Aluminium and Alzheimer's
Aluminium and Alzheimer's
Is Aluminium the Cause of Alzheimer's
The rate of Alzheimer's disease is expected to triple by 2050, as the first baby boomers approach the age of 65. Many will spend their later years, either suffering from Alzheimer's disease or caring for someone with the disease. Either way, until the scientists can find a cure for Alzheimer's, the future for many looks bleak. Experts predict that one in eight baby boomer will get the disease after the age of 65. However, the risk will increase to almost one in two at the age of 85.
Alzheimer's Disease is a devastatingly cruel fatal illness that affects people with increasing frequency as they age. It is the most common cause of dementia, which currently affects about 496,000 people in the U.K and almost 4.5 million in the U.S.
Dementia is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that destroys nearly all cognitive functioning, the ability to think, to reason to remember and in the later stage, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks of daily living.
Alzheimer's disease is named after the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr Alzheimer first noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Examination of the woman's brain after her death showed abnormal clumps (now referred to as amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibres (now known as neurofibrillary tangles).Tangles, plaques and the loss of connection between the nerve cells or neurones in the brain are the main features of Alzheimer's disease.
What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?
The cause of Alzheimer's disease is not yet fully understood. Scientists have yet to identify a single factor responsible for causing Alzheimer's disease. The most likely possibility is that the condition results from a combination of factors such as age, genetics, environmental, general health and lifestyle.
Research is continuing into various aspects of the disease such as causes and risk factors like genetics, aluminium and air pollution. Current researchers are also looking at ways to delay or possible prevention the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's is a thief that robs its sufferers of everything; it takes away their personality, memories, individuality, their very humanity and finally, their lives.
Some scientists believe that an accumulation of aluminium in the brain, over a period, may contribute to, or accelerate damage to the brain, causing brain pathology similar to that seen in Alzheimer's. The evidence of this remains circumstantial. The issues surrounding aluminium and Alzheimer's has been studied and debated since the 1970s.
To date, there is no clear data to prove or disprove the role of aluminium in the cause of Alzheimer's disease.
Early studies suggest that areas where the water contain the highest levels of soluble aluminium also had the highest incidence of Alzheimer's disease. And Still more studies propose that it is in areas where the water is high in aluminium and low in silicon, that the incidence of Alzheimer's remains most elevated. Where the water is rich in silicon and low in aluminium, the impact of Alzheimer's is least. The link between Alzheimer's and aluminium has been disputed over the years, although aluminium may be a contributing factor in the cause of this condition, it is clearly not the only factor.
Alzheimer's may also be the result of, genetics, depressive illness, late first pregnancy and head injury, these are all conditions that are thought to cause brain cell damage and can thereby move closer to dementia.
However; none of these can account for the millions of people worldwide diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The indisputable fact is that high levels of aluminium in the body cause cell damage, dysfunction and death.
Our body's natural defences can usually deal with the aluminium that is present in nature, but can be overwhelmed by some of the new industrial compounds now produced that are highly soluble, making them easy to absorb into the body.
What is Aluminium
Aluminium is the most common metal in the earth's crust, the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon, it makes up about 8% by weight of the earth's solid surface. Aluminium is widely used in products like antiperspirants, aircraft, soft drink cans and tableware. To name a few.
Aluminium is present in the water we drink, in the dust we breathe and in many of the everyday products we use.
The food processing and pharmaceutical industry use aluminium. Although the metal is present in the crust of the earth in large quantities, it is in the form of aluminium silicates and is insoluble. The human body contain only 30-50 mg of aluminium, mainly due to the insolubility of aluminium, and the barrier of the gastrointestinal tract, it is efficiently excreted by the kidneys in the healthy body.
Aluminium hydroxide is an ingredient used in medication such as antacids and is insoluble. However, the ability of aluminium to pass through the wall of the gut is increased by the presence of substances such as citrates or sugars found in many foods and drinks. Pharmaceutical companies use citrate in the production of dispersible and effervescent medication such as aspirin and paracetamol.
Research shows that the combination of aluminium containing medications like antacids and substances containing citrate can produce levels of aluminium in the blood that, when sustained over time, may lead to brain damages, dementia and even death.
In 1993, the British Royal Society of Medicine warned that antacids containing aluminium can be hazardous to pregnant women and recommended avoidance of such medications in pregnancy. Pregnant women often suffer from heartburn. The condition occurs in 30 – 50% of pregnant women, and in some population, the number of pregnant women who experience heartburn can approach 80%.
Aluminium can enter the body from:
The use of Aluminium Saucepans
- Food additives
Foil wrapped foods
Because aluminium binds readily with other substances, it can destroy many vitamins and may cause gradual long-term mineral loss. In babies, aluminium has been linked to kidney problems, behavioural problems and dementia. *
According to Ian Musgrave from the University of Adelaide (April 2013) " The vast majority of us will never be exposed to aluminium in high enough concentration to do damage."
Twenty-four years ago, in the U.K, the Camelford disaster occurred. On the edge of Bodmin Moor, a relief lorry driver mistakenly added, 20 tonnes of aluminium sulphate into the drinking water supply to the nearby town of Camelford in Cornwall. The reported short-term health problems included urinary problems, stomach cramps, joint pains, diarrhoea, fatigue, loss of memories and premature ageing.
