Detoxification is a fundamental strategy in integrative medicine. Yet in many cases, detox—in the clinical setting or as a self-directed approach—is done incompletely, incorrectly, or not at all. While large-scale studies continue to highlight the troubling influence of environmental and biological toxins in our most serious health conditions, from cancer to dementia and beyond, clinical data on how best to address toxic body burden is still evolving. The good news is that, within this emerging field of research, there are a growing number of breakthrough studies and protocols that demonstrate how to effectively remove deep-seated toxins and pollutants from the body—safely.
Indeed, comprehensive removal of toxins such as heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), xenoestrogens and others, can be tricky. Successful detox has the potential to provide multi-targeted, broad-spectrum benefits for long-term health and healing. But if not done correctly, it can have the opposite effect: Fuel oxidative stress and inflammation, aggravate symptoms and complicate chronic conditions.
Finding the Right Path
A fundamental principle of safe and successful detox is the support of the body’s elimination pathways. One of the best ways to do this is with targeted nutrients and botanicals. Our ability to safely excrete toxins involves numerous processes, and much of the metabolic activity occurs within a two-phase system which requires specific nutrients to operate smoothly.
In phase I, toxins are discharged from organs and tissues (including fat cells) where they are often stored. Fat-soluble toxins get chemically converted into intermediary metabolites. These metabolites are generally even more toxic than the original fat-soluble toxins, so they must also go through a phase II process to reduce their toxicity and get expelled from the body completely.
Specific nutrients and compounds are needed to complete phase I processes, including:
• B vitamins (B2, B3, B6, B12)
• Folic acid
• Flavonoids (such as catechins, found in green tea)
Phase II is the conjugation and excretion phase. During phase II, specific molecules are attached (or conjugated) to the intermediary metabolite, making it less toxic, and water-soluble for safer elimination through the urine and/or stool.
Nutrients and compounds needed for phase II processes include:
• Vitamin C
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for phase I and II to become imbalanced, often caused by the rapid release of toxins into the circulation during an intensive detox program. Imbalances can also be due to elevated toxic body burden in general, chronic health condition(s), nutritional deficiencies or other factors.
An imbalance between phases I and II can be a pitfall in a detox program. It interferes with successful toxin removal, promoting redistribution of even more dangerous toxins. A “detox crisis” or “healing crisis” is usually a direct result of an imbalance of phases I and II, but contrary to prevailing theories, it’s not a healthy or necessary step in the detoxification process.
By proceeding with detox slowly, and supporting the process with targeted, researched ingredients and compounds, a “healing crisis” can be avoided. Instead, we can encourage the healing process by supporting the body’s innate capacity for cleansing and regeneration.
The Importance of Addressing Biofilms and Galectin-3
One often-overlooked factor in detoxification is the issue of biofilms. Biofilms are formed by multi-species colonies of microbes that enclose themselves in a dense extracellular polymeric matrix. Biofilm refers directly to the gel-like polymeric substance secreted by the microbes, which binds to glycoproteins, heavy metals and other substances in the body, forming a tenacious, pro-inflammatory structure behind which toxins, bacteria, fungi and parasites can hide.
Addressing biofilms represents a promising clinical approach to treating persistent infections as well as other chronic, inflammatory conditions. One way to do this is with a specific natural detox agent, discussed below.
The biological protein in the body which biofilms are built on, is the adhesive molecule, galectin-3 (Gal-3), a β-galactoside-binding protein expressed by a variety of human cells. Gal-3 is the only known “chimera galectin,” referring to the unique shape that allows it to bind to itself to form monomers and pentamers, which then bind to glycoproteins and glycolipids to create lattice formations within the extracellular matrix. Importantly, this lattice structure is a backbone of biofilm formations.
The role of Gal-3 in chronic disease is much farther-reaching than biofilms. An extensive and fast-growing body of published data shows that elevated Gal-3 is pro-inflammatory, pro-fibrotic, tumorigenic, and immune-suppressive. Gal-3 levels were found to be associated with a three-fold increase in all-cause mortality in a large epidemiological study.1 Elevated levels of Gal-3 are directly linked to cancer, cardiovascular, kidney, liver disease and others.2,3 Research also suggests elevated levels may be linked to systemic sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.4,5 Galectin-3 is well established as a primary driver in the development and metastasis of cancer through numerous mechanisms, and is recognized in the literature as the “guardian of the tumor microenvironment.”6,7
With the ability to harbor toxins and heavy metals, fuel inflammation and fibrosis, and drive aggressive diseases, Gal-3 is a critical therapeutic target that can be successfully mitigated with an extensively researched natural agent, which is also a clinically proven binder and detoxifier. This a specific form of modified citrus pectin, the only available Gal-3 inhibitor as shown in an extensive and fast-growing body of independent, peer-reviewed data.
Modified Citrus Pectin: Safe Detoxifier and Much More
The only positively researched form of modified citrus pectin (PectaSol-C MCP; P-MCP) is derived from citrus pith and modified to smaller, less complex soluble fibers using a precise pH, heat and non-GMO (genetically modified organism) enzymatic process. This unique modification process produces P-MCP with precise molecular specifications: low esterification (<5 percent) and a molecular weight between 3-13 kilo-Daltons. These specifications allow this form of P-MCP to enter into the circulatory system with a broad range of beneficial mechanisms and bioactivity.8
This form of P-MCP has been shown in more than 50 published studies to support numerous critical areas of health, primarily due to its ability to inhibit excess Gal-3. Results from a growing body of independent studies demonstrate its powerful benefits against cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure. It’s also shown to support digestive health, antioxidant activity, immune function and other areas.
