Aluminum and Crohn's Disease

Although the exact mechanisms responsible for Crohn's Disease and its disease course have yet to be fully described, Crohn's pathology is generally accepted to result from a combination of effects including:
Genetic Background
Environmental Factors
Diet and Nutrition
Unknown Factors

Possible Role of Aluminum in Crohn's Disease
Aluminum has been proposed to have a role in Crohn's Disease Induction or Symptom Exacerbation.

How are we Exposed to Aluminum?

Aluminum is a very common metal, making up about 8% of the Earth's surface. Exposure to Aluminum in daily life is expected. However, certain professions and activities can dramatically increase one's Exposure Risk.

A large amount of Aluminum is Ingested by Diet. This is not only from specific food products themselves but also from Aluminum leaching from containers into foods or beverages during storage or cooking. An Estimated 20% of the average person's Aluminum Intake is from Cookware and Utensils.
-- More Aluminum will leach from pots if food is stored in the pot (or other aluminum containing container) and/or if food is acidic. [6]
-- In general, cooking foods in Aluminum containing pots/pans is Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS). [6]

Other Dietary Sources of Aluminum Include:
Cheese Products
Soda / Diet Soda / Low pH of Soda can Leach Aluminum from Beverage Cans [7][8]
-- Check out the pH of your favorite soda HERE
Purified Drinking Water
Soy Milk Products / Soy Based Infant Formula [6]
Baking Powder
Cake Mixes
Non Dairy Creamer
Powdered Milk

When Soil pH is in the Acidic Range (Less than a pH of 4.5 or 5), Aluminum is more available to be taken up by plant roots. Acidic Soils can increase the amount of Aluminum in plants you consume.

Citrate and Citric Acid (such as in Orange Juice and in certain Calcium Supplements) can interact with Aluminum and increase the body's Absorption of Aluminum. This can result in higher levels of Aluminum found in the body. [6]

Vitamin D may increase the body's Absorption of Aluminum but more studies are needed in this area as conclusive evidence has not been found either way. [6]

Ground Water - Ground Water can concentrate Aluminum from natural runoff, particularly in areas where Aluminum is found at high levels in the ground naturally.
Ground Water in Urban settings have higher levels of Aluminum in part due to Acidic Rain which causes more Aluminum to leach from the soil into the Ground Water supply.

Acidic Soil Conditions increase the amount of Aluminum leaching and can reach toxic levels in soil and ground water.

Industrial Areas - Aluminum is found at greater levels in the Soil and Air near Coal Plants and in areas of Aluminum Mining.

Medical Treatment
Aluminum Containing Antacids [6]
Anti-Diarrheal Medications
Antiperspirants [6]
Astringent [6]
Buffered Aspirin (up to 10 - 20 mg Aluminum per pill) [6]
Hemorroid Ointment
Vaccines [6]

Occupational and/or Daily Living Exposures
Dust and Chemical exposures to Aluminum can be higher in the following types of occupations:
Coal Plants
Disposal Sites for Hazardous Waste or Aluminum Containing Waste (Persons living near)
Food Additives
Fumigation Chemicals
Light Bulbs
Printing and Publishing / Manufacture of Parchment Paper [6]
Pesticide (Aluminum phosphide)
Petroleum Plants [6]
Textile Industries / Dyes / Leather Tanning - Alum (Aluminum sulfate) 6]
Welders [6]

How Does Aluminum Affect Crohn's Disease?

Aluminum (along with Silicon and Magnesium) concentrates have been found in Peyer's Patches of persons over the age of 6 with normal or diseased bowel.
Since these Aluminum containing concentrates are present in both normal and diseased bowel specimens, it is thought that Aluminum contributes to disease only in susceptible individuals.