After many years of bitter disputes, government inquiries and accusation of cover-up, in 2004, a 58-year-old woman by the name of Carol Cross died from a rare and aggressive form of Alzheimer's. When examined, her brain was found to contain unusually high levels of aluminium. Liz Bestic, the Telegraph (March 2012).
Since Aluminium is in our foods, utensils, water supply and soil, most of us will be affected by a degree of aluminium toxicity. Toxicity can range from brain degeneration to skeletal deformities, so is there anything we can do to reduce exposure to aluminium?
How to reduce exposure to aluminium
- Replace aluminium cookware, enamel coated steel cookware is said to be a safe option, also, cast iron frying pans. Non-stick is believed to be toxic, therefore, should be avoided.
- Avoid aluminium foil for cooking and reduce the use of aluminium foil for food storage
- Use Bamboo steamer not metal
- Check labels on food, medication and sanitary products for aluminium content. Some shampoo and conditioners, soaps, suntan lotions, lip balm and most cosmetics contain aluminium
- Reduce intake of processed cheese
- Increase intake of, oats, lemon juice, turmeric, kelp, green vegetables, fruits and Cilantro (coriander) to detox the body of aluminium
- Block uptake with supplements ( calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc) when the levels of these minerals drops, the absorption of aluminium increases
- Avoid additives containing aluminium, E173, E520, E521, E523, E541, E545, E554, E555, E556, E559
- Use untreated spring or mineral water for cooking and drinking,
- Use a good water filter, ordinary drinking water contains low levels of aluminium
- Eat more beans and garlic, known to release detoxifying sulphur compound.
- Avoid drinking from aluminium cans
Countries like Australia and Canada are beginning to look seriously into the use of aluminium in drinking water. However, Europe and the US still exceeds the recommended levels of 100 micrograms per litre.
According to the Mail Online, (October 2012), a study found that drinking a litre of mineral water every day can prevent cognitive decline in Alzheimer's suffers by removing aluminium from their bodies. British researchers apparently found that drinking silicon-rich mineral water significantly reduced the levels of neurotoxic aluminium in the body.
For each article I've read that links aluminium to Alzheimer's disease, there's another dismissing it as unproven or hype.
Facts; research done by a Canadian group, studying the brain tissue of deceased Alzheimer's patients, found that certain parts of their brains contained two to three times more aluminium than an average brain.
By 1980 Daniel Perl and Arnold Brody looked inside human tangle-bearing brain cells and found aluminium there. Gisela Telis, (May 2013) Washington Post.
While it is impossible to prevent aluminium from entering the body, it is prudent to take action to reduce exposure as much as possible. There is no effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease, but some studies suggest that drinking silicon-rich mineral water may be able to chelate aluminium from the body to prevent or reverse Alzheimer's disease. One litre/ day of mineral water containing silicon (silicic acid) is recommended.
There certainly appears to be a link between Alzheimer's and aluminium. However; it is unclear as to the exact role aluminium play in the cause of Alzheimer's. It is the old question, 'which came first, the egg, or the hen.' Is it cause or effect. Does the concentration of aluminium found in the brains of deceased Alzheimer's suffers, due to a response to the disease or initiated by the disease? At this time, nobody knows for sure.
If aluminium is a danger to our health why are we not informed about the potential danger? Why are Aluminium products added to our food, water and medication? Who is benefiting from our ignorance? Or is it just impossible to avoid exposure to aluminium given that the stuff surrounds us? There is some government information available, for those who care to look.
For information on aluminium and health, follow this link to Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR)
And finally, some diseases mimic Alzheimer's but are curable. 375,000 American, diagnosed with Alzheimer's, were subsequently found to be suffering from Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH).
NPH is a condition that can mimic Alzheimer's disease and often misdiagnosed by doctors who mistakenly treat their patients for conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or Dementia (Wikipedia, April 2013).
This article gives an overview of the link between Aluminium and Alzheimer's disease, for more information discuss with your health care provider and always do your research.
Some Sources of Aluminium
- Some health and beauty products
- Foods like self-raising flours
- Baking Powder and baking soda
- Cocoa mixes
- Prepared Doughs
- Pain killers and anti diarrhea medication
- Metal cleaners
- Slice Cheeses
- Coffee Creamers
- Food Colouring
- Milk Products
- Margarine and spreads
What Happens to Aluminium When it Enters the Environment?
Aluminium occurs naturally in soil, water, and air. High levels in the environment can be caused by the mining and processing of aluminium ores or the production of aluminium metal, alloys and compounds.Small amounts of aluminium are released into the environment from coal-fire power plants and incinerators.
Aluminium cannot be destroyed in the environment. It can only change its form or become attached or separated from particles.
Aluminium particles in the air settle to the ground or are washed out of the air by rain. However, very small aluminium particles can stay in the air for many days.
.Water and Soil
Most Aluminium-containing compounds do not dissolve to a large extent in water, unless the water is acidic or very alkaline
What Do You Think?
Do you believe Aluminium causes Alzheimer's