We've known for decades that aluminum can cause severe damage to the brain. I can remember back in the 1980s getting rid of our aluminum pots after the first studies came out saying they could lead to brain damage. Fortunately, our understanding of how aluminum damages the brain has grown considerably. And now there's even a simple way to protect your brain from the heavy metal.
A study done 14 years ago out of the University of Kentucky Medical Center showed us that aluminum can definitely cross the blood-brain barrier. That's the barrier that protects our brain from a lot of the toxins in our body. But any toxin that can cross this barrier poses a threat to our brain function. When aluminum crosses this barrier, it increases the effectiveness of oxidation. This can destroy brain cells and severely affect your brain's ability to function properly. Whether this damage is the cause of Alzheimer's disease or not is still debated among researchers. But there's no doubt about the damage this metal can cause.
Unfortunately, aluminum is everywhere. It's in the environment and it's a major part of industry. You'll find the metal in your car, your cell phone, your appliances — just about everywhere. So it's impossible to avoid some exposure. That's the bad news.
The good news is that researchers from China Medical University in Shenyang found an easy way to protect your brain. They discovered that zinc has the unique ability to prevent aluminum from crossing the blood-brain barrier. If that's true, then it would prevent the resulting brain damage. Zinc, as you may know, is a major brain nutrient. It is the highest concentrated trace metal in your brain. So we know it's vital for brain function.
What these researchers discovered is that increasing the zinc levels in your brain can keep aluminum from destroying your brain cells. To do this, they gave varying doses of aluminum to rats. They gave one group just aluminum. They gave another group of mice aluminum in combination with zinc. And then they tested their blood-brain barrier for its permeability, ultrastructure, and the expression of the protein F-actin and the brain protein occludin.
In the mice that took only the aluminum, the researchers found that they had an increased permeability and a change in the ultrastructure of the blood-brain barrier. The aluminum also decreased the expression of both proteins. However, the rats taking the aluminum along with the zinc didn't experience any of these changes.
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This is great news about zinc. However, it really shouldn't change anything you're doing in regard to zinc supplementation. For most of us, taking 15 mg daily — the amount found in Healthy Resolve — should provide enough to protect our brain from aluminum. There's no indication at this point that taking more will help more. So if you're already taking Healthy Resolve, you're probably doing all you need to for preventing aluminum damage. Healthy Resolve also includes a small amount of copper to avoid problems of too much zinc.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.