last three decades have seen a steady increase of unwelcome forms of aluminum in our
environment and diet. Many junk and fake foods contain additives, for
example raising agents in muffins and donuts - and most water utilities
use aluminum sulphate to clarify drinking water. Other source include
antacids, buffered aspirin and anti-perspirants. Colored candies almost
always have aluminium enhanced food colors.
(European spelling Aluminium) is harmful to all life forms.
It damages all types of tissue. "Aluminum is a protoplasmic
poison and a pernicious and persistent neurotoxin". No living
systems use aluminium as part of a biochemical process. It has a
tendency to accumulate in the brain and bones. It is
under normal conditions considerably less toxic than mercury, arsenic, lead or cadmium, but it
is much more common in our environment, it also appears to be more
persistent than most of the other metallic poisons. The danger is one that only
manifests itself over long periods of time. It is therefore prudent to
avoid consumption. Avoidance is currently the best way of protecting
you and your family from the serious, long term damage that can result
from ingestion. Pregnant and
lactating women, the young and the elderly are at risk. The most effective way of preserving your mental acuity in to
your later years appears to be eliminating the sources of aluminum in
One can take
steps to minimise the effects of aluminium in the environment. A
sustained, three pronged attack is the most effective
- Blocking its
uptake with supplements (calcium, magnesium, iron)
foodstuffs that help to eliminate it from your
system. Fruit on its own, green vegetables and some algaes.
contaminated consumables are now very common. Being aware of the
sources is the first step in elimination. Removing aluminum from your
diet can be quite easy if a gradual approach is taken.
symptom of aluminum poisoning is the loss of intellectual function;
forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, and in extreme cases, full
blown dementia. It is also known to cause bone softening and bone mass
loss, kidney and other soft tissue damage, in large doses it can cause
Many of those who have gone on to low aluminum diets have reported a
reduction in irritability, headaches and significant improvements in
memory and ability to concentrate. Parents reported improvements in
children suffering from behavioral problems.
Reconstituting orange juice with aluminium treated drinking water is not recommended; Judie Walton, an Australian researcher found that brain uptake could be increased tenfold by the presence of fruit acids. Aluminum compounds can be as toxic as lead under certain conditions.
One series of
tests designed to find out if lead caused ADHD came up with the finding
that many of the children suffering from attention deficit disorders had
higher than average levels of aluminium in their hair.
Experiments conducted at Toronto University have shown that those
Alzheimer's Disease patients given treatment to remove aluminum from
their system experience an immediate reduction in the rate of
deterioration. Feeding even relatively small amounts of some aluminum
salts to laboratory animals results in brain tissue damage identical to that found in Alzheimer's patients. Recent research has
identified aluminum fluoride as a particularly nasty substance, shown
to cause the deposition of amyloid proteins (the proven cause of the
tangled brain cells in most dementia cases) in the brains of rats when
they are given drinking water with only 0.5 to
1 parts per million concentration.
additives contain aluminium compounds: E173, E520, E521, E523 E541,
E545, E554, E555 E556, E559. Antacids quite often contain
aluminum trisilicate as does buffered aspirin.
aluminium based additives include dry cake mixes, pastries and
croissants made from frozen dough, processed cheeses, some donuts and
waffles, check muffins for E541 (sodium aluminum phosphate), and food
coloring. The list of substances containing aluminium salts
is quite depressing. The caking agents added to salt can be aluminum compounds. The common ones are E544, E545 and E546.
The use of
aluminum in drinking water is starting to be looked at in Canada and
Australia, most utilities in Europe and the United States do
exceed the recommended level of 100 microgrammes per litre, some by as
much as sixty times!
Another obvious and easily avoided source is aluminum cooking pots and
pans, this can be quite easily remedied by using enamelled, stainless
steel and cast iron pots. Cooking in earthenware and glass containers
is another option. There is no need to throw out all of your aluminium
pots, it is OK to fry food in aluminium pans - and intact Teflon,
non-stick coatings will effectively prevent any of the aluminum from reaching the food.(not that not everyone believes that Teflon is harmless, but that is another story - Ed)
also those who are breast feeding their children should avoid all
sources as should those on slimming and weight loss diets.
