We have known for many years that heavy metal toxicity can contribute to a long list of chronic health problems, including some neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. A heavy metal’s ability to enter the body depends on the availability of it in the environment. One heavy metal of particular concern and speculation is aluminum.
Found in abundance in comparison to many other metals, society is finding ever more increasing ways to integrate the metal into our lives. Aluminum is lightweight and is considered a “metalloy,” which gives it special chemical and physical properties when compared to pure metals. However, it’s abundance can actually pose a significant health risk because of the possibility of aluminum’s impact on the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The controversy of aluminum toxicity contributing to Alzheimer’s and other diseases like it has been around since the early 1900s. Research has proven that aluminum toxicity poses a threat to the central nervous system. A meta-analysis of several studies was published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia, a scientific publication of the Alzheimer’s Association. The meta-analysis study indicated that there was no clear causal relationship between aluminum toxicity and Alzheimer’s, but that the higher levels of aluminum in the blood, the brain, and the spine might be “a marker for AD or play a role in its development.”
This is important information because aluminum is known to be a neurotoxin. This means that whether or not aluminum causes Alzheimer’s, a large buildup of the heavy metal will still play a damaging role in the health of the brain.
There is an astonishing lack of long-term studies researching the levels of aluminum in the blood, brain, and spine and it’s relation to Alzheimer’s. A cultural hypothesis to this is that certain industries use aluminum in their processes, so research into it would be less than friendly. A recent study, though, suggests that aluminum may play a stronger role in the development of Alzheimer’s than previously thought. This study was conducted by Professor Chris Exley of Keele University in England and published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology. The evidence from this study provides a deeper understanding of the potential link. In the study, brain tissue from 12 individuals with Alzheimer’s was tested. What they found upon return was that every person had elevated levels of aluminum in their brain tissue.
“Recent reports concerning sporadic AD and environmental and occupational exposure to aluminum have allowed the conclusion to be drawn that, under certain conditions, it is inevitable that aluminum will contribute towards AD. The suggestion is made that wherever in the brain the concentration of aluminum is pathologically-concerning (>2.00 μg/g dry wt.) that this aluminum will contribute towards any ongoing AD and will result in the disease being earlier in onset with a more aggressive etiology.”
We know that aluminum is a neurotoxin, which affects brain health regardless. This means we need to take steps to prevent exposure to aluminum. Cook with cast iron, stainless steel, or copper bottom skillets and avoid Teflon and non stick aluminum pans. Restrict the use of aluminum foil for food storage. Avoid breathing in cigarette smoke. Instead of wearing antiperspirant, chose natural deodorants without aluminum. Check makeup, and skin care for aluminum as many of them contain aluminum or some other toxic heavy metal. Wear breathing protection when in industrial facilities that produce aluminum byproducts. These are all important, and beginning steps towards longer brain health.
At The Salerno Center, we help improve detoxification pathways by utilizing several integrative methods including IV therapy, nutritional targeting, and supplementation. While it is difficult to quickly rid the body of aluminum, it is very possible with the help of these unique therapies and the support of a great medical team.
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