Aluminum is the most widely distributed metal on the planet and it’s used in the production of many every-day products. Cookware is made from aluminum, soda cans are aluminum, and aluminum foil is found in most kitchens. Aluminum is also in antacids, aspirin, vaccines, and even flour. This overwhelming infestation of aluminum means that your risk of exposure is through the roof, which is also made of aluminum.Unlike vitamins, minerals, and trace elements, the body does not need aluminum. And aluminum is no innocent or benign participant. Aluminum accumulates in the kidneys, brain, lungs, liver and thyroid where it competes with calcium for absorption and can affect skeletal mineralization. In infants, this can slow growth. Animal models have linked aluminum exposure to mental impairments. 
Why is Aluminum Exposure Harmful?
Just as cigarette smoke damages lung function and overexposure to UV rays will degrade your skin, aluminum is an attacker and its target is your central nervous system.  Studies show that toxic metals contribute to brain diseases by producing oxidative stress and aluminum is one of the worst offenders.  The prevailing belief around the world is that aluminum is linked to degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Aluminum: Bad for Your Brain
According to Washington DC’s Department of the Planet Earth, United States and Canadian regulatory agencies are interested in aluminum as a potential risk factor in elderly cognitive impairment. It makes sense, research shows aluminum can produce toxic, oxidative stress in the brain and a brain autopsy study of elderly persons found them to have aluminum levels 20+ times higher than a middle-aged group.   The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recognizes aluminum as one of several metals known to affect the neurological system.  As far as aluminum is concerned, the supreme brain-health concern is Alzheimer’s disease.
Aluminum and Alzheimer’s
Many of the formal inquiries into aluminum toxicity are specifically concerned with its association to Alzheimer’s. Consistently, experts agree that aluminum exposure is something to worry about.
- The position of the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry at Saint Louis University is that aluminum may cause liver toxicity and lead to degenerative symptoms, including Alzheimer’s. 
- Researchers at The School of Studies in Zoology at Jiwaji University in India describe aluminum as a potent neurotoxin associated with Alzheimer’s. 
- The University of California, Irvine’s Department of Medicine has reported that aluminum causes inflammation in the brain. No surprise, Alzheimer’s disease is often associated with elevated inflammation. 
- The University School of Medicine in Belgrade published information showing that drinking water with a high aluminum and low fluoride concentration is associated with Alzheimer’s risk.  Unfortunately, this is evident in New Guinea and Papua Islands where drinking water contains aluminum ions and ALS or Parkinson’s disease is collectively found.  The concern about aluminum pollution in drinking water has even reached as far away as Egypt. 
Aluminum as an Occupational Hazard
Exposure to aluminum, unfortunately, is common with some occupations like mining, factory work, and welding. Welding can be especially worrisome because it produces vapors that, when inhaled, send aluminum directly into the lungs in a “super absorption” status where it is released to the blood and distributed to the bones and brain. Researchers have repeatedly examined the consequence of inhaling aluminum vapors and the results are grim. Effects on memory and concentration have been cited.  An Italian study that compared 64 aluminum dust exposed workers with 32 unexposed controls found significantly higher levels of aluminum in the exposed employees and findings suggested aluminum to be to blame for early neurotoxic effects. 
Reduce Your Aluminum Exposure
Aluminum is one of the most abundant metals on earth and it has permeated mainstream products to the degree that it’s virtually impossible to completely avoid exposure. However, you can take certain measures to reduce your exposure. Use glass cookware instead of aluminum. Avoid hygiene products (antacids, deodorant) with aluminum hydroxide, natural substitutes are available. Avoid processed and frozen foods, their containers can contain aluminum. Instead opt for fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and foods with responsible packaging. If toxic metal exposure is of concern to you, consider performing a toxic metal cleanse.
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- Kumar V, Gill KD. Aluminium neurotoxicity: neurobehavioural and oxidative aspects. Arch Toxicol. 2009 Nov;83(11):965-78. doi: 10.1007/s00204-009-0455-6. Epub 2009 Jul 1. Review.
- Michalke B, Halbach S, Nischwitz V. JEM spotlight: metal speciation related to neurotoxicity in humans. J Environ Monit. 2009 May;11(5):939-54. doi: 10.1039/b817817h. Epub 2009 Mar 19. Review.
- Fernández-Dávila ML, Razo-Estrada AC, García-Medina S, Gómez-Oliván LM, Piñón-López MJ, Ibarra RG, Galar-Martínez M. Aluminum-induced oxidative stress and neurotoxicity in grass carp (Cyprinidae–Ctenopharingodon idella). Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2012 Feb;76(2):87-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2011.09.012. Epub 2011 Oct 10.
- Jansson ET. Aluminum exposure and Alzheimer’s disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2001 Dec;3(6):541-549.
- Pohl HR, Roney N, Abadin HG. Metal ions affecting the neurological system. Met Ions Life Sci. 2011;8:247-62.
- Brenner S. Aluminum may mediate Alzheimer’s disease through liver toxicity, with aberrant hepatic synthesis of ceruloplasmin and ATPase7B, the resultant excess free copper causing brain oxidation, beta-amyloid aggregation and Alzheimer disease. Med Hypotheses. 2013 Mar;80(3):326-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.11.036. Epub 2012 Dec 20.
- Shrivastava S. Combined effect of HEDTA and selenium against aluminum induced oxidative stress in rat brain. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2012 Jun;26(2-3):210-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2012.04.014. Epub 2012 May 8.
- Bondy SC. The neurotoxicity of environmental aluminum is still an issue. Neurotoxicology. 2010 Sep;31(5):575-81. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2010.05.009. Epub 2010 May 27. Review.
- Belojević G, Jakovljević B. [Aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease]. Srp Arh Celok Lek. 1998 Jul-Aug;126(7-8):283-9. Review. Serbian.
- Nishida Y. Elucidation of endemic neurodegenerative diseases–a commentary. Z Naturforsch C. 2003 Sep-Oct;58(9-10):752-8. Review.
- Mandour RA, Azab YA. The prospective toxic effects of some heavy metals overload in surface drinking water of Dakahlia Governorate, Egypt. Int J Occup Environ Med. 2011 Oct;2(4):245-53.
- Riihimäki V, Aitio A. Occupational exposure to aluminum and its biomonitoring in perspective. Crit Rev Toxicol. 2012 Nov;42(10):827-53. doi: 10.3109/10408444.2012.725027. Epub 2012 Sep 27. Review.
- Polizzi S, Pira E, Ferrara M, Bugiani M, Papaleo A, Albera R, Palmi S. Neurotoxic effects of aluminium among foundry workers and Alzheimer’s disease. Neurotoxicology. 2002 Dec;23(6):761-74.