In part 1 of this 2-part blog series focusing on Aluminium (Al), we discussed the possible effects Aluminium can have on the brain and some of the mechanisms through which it can disrupt physiological function. In this second instalment, join us in diving into sources of Aluminium exposure and discover the actions you can take if your clients are displaying high serum Aluminium levels.
In Part 1, we shared how Aluminium is associated with brain health, so it goes without saying that if your clients have concerns about cognitive dysfunction then this is the right time to test their Aluminium levels. Some additional instances where you may benefit from analysing this marker are where your client has:
- History of infertility
- Kidney disease or renal dysfunction
- Diabetes, especially if accompanied by renal insufficiency
- History of breast cancer
- Chronic anaemias
High serum Aluminium = exposure
When serum Aluminium is high, it is likely an indication of recent or current exposure and it is important to identify sources or exposure so that these may be addressed and risks to health may be limited.
Common sources of Aluminium include:
- Foods that naturally contain high concentrations of Al, e.g. cocoa products, tea leaves, herbs and spices.
- A number of food additives:
- Aluminium (E 173), coating of confectionary
- Aluminium sulphates (E 520-523)
- Sodium aluminium phosphates (E 541)
- Aluminium silicate (E 553-559)
- Aluminium starch octenylsuccinate (E 1452), in food supplements
- Certain medications, including antacids. Regular long-term consumers of antacids are at risk of Aluminium exposure.
- Aluminium is used as an adjuvant in some vaccines.
- Soy based infant formulas have been found to contain high concentrations of Al.
- Soft drinks stored in Aluminium cans – Al content of these drinks has been found to increase over a 12 month storage period.
- Cooking in Aluminium foil significantly affects Al content in food. Factors that contribute to elevated Al concentration in the food cooked in foil are food composition (especially fat content), the addition of spices or salt, the presence of acid substances such tomato juice, citric acid, apple vinegar that alter pH, the heating temperature and cooking duration.
- Topical sources of exposure include cosmetics and personal care products such as antiperspirants/deodorants, toothpaste and sunscreen; all of which allow Al to be absorbed through the skin.
Assessing your clients’ points of exposure and supporting them to reduce these is crucial to reducing Aluminium levels. Read on for additional recommendations.
Supporting clients with high serum Aluminium levels
- Absorption of Al via the gastrointestinal tract can be enhanced in the presence of citrate, maltol and fluoride in water or food – therefore, avoiding packaged foods containing maltol and cosmetic care products or water containing fluoride, as well as decreasing intake of citrus fruits may help when trying to bring the body burden of Aluminium down.
- As previously mentioned, 90% of the Al circulating in the blood is transported bound to transferrin (iron-transporter protein), therefore, ensuring iron repletion is key.
- Al in blood circulation is eliminated primarily by the kidneys (approx.95%), therefore supporting kidney function will aid detoxification of Aluminium.
- Propolis – research (in animal studies) has found propolis effective in protecting against reproductive toxicity of Aluminium chloride.
- Some evidence suggests that silica may be protective against the accumulation of Aluminium in the body, therefore consuming silica-rich water and foods such as cucumbers, green beans or supplementing with horsetail and bentonite clay may by helpful for your clients.
Aluminium is an essential marker for identifying hidden cognitive health trends – and more. Your clients are likely being over-exposed to Aluminium on a regular basis, courtesy of food additives, food packaging and cooking materials and there are some powerful actions you can take today to support your clients with high Aluminium exposure.
FunctionalDX blood health and reporting can help you to identify all of this and more.