Aluminum And Alzheimers Disease: Another Case Where Industry Profit Trumps Public Health

There’s been buzz in the last few months about aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The link got a lot of press back in the 1980’s but it went away. I thought maybe it was found to be just an association and not a true cause.

Here’s a recent study that reignighted the aluminum-AD discussion:

Aluminium in Brain Tissue In Familial Alzheimer’s Disease, Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, March 2017

We have made the first ever measurements of aluminium in brain tissue from 12 donors diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s disease. The concentrations of aluminium were extremely high, for example, there were values in excess of 10 μg/g tissue dry wt. in 5 of the 12 individuals. Overall, the concentrations were higher than all previous measurements of brain aluminium except cases of known aluminium-induced encephalopathy. … The unique quantitative data and the stunning images of aluminium in familial Alzheimer’s disease brain tissue raise the spectre of aluminium’s role in this devastating disease.

From Christopher Exley, the lead author of that study, who’s been studying the link for years:

Aluminum Should Now Be Considered a Primary Etiological Factor in Alzheimer’s Disease, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports, 8 June 2017

Talk about powerful statements:

Alzheimer’s disease is not an inevitable consequence of aging in the absence of a brain burden of aluminum.

Essentially without aluminum in brain tissue there would be no Alzheimer’s disease. There are a number of predispositions to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, involving both environmental and genetic factors, and each of these acts to increase the aluminum content of brain tissue at specific periods in an individual’s life. This interplay between environmental and genetic factors explains both early and late onset disease, in each case the catalyst for the disease is always the brain aluminum content and how robustly an individual’s brain responds or copes with this aluminum burden.

These are high-quality, peer-reviewed journals.

All of us have more aluminum in our bodies that our grandparents did, or their grandparents. We cook with aluminum, spray in on our bodies, eat it, drink it, breathe it. How do we to minimize its accumulation? Exley says:

Perspiration is a major route of excretion of aluminum from the body. In the absence of physical exercise, women produce only half the volume of perspiration as men and so may be predisposed to the retention of aluminum in their tissues.

And this:

Research has shown a significant protective effect of silicon in drinking water, irrespective of the aluminum content, with higher silicon reducing the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease

In addition, clinical trials involving only a small number of participants have shown that regular drinking of a silicon-rich mineral water helps to remove aluminum from the body of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease [24, 25]. For 20% of such individuals, the lowering of the body burden of aluminum following drinking a silicon-rich mineral water for just 12 weeks produced clinically significant improvements in their cognitive function [25]. The potential benefits of silicon in Alzheimer’s disease can only be explained if aluminum has a role to play in the disease.

Silicon forms a complex with aluminum and carries it out of the body via kidneys. Exley advises drinking about a liter of silicon-rich water a day:

What you need to look for is a minimum concentration of 30 mg/L or 30 ppm written as ‘silica’ on the label.

it looks like Fiji and Volvic have more silica; Perrier, San Pellegrino, and Gerolsteiner less.

Finally, why isn’t this common knowledge? And why did the seeds of this aluminum-AD hypothesis “go away” as I posed at the top of this article? Because aluminum is big business. And the aluminum industry has been pushing back:

Why Industry Propaganda and Political Interference Cannot Disguise the Inevitable Role Played by Human Exposure to Aluminum in Neurodegenerative Diseases, Including Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontiers in Neurology, October 2014

There has been and there continues to be systematic attempts by the aluminum industry to suppress research on aluminum and human health.

Doubt is their product!

8 thoughts on “Aluminum And Alzheimers Disease: Another Case Where Industry Profit Trumps Public Health

  1. mboydp

    Welp, no doubt about it. This is a real wowser. For years I’ve avoided antiperspirants b/c of their aluminum content. And I’ve started drinking mineral water (San Pellegrino). You picture a piece of alum. foil–does that mean using such foil (for instance, in baking or broiling) can also expose one to aluminum? I haven’t read your linked articles yet–I will though–but are there any other food sources that contain silicon? (I’ll check on nutriondata dot com .)

    Reply
    1. Bix Post author

      If I use aluminum foil to bake, say yams or potatoes, I always line the potato first with parchment, so the foil doesn’t come in contact with the food. Same for storage: I wrap first with plastic wrap (my god, plastic!) then with foil, if I want a good seal.

      Reply
  2. mboydp

    Oh, and I assume buying food in aluminum cans can contribute to aluminum intake? Fresh, frozen or packed in glass jars would be better?

    Reply
  3. Bix Post author

    This has me wondering … if silica forms a complex with aluminum, does it form a complex with anything else? Some mineral we might want to keep, and not urinate away?

    Reply

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