Myth 4: Drinking out of aluminum cans or cooking in aluminum
pots and pans can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
During the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum emerged as a possible
suspect in Alzheimer’s. This suspicion led to concern about
exposure to aluminum through everyday sources such as pots
and pans, beverage cans, antacids and antiperspirants.
Since then, studies 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.
1960 1970 年代，鋁被懷疑可能導致阿茲海默症。
'There is no conclusive medical or scientific evidence
of a link between aluminium and Alzheimer's disease.
There have been three independent scientific enquiries
into the Camelford incident, none of which have found
a causal link with dementia.
Whilst this is a sad and tragic incident, it should not
lead to wider panic. Aluminium is one of the most
abundant minerals in the world, and worldwide research
has not found any evidence that exposure to everyday
levels of aluminium is a risk factor for Alzheimer's
The Alzheimer's Society offers help and support to
families affected by dementia throughout the country
and we would be happy to offer advice to any families
living in the Camelford area.
We still do not know what causes Alzheimer's disease,
and until this time the Alzheimer's Society supports
all research into potential causes and cures.'
In 1965, researchers found that rabbits injected with an
extremely high dose of aluminium developed toxic tau tangles
in their brains. This led to speculation that aluminium
from cans, cookware, processed foods and even the water
supply could be causing dementia. The ability of this
high dose aluminium to induce tau tangles, increase amyloid
levels and contribute to the development of plaques has
been shown in laboratory experiments on animals.
Importantly, these results were only seen with extremely
high exposures that far exceed the levels that can enter
the body through food or potentially through contact with
Since this study was reported, much research has been done
on the relationship of aluminium and Alzheimer's disease.
As yet no study or group of studies has been able to
confirm that aluminium is involved in the development
of Alzheimer's disease.
Aluminium is seen in the normal, healthy brain. It is
not clear how aluminium is getting into the brain from
the blood. The levels currently seen in peoples brains
hasn't been shown to be toxic but an ageing brain may
be less able to process the aluminium. Although aluminium
has been seen in amyloid plaques there is no solid evidence
that aluminium is increased in the brains of people with
Alzheimer's disease. No convincing relationship between
amount of exposure or aluminium in the body and the
development of Alzheimer's disease has been established.
Aluminium in food and drink is in a form that is not easily
absorbed in to the body. Hence the amount taken up is less
than 1% of the amount present in food and drink. Most of
the aluminium taken into the body is cleaned out by the
kidneys. Studies on people with kidney problems have shown
increased amounts of aluminium in the brain, due to the
inability of the kidneys to pass it into the urine. Although
toxic effects were seen on the brain in these people, none
of these were related to Alzheimer's disease.
One large recent study did find a potential role for high
dose aluminium in drinking water in progressing Alzheimer's
disease for people who already have the disease.
However, multiple other small and large scale studies have
failed to find a convincing causal association between
aluminium exposure in humans and Alzheimer's disease.
Is there a connection between aluminum and the
development of dementia?
Aluminum has been studied for over 40 years as
a substance that might be linked to dementia.
However, there have been many conflicting findings.
Some studies show increased levels of trace elements
of aluminum in the brains of people with dementia,
while others do not.
Studies have not found an increased incidence of
dementia in people with occupational exposure to
Tea is one of the few plants whose leaves accumulate
larger trace element amounts of aluminum that can
seep into the brewed beverage. However, there is no
evidence that dementia is more prevalent in cultures
that typically drink large amounts of tea.
Unfortunately, earlier animal studies focused on one
animal that is particularly susceptible to aluminum
poisoning, which has led to incorrect conclusions
about the general effects of aluminum on the body.
What about pots and pans?
It would be difficult to significantly reduce
exposure to aluminum simply by avoiding the
use of aluminum cookware, foil, beverage cans
and other products.
Use of aluminum in pots and pans only contributes
to a very small percentage of the average person's
intake of aluminum.
Current research provides no convincing evidence
that exposure to trace elements of aluminum is
connected to the development of dementia.