Q: I recently switched deodorant brands to cut down my exposure to aluminum, but I know that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What other steps should I take to reduce my exposure?
Dr. Wright: Avoiding aluminum as much as you can is a very good idea, since it really has no place in human metabolism.
But, unfortunately, avoiding aluminum altogether is literally impossible. That’s because aluminum is one of the most abundant elements in soil. So anything that grows from the ground — or eats things growing from the ground — contains aluminum. Here are some examples of the average amounts of aluminum found in common foods:
- Wheat and corn: 140 PPM (parts per million)
- Potatoes: 100 PPM
- Lettuce: 90 PPM
- Beans: 165 PPM
- Tomatoes: 90 PPM
- Peppers: 75 PPM
- Celery: 190 PPM
- Peanuts: 75 PPM
- Melons: 75 PPM
- Pineapple: 100 PPM
- Bananas: 97 PPM
- Coffee: 97 PPM
You get the idea: There is no food containing zero aluminum.
Fortunately, your intestines have built-in safeguards against absorbing much of the aluminum that’s naturally present in foods. These safeguards work fairly well — unless your calcium intake drops too low. If your calcium intake is too low, your blood calcium might also start to drop. To prevent blood calcium from going too low, your body makes more parathyroid hormone (PTH). And, in addition to its other functions in the body, extra PTH significantly increases intestinal aluminum absorption.
So the best way to keep aluminum absorption down as much as possible is to make sure your calcium intake is adequate. Even though there’s certainly calcium in food, it’s still a good idea to take a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement with a minimum of 250-500 milligrams of supplemental calcium. A separate calcium-magnesium supplement with 1,000 milligrams or more of calcium may be an even better choice, depending on your individual needs: Talk to a doctor skilled in natural medicine to determine the best option for you. For a list of such doctors near you, contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine at (800) 532-3688 or visit their website, www.acamnet.org.