Baked sea bass. Served  with fresh vegetables and salad leaves. Close up

Aluminum and Your Brain

For years scientists thought aluminum was a non-issue. There reasoning was based on the fact that only about a percent of any aluminum that you ingest makes its way into the bloodstream and then any that makes it into the bloodstream must pass the blood-brain barrier. In healthy individuals the blood-brain barrier is a formidable obstacle: only about .005% of any aluminum in the blood makes it into your brain. And so for years reseachers dismissed aluminum as a health-threat because these numbers just seemed too low.

Well, that was then and this is now. Ample research has since changed almost everyone s mind. First of all, substantial aluminum has been found in human brains, especially in subjects with Alzheimer s and dementia. The idea that the blood-brain barrier was a magical brain protector was shattered by this realization. Further research showed that, while Aluminum does not directly cause Alzheimer s, it can exacerbate any kind of dementia. The reason is that aluminum actually causes neuronal damage very similar to the mechanisms involved in Alzheimer s itself. You might say Aluminum is not a sibling but a look-alike cousin. For example, aluminum does the following, which those of you familiar at all with Alzheimer s will recognize right away

  • Creates tangles
  • Changes DNA synthesis
  • Generates excess free radicals
  • Raises beta amyloid output

Scientists have even seen the damage that aluminum can do first hand: dialysis patients can receive excess aluminum and end up with aluminum-induced paroxysms and seizures. More frightening to the populace at large is the research showing much higher rates of dementia in individuals whose city water supply exceeds 200 micrograms/liter of aluminum! And, yes, quite a few cities do actually exceed this threshold.

The blood-barrier clearly wasn t protecting everyone and researchers also discovered that there are certain conditions where the blood-brain barrier can be compromised, such as during fever, invisible micro-strokes that are relatively common in middle aged and beyond and so on. Or perhaps just that minute amount that just naturally makes it into the brain is enough to do the damage. Either way, aluminum should clearly be one of our top concerns when it comes to protecting our brains..

So the bottom line is that it is NOT wise to rely on your blood-brain barrier to preserve your brain from the ravages of aluminum. Of course, don t cook with aluminum. Drinking from aluminum cans is supposedly safe because they coat with a kind of wax , but do you want to bet your mental faculties on it? “No brain, no life”, I always say.

Aluminum is not easy to avoid for many reasons: it is one of the most abundant elements on the earth s surface. Furthermore, they put it in many antacids and antiperspirants. It is also in black tea and grain-based foods, although in fairness none of these have been linked yet to dementia. Again, I would err on the side of caution in this case. You ve only got one life why not be semi-conscious while you re enjoying it?

NOTE:  If you sweat excessively, i.e. have hiperhydrosis, you may have been prescribed aluminum chloride hexahydrate, or Drysol, for the problem.  Please discuss with the doctor the possible future effect on the brain.



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