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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Minerals: Aluminium's Toxic Effects on Human Health

Updated: Apr 5


Aluminium
Aluminium

Introduction

Aluminium is a ubiquitous element in our environment, found in various sources that we encounter in our daily lives. While it may seem harmless, there's growing concern about the potential health risks associated with aluminium exposure. In this article, we'll delve into the sources of aluminium, its detection, and its effects on human health.


In the periodic table, the aluminium atom refers to a specific element, often denoted as "Al" with the atomic number 13. Here's a brief "dummies guide" to what the aluminium atom is:


Name: Aluminium (Al)

Atomic Number: 13

Symbol: Al


Basic Characteristics:
  • Aluminium is a metallic element found in Group 13 of the periodic table.

  • It is a lightweight silvery-white metal.

  • Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust.

  • It's known for its high strength-to-weight ratio, making it valuable in various applications, including construction, transportation, and aerospace.

  • Aluminium is a good conductor of electricity and heat.

  • It forms a protective oxide layer when exposed to air, which prevents further corrosion.

  • Aluminium is commonly used in the production of foils, cans, utensils, and various industrial products.

In a nutshell, the aluminium atom on the periodic table represents the element aluminum (Al), a lightweight and versatile metal with various practical uses in our everyday lives.


Sources of Aluminium

  1. Beverages from Aluminium Cans: Many of us enjoy a cold soda or beer from aluminium cans. Little do we know that these containers can leach aluminium into our drinks.

  2. Food Cooked in Aluminium Cookware: Aluminium pots and pans are commonly used for cooking. When heated, they can release aluminium into the food.

  3. Use of Aluminium-Containing Antacids: Antacids often contain aluminium compounds, and regular use can lead to aluminium intake.

  4. Use of Anti-Perspirants: Aluminium compounds are a common ingredient in anti-perspirants, as they help reduce sweat. However, this can lead to absorption through the skin. Check the label carefully.

  5. Drinking Water: Some municipal water supplies add aluminium, and it can also be naturally occurring in groundwater.

  6. Some Vaccines: Some vaccines contain small amounts of aluminium to enhance the immune response (aluminium is pro-inflammatory). However, injecting, even tiny amounts of aluminium bypasses the body's normal protective barriers.

  7. Baking Powders: Aluminium compounds are used as leavening agents in some baking powders, so check the labels.

  8. Drying Agents: Aluminium compounds can be found in salt and other products as drying agents, so check the labels.

  9. Processed Cheese: Processed cheese products may contain aluminium additives.

  10. Bleached Flour: Some types of bleached flour can have elevated aluminium levels.

  11. Fluoridated Water: Fluoridated water can increase the leaching of aluminium from pots and pans.

It's worth noting that aluminium can also be passed from mother to foetus through the placenta, leading to elevated aluminium levels in newborns.


Detection of Aluminium

Detecting aluminium in the body can be challenging. Blood tests for aluminium levels are debated regarding their value, since they don't necessarily reflect the total body load of aluminium. Instead, hair aluminium levels have shown promise in correlating with bone levels of the metal. However, multiple hair tests may be necessary, as aluminium can be tightly bound within body tissues. It may take several months on a nutrition programme to mobilise aluminium and reveal it in hair tests.


How Aluminium Affects Health

Aluminium's impact on health is a growing area of concern. Here are some ways in which aluminium can affect human health:

  1. Nervous System: In animal studies, aluminium has been shown to block the action potential or electrical discharge of nerve cells, reducing nervous system activity. It also inhibits essential enzymes in the brain, such as Na-K-ATPase and hexokinase. Furthermore, aluminium may interfere with the uptake of vital chemicals by nerve cells, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and 5-hydroxytryptamine.

  2. Behavioural Effects: Aluminium toxicity has been linked to dementia in cases related to kidney dialysis. This can result in memory loss, loss of coordination, confusion, and disorientation.

  3. Digestive System: Aluminium has been found to reduce intestinal activity, leading to gastrointestinal issues such as colic.


