How you cook it matters too: Aluminum may be toxic to your brain and spine

How you cook it matters too: Aluminum may be toxic to your brain and spine

You try to do everything right for yourself and your family, including choosing a healthy diet. But choosing the right foods may not be enough to protect your central nervous system. How you prepare and store your meals may expose you and your family to the toxic effects of aluminum.


Aluminum may be harmful to the brain:


Problems don’t occur overnight. But long term exposure to aluminum may be toxic to your brain. Numerous researchers have evaluated work-related exposure (for example, working in a factory with high aluminum concentrations) and environmental exposure (for example, cooking on aluminum foil or aluminum pots and pans) and found associations between aluminum and brain maladies.


In 2019, Chinese scientists reported on more than 900 people who worked for a long time in an Aluminum Factory. The researchers discovered that those with a higher concentration of aluminum in their blood were significantly more likely to be Cognitively Impaired (problems thinking and remembering).


A 2019 report by Canadian and American researchers determined that long term aluminum exposure may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia associated with Down’s syndrome and cognitive decline in renal dialysis (kidney failure) patients. The scientists had analyzed the aluminum content of more than 500 brain samples that had been submitted to their laboratory.


In 2021, British and American scientists reported their findings after they studied brain tissue from normal people and compared them to the brains of people affected with neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases. The researchers determined that there may be a significantly elevated content of aluminum in certain brains. This association (patients with these maladies have more aluminum in their brains than normal) has been reported in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis.


There is an unfortunate group of people with familial Alzheimer’s disease. They are genetically disposed towards suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia. Scientists have discovered that they are likely to have a toxic protein in their brain (amyloid beta) and also high concentrations of aluminum in their neurons (brain cells). 


Aluminum may be especially dangerous to the developing brain (the brain of a baby or a fetus). Scientists have reported that high concentrations of aluminum may negatively alter stem cells in the brain.


Heavy metal and your spine:


In 2020, a multinational group of researchers reported that too much environmental exposure to aluminum and other metals (mercury, cadmium, lead, nickel, chromium, iron) may result in osteoporosis and increased fracture risk.


Raise a glass and don’t forget to tip the bartender:


Spanish scientists in 2021 reported that drinking beer, in moderation, may help prevent neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers hypothesized that the hops and silicon in beer may protect your brain against toxic effects of aluminum. 


Exley C, Clarkson E. Aluminium in human brain tissue from donors without neurodegenerative disease: A comparison with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and autism. Sci Rep. 2020 May 8;10(1):7770. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-64734-6. PMID: 32385326; PMCID: PMC7211005.


Meng H, Wang S, Guo J, Zhao Y, Zhang S, Zhao Y, Niu Q. Cognitive impairment of workers in a large-scale aluminium factory in China: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2019 Jun 16;9(6):e027154. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027154. PMID: 31209090; PMCID: PMC6589001.


Bjørklund G, Pivina L, Dadar M, Semenova Y, Chirumbolo S, Aaseth J. Long-Term Accumulation of Metals in the Skeleton as Related to Osteoporotic Derangements. Curr Med Chem. 2020;27(40):6837-6848. doi: 10.2174/0929867326666190722153305. PMID: 31333081.


Lukiw WJ, Kruck TPA, Percy ME, Pogue AI, Alexandrov PN, Walsh WJ, Sharfman NM, Jaber VR, Zhao Y, Li W, Bergeron C, Culicchia F, Fang Z, McLachlan DRC. Aluminum in neurological disease – a 36 year multicenter study. J Alzheimers Dis Parkinsonism. 2019;8(6):457. doi: 10.4172/2161-0460.1000457. Epub 2018 Nov 29. PMID: 31179161; PMCID: PMC6550484.


Reichert KP, Pillat MM, Schetinger MRC, Bottari NB, Palma TV, Assmann CE, Gutierres JM, Ulrich H, Andrade CM, Exley C, Morsch VMM. Aluminum-induced alterations of purinergic signalling in embryonic neural progenitor cells. Chemosphere. 2020 Jul;251:126642. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.126642. Epub 2020 Apr 3. PMID: 32345545.


Sánchez-Muniz FJ, Macho-González A, Garcimartín A, Santos-López JA, Benedí J, Bastida S, González-Muñoz MJ. The Nutritional Components of Beer and Its Relationship with Neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s Disease. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 10;11(7):1558. doi: 10.3390/nu11071558. PMID: 31295866; PMCID: PMC6682961.