What is the Role of Aluminium in Good Nutrition?



Except those related to alternative medicines, no evidence could be found that Aluminium (Al) is a required nutrient for humans. Some sources clearly said that it is not a proven nutrient.

Key Functions of Al

Best sources of Al

Who would benefit from Al supplementation?

How much Al is usually taken?

What are the side effects of using Al?



Key Functions of Al


While aluminium is abundant in the environment, the naturally occurring forms are stable and do not interact with the biological processes which go on in living organisms. Under very acidic conditions, however, Al can be released from rocks and soils in a soluble form which can be absorbed by plants and animals. Some plants naturally accumulate relatively high amounts of Al-compounds in their leaves, from the soil in which they grow. Tea, for example, has high Al-content.


High levels of Al-hydroxide are present in antacid preparations used to treat indigestion, and in buffered aspirin tablets which are designed to reduce irritation of the stomach.


Other types of Al-compounds are used as food additives; for example, as colorants or to prevent the caking of powdered foods such as milk substitutes.


AL-sulphate is also widely used around the world in the treatment of water supplies. It is added as a flocculating agent to remove suspended particles, including the spores of some infectious organisms which are difficult to remove by other means.


Most of the aluminium is removed in the later stages of treatment and the final concentration is usually much less than two hundred parts per billion. Thus, drinking water contributes only a very small fraction, less than 1%, of the Al which we take in each day.



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Best sources of Al


Al is found in water, beverages, food, canned products, containers, and cooking utensils.


Other sources of Al include pharmaceutical preparations and the inhalation of dust particles.



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Who would benefit from Al-supplementation?


To date, no case reports of aluminium deficiency have been reported, and the biological importance of Al to the body is unknown.



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How much Al is usually taken?


The constant exposure of the element to the body makes it difficult to determine its minimum daily requirement.



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What are the side effects of using Al?


In the Nervous System aluminium blocks the electrical discharge of nerve cells, thereby reducing nervous system activity.


Al also inhibits important enzymes in the brain like hexokinase.


It also inhibit uptake of important chemicals by nerve cells such as dopamine, nor epinephrine, and 5-hydroxytryptamine.


It also impacts on Behavioral Effects example: dementia could be the result from kidney dialysis related to Al-toxicity which in turn could causes memory loss, loss of co-ordination, confusion and disorientation.


For the Digestive System - Al reduces intestinal activity, and by doing so can cause colic.


Early symptoms of Al-toxicity are associated with the following conditions:

  • flatulence, headaches, colic, dryness of skin and mucous membranes, tendency for colds, burning pain in head relieved by food, heartburn and an aversion to meat.

Later symptoms of Al-toxicity are associated with the following conditions:

  • Paralytic muscular conditions, loss of memory and mental confusion.

Other possible conditions associated with Al-toxicity are:

  • alzheimer's disease, hypoparathyroidism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, anemia, kidney dysfunction, liver dysfunction, hemolysis, ceukocytosis, porphyria, colitis, neuromuscular disorders, osteomalacia, dental cavities, parkinson's disease, dementia dialactica, and ulcers.

If you are experiencing some these disorders, contacting a doctor familiar with tests for metals could be beneficial to your health.


Trace amounts of the mineral are found in all living organisms. However, scientists are still not sure if it has any biological function in the body. The mineral makes up some 8 per cent of the Earth's crust, yet plants with the exception of tea take up remarkably little of it from the soil.


Most of the Al taken in by the human body is excreted rather than absorbed; the claim that excessive amounts in the diet can cause brain damage and may exacerbate disorders such asAlzheimer’s disease remains contentious.



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Aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease


A number of potential factors have been put forward as possible contributory causes of Alzheimer's disease in some people. Among these is aluminium. There is circumstantial evidence linking this metal with Alzheimer's disease but no causal relationship has yet been proved. As evidence for other causes continues to grow, a possible link with Al seems increasingly unlikely. Click here to find out more



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