DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to be scholarly, offer medical advice, or be a substitute for your physician’s treatment. It does offer interesting research, information and thoughts about the prevalence of aluminum in our environment and foods and how it can have harmful side effects on the human body.
Every now and then I offer up a post on health and nutrition that I hope will profit others who either suffer from debilitating illnesses or need health information and stories to spur them on in their daily lives. This is one of those posts. I’ve been concerned about the effects of aluminum toxicity for some time ever since my sister mentioned it as a key in memory loss YEARS ago. I’ve decided to share a little bit of the information I’ve learned here hoping that others may learn from my mistakes and be able to remove this harmful, toxic substance from their homes as I’ve had to do from mine.
Why does make up (eye shadow) have aluminum??? And why do you need a magnifying glass in order to read the ingredient label?
While this post is by no means thorough or exhaustive, I hope it will bring to your attention the adverse effects of aluminum in the human body. I’m grateful to my friend and fellow food blogger Clarissa, at Dishing It Out With Clarissa for even suggesting I write such an article the other day after commenting on one of her posts. I certainly hope she writes one soon as her posts on health issues and food facts are amazing and more informative than mine!
At the beginning of the year I started researching the effects of aluminum on the body. Quite frankly, I was horrified. Every health book I read kept detailing the symptoms and I started to be concerned about my own issues with memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, depression and anxiety. I was beginning to think there could be a correlation between the two. So, I decided to investigate on my own and see what I could do to detox my body from aluminum.
WHAT ABOUT ALUMINUM TOXICITY?
When I went to Sprouts a wholefoods grocer in the Dallas Metroplex that has a great section on vitamin supplements, I received a print out from one of the workers there about “The Toxic Effects of Aluminum.” This five-page print out from Hyperhealth Pro 10.0, 2010 has been invaluable to me. According to this article, aluminum is implicated in the following:
- Down’s Syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- short-term memory loss
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Some health care professionals and researchers are starting to see correlations between aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. The effects of aluminum concerning memory loss, memory lapses, and memory retention have been found in many studies. Drs. Amy Yasco and Nancy Mullen are doing continuing research to show the correlation between aluminum in vaccines and autism and mitochondrial disease. Their research is impressive and persuasive.
The Mullen/Yasco article notes that the affects of aluminum toxicity when aluminum sulfate was accidentally placed in a water treatment facility in England brought on issues of learning impairment, depression, behavioral issues, memory loss, and fatigue for some children after just five days of drinking this aluminum-contaminated drinking water! Another writer noted this about our drinking water supply: “Interestingly, many municipal water supplies are treated with both aluminum sulfate and aluminum fluoride. These two chemicals can also combine easily in the blood. Aluminum fluoride is also poorly excreted in the urine.” So, most of our water supplies have aluminum and it’s not easy to get it out of the body! On top of that, Aluminum has a half-life of 7 years! That’s a long time for it’s effects to linger in the body. Fluoride in drinking water is also thought to increase the absorption of aluminum.
An article in the December 2007 issue of the Idaho Observer noted this stark observation of aluminum toxicity:
“The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) on aluminum confirms that aluminum is a poison that accumulates in the brain and tissues of the body. The MSDS on aluminum states the following under Ingestion: “Chronic ingestion of aluminum may cause Aluminum related Bone Disease or aluminum-induced Osteomalacia with fracturing Osteodystrophy, microcytic anemia, weakness, fatigue, visual and auditory hallucinations, memory loss, speech and language impairment (dysarthria, stuttering, stammering, anomia, hypofluency, aphasia, and, eventually, mutism), epileptic seizures (focal or grand mal), motor disturbances (tremors, myoclonic jerks, ataxia, convulsions, asterixis, motor apraxia, muscle fatigue), dementia (personality changes, altered mood, depression, diminished alertness, lethargy, ‘clouding of the sensorium’, intellectual deterioration, obtundation, coma), and altered EEG.
In simple terms, the most notable symptoms of aluminum poisoning are diminishing intellectual function, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate and, in extreme cases, full blown dementia and Alzheimers. Aluminum toxicity also causes bone softening and bone mass loss, kidney and other soft tissue damage and, in large enough doses, can cause cardiac arrest.”
Iron depletion or deficiency in an individual also seems to allow for increased aluminum absorption, while those who have higher dietary iron levels seem to be able to resist increased aluminum absorption. On the other hand, excess aluminum in the body causes anemia. Aluminum can also be an indicator in maladies like fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue, anxiety and hyperactivity.
WHAT PRODUCTS CONTAIN ALUMINUM?
Did you ever consider the foods you eat all the time may contain aluminum?
I found aluminum in all of these products. Yikes!
According to Dr. Anita Pepi, “There are six aluminum salts that have been approved as food additives in the United States. The salts most commonly used are sodium aluminum phosphates. They are added to cake mixes, frozen dough, pancake mixes, self-rising flours, processed cheese and cheese foods and beer (in aluminum cans). Just one slice of individually wrapped processed cheese can contain up to 50 mg of aluminum. It is thought that the cheeseburger may contain one of the highest aluminum contents of any food. Baked goods have approximately 5-15 mg per serving.”
Foods aren’t the only problem. Sometimes household items and cosmetics are the culprit!
I had to get the magnifying glass out to see the ingredient lists on all of these eye shadows. And sure enough, they ALL contain aluminum OR didn’t provide ingredients!
These are other big offenders. I’ve had to get rid of my aluminum pots and pans.
