Aluminium and iron in humans: bioaccumulation, pathology, and removal

Rejuvenation Res. 2010 Oct;13(5):589-98. doi: 10.1089/rej.2009.0995.


It is well known that exposure to various elements has a noticeable effect on human health. The effect of an element is determined by several characteristics, including its similarity to elements of biological necessity, metabolism, and degree of interaction with physiological processes. This review investigates the scientific literature of iron and aluminium to evaluate the extent to which these elements accumulate and cause pathology in humans. Iron was chosen for review because it is necessary for human life while seemingly having relationships with numerous pathological states such as heart disease, cancer, and impaired insulin sensitivity. Aluminium is reviewed because of its prevalence in daily life, observed interference with several biological processes, controversial relationship with Alzheimer disease, and lack of physiological role. Furthermore, because each of these metals has long been investigated for a possible relationship with various pathological states, a substantial volume of research is available regarding the effects of iron and aluminium in biological systems. For both aluminium and iron, this review focuses on: (1) Evaluating the evidence of toxicity, (2) considering the possibility of bioaccumulation, and (3) exploring methods of managing their accumulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum / adverse effects*
  • Aluminum / metabolism*
  • Chelating Agents / metabolism*
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Iron / adverse effects*
  • Iron / metabolism*


  • Chelating Agents
  • Aluminum
  • Iron