Importantly, a number of clinical studies show that this P-MCP is a powerful agent to safely bind and remove heavy metals and toxins from the body. Because P-MCP also binds to Gal-3, it provides further detox support by breaking down the pentamers and lattice formations created by Gal-3, which allow toxins safe harbor within the biofilm matrix.
Research has shown that this P-MCP can effectively chelate heavy metals without depleting essential minerals—a common problem with other chelation agents.9,10 One clinical study showed significant reduction of toxic metals after just six days of taking P-MCP. Results of this study demonstrated increased urinary excretion of lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. Importantly, essential minerals were not removed, and no other side effects were reported.11
Another study investigated the effects of P-MCP in children with lead poisoning. Children with blood serum lead levels higher than 20 μg/dL, took 5 g of P-MCP three times daily away from meals. Results demonstrated significant decreases in blood lead levels (P=0.0016; 161 percent average change), again, without side effects.10
A third case report, with data from five patients, mirrored previous results. All five patients had elevated levels of toxic metals, and concurrently, unresolved chronic health issues. The patients received P-MCP, either alone or in a combination formula with low-molecular-weight alginates.
All five patients experienced a significant decrease in toxic heavy metal burden. Importantly, all patients also experienced a clinically significant reduction in their ongoing symptoms.9
Breakthrough Study: Removing Radioactive Isotopes
Another new groundbreaking clinical case study on the combination of P-MCP and alginates demonstrated the ability of the formula to reduce uranium levels in a family of six. The subjects were exposed to uranium via food and water sources in their Southwest Arizona community. The P-MCP/alginate formula demonstrated a significant reduction of uranium in all subjects, with no side effects. Importantly, this is the first study ever published to show the ability of a dietary supplement to reduce body burden of uranium.12
Milk Thistle: Essential Support for Liver Function
Silymarin is a powerful detox-supportive compound derived from milk thistle seed (Silybum marianum). It contains a unique bioflavonoid complex, which offers critical hepatoprotective and antioxidant benefits, and has the ability to neutralize and protect against free radicals produced during the metabolism of toxins which cause lipid peroxidation.13 Silymarin offers powerful protection for the liver, blocking absorption of toxins, inhibiting the production of free radicals and other inflammatory metabolites, and promoting liver regeneration by stimulating protein synthesis and hepatocyte production.14
The Path to Long-term Health
Supporting antioxidant activity and reducing inflammation throughout the body are essential strategies to promote safe and successful detoxification. Most importantly, the use of researched P-MCP as a natural chelator, which also inhibits the pathogenic effects of elevated Gal-3, is clinically proven to provide multi-targeted detoxification and overall health benefits. With these comprehensive approaches, we can effectively encourage thorough toxin removal, mitigate detox side effects, and provide powerful support against chronic, degenerative diseases, safely and naturally.
1 de Boer RA, et al. The fibrosis marker galectin-3 and outcome in the general population. J Intern Med. 2012;272(1):55-64.
2 de Boer RA, et al. Predictive value of plasma galectin-3 levels in heart failure with reduced and preserved ejection fraction. Ann Med. 2011;43;1:60-68.
3 Shah RV, et al. Galectin-3, cardiac structure and function, and long-term mortality in patients with acutely decompensated heart failure. Eur J Heart Fail. 2010;12;8:826-832.
4 Koca SS, et al. Serum galectin-3 level in systemic sclerosis. Clin Rheumatol. 2014;33:215-220.
5 Wang X, et al. Elevated Galectin-3 Levels in the Serum of Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2015;30(8):729-732.
6 Nangia-Makker P, et al. Galectin-3 Induces Endothelial Cell Morphogenesis and Angiogenesis. Am J Pathol. 2000;156:899-909.
7 Zhao Q, et al. Circulating Galectin-3 Promotes Metastasis by Modifying MUC1 Localization on Cancer Cell Surface. Cancer Res. 2009;69;17:6799-6806.
8 Courts F. Profiling of modified citrus pectin oligosaccharide transport across Caco-2 cell monolayers. PharmaNutrition. 2013;1(1):22–31.
9 Eliaz I, et al. Integrative medicine and the role of modified citrus pectin/alginates in heavy metal chelation and detoxification–five case reports. Forsch Komplementmed. 2007;14:358-364.
10 Zhao ZY, et al. The role of modified citrus pectin as an effective chelator of lead in children hospitalized with toxic lead levels. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008;14:34-38.
11 Eliaz I, et al. The effect of modified citrus pectin on urinary excretion of toxic elements. Phytother Res. 2006 Oct;20(10):859-864.
12 Eliaz I, et al. Modified Citrus Pectin / Alginate Dietary Supplement Increased Fecal Excretion of Uranium: A Family. Altern Ther Health Med. 2019 Jul;25(4):20-24.
13 Vargas-Mendoza N, et al. Hepatoprotective effect of silymarin. World J Hepatol. 2014;6(3):144-149.
14 Kostek H, et al. [Silibinin and its hepatoprotective action from the perspective of a toxicologist]. Przegl Lek. 2012;69(8):541-3.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a recognized expert in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980s, with a specific focus on cancer, immune health, detoxification and mind-body medicine. He is a respected formulator, clinician, researcher, author and educator. As part of his commitment to the advancement of integrative medicine, Dr. Eliaz partners with leading research institutes and has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed papers on innovative therapies for immune enhancement, heavy metal toxicity, and cancer prevention and treatment. He is founder and medical director of Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center in Santa Rosa, CA, where he and his team of practitioners pioneer individualized treatments for cancer and chronic illness.