A number of environment factors have been put forth as a possible cause for Alzheimer’s disease. Among these is aluminum. The main sources of aluminum in our diet include tea, bear, baked products, water, toothpaste, aluminum based antacids, aluminum cookware, and some canned beverages. Aluminum intake from our diet is usually very low as more than 99% that passes through our digestive system is unabsorbed, and that which is absorbed is rapidly excreted by the kidneys. However, since we are exposed to aluminum in many facets of life, let’s examine this theory in detail.
Researchers believe that Alzheimer’s disease results from a combination of different risk factors rather that one single cause. Such factors may vary from person to person and include age, genetic predisposition, other diseases, or environmental agents. The hypothesis that there is a link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease was first put forth in the 1960s. Since this time, the medical research community frequently reviews the evidence on this theory. The overwhelming medical and scientific opinion is that there is not a convincing link between Alzheimer’s disease and aluminum.
Since the 1960s, researchers have claimed several circumstantial links between aluminum and Alzheimer’s. For example, aluminum has been shown to be associated with plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. However, the presence of aluminum does not mean that aluminum is the cause of Alzheimer’s, but is more likely a harmless secondary association. Many studies have shown that there is no difference between the overall amount of aluminum in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s and the amount in normal brains.
For more proof that there is not a major link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s we can look at people with kidney failure who are unable to excrete aluminum. Kidney failure patients must be treated with compounds that contain aluminum, which can accumulate in the nerve cells particularly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s. However, even after years of exposure to aluminum, kidney failure patients are no more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than other people.
There have been many experimental studies done on animals and isolated cells that do show that aluminum has a toxic effect on the nervous system. However, in all these cases the doses of aluminum used were much higher than those occurring naturally in tissues. In cases where normal levels of aluminum was used there seems to not be any sort of link between Alzheimer’s and aluminum.
Overall there seems to be very little threat from normal exposure to aluminum in everyday life. If you or a loved one do suffer from Alzheimer’s disease you can find great Alzheimer’s Care Providers here.