The Real Facts About Alzheimers and Aluminum - from EHSO

Alzheimers & Aluminum

Question: I have heard that aluminum may be involved in the development of Alzheimer's Disease. Does use of aluminum cookware and drinking from aluminum beverage cans place me at greater risk for developing this disease.

Answer: Aluminum is one of the most abundant elements found in the environment. Therefore, human exposure to this metal is common and unavoidable. However, intake is relatively low because this element is highly insoluble in many of its naturally occurring forms. The significance of environmental contact with aluminum is further diminished by the fact that less than 1% of that taken into the body orally is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.

The average human intake is estimated to be between 30 and 50 mg per day. This intake comes primarily from foods, drinking water, and pharmaceuticals. Based on the maximum levels reported in drinking water, less than 1/4 of the total intake comes from water. Some common food additives contain aluminum. Due to certain additives, processed cheese and cornbread are two major contributors to high aluminum exposures in the American diet. With regard to pharmaceuticals, some common over-the-counter medications such as antacids and buffered aspirin contain aluminum to increase the daily intake significantly.

Over the last few years, there has been concern about the exposures resulting from leaching of aluminum from cookware and beverage cans. However, as a general rule, this contributes a relatively small amount to the total daily intake. Aluminum beverage cans are usually coated with a polymer to minimize such leaching. Leaching from aluminum cookware becomes potentially significant only when cooking highly basic or acidic foods. For example, in one study, tomato sauce cooked in aluminum pans was found to accumulate 3-6 mg aluminum per 100 g serving.

Certain aluminum compounds have been found to be an important component of the neurological damage characteristics of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Much research over the last decade has focused on the role of aluminum in the development of this disease. At this point, its role is still not clearly defined. Since AD is a chronic disease which may take a long time to develop, long-term exposure is the most important measure of intake. Long-term exposure is easiest to estimate for drinking water exposures. Epidemiological studies attempting to link AD with exposures in drinking water have been inconclusive and contradictory. Thus, the significance of increased aluminum intake with regard to onset of AD has not been determined.

Conclusions about a connection between Aluminum and Alzheimer's Disease from other sources and references:

No connection

bulletNIH: "In spite of existing polemics all over the world about the role of Al as a risk factor for AD, in recent years, scientific evidence has demonstrated that Al is associated with the development of AD." bullet Alheimer's Society: "The overwhelming medical and scientific opinion is that the findings outlined above do not convincingly demonstrate a causal relationship between aluminium and Alzheimer's disease, and that no useful medical or public health recommendations can be made − at least at present (Massey and Taylor 1989)." bullet Alzheimer's Organization: "During the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum emerged as a possible suspect in Alzheimer’s. This suspicion led to concern about exposure to aluminum through everyday sources such as pots and pans, beverage cans, antacids and antiperspirants. Since then, studies have failed to confirm any role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s. Experts today focus on other areas of research, and few believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat."

Uncertain connection

bullet WebMD: "On the whole, scientists can say only that it is still uncertain whether exposure to aluminum plays a role in Alzheimer's disease."

Positive connection

bulletNone found among major universities, medical organizations, governmental health organizations, etc.  There are a large number of unaffiliated dot-com websites that make the claim that there is an association, but none of these conduct research of their own which has been substantiated independently by 3rd parties reproducing their results and thus cannot be considered credible by an objective scientist. Those included below are presented merely to gove voice to an opposing view: "Five population studies now link Alzheimer's disease to aluminum in drinking water." bullet "In conclusion, the link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s has been well established. The sources used for this article represent a small portion of the research that has been done in this area. This is contrary to the Alzheimer’s Association’s claim that “Almost all scientists today focus on other areas of research, and few experts believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat.” [21]"

