Can Exposure To Aluminum Cause Alzheimer's?

by Jacqueline Marcell Patient Expert

I received this question today:
"I am so afraid of using aluminum products, because I believe it caused my mother's and her best friend's Alzheimer's. They worked together in an aluminum plant for most of their lives and they died together too. I am wondering if
that connection has been proven yet?"

Hi, so sorry to hear about your loss.
It is interesting that the Aluminum/Alzheimer's connection continues to persist for many people, even though in the 1960's and 1970's after it was first suspected and researched extensively, no connection has ever been found. There is still no known cause of Alzheimer's, but a few things that are believed to help prevent it are: eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat and cholesterol, staying mentally active and learning new things, and exercising regularly.

However, my opinion is that if you strongly believe that there is a connection between aluminum and Alzheimer's, even in the face of medical science assuring you that there isn't, you should limit your exposure to it
if that just makes you feel better. Since there are easy alternatives to drinking out of aluminum cans, using aluminum pots and pans, covering food with aluminum foil, and using antacids and antiperspirants-why have that nagging suspicion and worry?

I had two parents with Alzheimer's Disease, so you'd probably like to know if I worry about my exposure to aluminum? No, I don't, because I have spoken with so many AD specialists on my radio program and at conferences, and I have read the many studies that were done-so I feel pretty confident about it. But... you know what? I notice that I do tend to avoid aluminum whenever I have a choice, just in case That's a deeply engrained conditioned response from being old enough to have witnessed so many debacles when advances in science and technology have reversed the conventional knowledge about the safety of many products.

How many years were our diet drinks sweetened with Cyclamates and Saccharine, only to be told years later that, ooops-they were carcinogens and had to be banned?

And what about the miracle drugs Fen-Phen that helped millions drop weight so easily, only to find out later that, ooops-you may need a new heart and lungs now. My brother lost his weight and nearly lost his life-when he suddenly had to have (quadruple) open-heart surgery.

My aggressive elderly father was prescribed a medication that actually made his agitation much worse, yet he was mistakenly given that same medication again while he was in the hospital-because he had been difficult with a nurse. The medication made him so crazy
that he actually took a swing at her-and then they put him in a straight jacket and locked him up by himself. After my father passed away, that medication was finally taken off the market. Can you imagine my infuriation?

I always heard about the health benefits of eating soy products, which for many years I often enjoyed. But when I was diagnosed with estrogen-receptive invasive breast cancer, I was told never to eat soy again because it was a natural estrogen that helped
cancer grow. I could not believe that I had actually been feeding my slow-growing cancer for several years!

And what about the Sharper Image air purifiers I had in several rooms of my home while I was going through six months of dense-dose chemotherapy-that were later shown to emit dangerous ozone and actually worse to breathe? It is so serious that California has passed a law (starting in 2009) that will ban the sale of
purifiers that emit ozone!

And what about the asbestos that was thought to be safe that killed my darling Godfather and his brother... and the lead products... and what about the dyes... and the PCB's... and the Vioxx... and the... . Ohhh, who knows what
all the products
are that we are all using today, thinking we are perfectly safe, which
will eventually turn out to be damaging to our precious health. So, every individual should be cautious and weigh the research-and then
make their own decisions about what products they will take
chances on and which ones they won't.

Jacqueline Marcell
Meet Our Writer
Jacqueline Marcell

Jacqueline wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Alzheimer's Disease.