helpful to them. Thank you for writing to us!
This is very interesting. I have been taking GI Detox as a binder but still having so much muscle and joint pain. When a person takes the proteolytic enzymes, when/how should they be taken with regard to food, other supplements and the GI Detox? I very much want to give this a try.
Depending on the enzyme, you usually take them on a empty stomach or away from food. The GI Detox should be taken as outlined in the article–away from food and supplements. Spacing the two out can be difficult, but enzyme and then binder is a good idea. Wait to eat at least 30-60 minutes after taking.
Thank you for this clarification. So, to further clarify, are you meaning that the enzymes and binder can be basically taken at the time time, away from food and supplements? I’m currently eating/taking supplements, waiting two hours and then taking binder. Waiting another two hours to eat and take more supplements. Then waiting two hours to take binder, and then two more hours before food and supplements.
Thank you again for this article. I am learning a lot . I’ve been on this mold journey a long time and there is always something else to learn.
Timing can be difficult when on multiple therapies; if possible I would take the enzyme before a meal, but 30 minutes or so should be fine. The binder should be 2 hours after meals. Try to take your supplements with your meals unless they are specified that they need to be on empty stomach. Many are better absorbed when going in with food. Hope this helps. And bear in mind we are talking about “ideal” strategies. Even if you can’t adhere strictly to this routine, it is better to take than not to take, even if benefits are reduced a bit. Hope this makes sense!
Dear Dr. Tanner,
Thank you very much for yet another terrific article. .I am fairly new to the mold world but after reading many articles and watching webinars, I asked my doctor to have my urine tested. Unfortunately, it came back with ochratoxin and I’m taking Cholestyramine and GI Detox. I’m only taking 1/4 teaspoon of Cholestyramine a day as I have slow motility and any more than mentioned creates additional havoc. Question: where would I have genetic testing done to see if have the “mold gene”
and what is that gene called? Many thanks in advance for your response!
The mold gene is a combination of HLA genes interpreted in a certain way, and can be done through lab corp or quest. You can find a lot of this in Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker’s book, Mold Warriors. That said, I do not rely on that overmuch. I have had many patients who did not have the gene combination he refers to and they were terribly sick from mold. When there is a genetic predisposition it is likely a combination of genes that affect detoxification not just one gene.
I hope you continue to improve and it does sound as if you are on the right track with treatment, but make sure you are out of the moldy environment!!
As a mold remediator and past welder it was using enzymes and binders that worked bests for me in dealing with mold, bacterial over growth and chemical issues. When i dialed in the timing and combinations I could bypass the detox symptoms :)
Again thank Susan you for up to date information.
I do find that the enzyme-binder combo helps most people without side-effects or symptoms. Thank you for writing!
Thank you for this article. Do you not find that introducing either biofilm busters or binders can cause an increase in symptoms if not introduced very slowly for some patients? Dr Nathan talks about never taking enough of something to exacerbate symptoms as it is an indicator that the detox pathways are overwhelmed. I have found this to be true, what are your experiences?
I have also gradually built up charcoal/bentonite/zeonite once in a non toxic environment, but despite clearing some lesser moulds my Ochratoxin A Test remained high. I have therefore started to introduce welchol, similar to cholestraimine i believe, but have literally had to break the tablets up into shards and take every other day because of the worsening of symptoms, but i am hoping this will eventually clear the Ochratoxin A. I would be interested in your experiences.
In treating very sensitive patients we take an individualized approach which varies depending on a number of factors. The articles here are intended for general guidance and information. In general, the biofilm busters and binders have not been nearly as problematic for overwhelming the system as other detoxicants, but again, everyone is different and anyone extremely ill of course should proceed with medical supervision.
Dr. Tanner, Thank you for sharing this article about bio films, proteolytic enzymes, and binders. I found it most helpful. I deal with many of the symptoms you describe in the article, so I could relate. I would like to learn more about how to heal from the inflammatory effects of long term yeast/fungal/mold toxin exposure. I will avail myself of the information on the Sinusitis Wellness website, and again, thank you for the helpful information you are publishing. Lila M. Sims, Mississippi
Thank you so much for your kind comments. I will continue to share what I know. I hope you find information here that is helpful and that brings healing.