Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a terrible illness and a major public health problem. Five percent of people over 65 have a severe case and another 10% have a mild to moderate degree of AD.
The cause of AD is unknown. However, environmental influences appear to be important. Aluminum is a widely recognized nerve toxin. It has been found in increased concentrations in all AD affected tissue. Recent scientific studies provide four independent lines of compelling evidence that implicate aluminum's role in the cause of AD.
Laboratory observations of the learning and memory performance of animals support the association. If aluminum is directly injected into the brain of sensitive species such as cats and rabbits, they will have delayed memory and learning impairment. They will then develop altered muscle control, muscle jerks, and seizures. Their illness is very similar to AD in humans. Aluminum also induces neurochemical changes. Abnormal accumulation of aluminum has been found in at least four sites in the AD-affected brain.
Environmental aluminum is linked to increased rates of AD. Aluminum is a common constituent of the environment and has no recognized biologic function. It is absorbed primarily through the intestine but also through the lungs and skin. Seven studies have related elevated aluminum concentrations in drinking water to an increased incidence of AD.
Of more practical importance is a case-control study which looked at the association of AD and lifetime exposure to aluminum in antiperspirants and antacids. Scientists found a direct correlation. The more antiperspirant that was used, the more likely the person would develop AD. The same held true for aluminum antacids. The risk in high users was as high as 300%.
There is another line of independent evidence that shows aluminum is associated with the cause of AD. If persons affected with AD are given a compound which binds aluminum and helps to remove it from their body, they deteriorate at much slower rates compared to those who do not receive the binder.
Science still has quite a few years of research before it can definitely state that aluminum causes AD. However, the above items of evidence should encourage us to limit our aluminum intake if we hope to avoid this horribly devastating illness. There are several practical recommendations that can be used:
1. Avoid antiperspirants. Nearly all anti-perspirants have aluminum salts which are absorbed into your body. An effective alternative would be to vigorously wash your armpits daily with an effective and gentle antibacterial soap like Lever 2000. Dial would also work but is not as gentle to your skin. If odor is still a problem one could use a deodorant. Deodorants with clay do not have aluminum salts in them and pose no threat and can hep some with perspiration. Oral chlorophyll pills can also help reduce body odor and can help eliminate the need for deodorants.
2. Avoid aluminum containing antacids. The main ones are Mylanta and Maalox. Acceptable alternatives include Tums and Rolaids which are pure calcium and also help to build dense bones.
3. Avoid using food in aluminum cans. The cans have a protective food liner, but this liner can deteriorate over time and allow aluminum from the can to seep into the food. Any tomato containing products are especially vulnerable. It would also be wise to avoid soda in cans. Try to use the glass bottle containers if at all possible.
4. Avoid cooking in aluminum cookware and any cookware that is coated with a non-stick finish that is cracked. Stainless steel is the better, and ceramic or porcelain is the best.