Although most minerals pose little threat to health, aluminum may be an important exception. Trace amounts of the mineral are found in all living organisms. However, scientists are still not sure about its biological function in the body. The mineral makes up some 8 percent of the Earth’s crust, yet plants – with the exception of tea – take up remarkably little of it from the soil.

In most cases the aluminum taken in by the human body is excreted rather than absorbed. There is a general belief in the scientific and medical community that excessive amounts of aluminum in the diet can cause brain damage and may exacerbate disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. This idea remains contentious; nonetheless, we recommend avoiding aluminum cookware, food wrappings, and food additives as a safeguard.

Aluminum is added to table salt to prevent the grains from sticking together. It is added to underarm deodorants to help prevent perspiration. Low levels of aluminum can also occur in tap water because aluminum sulphate is often used in its purification. Aluminum hydroxide is an ingredient in many antacid tablets used to treat indigestion, and the mineral may also be dissolved by acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, pickles, or stewed fruit that have been cooked in aluminum pans.

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