For more information on Alzheimer's Disease (AD) please see:

bullet Basics of Alzheimer's (NIH) bullet Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) bulletNational Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) bulletNational Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke -
Alzheimer's Disease Information Page
bulletEnvironmental Health Institute Scientists Begin To Unravel Cause Of Blocked Memory In Alzheimer's - January 2001 bulletThe Involvement of Aluminum in the development of Alzheimer's Disease bulletSee also: Aging bulletNIH Topic: Alzheimer's Disease - National Institute on Aging -
About Alzheimer's Disease
AD Clinical Trials Database
Alzheimer's Disease Causes
Alzheimer's Disease Centers
Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis
Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet
Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Fact Sheet
Alzheimer's Disease Medications Fact Sheet
Alzheimer's Disease Symptoms
Alzheimer's Disease Treatment
Alzheimer's Disease Unraveling the Mystery
Forgetfulness: It's Not Always What You Think
NIHSeniorHealth: Alzheimer's Disease
Resources on Dementia: U.S. Federal Government Agencies
La Enfermedad de Alzheimer  Spanish
La mala memoria no es siempre lo que se piensa  Spanish
Medicamentos para la enfermedad de Alzheimer  Spanish
contact number Call 301-496-1752 for more information
bulletMEDLINEplus Topic: Alzheimer's Disease bulletAlzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) bulletAlzheimer's Association bullet bulletAlzheimer's Disease - A general overview of Alzheimer's Disease that includes a description and information about treatment, prognosis and research. Selected references, a list of organizations where users can obtain addit details... bulletNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of HealthAge Page--Forgetfulness: It's Not Always What You Think
This fact sheet discusses dementia and its diagnosis and treatment. details... bulletAlzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet from Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, National Institute on Aging
This sheet provides basic information about Alzheimer's disease, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. bulletAlzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, National Institute on AgingAlzheimer's Disease Genetics
This fact sheet summarizes current research about the role of genetics in Alzheimer's disease. details... bulletAlzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, National Institute on AgingAlzheimer's Disease Information
This fact sheet discusses Alzheimer's disease, its social and economic impact, and the federal programs and services that are available to the public. details... bulletU.S. Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesAlzheimer's Disease Medications Fact Sheet
This fact sheet summarizes the four FDA-approved medications for treating Alzheimer's disease--Reminyl, Exelon, Aricept, and Cognex. details... bulletAlzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, National Institute on AgingAlzheimer's Disease Research
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, irreversible brain disorder with no known cause or cure. It attacks and slowly steals the minds of its victims. Symptoms of the disease include memory loss, confu details... bulletAmerican Health Assistance FoundationAlzheimer's Glossary
This is a glossary of terms related to Alzheimer's disease. details... bulletEducational Institution--Follow the Resource URL for More InformationCaregiver Guide
This guide provides practical tips for daily coping with bathing, dressing, eating, and activities for people with Alzheimer's disease. details... bulletAlzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, National Institute on AgingDepression and Alzheimer's Disease
A fact sheet that discusses depression and Alzheimer's disease and how a caregiver can recognize depression in a family member or patient with Alzheimer's disease. details...
American Academy of Family Physicians
\ bulletHome Safety for People with Alzheimer's Disease
This booklet offers tips and guidelines for creating a safe home environment for people with Alzheimer's disease. details... bulletAlzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, National Institute on AgingMulti-Infarct Dementia
This fact sheet provides information about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of multi-infarct dementia. details... bulletAlzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, National Institute on AgingNIHSeniorHealth: Alzheimer's Disease
Designed especially for seniors, this page defines Alzheimer's Disease and lists its causes and risk factors, symptoms and diagnosis, treatment and research, and frequently asked questions. details... bulletNational Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesOccupational Therapy And People With Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease, a condition that affects the brain, occurs in middle or late life, striking men and women of all races, cultures, and backgrounds. details... bulletAmerican Occupational Therapy AssociationTen Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
These are ten warning signs of Alzheimer's disease. details...
Alzheimer's Association



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This page was updated on April 06, 2006

This page was updated on 23-Mar-2017