Aluminum is known to trigger Inflammation responses from the Immune System, Including Release of:
IL1B - Interleukin 1-beta
IL6 - Interleukin 6
TNF - Tumor Necrosis Factor

Exacerbation of GI Tract Inflammation upon Exposure to Aluminum has been shown in Animal Studies:
Aluminum added to the drinking water of mice experimentally induced to have Colitis caused significantly more severe Colitis than mice that did not have Aluminum added to their water.[2]

Quoted From RB Sartor 2006. Reference [3]
"Dietary iron and aluminum can potentiate experimental
"Dietary additives such as aluminum and iron have a well-described adjuvant activity and stimulate bacterial virulence."[3]
Quoted From RB Sartor[4]
"We observed that dietary iron, sucrose, fructose, and aluminum potentiates colitis in interleukin (IL)-10-deficient mice"[4]

How do I Reduce Aluminum Toxicity?

Current recommendations for reducing Aluminum Toxicity include:
- Decrease Exposure to Aluminum
-- Aluminum is found everywhere throughout the environment so it is impossible to completely stop your exposure to Aluminum. Reducing your exposure is key.
-- Do not ingest Citrate or Citric Acid containing substances during Aluminum exposure as the combination can dramatically increase Aluminum levels in the body.

- Certain Substances may help Reduce the Body's load of Aluminum or its Toxic Effects. [6]
-- Herbal Medicine Bacopa moniera (reduces toxic effects)
-- Herbal Medicine Dipsacus asper Wall extract (reduces toxic effects)
-- Folic Acid
-- Melatonin
-- Silicon / Silicic Acid (Beer contains high levels of Silicon)
-- Vitamin C (reduces toxic effects)
-- Vitamin E (reduces toxic effects)


1. Lerner A. Aluminum as an adjuvant in Crohn's disease induction. Lupus. 2012; 21: 231-238.

2. Lerner A. et al. The Role of Aluminum in Bacterial-induced Colitis in Young IL-10-deficient Mice.Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: November 2006 - Volume 43 - Issue - p S13-S14. doi: 10.1097/01.mpg.0000256197.51096.b8 Extended Abstracts of the Lectures:

3. Sartor RB. Mechanisms of Disease: pathogenesis of Crohn’s
disease and ulcerative colitis. NATURE CLINICAL PRACTICE GASTROENTEROLOGY & HEPATOLOGY. 2006; 3(7): 390-407.

4. RB Sartor. Rationale and Efficacy of Manipulating Intestinal Bacteria in Chronic Intestinal Inflammation by Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Diet. 111th Abbott Nutrition Research Conference. Inflammation and Nutrition in Chronic Disease.

5. ToxFAQs™ for Aluminum. ATSDR. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Updated September 2008. Accessed September 2012.

6. Toxic Substances Portal. Aluminum. ATSDR. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. CAS#: 7429-90-5. Updated September 2008. Accessed September 2012.

7. "Rotting Teeth." Yahoo Health. Updated September 2012; Accessed September 2012.

8. Lloyd R. "Acids in Popular Sodas Erode Tooth Enamel." Live Science. Updated March 2007; Accessed September 2012.

Popular Threads Discussing Aluminum

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08-26-2012, 02:11 PM   #1
David's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Naples, Florida
If aluminum makes symptoms worse, what should people avoid? How do most people ingest aluminum?
It's good to be back
08-26-2012, 02:24 PM   #2
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KatyBuckeye's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Michigan
This is interesting. I have a genetic condition known as generalized hyperhidrosis, which basically means that I suffer from excessive (and I mean excessive!) sweating. For me, it manifests mostly in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, although my entire body is also affected. I've had this condition since puberty and I've tried many different treatments. One of those treatments has involved using a very high percentage of aluminum chloride to subdue the sweat glands. In light of a possible connection to Crohn's, I may have to reconsider this treatment option- although it does make the sweating at least somewhat bearable.

