January/February 2004 Alternative Health
Aluminum Toxicity, Plant-Derived Minerals & Chelation Therapies

by Keith Post, ND

Aluminum toxicity

Aluminum has been shown to be a risk factor in the onset of neurological diseases, notably Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Therefore, it is important to stop contamination from all potential aluminum sources. One source that is especially insidious that many people still don't know about, amazingly enough, is anti-perspirants. In fact, the one ingredient that differentiates most anti-perspirants from their neighbors on the shelf, the deodorants, is the addition of an aluminum compound. So, throw away anything labeled "anti-perspirant" today! The membranes of the axillary region are quite permeable, so systemic absorption does take place!

Body crystals are a good alternative. They are very cost effective, as they last a long time and leave no greasy film to contend with. They contain organic alum, which should not be confused with metallic inorganic aluminum compounds, and is completely safe to use.

Other potential sources of aluminum toxicity are aluminum cookware, some baking powders, some fluoridated drinking water and some antacid medications. Be sure to read labels and avoid all potential sources of aluminum toxicity! Also, check to see if your municipality fluoridates its water supply. If so, you would be wise to use a filtration system installed at the main, or at the very least, have well or spring water delivered to your home. For a manufacturer of a good water main filtration system, you might try The Rockland Corporation at www.trccorp.com and www.reachforlife.com.

It is important to note here that the form of aluminum present in the plant-derived liquid mineral supplements is not harmful. It appears in nature as aluminum hydroxide, which is an organic and non-metallic compound, having none of the neurotoxic effects that man-made aluminum compounds can cause.

Chelation therapies

There are many chelating agents that help the body to release its store of toxic heavy metals. The one that is most widely known and used most frequently in the past is ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid or EDTA, for short. It was originally developed as a treatment for lead toxicity, but has since been found to remove other metals as well, such as mercury, aluminum, arsenic and cadmium. It was also found to reverse atherosclerosis, causing arterial plaque to gradually and safely dissolve.

There are many other chelating agents besides EDTA that may be used, depending on which toxic metals are being targeted. For example, one Portland-based nutritional supplement company, Kirkman Laboratories, reports good results chelating out aluminum with the agent magnesium glycinate. Their website is www.kirkmanlabs.com. Another good resource for information on chelating out heavy metals is Doctor's Data at www.doctorsdata.com.

As I mentioned earlier, chelation is not used solely for removing toxic heavy metals from the body. It can also remove minerals that have "gone astray," so to speak. For example, many researchers are convinced that calcium is a big culprit in the aging process. When we are young, most of our body's calcium is stored in our bones and teeth. Over the years, however, due to poor dietary habits and deranged cellular metabolism, calcium leaves the bony structures and gets deposited all over the body in places where it shouldn't be. In the joints, it becomes osteoarthritis or bursitis. In the muscular connective tissue it leads to tendonitis, fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome. In the intima or muscle layer of the arteries, it leads to arteriosclerosis, which then predisposes one to atherosclerotic plaque formation, as calcium is also the hardening agent in plaque. In the gallbladder or kidneys, it becomes stones. In the skin it becomes wrinkles. And the list goes on?. In other words, as we age, our bodies are gradually turning to stone!!!

Chelation offers an excellent method to reverse this trend of depositing calcium where it shouldn't be, but is best started before health problems have progressed too far. The standard course of chelation treatments usually involves being hooked up to an intravenous drip in a doctor's office for four hours at a time once or twice weekly for a total of between 20 and 40 sessions.

Even so, it is amazing to note that the total combined cost of this course of treatment, including doctor's visits, procedures, lab monitoring and medical supplies is still quite reasonable when you compare it to the cost of a single coronary bypass surgical procedure in the United States. It is also much less invasive, does not threaten to take your life and treats all of the arteries in the body, as opposed to the two, three or four arteries that bypass procedures traditionally treat. Also, some insurance companies are now beginning to consider coverage of this wonderful procedure.

For more information on intravenous chelation and a list of physicians who practice this procedure, you can contact ACAM: American College of Advancement in Medicine, 23121 Verdugo Drive, Suite 204, Laguna Hills, California, 92653, (800) 532-3688, (714) 583-7666.

Besides intravenous chelation, there is also oral chelation using handfuls of capsules and tablets, chelation via homeopathic preparations and chelation via rectal suppositories, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages.

Keith Post, ND, LMT of Natural Health Services is a board-licensed naturopathic physician currently practicing in Beaverton, Oregon. Visit http://naturalhealthservices.info/.