Aluminum exposure and Alzheimer's disease

J Alzheimers Dis. 2001 Dec;3(6):541-549. doi: 10.3233/jad-2001-3604.


The regulatory agencies of the United States and Canada have placed aluminum on priority lists for research designed to fill data gaps relating to neurotoxicity. This is to create a factual basis for the establishment of health standards for drinking water. In this review, we consider evidence for a significant role for aluminum in AD. Aluminum has been implicated as a potential risk factor in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and for elderly cognitive impairment by epidemiology studies of drinking water and a food study. Most people experience aluminum brain overload in the aging process. Aluminum levels over 20 times higher than those of a middle-aged group were found in a brain autopsy study of elderly persons, roughly correlating over the age period with densities of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Persons with AD have been found to experience increased absorption of aluminum and higher blood levels. More controversially, the majority of brain studies also show elevated aluminum levels, though there is disagreement over location of metal buildup. Clinical intervention to lower brain aluminum by chelation has slowed the progression of AD.