Mineral Antagonists to Aluminium

Mineral antagonists are elements or minerals that can counteract or compete with another mineral for absorption or use in the body. In the case of aluminium (Al), there are several mineral antagonists that can interact with or reduce its absorption and adverse effects. Some of the mineral antagonists to aluminium include:

  1. Silicon (Si): Silicon is considered a natural antagonist to aluminium. It may help reduce aluminium absorption and promote its excretion from the body. Foods rich in silicon, such as certain types of water, whole grains, and some vegetables like cucumbers and bell peppers, may be beneficial.

  2. Calcium (Ca): Calcium can interfere with the absorption of aluminium. Consuming an adequate amount of calcium-rich foods or supplements may help reduce aluminium uptake in the gut.

  3. Magnesium (Mg): Magnesium competes with aluminium for absorption in the digestive system. A diet sufficient in magnesium-rich foods, like leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains, may help limit aluminium absorption.

  4. Iron (Fe): Iron may also have antagonistic effects on aluminium absorption. Iron-rich foods like lean meats, beans, and fortified cereals can contribute to this effect.

  5. Zinc (Zn): Zinc is another mineral that can reduce aluminium absorption. Foods high in zinc, such as meat, dairy products, and nuts, can help counteract aluminium.

  6. Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus can interact with aluminium and reduce its availability. Foods rich in phosphorus, such as dairy products, meat, and whole grains, may contribute to this antagonistic effect.

It's important to note that while these mineral antagonists may help mitigate aluminium absorption, the overall impact depends on various factors, including an individual's diet, health status, and exposure to aluminium sources. Maintaining a balanced and varied diet with these minerals is generally a good practise for overall health and may indirectly help reduce aluminium's potential adverse effects. Additionally, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised guidance on mineral intake and potential aluminium exposure concerns.


Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and Aluminium

Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is a diagnostic test that analyses the mineral content present in a hair sample. While HTMA primarily focuses on measuring various minerals, it can also provide insights into the body's aluminium levels and potential implications for health.


Here's how HTMA can relate to aluminium:

  1. Aluminium Measurement: HTMA can detect the presence and concentration of aluminium in the hair tissue. Aluminium is one of the elements commonly analysed in HTMA due to its association with various health concerns.

  2. Toxicity Assessment: Elevated levels of aluminium in the body can have adverse health effects. HTMA can identify if aluminium levels in the hair are higher than normal, which may suggest an increased body burden of this metal.

  3. Health Implications: Chronic exposure to high levels of aluminium is associated with health issues, particularly neurotoxicity. It's been linked to cognitive impairments, memory problems, and conditions like Alzheimer's disease. HTMA results with elevated aluminium levels may raise concerns about potential aluminium toxicity.

  4. Source Identification: HTMA may not only reveal aluminium levels but also provide clues about potential sources of exposure. This could include dietary sources, use of aluminium-containing products (such as antacids or certain cookware), or environmental exposure.

  5. Monitoring and Intervention: In cases where HTMA indicates elevated aluminium levels, healthcare practitioners can offer guidance on reducing exposure and minimising health risks. This may involve dietary adjustments, lifestyle changes, or interventions aimed at reducing aluminium absorption or enhancing its elimination from the body.

  6. Long-Term Monitoring: HTMA can be used for long-term monitoring of aluminium levels. Regular testing can help assess the effectiveness of interventions and track changes in aluminium exposure over time.

It's important to note that interpreting HTMA results, including aluminium levels, should be done by qualified healthcare practitioners or experts with knowledge of mineral analysis and toxicology. Identifying the source of aluminium exposure and taking appropriate measures to reduce it's crucial for mitigating the health risks associated with aluminium toxicity.



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2 Comments


gervasebarnes
gervasebarnes
Oct 09, 2023

Professor Chris exley, had a protocol to excrete excess aluminum from the body, using salicylic acid, (reduced %) concentration. Not sure of how or why this works, but he said something to the effect of drink 1.5 litres at least per day of this solution for 30 days to flush the aluminum out.

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mariansutherland
Oct 09, 2023

An important topic Gary.

Greenmedinfo ( Sayer Ji ) has over 300 items / studies on Aluminium, including it's association with Alzheimers disease and autism in children.

Another aspect of course is that it is well known that we are exposed to Aluminium in the fallout from global Atmospheric Aerosol Geoengineering Operations, which Sayer Ji also mentions, eg his excellent article from June 19, 2019: " The Cancer-Causing Metal Millions Eat, Wear, or Have Injected Into Their Kids."

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