Bentonite Clay Detox with Calcium Bentonite, the Great Absorbent
Calcium bentonite is a clay formed from volcanic ash, found naturally in the environment. It has many uses for cleansing the body, from externally as a cleanser, exfoliator, and deodorant, to internally as a digestive aid. It has many chemical properties which make it an important supplement in detoxification. Bentonite clay detox has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties when used topically. Internally, it has also been shown to work similarly as an anti-toxin and against certain fungal infections. As a supplement for gut health, calcium bentonite promotes clearing of the digestive tract. It is used not only as a bulking agent, but also as a substrate that can physically bind toxins, like heavy metals and other charged ions.
Bentonite clay detox has been the topic of much research on cleansing of the gut. What is known is that it works to relieve GI distress, helping relieve diarrhea, stomach cramping and nausea. It works to relieve GI distress because calcium bentonite is extremely absorbent and works to cleanse the GI tract, much like fiber cleanses the body.
It is important to relieve the gut and the body of toxins so that the adrenal glands will not have to work harder to balance the body’s neuroendometabolic (NEM) pathways that are responsible for overcoming stress.
Calcium Bentonite and Gut Health
The large intestines, small intestines and stomach make up our digestive tract, referred to in this article as the gut. Gut health is extremely important in adrenal fatigue recovery, primarily to enable the body to detoxify and cleanse itself from the byproducts of stress hormones, excess neurotransmitters, bacteria, and stagnant digested food.
Many organs are involved in cleansing the body of toxins, including the liver, kidneys, skin and intestines. The intestines are extremely important when flushing bacterial byproducts and fat-soluble toxins marked for excretion by the liver from our system. Because the fat-soluble toxins come from the liver and have the potential to be reabsorbed, when our intestines clear regularly and in healthy consistencies, it actually also eases the function of the liver.
Intestinal walls can become permeable. If a toxin is in our intestines, even if our body has already broken it down and it is ready to be flushed from the system, there are pathways that can re-absorb the toxin. This causes further harm to the body and further stresses the liver and kidneys, which worked hard to mark the toxin for excretion. This issue can lead to leaky gut and many other issues. Leaky gut allows for toxins and other offending molecules to get through the intestinal wall very easily. It is like a mesh lining that gets bigger and bigger holes. As the condition progresses, more and more toxins can get through the intestinal walls. Calcium bentonite is able to bind some of the toxins, especially viral and bacterial byproducts, and flush the feces out to promote the clearance of waste. The cleansing that bentonite clay detox promotes is meant to enhance normal bowel movements when the gut is not functioning properly. It helps to restore normal function of the bowels, which will help reduce leaky gut and other GI distresses. It can be helpful for those experiencing gas and bloating as well.
Bentonite Clay Detox and Adrenal Fatigue Recovery
Detoxification is an essential part of adrenal fatigue recovery, but it is important to not overload the immune response with an overly aggressive detox plan, especially if in the later stages of adrenal fatigue. The liver, kidney, skin and gut all play a role in detoxifying the body and each must function together in order to begin adrenal fatigue recovery. If a detox method is used that unbalances this system too much, the effects can be almost as bad as the toxin itself. Adrenal fatigue occurs when there is a stressful event in our lives, or stress on our body, that increases the stress response processes in place in our body. Often, this stress is chronic. The stress system is in place along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal, or HPA, axis. This axis affects everything from our brain to our adrenal glands, and numerous organ processes along the way. It is hard to pinpoint an exact cause of adrenal fatigue, and especially in the case of those needing to detoxify, a toxin or stress on the GI system could potentially be a cause of adrenal fatigue. While it would be almost impossible to determine cause and effect, promoting gut health is an important aspect of adrenal fatigue recovery.
When the body encounters stress, chemical messengers are sent from the brain and the hypothalamus, to the pituitary gland. The pituitary then sends out chemical messengers directly to the adrenal glands, which stimulates the production and release of cortisol. When the body has responded to stress and is ready to recover from the stressful situation, cortisol is able to turn off the HPA axis of chemical messengers. The excess cortisol and other chemical messengers are then processed through the liver and marked for excretion, along with the other toxins and waste in our body.
If gut health is not optimal, these chemicals marked for excretion have the ability to be reabsorbed back into our body. If this occurs, cortisol and other products of hormone breakdown are able to re-enter the bloodstream and further complicate imbalances in the body.
Proper gut health is a crucial element of adrenal fatigue recovery. The gut is one of the ways the body flushes unnecessary chemicals and it is also where some chronic stressors on the body can be found. Bentonite clay detox helps form proper stool in the intestines and is so porous that it absorbs all extra toxins and harmful metabolites, to be excreted through bowel movements. By helping promote gut health, bentonite clay detox relieves the body of one potential chronic stressor, while also helping the body flush chemicals that could potentially cause a continuous stress feedback for those with adrenal fatigue.
Bentonite Clay Detox and the NEM Stress Response
HPA axis dysfunction and resulting adrenal fatigue is just one aspect of the body’s whole response while managing chronic stress. In order to fully understand the disturbance and how gut health can aid our body, the NEM stress response must be discussed and understood holistically.
