Are you being poisoned by aluminum… daily?

October 17, 2008

The Earth’s crust is extremely rich in aluminum, and it’s chemical and physical properties allow it to be used in a variety of forms. It is considered to be a toxic metal ion. (1) You may exposed to aluminum daily in minor amounts via food, through leaching with aluminum cookware, and through antiperspirant (whose active ingredient is aluminum).

Alzheimer’s is an incurable disease characterized by deteriorating memory loss and dementia. It is the most common cognitive degenerative disease world wide and as many as 4.5 million Americans may suffer from this lethal illness. (2)

The causative factors of Alzheimer’s disease are not well understood. Research seems to indicate that a variety of risk factors may contribute to the onset of the disease, including advanced age (>65), genetic factors, and potential environmental factors. (2)

In the past, a link was proposed between consumption of aluminum and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists found traces of aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, yet after many years and studies, no conclusive causative link has been verified between aluminum and this disease. (3)

Many people are hesitant to use aluminum cookware for fear that it will leach the metal into their food, and consumption of this will be detrimental to their long term health. According to one study, aluminum does in fact leach into food, typically when they are acidic. (1) Considered to be a potential neurotoxin, aluminum negatively affects metabolic reactions. (4)

According to the National Institute on Aging, “several risk factor genes may interact with each other and with non-genetic factors to cause the disease,” (2) and it is certainly inconclusive whether aluminum directly causes Alzheimer’s. However, it may be that someone with a family history of the disease who also exposes his or herself to aluminum in cookware and antiperspirants may be increasing the risk factors for the disease.

More studies need to be performed for any conclusive evidence on this subject, but as someone who has a family history of Alzheimer’s (all of whom consumed large amounts of aluminum via their environment for all their lives), I feel that caution is not unreasonable when it comes to limiting my aluminum exposure by using non-aluminum cookware and non-aluminum containing antiperspirants.