By Dr. Mercola
Aluminum is a known neurotoxin, and according to Professor Christopher Exley of Keele University, aluminum-containing products are likely fueling the rise in Alzheimer's disease.1 In an article published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology,2 he writes:
“We are all accumulating a known neurotoxin in our brain from our conception to our death. The presence of aluminium in the human brain should be a red flag alerting us all to the potential dangers of the aluminium age.
How do we know that Alzheimer’s disease is not the manifestation of chronic aluminium toxicity in humans?”
People with aluminum toxicity display many of the same symptoms as those with dementia, Parkinson’s, ADHD, autism, and other neurological diseases, and mounting evidence suggests aluminum may play a significant role in the development of those (and other) diseases.
By taking steps to protect yourself, you can minimize your exposure while maximizing your body’s ability to rid itself of this toxic metal, which will move you toward a long and healthy life well into your senior years.
Other toxins to beware of include fluoride and glyphosate. All of these are toxic in their own right, but research suggests they may be even more hazardous in combination.
You May Be Exposed to More Aluminum Than You Think
Aluminum can be found in a wide range of consumer products, including:
- Foods such as baking powder, self rising flour, salt, baby formula, coffee creamers, baked goods, and processed foods, coloring, and caking agents
- Drugs, such as antacids, analgesics, anti-diarrheals, and others; additives such as magnesium stearate
- Vaccines—Hepatitis A and B, Hib, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), pneumococcal vaccine, Gardasil (HPV), and others
- Cosmetics and personal care products such as antiperspirants, deodorants (including salt crystals, made of alum), lotions, sunscreens, and shampoos
- Aluminum products, including foil, cans, juice pouches, tins, and water bottles
According to CDC,5 the average adult in the US consumes about seven to nine mg of aluminum per day in food, and a lesser amount from air and water.
Approximately one percent of the aluminum you ingest orally gets absorbed into your body—the rest is moved out by your digestive tract, providing it’s functioning well. The remaining aluminum can be deposited not only in brain tissue, but also in your nerves, bone, liver, heart, spleen, and muscle.
While one percent may sound like a tiny amount, your overall toxic load will depend on the total amount of toxins you’re exposed to over time. Your diet and digestive health will also play a role in how much your body is actually able to eliminate.
Occupational Exposure to Aluminum Raises Your Risk for Alzheimer’s
One recently published case study3 found high levels of aluminum in the brain of a man who was exposed to aluminum at work for eight years. He later died from Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the authors, it’s the first case showing a direct link between Alzheimer's disease and elevated brain aluminum following occupational exposure.4
An earlier study5 suggested that aluminum from food and drinking water may be contributing to rising Alzheimer’s rates, noting that:
“In recent years, interest in the potential role of metals in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has grown considerably.
In particular, aluminum (Al) neurotoxicity was suggested after its discovery in the senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles that represent the principal neuropathological hallmarks of AD.
Al is omnipresent in everyday life and can enter the human body from several sources, most notably from drinking water and food consumption... [O]ther elements present in drinking water, such as fluoride, copper, zinc, or iron could also have an effect on cognitive impairment or modify any Al neurotoxicity.”
Farmers in Iceland, for example, claim their animals are being sickened by environmental fluoride contamination—some to the point of having to be euthanized. Others report higher rates of tooth damage and infertility among their livestock.
Another related study7 linked occupational exposure to aluminum to the development of pulmonary fibrosis, a condition in which scarring on your lungs make it difficult to breathe. In this case, the exposure occurred during sanding of Corian material.
All in all, it seems reasonable to conclude that the combination of aluminum, fluoride, and/or a number of other toxins can promote Alzheimer’s disease in addition to a number of other health problems.
Pesticides Can Also Wreak Havoc with Brain Function
Pesticides, for example, have also been shown to have an adverse effect on neurological function and brain health.8 In one study, farmers exposed to organochlorine insecticides had a 90 percent increased risk of depression compared to those who didn’t use them.
Exposure to fumigants increased risk of depression by 80 percent. People exposed to pesticides are also more likely to have Parkinson’s disease.
Clearly, when it comes to toxins, unless the chemical is acutely toxic, the real harm occurs when your body becomes chronically overloaded with them, and most people today are exposed to thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of different chemicals on a regular basis.
Farmers are not the only ones at risk for adverse effects from pesticide exposure. Glyphosate can be found in most processed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GE sugar beets, corn, and soy, and research shows glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other chemical residues and toxins.
