Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

Avoid aluminum cookware because of Alzheimer’s disease

This myth got its start a number of years ago when medical researchers found elevated levels of aluminum in diseased tissue from the brains of Alzheimer’s patients (dead ones, I hope). One logical possibility (but not the only one) was that the raised aluminum level was responsible for causing the disease. Get exposed to too much aluminum, from your job perhaps or your cookware, and you would have a better chance of coming down with this awful disease. People started avoiding aluminum cookware, and some still are – unnecessarily it turns out. Subsequent research has failed to show any connection between aluminum exposure and Alzheimer’s, and it is believed that the elevated aluminum in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is a result of the disease process. In other words, high aluminum levels do not cause Alzheimer’s, but rather Alzheimer’s causes high aluminum levels.

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16 responses to “Avoid aluminum cookware because of Alzheimer’s disease

  1. tommy June 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Wow, that was very informative. I look forward to more good information. Thanks.

  2. Amethyst September 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Where did you get this info? This is an issue that interests and concerns me, and I like to base my actions on good sources of facts if I can! I just found your blog– really good overall!

  3. kitchenmyths September 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I believe it came from the Alzheimer’s Association.

  4. Elizabeth September 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    From the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada website (http://www.alzheimer.ca/english/disease/causes-alumi.htm)
    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    Most researchers no longer regard aluminum as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. However, some researchers are still examining whether some people are at risk because their bodies have difficulties in handling foods containing the metals copper, iron, and aluminum.
    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    From the Alzheimer’s Association (USA) website (http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_myths_about_alzheimers.asp)
    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    [S]tudies have failed to confirm any role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s. Experts today focus on other areas of research, and few believe that everyday sources of aluminum pose any threat.
    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

  5. Hawk September 22, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    There is NO biological use for aluminum in the human body! Iron? Yes! Copper? Yes! Aluminum… NO! Sorry, but I’m going to keep avoiding it for now. All aluminum that comes in contact with food is band! So are pickles that contain alum. Any food use with aluminum is banned!!

    http://www.drpepi.com/aluminum-poisoning.php

    • John January 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Does that mean you don’t eat out in restaurants? Probably the majority of restaurants cook with aluminum.

    • Susan Bishop June 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      Aluminum is also an ingredient in most deodorants.. However,.Tom’s of Maine probably has a natural one that does not contain aluminum. I agree,.why expose your body to unnecessary aluminum. Who knows what is going to be discovered years from now about aluminum.

    • John W Public October 9, 2013 at 9:35 am

      The normal dietary intake of aluminum is 12-14 mg per day. Those, and higher levels are harmless. Aluminum is a very common element on our planet. You would have a hard time avoiding ingesting it daily. How much aluminum do you think you ingest from pots and pans and foil? A few molecules at a time? Weigh your pans now and a year from now, and I doubt you could even measure a difference with lab scales. It doesn’t even pass the sniff test that pans and foil could possibly affect health. please!!!

  6. dmso September 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Hawk, you may not realize that much of the food you eat, even organic food, will also contain aluminum that has naturally been absorbed from the soil in which it grows. Aluminum is the third most abundant element on earth. It’s in the air, water, and soil and therefore in the plants and/or animals and water that we eat or drink. Even breathing means you are intaking some aluminum. According to the International Aluminum Institute, “recent studies have shown that the absorption of aluminium from the digestive tracts is often as low as 0.001%.” And in healthy individuals, the kidneys quickly excrete most of the aluminum our bodies absorb. Even in the article to which you provided a link, it says that acidic foods cooked and stored in aluminum cookware will have about 4 mg aluminum. A normal adult daily intake (without using any aluminum cookware) is about 10 mg/day, for reference. Note that it also says that a single antacid dose can contain up to 200 mg aluminum. Quite a difference, no? And according to the WHO, an adult can safely take in about 50 mg/day. So the 4 mg from aluminum cookware (in which you shouldn’t cook acidic foods anyway) becomes relatively insignificant when considered in context.

  7. Gene October 1, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    this is so cool! I just bought the most cool “Mini Bun” pan that I have ever seen…it looks like Aluminum but I never gave it a second thought until now! While I’m setting at the table tomorrow morning eating that Peanut Butter Chocolate coffee cake with that most incredible wife of mine, I’m going to giggle and she will look at me like I’ve lost my last marble but I can show her your web site! Thank you again!

  8. Phil December 3, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    So you say this is Good Information??? “Alzheimer’s causes high aluminum levels” Interesting statement with NO Facts to back up the statement. Just One Question, how in the world would Alzheimer’s cause a build up of Aluminum in the brain????

    I say GIVE me a break…….until some proof from a credible source is presented.

    Kitchen Myths sound like an add from Alcoa Aluminum……So all those who buy it, keep using that Antiperspirant, those pans, the Clabber baking powder…..

    O, what was I just saying……..

  9. Kerr December 16, 2011 at 6:22 am

    My Father-in-law has just enter a hospice after battling early onset Alzheimer’s. He was diagnosed age 52 and he is about to die age 64. He worked for some years with aluminium. He was denied any insurance payment because the tissues that were biopsied (not his brain) were 0.14 below the threshold the insurance company had set for aluminium poisoning. There is a lot of misinformation out there, in a similar way the tobacco industry used to operate. Eventually the truth will come but many people will suffer before it does.

    I came to this site as I searched for how long aluminium takes to breakdown in the body. My Father-in-law is donating his body.

  10. Pingback: Aluminum Cookware disease – Aluminum Cookware | Cookware Guru » Blog Archive

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