Apparently when iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc levels drop, the
uptake of aluminium worsens. Taking mineral supplements seems
to be a good idea, particularly for vegetarians, absorption is
dramatically reduced by the presence of iron in the body. As
it is cumulative, slow acting and extremely persistent, older people
are at particularly at risk.
water utilities get the level of aluminium down to recommended levels
it is prudent to use untreated spring or mineral water for drinking and
cooking. Few of us are wealthy enough to spend two months in
the year at a health spa, however you can help eliminate toxic metals
including simply by drinking sulfur containing spring water
such as "San Pellegrino". Beans and garlic are known to release
detoxifying sulfur compounds. The sulfur detox has been shown to remove mercury and arsenic and other toxic metals which act in conjunction with aluminium. (Aparently the sulfur compounds are effective with most heavy metals but not aluminum - Ed)
Some are more susceptible than others, we mentioned some groups in the previous paragraph but there is a sizable proportion of the population who have a genetic predisposition to accumulate aluminum, Down Syndrome sufferers are such a group and another group are people who have the genetic defect most commonly associated with Alzheimer's; a DNA sequence disruption on chromosome 21.
If you suffer from a bone disease such as osteomalcia or other form of bone softening disease it is recommended that you contact your water utility to find out how much is in the tap water supplied.
Many of those who have gone on to low aluminum diets have reported a reduction in irritability, headaches and significant improvements in memory and ability to concentrate. Parents reported improvements in children suffering from behavioural problems.
in the USA there is a strong and vocal effort by interested
parties who use extremely well funded and organised lobbying and proxy
organisations to present aluminum compounds as harmless minerals,
however is is not all gloom and doom as there are now many independent
researchers who are doing their own tests to establish the toxic
effects of the metal. Check out the references below
noise and doubts generated by powerful vested interests there is more
than enough evidence to justify avoiding it in our diet.
If you follow
some of the links at the foot of this article you will find research
that shows that aluminum is twice as effective as cadmium in producing
the neurofibrillary tangles that are characteristic of Alzheimer's
Disease. There is also a paper that describes tests of a substance,
aluminium fluoride which is present in drinking water. Minute
quantities, as little as 0.5 parts per million were found to result in
the formation of beta amyloid proteins, characteristic of Alzheimer's
Update - July Still adding Aluminum additives
Two more Aluminum containing food additives; E1452 and E598.
Update - BBC 15th December 2005
Disease link to water poisoning
"A post-mortem test on a woman who drank water during the Camelford
water poisoning incident has found abnormally high levels of aluminium
in her brain. It is the strongest evidence yet of a possible link
between the poisoning and a disease similar to Alzheimer's.
Water in the Cornish town was contaminated with 20 tonnes of aluminium
sulphate in 1988. Hundreds of people became ill after the
toxic chemical was put into the wrong tank at a treatment
West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose released the post-mortem examination
results on Thursday. He asked leading neuropathologist Prof Margaret
Esiri to examine the woman's brain and spinal cord following her death
in Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, in February last year".
Update -- 6th November 2004
In the UK the uptake of aluminium from cereal products has tripled in
the last three years.
based quality food stores Marks and Spencer's has baked items on their
shelves which contain aluminum raising agents. Attempts to regain
market share are probably responsible for the drop in standards.
Update -- 17th November 2003
Food colors are changing and some of the newer dyes appear to be more
natural, however they are frequently produced using an aluminum
treatment to enhance and brighten the color. The new dyes contain small
amounts of substances that are likely to accumulate in the brain.
Update -- 5th October 2003.
A dangerous new fad is using Alum crystals to rub under arm areas to
inhibit perspiration. Even some apparently reputable health food stores
stock them, claiming falsely that they do not have the type of aluminum
that gets in to the body. Ask if they are from Bauxite and the
assistant will usually agree but usually they will be quite unaware that
Bauxite is the principal source of aluminum and every bit as harmful as
the antiperspirant sprays.
Update -- 10th October 2002. As fewer food companies
use aluminum additives the manufacturers of the additives are looking
for markets in developing countries. Chinese dumplings are one outlet,
beware of the trip to the Chinese restaurant. It is not only Monosodium
Glutamate that you have to look out for. (Incidentally some researchers
have identified neurotoxic properties in MSG -see Mikhail B. Bogdanov, Richard J. Wurtman and others)
Tips and queries on the Aluminum
Problem submitted by reader
Varner JA, et al. (1998). Chronic administration of aluminum-fluoride
and sodium-fluoride to rats in drinking water: Alterations in neuronal
and cerebrovascular integrity. Brain Research 784: 284-298.
This paper found evidence that levels of aluminium fluoride as low as 1
part per million had adverse affects on brain development in rats