The neuroendocrine-metabolic (NEM) stress response is disrupted during adrenal fatigue. This whole body’s response to stress illustrates just how important detoxification and balance is while trying to recover from chronic stress, whether due to underlying medical conditions, life situations, or coping strategies. When in balance, the NEM Stress Response is a fine-tuned machine that affects our entire body and organizes the body to respond adequately to stress. There are two main components to the NEM Stress Response and, as the name suggests, one is the neuroendocrine and the other is the metabolic. These are further broken down into three systems in our body. The neuroendocrine component regards the chemical signals sent through our body and how the body responds. This includes the neuroaffective response (how our brain reacts to stress), the hormonal response and the cardionomic response. For example, the heart racing when nervous is the neuroaffective and cardionomic systems working together to respond to stress.
The metabolic component of the NEM Stress Response is proving to be extremely important to balancing the response. The metabolic component includes the metabolic response, detoxification response, and the inflammatory response. Gut health is extremely important in the balance of this system, because it helps absorb nutrients and energy for the metabolic system, detoxifies the entire body through excretion, and can manage inflammatory response through either toxin absorption or excretion. Therefore, in balancing the systems, while there are many supplements available to help with the neuroendocrine component of the NEM Stress Response, calcium bentonite is important for the cleansing and detox effects on the metabolic component.
While it is convenient to understand the NEM Stress Response as two components broken down into six units, it is important to understand that all the systems function together. The neuroendocrine system must be metabolically activated and once the chemical signals are sent throughout the body to do their job, they must be efficiently broken down through the detoxification process. The neuroendocrine system is also what activates the inflammatory response and through detox, it can be turned off. When in balance, these processes function well and it is an intricate and fluid web. When out of balance, however, as in the case of adrenal fatigue, the neuroendocrine component is too active, which puts strain on the metabolic and detoxification responses. They are no longer efficient and the whole system begins to deteriorate. It is important to remember that in this case, the system is the body!
It is important to promote gut health because it is a large group of organs involved in excretion and cleansing of all systems in the body. The liver and kidneys do the dirty work of breaking proteins and toxins down into manageable pieces for our body to excrete. It is the responsibility of the skin and gut to make sure the toxins are efficiently flushed once the hard work has been done by the liver and kidneys. Without efficient excretion, especially in the case of the gut, it is possible for toxins to be reabsorbed and not excreted at all. If this happens consistently, the toxic burden begins to strain the detoxification process, especially liver function. It is important to avoid this, because once toxins and waste buildup in the body, it puts more strain on the liver and other detox organs, which then can work less efficiently. Bentonite clay detox helps to break this cycle through promoting gut health and allowing the body to clear toxins through the gut, which in turn helps the liver function properly.
Focusing on the NEM Stress Response, if the detoxification component is unbalanced, the whole metabolic component is compromised, which then alters the effectiveness of the neuroendocrine systems and the response of the body. The body is a whole unit that works together. Each process must be in balance for the next one to work. Calcium bentonite helps bring detoxification back into balance, so that the rest of the body is ready to follow once it is supported through lifestyle changes, diet, or other supportive supplements.
Calcium Bentonite Supplement
Calcium bentonite is used most commonly as a cleanser to help bowel movements become healthy and regular. Calcium bentonite, however, has unique properties that are being explored which might make it a more efficient detoxification supplement than is currently realized. Studies have explored it properties as an antifungal and antibacterial because of the charges the calcium and bentonite minerals have in an aqueous solution. In solution, calcium bentonite splits into its two parts: calcium, a positively charged mineral, and bentonite, a negatively charged mineral. Calcium is used in the body for a variety of processes, while bentonite breaks free and is able to bind to positively charged heavy metals and byproducts in the body. It attracts the heavy metals, binds them to make them inert and neutral, and then is flushed through the intestines. This is not the common usage for calcium bentonite, but interesting for heavy metal clearing and toxicity concerns.
As with taking any supplement, while calcium bentonite has not been shown to cause harm and is sometimes used as a base for other supplements (meaning it has neutral properties which do not interact with other supplements) it is recommended to not use it long term. AFS sufferers who are in advanced stages or have weak and sensitive bodies may find this supplement constipating and anxiety can be triggered. A small number of peopleexperience Adrenal Exhaustion. Before starting bentonite clay detox, be sure to check with your healthcare provider to ensure proper dosing and to make sure the supplement is effective at managing gut health and bowel movements.
© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Hi Dr. Lam, I actually found your website by accident and was thrilled when I did! Seven years ago, I discovered your Tai Chi exercises. I wanted to say thank you for doing your videos, I was going through breast cancer and they calmed me down and gave me needed oxygen in my body. Actually, 14 months after my first cancer, the cancer returned or never left! My doctors urged me to do chemo therapy again, but I refused and cured my own cancer with my diet, exercise, guided imagery and a very positive attitude. It is so true that we must heal our whole body, not just parts of it. Today, I am a partial vegetarian, that does not consume chemicals or preservatives and I eat right for my blood type. I am also thankful for my naturopath and my desire to always keep learning about health and wellness! I am so happy that I am still here to see my children grow up! Thank you for your awesome information, I really appreciate it!
In my limited experience of your profession, I can hand-on-heart say that you are a doctor in the true sense of the word. Originally, 'doctor' came from an old French and Latin word that meant 'teacher'. The Latin 'docre' meant 'to teach'. That's what you do: 'Teach', naturally among many other things!