Aluminum or Aluminium contamination, safety, danger, risks, toxicity, harm
April 20 2016 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Aluminum is the most abundant metal to be found in the earth's crust (8%), but is not found free in nature. Pure aluminum, a silvery-white metal is light, nonmagnetic, stands second among metals in the scale of malleability, and sixth in ductility. Aluminum is extensively used for kitchen utensils, outside building decoration, and in thousands of industrial applications where a strong, light, easily constructed material is needed.

Aluminium was the accepted spelling in the U.S. until the mid 1920s, when the American Chemical Society officially decided to change the name to aluminum.

The chemistry of Aluminum toxicity, side effects
Aluminum toxicity in plants, animals and humans reveals a similar mode of aluminum action in all living organisms, namely interference with the secondary messenger system (phosphoinositide and cytosolic caclium signalling pathways) and enhanced production of reactive oxygen species resulting in oxidative stress. Aluminium uptake by plants is relatively quick despite huge proportion of aluminum being bound in the cell wall. Aluminium absorption in the animal or human digestive system is low except when aluminum is complexed with organic ligands (eg. citrate, tartarate, glutamate). Aluminium accumulates in bones and brain, with aluminum-citrate and aluminum-transferrin complexes crossing the blood-brain barrier and accumulating in brain cells.

At a certain time and quantity of dosage, aluminum citrate promotes aluminum deposition in the parotid and submandibular glands

Aluminum Contamination
This metal contaminates much of the raw material used to manufacture solutions used for intravenous nutritional support of hospitalized and ambulatory patients, and that pharmaceutical manufacturers have only recently obtained the technology necessary to detect aluminum contamination of their products. As a result, aluminum bypassed normal barriers and entered the blood, accumulating in tissues such as bone, liver and the central nervous system with toxic consequences.

Aluminum as a cause of breast cancer?
Aluminum salts contained in many underarm deodorants could increase a woman's breast cancer risk. Metals including aluminum salts and cadmium have been shown to exert estrogen-like effects, while some also promote the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory,. Aluminum salts increase estrogen-related gene expression in human breast cancer cells grown in the laboratory. Given the wide variety of other substances that can mimic estrogen, including certain pesticides, cosmetics and detergents, it is possible that aluminum salts and other inorganic estrogen-related compounds called "metalloestrogens" can further disrupt normal hormonal signaling within the breast.  What is particularly concerning about aluminium is the fact that it is applied to the underarm, close to the breast, and left on the skin. Deodorants also are frequently used after shaving, making it easier for aluminium salts to enter the blood stream. Studies also have demonstrated that aluminium salts can penetrate human underarm skin even if it is unbroken. People can reduce their exposure to cadmium by quitting smoking. Journal of Applied Toxicology, 2006.

Dietary supplements, herbs
Q. Does lipoic acid help reduce aluminum toxicity?
   A. I am not aware of any studies examining this relationship.

Hair analysis
Q. You may consider aluminum as an element to include as useful for testing via hair analysis. If I understand correctly, most toxic metal cases are from chronic exposure to the poison. Toxic effects from chronic exposure to heavy metals are far more common than acute poisonings. Chronic exposure may lead to a variety of conditions depending on the route of exposure and the metabolism and storage of the specific element in question.
Author: Samara Soghoian, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. As I understand the literature, most aluminum is eliminated renally, bound to albumin or transferrin. If this system is fully utilized, the excess aluminum is sequestered in various organ systems, the brain being one, with highest concentrations in the limbic system. As aluminum levels are not often called for, many primary care physicians might not know to use a mobilizing agent prior to checking the blood level, and miss the presence of the metal altogether. (I know of such a case). Generally, findings from an aluminum level blood test are unreliable, as most of the body's stores are bound in bone and tissue and are not reflected in the serum value. A deferoxamine infusion test can be performed but may take more than 48 hours to yield a result (see Medical Care). Deferoxamine liberates aluminum from tissues by chelating it and leads to an increased serum level compared to one taken prior to infusion. The combination of a baseline immunoreactive parathyroid hormone level of less than 200 mEq/mL and a change in serum aluminum value of 200 ng/mL after deferoxamine is 90% specific and has a positive predictive value of 85% for aluminum toxicity. from WEBMD Michael R. Edwards M.D. Bebe Medical Center. Further complicating the issue, regarding aluminum (aluminium, for any Brits reading this) the FDA has never tested this element for safety!
   From: History of crime against the Food Laws (1929) by Dr. Riley, the prime mover behind the original Pure Food Law and Director of the FDA. He resigned in disgust in 1912 over exceptions granted to the law and lack of enforcement.
Aluminum has been exempted from testing for safety by the FDA under a convoluted logic wherein it is classified as GRAS. (Generally Regarded As Safe.) It has never been tested by the FDA on its safety and there are NO restrictions whatever on the amount or use of aluminum. Diseases Associated with Aluminium Intoxication. H. Tomlinson, M.B., Ch.B., MRCS., LRCP. Since that time thousands of studies have been published indicating aluminum is involved in neurological dysfunction, immunocompetence, as well as a host of other morbidities. I cannot begin to reference them all. Sepsis: a cause of aluminum release from tissue stores associated with acute neurological dysfunction and mortality. Davenport A. Williams P.S. Roberts N.B. Bone J.M. From: Clin Nephrol (1988 Jul). We report six cases of patients with renal failure and exposure to aluminum who developed septicemia. In all cases the serum aluminum increased markedly. This may have contributed to the neurological dysfunction seen in five, and the deaths of four of the patients. We suggest that the rise in serum aluminum was due to the release of tissue-bound aluminum, resulting in an increase in free, diffusable aluminum and that this jeopardized both neurological function and immunocompetence.
   Given the ubiquitous products and sources of daily contact with this toxic metal, and it's apparent role in many diseases, (e.g. various dementias which bring long term suffering to the patient and his family, as well as burdening our health care system), it would seem prudent to champion the use of a relatively inexpensive, and non-invasive procedure to test for the presence of this scourge of modern society. It would seem that research within the last decade would tend to support the prudence of regular testing for this toxin, so as to prevent long term deleterious effects, on patients, and on our over-burdened health care delivery system. I cannot claim any great accomplishments, I am merely a pharmacist with an interest in this area of research. I would be grateful for your analysis of these data, and for your opinion of my view point.  As an aside, I think you do the public a service with your dispensation of medical information. In my limited experience, most people are very eager to learn.
   A. I have not studied the topic of aluminum toxicity and hair analysis enough to gave a good opinion on this topic.