The Idaho Observer had an article in December 2007 by Ingri Cassel that noted these specific sources of “avoidable” aluminum:
- cooking utensils—aluminum pots, teflon pans and foil-wrapped foods
- beverages in aluminum cans – the phosphoric acid in soft drinks leaches aluminum from the walls of the can
- added as an anti-caking agent to salt and sugar
- baking powder
- bleaching agent in white flour (ANOTHER REASON TO USE UNBLEACHED FLOUR:-))
- used as an emulsifier in some processed cheeses
- cake mixes, self-rising flour and frozen dough
- commercial teas
- toothpaste, sunscreen, lotions, powders/talcs and cosmetics
- infant formulas – soy formulas contain 10 times more aluminum than milk based formulas
- cigarette filters
- anti-acids, buffered aspirin and many other over-the-counter medications
- occupational—welding and smelting
One writer noted that alumino silicates are found in large percentages in the brain tissues of alzheimer’s patients, just like they are found in stuff like the following:
- talcum powder
- cat-box litter
- volcanic rock
- tobacco ashes
- free-flowing table salt
Other sources show that aluminum is also found in these items or medical treatments:
- baby wipes
- suntan lotions
- diarrhea medicines
- allergy testing
- intervenous solutions
- wound and antacid irrigation
- ulcer treatment
- blood oxygenization
- bone or joint replacement
- burn treatment
EARLY SYMPTOMS OF ALUMINUM TOXICITY:
According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, early symptoms of aluminum toxicity include:
- dryness of skin and mucous membranes
- tendency for colds
- burning pain in the head relieved by food
- aversion to meat
LATER SYMPTOMS OF ALUMINUM TOXICITY:
- paralytic muscular conditions
- loss of memory and confusion
- Alzheimer’s disease
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- dental cavities
- kidney dysfunction
- liver dysfunction
- neuromuscular disorders
- Parkinson’s disease
Other sources show aluminum toxicity shows up in:
- muscle weakness
- bone pain
- multiple nonhealing fractures
- acute or subacute alteration in mental status
- premature osteoporosis
- renal disease
- patients on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis
WHAT CAN YOU AND I DO TO DETOXIFY OUR BODIES FROM ALUMINUM?
I started using only glass, enameled cast-iron, cast-iron, ceramic, and stainless steel.
These are foods and supplements recommended that either eliminate aluminum or counteract the toxicity of aluminum in the body. Obviously, food sources that contain all these nutrients are an excellent source, too.
These are the things which I started doing immediately:
- I started drinking only bottled spring water – no fluoridated tap water
- I got rid of all my aluminum pots and pans and purchased stainless steel, cast-iron, enameled cast-iron and glass cookware. I’m still trying to find cookie sheets, muffin tins and bundt cake pans not made from aluminum
- I stopped using aluminum foil to wrap around food or to place on cookie sheets and roast vegetables – I use waxed paper or parchment paper when necessary as a replacement or place food in glass pans
- I never used Silpat but it is also made with toxic stuff
- I have not been able to use regular anti-perspirant or deodorant in years and have used Tom’s Natural Deodorant (apricot) because aluminum causes excessive itching
- I went on a detox cleanse using about 20 ounces of water with a whole lemon squeezed into it and a couple of tablespoons of aloe vera gel added. I drank this every day for a few weeks
- I bumped up my intake of magnesium, Vitamins C & E, and added Selenium and Gingko Biloba
- I stayed off all excess lotions, perfumes, and skin creams for about six weeks
One of the ways the aluminum detoxification manifested in me was a rash of skin eruptions on my left forearm which was really weird, but the worker at Sprouts had told me in advance that something like that may happen. I used caladryl lotion and neosporin and it faded away after a couple of weeks.
Somehow, I did not make the connection that I was putting aluminum on my face every day until I checked the other day and realized it is in a facial cream and foundation I used! It is also in all my eye shadows! So now I have to go through all my perfumes, lotions, make up, etc. and start discarding all of those with aluminum! A good website that has a list of makeup with good ingredients and describing what to look for on labels to help steer you away from the bad stuff is this one.
I am convinced just cooking in cast iron and using more glass dishware will help tremendously in the detoxification process. Aluminum leaches out of pots any time they are brought to boil–with water, spaghetti sauce, or any acidic food particularly.
These are other things that can be done to remove aluminum from the body:
- Calcium, zinc, Vitamin C and magnesium are known agents that bind to aluminum and cause it to be excreted by the body.
- High silica content mineral water such as: Volvic and Spritzer
- Apple pectin binds with metals decreasing their ability to be absorbed into the body. Eat apples or use apple pectin powder.
- Add lemon juice to your drinking water.
- Kelp helps absorb heavy metals so they don’t get absorbed into body tissues.
- Turmeric fights free radicals and toxic substances.
According to Hyperhealth-Pro 10.0 these substances may inhibit the accumulation of aluminum in the body or facilitate detoxification and excretion from the body:
- clinoptilolite (a type of zeolite)
- citric acid
- malic acid
- succinic acid
- dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)
- methylsuflonylmethane (MSM)
- folic acid
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
Also, Hyperhealth-Pro 10.0 notes these foods may eliminate aluminum from the body:
- ginkgo biloba
Hyperhealth-Pro 10.0 states that these substances and herbs may counteract the toxicity of aluminum:
- propolis (bee products)
Aluminum toxicity in the body is no joke. If you, or any of your family members are experiencing any of these symptoms or difficulties, you may want to consider checking out these websites. You may be helped, as I have, by the information found there.