While nearly one billion pounds of glyphosate is doused on both conventional and GE crops worldwide each year, genetically engineered (GE) crops receive the heaviest amounts. Meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) may also contain higher amounts of glyphosate residues, as GE soy is a staple of conventional livestock feed.
It’s quite crucial to understand that glyphosate contamination is systemic, meaning it is integrated into every cell of the plant, from root to tip. It’s not just an issue of topical contamination, as with many other agricultural chemicals sprayed on crops.
Normally, you need to thoroughly wash your produce to remove topical pesticide residues, but you simply cannot remove glyphosate from your produce. And neither can food and animal feed manufacturers who use GE ingredients in their products. This is part and parcel of what makes GE foods so harmful to your health.
Synergistic Poisoning from Aluminum and Glyphosate Implicated in Autism
Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been instrumental in educating people about the hazards of glyphosate. In the video below, she explains how aluminum and glyphosate act together as synergistic poisons that promote autism. Based on the current trend, Dr. Seneff predicts that by 2025, half of all children born will be diagnosed with autism. Clearly, we must identify leading environmental factors contributing to this frightening trend. Lack of vitamin D caused by inadequate sun exposure is one factor. Nutritional deficiencies caused by poor diet are another.
Environmental toxins must not be overlooked however, and some toxins—glyphosate and aluminum included—are far more hazardous and ubiquitous than others, and are therefore likely to contribute to a greater degree. As Dr. Seneff explains, glyphosate’s mechanism of harm renders it particularly problematic. Indeed, according to Dr. Seneff, glyphosate is possibly "the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies,” including but not limited to:
Autism Gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, colitis, and Crohn's disease Obesity Allergies Cardiovascular disease Depression Cancer Infertility Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease Multiple sclerosis ALS and more
Tips for Avoiding These Pernicious Toxins
It seems quite clear that aluminum exposure plays a role in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Other neurotoxins such as fluoride and glyphosate add to the toxic burden. The best way to protect yourself is to be careful about your choices in food and personal products, and minimize your use of vaccines and other drugs that are often contaminated with aluminum. Optimizing your dietary sulfur is also essential, as your body needs sulfur to manufacture its number one weapon against aluminum overload: glutathione.
By taking a few steps to protect yourself, you’ll minimize your exposure while maximizing your body’s ability to rid itself of this toxic metal, which will move you toward a long and healthy life well into your senior years. For additional tips and strategies that can help prevent and/or treat Alzheimer’s, please see my previous article “Two Exciting Alzheimer’s Advances: A Novel Early Detection Test Using Peanut Butter, and a Study Evaluating Coconut Oil.”
The following list offers a number of suggestions for items to avoid, to reduce your exposure to aluminum, fluoride, glyphosate, and other brain-harming components:
Processed foods and sodas. This will help you avoid both GE ingredients (which tend to be contaminated with glyphosate) and aluminum. In addition, replacing processed foods with whole organic foods will drastically reduce your sugar/fructose intake, which will help normalize your insulin and leptin sensitivity. This is in fact one of the best strategies for protecting and preserving your brain function and overall health. Fructose and gluten are other dietary factors that promote Alzheimer’s, and are best avoided as much as possible. Mechanically deboned chicken, which tends to be high in fluoride as a result of the processing. Dental amalgams. Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50 percent mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. However, you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Once you have adjusted to following the diet described in my optimized nutrition plan, you can follow the mercury detox protocol and then find a biological dentist to have your amalgams removed. Cosmetics and personal care products containing aluminum, such as antiperspirants (including salt crystals, made of alum), lotions, sunscreens, and shampoos. Vaccines containing either mercury (thimerosal) and/or aluminum. Aluminum-containing drugs, such as antacids, analgesics, anti-diarrheals, and others Anticholinergics and statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers.
Statin drugs are particularly problematic because they suppress the synthesis of cholesterol, deplete your brain of coenzyme Q10 and neurotransmitter precursors, and prevent adequate delivery of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble antioxidants to your brain by inhibiting the production of the indispensable carrier biomolecule known as low-density lipoprotein.
Fluorinated medications, including Cipro. Fluoridated water Fluoridated toothpaste and fluoride gel treatments. Non-stick cookware will outgas fluoride, but also avoid other aluminum-containing products, such as cans, foil, juice pouches, tins, and water bottles.