12 Aluminum

Aluminum is a heavy metal that acts as a neurotoxin and has been linked to anemia, encephalopathy, multiple sclerosis, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and breast cancer. Aluminum

Aluminum becomes a toxin when it accumulates in tissues, disturbing natural physiologic processes. Those with a genetic weakness for clearance of heavy metals are at a higher risk for accumulation. There is emerging evidence suggesting aluminum accumulation in the breast microenvironment is a possible risk factor for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). Aluminum also acts as a metalloestrogen and can interfere with the function of estrogen receptors (Darbe, 2011). Aluminum has been found to cause oxidative stress and inflammation which both increase the risk for breast cancer (Mannello, 2013).

Epigenetic Trigger

Aluminum exposure can affect our genetics as it also increases estrogen-related gene expression in human breast cancer cells.

Aluminum Forms

Aluminum chlorohydrate can be found in antiperspirants, lipsticks, and sunscreens. Aluminum in antiperspirants is concerning as aluminum can be absorbed through the skin, especially skin abraded from shaving, and can migrate through the lymphatic system and accumulate in breast tissue. The increased risk for breast cancer from exposure to aluminum via antiperspirants has led researchers to recommend that its use be reduced (Pineau, 2014).

Sodium aluminum phosphate and sodium aluminum sulfate are added as stabilizers to many processed foods including cake mixes and coffee creamers.

Toxicity Symptoms

Aluminum Sources

Household sources of aluminum include aluminum cans, aluminum cooking utensils, baking soda, and food additives like dough conditioners, as well as food and drink packaging. Replace your aluminum kitchenware with non-toxic alternatives.

Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil is often used as a lid when baking. Instead, use a baking dish with a lid, such as a Dutch oven or a crockpot. For covering dishes when storing food, instead, opt for Bee’s Wrap (beeswax cloth). For baking, use parchment paper.

Aluminum Baking Sheets

If you have aluminum baking sheets, switch to stainless steel, or use a layer of parchment paper as a barrier between your food and the baking sheets. 

Aluminum Pie Tins

Glass or ceramic pie tins.

Aluminum Cans

Avoid all food packaging made from aluminum. Look for products in glass bottles instead, as glass is an inert material and food safe.

Aluminum Cookware

Ceramic, cast iron, copper, glass, and stainless steel are non-toxic cookware material options. 

Note:  Many pans have an aluminum core under an outer layer of another material, like stainless steel. The aluminum core is used to keep the pans lightweight. In this case, the aluminum does not come in contact with food, so these pans are nontoxic. 

Aluminum Utensils and Tools

Look for stainless cheese graters, silicone spatulas, and other non-toxic tools made from stainless steel, bamboo, wood, etc.

Personal Care Products

Some of the most common personal care products that contain aluminum include antacids, buffered aspirin, toothpaste, antiperspirant, medication, lipstick, and sunscreen. Natural herbal antiperspirants that act as antimicrobials are effective alternatives to aluminum-based products. Tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract are widely available deodorant options that are free of aluminum, parabens, and phthalates. Learn more in Detox Your Bathroom. 

Processed Foods

Packaged foods are often highly processed are highly contaminated by aluminum due to their use in manufacturing facilities and packaging.  This is just one more reason to eat an unprocessed, whole plant food diet.

Recommended Medical Lab Test

A simple lab test that I use frequently to help my clients determine whether they have elevated heavy metals is the Toxic Element Clearance Profile (gdx.net), a urine test that includes aluminum. Link to GDX

Link to FullScript – Detoxification Factors

Aluminum Summary Checklist

O Remove aluminum from your home

O Avoid exposure to aluminum

O Take detoxifying supplements, when exposed to aluminum

O Add detoxifying foods to your daily diet.