Recent test results left me mystified.
For over ten years, I have been on the trail of heavy metal. And no, I’m not talking Led Zepplin, here! Twice a year, I test myself using a Tissue Mineral Analysis to identify patterns of glandular health and emotional trends that can be assessed from mineral ratios (sodium to potassium correlates with adrenal function, calcium to potassium reveals thyroid efficiency, low sodium and high potassium is known as the fear formula, while calcium to magnesium is associated with blood sugar).
Imagine my surprise when I received my latest TMA—which is done by collecting a hair sample—and saw aluminum levels that were sky-rocketing. Hair is an especially good barometer of toxic metals because it reveals a three month window into your body’s biochemistry. There are many inherent dangers in the widespread use of aluminum. I know because I have written about them!
For starters, aluminum compromises digestion because it has a tendency to neutralize the protein-digestive enzyme pepsin in the stomach. In addition, it interferes with the body’s ability to use magnesium, calcium, and phosophorus, putting one at increased risk of osteoporosis. Impaired motor coordination and Alzheimer’s have been associated directly and indirectly with aluminum. Autopsies of people who have died with Alzheimer’s have found aluminum in the nerve cell plaques in the cerebral cortex.
Other symptoms include dryness of the skin and mucus membranes, heartburn, colic, flatulence, ulcers, spasms of the esophagus, appendicitis, constipation due to muscular weakness, and long-term memory loss. Parkinson’s and dementia have been associated with early signs of aluminum toxicity.
But where oh where was my aluminum coming from?
As I write this blog, I can hear the words of Dr. Hazel Parcells, grande dame of alternative medicine, “I’d rather have the most deadly serpent in the kitchen than a single aluminum pot or pan.” So, for decades (literally) I have never (knowingly) used an aluminum pot or pan, got rid of every aluminum utensil I owned—including tea kettles, measuring cups, and strainers—and banished aluminum-containing antiperspirants, cosmetics, and antacids (like Maalxo, Mylanta, and Gelusil) from my medicine cabinet.
But, truth be told, I might have gotten a little bit sloppy in the past few years with aluminum foil for cooking and reheating—especially when I have run out of parchment paper. After all, as I wrote in my first book, Beyond Pritikin, “No food or drink, especially acidic foods that are tomato based should be cooked or covered in aluminum or aluminum foil.” No more foil for me!
Hmm. I also realized that I have been traveling quite a bit lately and that aluminum is used to purify water in municipal water supplies. Since I have made it a habit to drink hot water (and lemon) in restaurants, could it have came from an aluminum pot or kettle they most likely use? Or was the water itself full of aluminum from being treated with aluminum salts?
From now on, I will try to drink room temperature bottled water when I am eating out. (While there are no guarantees here, at least I can eliminate the possibility of it being heated in an aluminum pot or kettle).
Since my analysis, I have become more passionate than ever in figuring out the cause—not just the condition—behind accumulating aluminum and all kinds of maladies.
The bottom line: No matter what your condition, identifying and eliminating toxins you never suspected you were exposed to can transform your health with some simple, common sense environmental intervention. I will report on my progress shortly after I retest with a second TMA in about a month.