Studies have demonstrated that cooking with aluminum foil can result in the ingestion of aluminum, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
For decades, scientists have alleged a connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, and whether such a link exists has been the subject of a long-standing debate within the scientific community.
When aluminum foil comes into direct contact with food, these foods absorb the metal. Cooking at high heat leads to even more leaching. Since aluminum foil is almost exclusively used for cooking and baking, it’s a serious cause for concern.
Unlike iron and other vitamins and minerals, our body does not need aluminum. Thus, it is not able to process it correctly. So what happens to it? It gets stored in our body and accumulates with time in our kidneys, liver, brain, thyroid, and lungs, which potentially does detrimental damage to our health.
As you may have heard, aluminum has a tendency to accumulate in the brain and other tissues, making aluminum exposure a serious risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Researchers have even found that the metal has the ability to reduce the growth rate of human brain cells.
Aluminum can be inhaled in small quantities when cooking foil-wrapped foods over an open flame. Aluminum that makes its way into your body through inhalation is harder for your body to purge than aluminum that’s been ingested or that’s made its way into your body through your skin.
Aluminum competes with calcium to interfere with bone remineralization. This leads to aluminum accumulating in the bones and high calcium levels in the blood. In turn, patients suffer from low bone density, decreased parathyroid hormone levels, and high risk of heart attack and stroke.
Sources of exposure
Aluminum exposure isn’t obvious if you don’t know the risks, so here are a few ways you may be poisoning yourself and your family.
Small pieces of aluminum may break off foil after unwrapping foil-covered food. Also, heat creates little cracks in the foil and makes it more likely to break food and make its way into your food. These flakes aren’t necessarily visible to the naked eye, so you may not even know it’s there.
Acidic foods and spices stored in aluminum containers or used alongside the metal during cooking speed up the leaching process. In fact, Dr. Essam Zubaidy, a chemical engineering researcher at the American University of Sharjah, discovered that just one meal cooked with tin foil can leach 400 mg of aluminum.
However, the World Health Organization warns that the daily maximum safe ingestion level should not exceed 1 mg/kg of body weight.
What you can do
You can’t completely cut your aluminum intake if you eat processed foods, eat at restaurants, or live near industrial factories. Produce and tap water also contain alarming levels of the metal.
Here are a few things you can do to limit your exposure:
- Don’t cook food with aluminum foil. Instead, use porcelain or cast iron bakeware.
- Don’t store any spices or acidic foods in aluminum.
- Replace aluminum foil with wax paper when baking or storing hot foods.
- Store leftovers in glass reusable containers.
- Replace aluminum pots and pans as well as cooking utensils with stainless steel.
- Filter tap water to remove any heavy metals.
For serious Alzheimer’s disease, the following chelating agents can be helpful:
Silica-rich water, such as Fiji water, which contains 83 mg of silica per liter. Research published in 2013 showed that drinking up to one liter of a silicon-rich mineral water daily for 12 weeks effectively excreted aluminum via the urine, without detrimental effects on essential metals such as iron and copper.
Research shows that melatonin has a metal binding role and is a useful supplement in the treatment of neurological disorders in which oxidative stress is involved, which includes Alzheimer’s. Melatonin can travel freely across all cellular barriers, facilitating the removal of toxic metals such as aluminum. It also appears to suppress the oxidative activity of aluminum in your brain.
Research suggests that curcumin has a protective effect against aluminum-induced damage by modulating the extent of oxidative stress. It also decreases beta-amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s, delays neuron degradation, chelates metals, decreases microglia formation, and has an overall anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effect. Studies have shown that curcumin can help improve memory in Alzheimer’s patients.
Substances that raise your glutathione levels
Our body synthesizes glutathione from three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. For this reason, it is good to consume foods high in these amino acids such as avocado, asparagus, grapefruit, strawberries, orange, tomato, broccoli, okra, peach, spinach, organic eggs, organic meat, red peppers, garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, and whey protein.
To boost your glutathione levels you can also include a proper exercise since it affects your adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels needed to help produce glutathione, optimize your vitamin D levels since it increases intracellular glutathione levels, you can have frequent Epsom salt baths or you can take food supplements such as MSM and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC).