Believe it or not, aluminum is actually the most vastly distributed metal on Earth. It finds its uses in how we handle our cookware, drinking water, and kitchen supplies, and even makes its way into our baking sodas, vanilla powders, aspirins, deodorants/antiperspirants, cake mixes, and a number of other products as well; basically, it’s all over the place.
And Aluminum foil might be one of the biggest offenders that we all never really gave much thought. A recent study has shown that heat causes aluminum from the foil to leach out into foods in significantly harmful amounts.1
The researchers found dangerously high levels of aluminum in foods after being cooked, reheated, and even cooled on aluminum foil. The cause for alarm is that when aluminum accumulates in the body, it can lead to osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.
What’s more, Dr. Zubaidy, one of the study authors, comments that:
“The higher the temperature, the more the leaching. Foil is not suitable for cooking and is not suitable for using with vegetables like tomatoes, citrus juice or spices.”2
On the other hand, the researchers also noted that foil can be considered safe to wrap cold foods, since no leaching was observed without heating. They also did not find a difference if the shiny or dull side were in contact with food.
The story doesn’t really end there either. Aluminum also makes its way into a number of different food additives on the market, many of which are common in restaurant foods around the world. You’d think with how widely used it is, this metal would be harmless, right? Well unfortunately, that isn’t really the case. Unlike iron (a mineral that your body actually needs), your body doesn’t need aluminum at all – in fact, it’s better off without it.
Because your body doesn’t actually need it, it doesn’t really know what to do with it. Of course it will try to get rid of some of it over time, but in the end (because of how much exposure we get), it builds up. Eventually, this metal builds up in our lungs, brain, kidneys, liver, and thyroid, which can have the following damaging effects on your body:
1. Aluminum Damages the Central Nervous System (CNS)
Back in the mid 2000s, aluminum exposure was linked to autism in young children. Especially with children exposed to high aluminum levels in drinking water, autism rates showed a significantly increased change in prevalence. In regards to adults, exposure to this metal can also lead to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Lytico-bodig (which resembles amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
2. Aluminum Depletes Your Body of Valuable Minerals
When your brain is exposed to high levels of aluminum, the metal crosses the blood-brain barrier and builds up around the hippocampus, cortex, and other regions that are also linked to Alzheimer’s disease (reinforcing point #1).
Because more aluminum is entering your brain than it can handle (and eliminate), the brain cells become at risk of taking significant toxic damage. With so much aluminum gathered in your brain, it starts to compete with essential metals that your body and brain can actually use (e.g. magnesium, calcium, and iron). As a result, a lot of these minerals are left to waste.
3. Aluminum can Damage Your Brain
Keep in mind that the above points already link aluminum toxicity to the damaging effects that it has on the brain; however, that isn’t the end of the story. Research has shown that aluminum can cause toxic, oxidative stress in the brain. This stress can lead to ADD, epilepsy, MS, and a number of other neurological disorders that are hard to treat.
4. Aluminum can Damage Your Bones
Aluminum doesn’t just build up in and around the brain. It can also accumulate around your bone tissue, resulting in a weakened bones and an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
If you want to avoid aluminum, I’d recommend cutting out certain unhealthy, processed foods that introduce it to your diet. While that’s a great start, you can also look into buying kitchen and hygiene products that are aluminum free; don’t worry, they do exist.