Commercial deodorants also include aluminum. Also, cooking with aluminum pots and pans can be another source of ingesting the substance.
Current Treatment: Probioics, Fermented Cod Liver Oil, Butter Oil, Boswellia, Tumeric, Serropeptase, Low Dose Naltrexone
Diet: Paleo diet (after following a customized version of SCD/GAPS for several months)
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08-26-2012, 06:26 PM   #3
Judith's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: California
Very interesting about your hyperhydrosis treatment....
Excellent points too regarding deodorant and pots/pans.
Thank you!
Will you let us know what you find about about the Aluminium Chloride treatments and Crohn's?
08-27-2012, 12:57 PM   #4
David's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Naples, Florida
"Aluminum added to the drinking water of mice experimentally induced to have Colitis caused significantly more severe Colitis than mice that did not have Aluminum added to their water."

Do you have a link to that study?
08-27-2012, 01:43 PM   #5
Judith's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: California
Check out Ref [2]. I cannot provide the [1] paper because of copyright.
08-31-2012, 11:13 PM   #6
Senior Member
mreyn's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Texas
Ok, so this is very interesting to me. My sons naturopath took hair samples and did tests and he showed off the charts for aluminum??? Now I have to see what to do about that!
09-01-2012, 07:20 AM   #7
JMelia's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Would Occupational Exposure of Printing and Publishing include working in a bookstore? I spent 12 years in the book industry.
09-03-2012, 05:30 AM   #8
cliffjockey's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: North Ayrshire West of Scotland
Makes me wonder the same, I never had any symptoms for the first 30 years of my life, and after a few years of working in an aircraft MRO facility where we have a massive problem with aluminium dust ( although the management deny it) then I develop crohns that hits me so badly I go from being in seemingly perfect health to lying in a high dependancy unit having had a hemicollectomy after having a ruptured bowel because it was so badly diseased they couldn't to anything with it. I had never been exposed to high levels of aluminium before this. Coincidence?
09-09-2012, 02:58 AM   #9
Judith's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: California
Interesting..... JMelia, I know part of the manufacturing process for paper involves a step with Aluminum containing chemicals but do not know how much Aluminum is retained in the paper itself at the end of the process for you to be exposed to in a bookstore. It possibly also varies by the type of paper and manufacturer. I am curious now that you raised the question.
02-17-2013, 05:40 PM   #10
Senior Member
PollyH's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
You might want to include in your aluminum write up the fact that aluminum blocks the creation of alpha ketoglutarate.

"Aluminum can block the enzyme that makes alpha ketoglutarate in the Krebs cycle (this can also occur due to manganese deficiency)." From Andrew Cutler's book, Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities.

The toxin from yeast called acetaldehyde will also lower alpha ketoglutarate.

Without the Kreb's energy cycle working properly, your immune system has a more difficult time getting rid of yeast overgrowth.

Supplements of alpha ketoglutarate are available. Presently, New Beginnings carries it. The supplement doesn't last long in storage, so only purchase enough for your immediate needs. Only take as much as needed. Excess can be excitotoxic.

Also, some yeast create tartaric acid. (Yes, that is the same tartar found in tartar sauce and in wine.) The tartaric acid increases your absorption of aluminum. The tartaric acid itself interferes with the formation of malic acid. (That is why some people with fibromyalgia feel a lot better when they take a malate supplement.)
02-17-2013, 07:04 PM   #11
David's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Naples, Florida
Very interesting Polly, thank you.

You mention the malate supplement. Any opinion of magnesium malate?
02-17-2013, 09:16 PM   #12
Senior Member
PollyH's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
Magnesium malate is a good source of malate. There is enough malate in it to make a difference without having to take so much that you end up with diarrhea from the magnesium.
02-17-2013, 09:36 PM   #13
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PollyH's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
One of the participants at a DAN! conferences said that treatment with lipoic acid pulled aluminum out of her child. Then there is citric and malic acid, which will attach to aluminum and bring it into or out of cells. [5] Dr. William Shaw mentioned that 2000 mg of malic acid per day for an adult is very effective in the removal of aluminum. Other dietary acids (oxalic, tartaric, succinic, aspartic and glutamic acids) will form aluminum complexes which can transport aluminum. [6] Aspirin removes aluminum from the blood. [7] Invitro tests show that DMSO will remove aluminum from brain tissue. [8] Desferrioxamine, cysteine and EDTA will also remove aluminum. DMSA isn’t very good at removing aluminum.

