What’s All the Fuss Over Aluminum?

If you’ve been paying any attention to all the commotion over things like vaccines and antiperspirants the last couple of years, you may have heard concerns over aluminum. So, what’s all the fuss about?

Well, let’s start with facts:

1) Aluminum is a known NEUROTOXIN. Research has shown time and time again how aluminum is toxic to the central nervous system. It is a non-essential metal meaning it contributes nothing positive to our bodily functions, and it actually only seems to cause harm. Unfortunately, it’s also impossible to completely avoid since it is in our air, water, soil, food, many personal care products, etc. This is why it is SO critical to avoid it where you can (one thing I teach in my Women Loving Health membership).

2) Aluminum BIOACCUMULATION is possible. There is conflicting research regarding how much aluminum bioaccumulates in the average person, but there is also very little research measuring aluminum in our blood and tissue after different routes that aluminum can enter the body. Ingestion through water or food, absorption through your skin into your bloodstream through antiperspirants, inhalation through the air, and intramuscular injection through vaccines. While not all of that has been thoroughly studied, it is known that it can accumulate in those with poor renal function (kidney issues) as the liver and kidneys are the primary removers of aluminum in the body. But what about others who have issues with their detoxification pathways? Genetic mutations, like MTHFR? This is one study which shows aluminum bound to brain tissue, in those with Alzheimer’s, autism, MS, and epilepsy.

Okay, time to get to what y’all really want to know…aluminum in vaccines.

Aluminum is an adjuvant in vaccines. Meaning, aluminum is put in vaccines to stimulate a stronger immune response. Without an adjuvant, the immune system would not respond well enough to a weakened or dead virus to create any type of lasting antibodies. The type of artificial or unnatural immune response it creates is actually a topic for an entirely different blog post! Curious about the autoimmune epidemic or severe allergy crisis? Just sayin’…do your research.

Hasn’t it been tested though? Don’t we know it’s safe and effective? What about the FDA? Don’t they create safe limits for this kind of thing? This is a yes and no situation.

Per the FDA,

“When evaluating a vaccine for safety and efficacy, FDA considers adjuvants as a component of the vaccine; they are not licensed separately.”

This means they have not been required to provide safety or efficacy studies for any of the individual ingredients before putting them in vaccines, including aluminum. Kinda scary, right? Considering what we just covered on how dangerous aluminum can be!

Ok, well, what about safe limits and maximum amount a person can handle?

For starters, as a former pediatric nurse, it bothers me that vaccines are not measured per body weight like almost every other medical intervention in the pediatric world of medicine. Why would an infant get the same dose as an 18 year old adult? If you don’t believe me, you can check it out here in the first few sections of the package insert. You will see “Persons from birth through 19 years of age: A series of 3 doses (0.5 mL each)…” in the dosing section. Some may argue that vaccines are not medication, so they don’t need to be dosed as such, and they’re injected, which is a different route than many medications. I would argue that because there are so many ingredients in vaccines that have designated “safe limits” and doses in other contexts, shouldn’t they be dosed like the ingredients are individually? At least into smaller groups than birth through 19 years? And even injected medications like Rocephin and Bicillin shots (antibiotic shots) are dosed based on age and weight. Just some food for thought.

As far as the “safe limits” for injected aluminum, it is a very confusing rabbit hole. Let me share a couple of things I found.

This overview of calculations performed by scientists for the FDA shows “that the benefits of aluminum-containing vaccines administered during their first year of life outweigh any theoretical concerns about the potential effect of aluminum on infants.” Two problems I have with this, the first being that it is a paper based on mathematical calculations, and they call it a “study”. They “studied” numbers, pen & paper…I don’t see any results from actual patients, clinical trials, or results looking at actual humans in any type of study, so I guess I could be missing something. The second problem I have is how they describe the concerns about aluminum as “theoretical”. The FDA has an entire “Title” in their “Code of Federal Regulations” dedicated to aluminum levels just for parenteral nutrition for neonates…aka TPN (basically, IV food) for tiny babies, some premature. In this Title, the FDA states, “(a) The aluminum content of large volume parenteral (LVP) drug products used in total parenteral nutrition (TPN) therapy must not exceed 25 micrograms per liter ([micro]g/L).” Why? It goes on to say that all package inserts must have a WARNING section that states:

"WARNING: This product contains aluminum that may be toxic. Aluminum may reach toxic levels with prolonged parenteral administration if kidney function is impaired. Premature neonates are particularly at risk because their kidneys are immature, and they require large amounts of calcium and phosphate solutions, which contain aluminum.

Research indicates that patients with impaired kidney function, including premature neonates, who receive parenteral levels of aluminum at greater than 4 to 5 [micro]g/kg/day accumulate aluminum at levels associated with central nervous system and bone toxicity. Tissue loading may occur at even lower rates of administration."

So, this proves to me that they are capable of researching how aluminum affects certain populations, and making “safe limits” based on the research. This is research and limits set for a special subpopulation in a specific situation though, therefore, I don’t personally think it can be used to create any limits for anyone not in this specific population (premature babies or those with impaired kidney function) as well as for a different route! IV (Intravenous) is a different route than IM (Intramuscular). But, just to do a little math…

Let’s take their “4-5 micrograms/kg/day” limit to prevent toxic levels. Again, this is a limit set for premature babies or those with immature or impaired kidney function, as well as for an IV route vs IM…but let’s just humor ourselves.

An average 1 day old infant in America is around 7 lbs. 7lbs / 2.2 = 3.18 kg, which is the weight of the infant in kilograms.

Per this calculation - an infant weighing 3.18kg should not receive more than 12.72 - 15.9 micrograms of aluminum per day via an intravenous route.

Unless you refuse, your infant (in America) receives the Hepatitis B shot. This shot alone contains 250 micrograms when given the 0.5 mL that is indicated in the dosage section. Yes…you read that correctly…250! Which is about 15 times more than the daily max limit we just established per the FDA’s calculation (15.9 micrograms/day).

All that to say, there definitely needs to be more research in how the body handles aluminum via the different routes of entrance as stated in this paper.

I hope I have given you enough food for thought, and some good starting points when conducting your research to suit the health needs of you and your family. In summary:

  • Aluminum is a known neurotoxin, so avoid it where possible, but PLEASE don’t handicap yourself with stress

  • Bioaccumulation does need more research, but the research we do have does show aluminum can connect & collect in the central nervous tissue

  • Please do your research & homework

If you feel you have more questions regarding anything discussed in this blog post or anything else you have seen me post here (or on Instagram ), don’t hesitate to comment, send me a message, or just schedule a Q&A with Pey. The session allows us to answer as many of your questions as we can in 45 minutes (vaccine-related or not), and helps you to leave the session more confident in your health decisions than when we started. Let’s do our homework, but don’t forget to keep daily health simple, no matter how many rabbit holes there are to go down, so it’s something we can love instead of stress over.


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