Living in the aluminum age
Aluminum is one of the most abundant metals in the Earth’s crust.
Within the centuries, aluminum was non-available for human needs in large scales and served primarily as a decorative metal, just because effective exclusion was impossible.
But the situation has changed in XX-XXI centuries when technological progress allowed to do impossible things to be possible.
Human activity, indirect and direct, led aluminum to enter the cycles of biological organisms, animals, plants and human (so-called bio-geo-chemical cycle).
Indirect human activity, causing aluminum to enter biological systems (human’s, animals’, etc) is referred to acidification of Earth by acid deposition of anthropogenic (environmental pollution and pollutants originating in human activity) origin.
Direct human activity is referred to the extraction of aluminum from its ores.
The aluminum industry is oriented on the extraction of newly extracted portions of metal and not on the recycling of the existing residues. Thus, more and more aluminum appears daily in bio-geo-chemical cycle, making impact on biological living organisms like human, animals, and plants.
Aluminum has entered human environment massively only within the last 100-125 years.
Recent human activity contributes to the growth of aluminum concentration in biosphere, while centuries ago it was concentrated in the Earth’s crust, unavailable to reach in high amounts.
Why aluminum is harmful (toxic) for a human
There are no evidence of any benefit of aluminum burden in a body. It is also known that any interactions between biological (life) molecules and aluminum are potentially toxic. From the other hand, aluminum readily accumulates in a body, because it participates in biological reactions, as it has a strong binding with biological molecules possessing oxygen groups.
While acute toxicity of aluminum is very rare, chronic intoxication is widely spread in the developed world.
Since accumulation of aluminum is slow but constant, ageing is the major risk factor for a body burden of it. However, particular workers (where exposure to aluminum at a working place is evident) and infants at the pre-term stage are also subjected to the accumulation of aluminum at high levels (read more in the next Friday articles on this website).
No benefits of aluminum burden in a body are known.
Acute toxicity of aluminum is rare, while accumulation takes place within the decades. Therefore, ageing is the major risk factor for an aluminum burden.
Negative impact of aluminum burden in a body
- Chronic tiredness / lethargy
- Neurological disorders (Alzheimer disease, dementia, and cognitive impairment)
- Bone degenerative diseases (osteomalacia, aplastic bone disease)
- Reproductive toxicity (tested on animals)
- Behavior changes (reduction in reaction time – speed to respond to a question or perform a motor task)
- Effect on vital minerals (aluminum substitutes for essential metals like iron, calcium, magnesium, etc. in critical biochemical processes of a body)
- Skin irritations
- Asthma-like symptoms (potroom asthma)
- Weakening of parathyroid function by accumulating in the gland
- and many others
Main negatives impacts of aluminum include chronic tiredness, neurological and bone diseases.
Aluminum accumulation in brain
Any presence of aluminum in brain tissue might be construed as abnormal, because it is not known to be beneficial for the brain.
It could be stressed that there are no “normal” levels of aluminum in the brain.
Living organism always switches on the protective mechanisms and does not show the adverse effects of aluminum toxicity till the very end when the life resources are mostly gone.
Vital life resources are generally diminished by following:
- elder age
- adjacent chronic diseases
- health-weakening habits like
- consumption of alcohol
- chronic exposure to stress
- overeating or insufficient diet
- years-long accumulation of other chemical residues like drug adjacent substances, food additives, household chemicals, etc.
Elevated levels of aluminum in brain are identified for people with Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, Fahr’s and Behcet’s disease, leukoencephalopathy, and aluminum-induced encephalopathies.
All aluminum in the brain is neurotoxic, that means, it causes toxic effects on neurons – the cells of the brain tissue. Neurotoxicity of aluminum could be manifested only when the concentration of aluminum in the brain will be higher than the levels of essential microelements like magnesium and calcium.
There is the article about magnesium deficiency and the author invites to read it, because another perspective of “magnesium deficiency” is presented in it: Prophylactic self-isolation for magnesium deficiency appreciation. Day 69th.
The author is currently writing an article about a new perspective on calcium supplementation, it might appear on this page at the end of March, 2021. Stay tuned!
Any amount of aluminum in the brain is not normal. All aluminum in the brain is neurotoxic.
People with Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease or encephalopathies may have elevated amounts of aluminum in brain tissue.
Magnesium and calcium deficiency could cause aluminum neurotoxicity to manifest.
Aluminum accumulation in bones
Aluminum has negative impact on bone health because it disturbs activity of bone cells (osteoblasts and osteoclasts).
It also disturbs collagen synthesis, and in general may lead to the formation of various bone diseases like renal osteodystrophy and osteomalacia.
Negative impact of aluminum occurs when magnesium and calcium are deficient.
Aluminum disturbs bone growth and repair.
Magnesium and calcium deficiency could cause aluminum toxicity to manifest.
Subtopics listed below will be described in the ongoing Friday’s posts:
- Aluminum links with breast cancer
- Elemental hair analysis versus blood test. Which one is better to determine aluminum levels?
- Aluminum in vaccines
- Aluminum in drugs
- How aluminum enters the body?
- Ways to excrete aluminum from the body naturally
- DERMIENCE, M., LOGNAY, G., MATHIEU, F. and GOYENS, P. Effects of Thirty Elements on Bone Metabolism. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 2015, vol. 32. pp. 86-106.
- EXLEY, C. and HOUSE, E.R. Aluminium in the Human Brain. Monatshefte Für Chemie-Chemical Monthly, 2011, vol. 142, no. 4. pp. 357-363.
- EXLEY, C. Human Exposure to Aluminium. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 2013, vol. 15, no. 10. pp. 1807-1816.
- EXLEY, C. The Toxicity of Aluminium in Humans. Morphologie, 2016, vol. 100, no. 329. pp. 51-55.
- KREWSKI, D., et al. Human Health Risk Assessment for Aluminium, Aluminium Oxide, and Aluminium Hydroxide. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 2007, vol. 10, no. S1. pp. 1-269.
The conclusions drawn and the assessment of the health benefits/risks are restricted to information appearing in the scientific literature