Aluminum – friend or foe?

Aluminum has a lot of amazing qualities. It stabilizes batter for baking, prevents people from sweating, cosmetics from caking, and makes for light weight cans. But what if the aluminum that stores our food and keeps us feeling fresh isn’t good for us? What if it’s accumulating in our systems from ubiquitous use?

The U.S. government says “no”, aluminum is perfectly safe. The FDA states that approved products contain only low levels of aluminum which pass through the digestive system, not the blood stream, and that aluminum does not leach to food stored in aluminum cans. But what if it is getting into our blood stream through our food or through absorption (pores or digestive track)? The FDA claims that even if it does somehow get into our blood (which they have said it won’t), the quantities are so low that it won’t affect us. However, the government is not looking holistically at aluminum use. Their job is to review and approve individual products, not study cross contamination build-up – such as deodorant’s daily use combined with cosmetics while consuming an antacid after ingesting cake….

Aluminum build up has been linked to Alzheimer’s. It is unproven that the accumulation comes from our products, but it is also unproven that it doesn’t. The FDA claims that the amount that can be absorbed through the skin is negligible, and yet a study from UC Berkeley showed a significant decrease in chemicals found in teenage girls’ urine after merely 3 days of making a simple change to organic cosmetics (cosmetics are not currently regulated by the FDA). Just like Oxybenzone (a hormone disruptor) has been shown to absorb through the skin in sunblock products, why can’t aluminum also be secreting into our system?

Furthermore, the levels of BPA found in food disproved the myth that packaging can’t leach to food. And once the aluminum has leached to our food, it is in our system. We also know that aluminum is capable of chelating (attaching) to glyphosate (Round-Up) when we consume flour, causing the aluminum to leak through our gut into our blood stream. This chelating is believed to be linked to the rise in gluten intolerance in the US (a rise not seen in other countries that have banned Round-Up – the human body might actually be rejecting the aluminum, not the gluten, that the glyphosate has attached to the flour. Since the system can’t differentiate between flour, glyphosate and aluminum, after a certain point, it simply rejects flour as the simplest form of defense).

The rise in breast cancer is also not directly linked to aluminum (or other possible carcinogens commonly found in deodorants), but there is a rise in breast cancer. It could be due to any number of factors, but one of them could be that aluminum is clogging our pores, (preventing us from draining toxins) while simultaneously getting absorbed into our lymph nodes and blood stream. The point is that we just don’t know, and the product companies (and FDA) are claiming that we do know.

So what can be done? Either buy aluminum free deodorant or make your own (which also won’t contain some of the other questionable ingredients found in deodorant). Use aluminum free baking powder or again make your own (side-note, once you add the aluminum-free baking powder, don’t delay getting your baked goods into the oven to ensure a good rise). Limit the amount of canned food you ingest (and in particular avoid canned tomatoes, eat them from a glass container if you need something ready to go because the acidity draws out the chemicals in the can). Last, look for aluminum free cosmetics and antacids.

It may not be correlated, but the rise in breast cancer, Alzheimer’s and wheat intolerance should give people pause. They could be on the rise due to early detection, increased awareness or simply that we now live longer. Or could they be on the rise due to other factors, such as our increased dependence on aluminum?