Being low on silicon predisposes you to aluminum poisoning. There is a good article on aluminum at The article states that Carl Pfeiffer, PhD, MD uses magnesium, zinc, manganese, vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B12 and folic acid to bring down copper or aluminum levels. Manganese is usually supplemented as about a third of what is given in zinc. However, it depends on an individual’s readings. Magnesium, calcium and B6 are also important when you have aluminum poisoning. [10] Aluminum attaches to phosphate and may lead to low levels of phosphate or interference with the use of phosphate. [11] Check alpha-ketoglutaric acid levels if you suspect aluminum poisoning. The aluminum will interfere with the formation of this amino acid. [12] Glycine is also very important for the removal of aluminum. This is from the description of glycine from Kirkman Labs:

Mineral salts of glycine have the ability to chelate aluminum and transport it out of the body. … Glycine and Taurine (another amino acid) have virtually the same action on neurons in the brain. Both have a relaxing, calming effect, another desirable response when doing stress inducing metal detoxification using DMSA and/or lipoic acid. Glycine and Taurine work synergistically with each other.

5. Domingo JL; Gómez M; Llobet JM; Corbella J, “Citric, malic and Succinic Acids as Possible Alternatives to Deferoxamine in Aluminum Toxicity,” Clinical Toxicity, Vol.26, 1988 pp. 67-79 and Domingo JL; Gomez M; Sanchez DJ; Llobet JM; Corbella J, “Effect of various dietary constituents on gastrointestinal absorption of aluminum from drinking water and diet.” Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol, 1993 Mar, 79:3, 377-80

6. Berthon G; Daydé S, “Why aluminum phosphate is less toxic than aluminum hydroxide.” J Am Coll Nutr, 1992 Jun, 11:3, 340-8

7. McGeer P. (1990) In: New Scientist, 16 June 1990, as reported in article byDoug Cross at “Evidence for the existence of a biochemical pathway that could account for the translocation of aluminium from the water supply to the tissues of the supposed victims of the North Cornwall poisoning of 1988.”

8. Ward Dean, M, “Crosslinkage Theory of Aging, Part III: The Neurotoxic Effects of Aluminum” VRP Newsletter, March 2002

9. Carlisle, E.M., and Curran, M.J. “Effect of dietary silicon and aluminum on silicon and aluminum levels in rat brain.” Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders 1987, 1, 83-89

10. Blaurock-Busch, Eleonore, PhD, with Griffin, Veronica, PhD, Mineral and Trance Element Analysis: Laboratory and Clinical Applications, TMI, Inc. Boulder, CO, 1996, [email protected], page 16

11. Elemental Analysis Hair lab report notes from Genova Diagnostics Diagnostic Laboratory, August 2001

12. Ganrot, P.O., “Metabolism and Possible Health Effects of Aluminum”, Environmental Health Perspectives, 1986; 65: pp.363-441.
02-18-2013, 04:23 PM   #14
Senior Member
PollyH's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
I've found various places on the internet where they mention using calcium pyruvate to help reduce aluminum absorption.(The pyruvate attaches to the aluminum.) However, I found the following excerpt about creatine pyruvate even more interesting. This is from one of the Blaylock Wellness Reports, where they were talking about removing aluminum in a person suffering from ALS.

"Creatine pyruvate could also be very beneficial, as it blocks the excitotoxicity that causes neuron destruction. Pyruvate has been shown to bind and remove aluminum from the nervous system. About two grams of it mixed with another two grams of buffered vitamin C two to three times a day is usually sufficient. This not only removes the metals, but it improves neuron function."
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