A Norwegian TV-channel recently completed a six-part BBC-series called The Tipping Point. In this program they examined different habitats (the Amazon, the poles, the ocean etc.) and how close we are to a tipping point where it won’t be possible to reverse the trend within a relatively short period. I’m going to use the same term in relation to nutrition. Perhaps we are approaching a tipping point in terms of health. This post is a continuation of We are vaccinating ourselves sick.
We surround ourselves with dangerous things all the time. It is simply dangerous to live; you can die from it. I’m starting rather flippantly this time, but there is a certain serious aspect to the comment anyway. I started with a gluten and milk-free diet last year. It is incredibly troublesome, because a lot of food contain one or both of the two mentioned ingredients. It is for instance incredibly difficult, at least in the remote area I live in, to find sausages that don’t contain milk, milk powder, lactose or milk protein. I thought that some milk protein wouldn’t hurt, but I’ve been feeling sick after all experiments like that, and that’s hardly a coincidence. So I’ve committed myself to running a strict regime.
Another thing is that it’s difficult to conjure without flour. Everything is difficult to bake without the magic gluten, but I’m slowly learning. Flour today and 50 years ago isn’t the same thing. We have tampered so much with it that it has become poison to our intestines, even to those that don’t feel sick. I have also become conscious of the fact that food contains things that simply are not good for us. I wrote about vaccines in We vaccinate ourselves sick. I mentioned in that post that mercury and aluminum are used as an adjuvant in vaccines, which means that they reinforce the active ingredient in the vaccine, or are supposed to. That’s bad enough, but if you add the aluminum we get from other sources, I wonder what your body feels about the matter.
The Norwegian newspaper VG wrote in December last year that The Norwegian Food Safety Authority warns people against the use of deodorant. It can actually cause you to get 30-50 times the amount of aluminum that is considered medically justifiable.
Is there a limit?
It is a well known fact that heavy metals are something we should stay away from, and they certainly shouldn’t find their way into our food and cosmetics. It is, however, somewhat more controversial classifying aluminum as a toxic metal. Those who confess to be experts claim it’s harmless even in large quantities, to people with healthy kidneys. That doesn’t sound reassuring to me, because do most of us really know a lot about how our kidneys are doing? Mine seems to be doing just fine, although medications have given them an extra work load for periods, but I don’t know how much more I can strain them. That’s the problem; no one does. There are some who have congenital heart defects as well. The heart works just fine until the day the heart it stops without any warning. The best swimmer in Norway for example, Alekander Dale Oen, was preparing for the London Olympics a few years ago. He was on a training camp in Flagstaff and died while taking a shower. It turned out he was born with a heart defect, but everybody, including himself thought he was in perfect health.
What makes me skeptical to aluminum is that it’s borderline heavy metal.
A question of definition
That is, there is no accepted standard definition for heavy metals. Some base their definition on density, others on atomic weight and still others of toxicity. Therefore, one may find that the same element is inside one definition and outside another. Just to make the confusion complete, there are some who have suggested an alternative term, toxic metals, but there is no international consensus on a definition of this term either.
We need minerals, and these can be placed in four groups. We need most macro minerals (for example calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron). The next group is trace minerals (for example manganese, chromium, selenium). There is also another group of trace elements that may not be as necessary (for example fluorine, arsenic, gold). The last group is toxic heavy metals (beryllium, mercury, lead and aluminum).
There is some overlap between these groups, and it’s difficult to determine what minerals we really need. We need iron and copper, but too much of anything will poison you. Some minerals we only need a tiny amount of. When the government says that this and that mineral is harmless, they might be speaking about small amount. This isn’t exactly something they can test. I can’t imagine the Public Health and Food Safety Authority looking for volunteers willing to be tested for how much aluminum or mercury they can eat before they get acutely ill.
One of the reasons why refined sugar and white flour is not good for the body is that this process removes zinc, chromium and manganese compounds that protect us, but retains in some cases hazardous metals such as cadmium. The Norwegian company Hydro is a global aluminum company with 13 000 employees in 50 countries. They are naturally eager to convince us that aluminum is harmless. They point to the danger, but also highlights the positive aspects aluminum has on our health. It still is something we don’t need. Aluminum has no biological function and if your body can do just as well without it, I don’t think it’s the miracle ingredients we are led to believe it is.
In addition to the food and water we add aluminum to, there is also a great deal of aluminum from pollution. It’s a long time since there were lead in gasoline, but I don’t know if we can trust heavy traffic. I would think that traffic produces a lot of dust containing what the car is made of, and there is a lot of food production just off busy roads. There is also generally increasing levels of hazardous metals in nature. If the soil is very acid, the concentration of aluminum and manganese ions could get large enough for it to become toxic. To counteract this, we add lime to the soil. High concentrations of aluminum also inhibit growth. Poorer crops can be a sign that there is too much aluminum in the soil.
Something + some more = too much
We use a lot of metal when we process food. Food and beverages that have been stored in aluminum cans probably have a higher aluminum content than they did when the food was made, especially if we are talking about food with a lot of acid. It’s very convenient to use aluminum foil at home, but is it a problem? We can ask the same question about plastic. I have focused a lot on aluminum, but that’s just one of the dangers.
There are several dangerous substances we consume. Federal authorities in the U.S. for example warned pregnant and lactating women against eating tuna, shark, king mackerel and other large fish. This is because they contain too much mercury. Shellfish and other animals that live on the seabed have a large content of cadmium and mercury. Perhaps people who are allergic to shellfish are simply poisoned?
There are a couple of interesting comments following this article. The article deals with something controversial, so-called chemtrails. There are some people who believe that there is a conspiracy in which the government sprays a product containing aluminum. This is supposed to prevent global warming by reducing the amount of radiation from the sun. I’m not discussing whether or not this is true, but according to the people that defend this theory, there is an increased level of aluminum in the soil because of the chemtrails.
A Warren is attempting to debunk this theory in a comment following this article. I think it’s too easy to claim that aluminum is harmless because it’s natural, as Warren does in his comment. It’s true that aluminum is the third largest component of soil (on pages I ‘ve seen it ranges from 7 to 8.7 %). The two largest are oxygen and silicon. Arsenic is found naturally in nature too, but we don’t want to eat it, do we? It’s important to have a balance. If we consume something harmful, we must balance this with something that neutralizes the negative effect on our body.
This guy claims that the problem is not aluminum, but that acid rain forms aluminum ions from aluminum that is found naturally in the soil. My research supports that statement, but he doesn’t take into account the increasing amount of aluminum we get from other sources, and that we have no control over acid rain. It doesn’t matter much to us if we stop polluting, but the rest of Europe don’t. We’ll still get acid rain. He does not believe it’s problematic that the grain giants Monsanto is trying to develop genetically modified plants resistant to aluminum. It seems that there is no interest in doing something about the problem. We simply find a way to live with it.
I have a friend who used the term canary. A long time ago coal miners used a caged canary bird as a warning system. If dangerous gasses such as methane or carbon monoxide leaked out, the bird would die. That told the miners to get out. We Europeans may have a genetic predisposition to certain types of cell damage. This may be why we see an increase in cancer, autoimmune diseases, autism and other neurological disorders. Perhaps our tipping is point lower than others. We could be the canary birds telling other ethnic groups that they must change their diet, because sooner or later everybody reaches their tipping point .
Balance is important. Asians seem to be doing better, but that’s because they have a balance. They use a lot of peanut and soybean oil, which is inflammatory. The reason they are still healthy is because they counteract this with coconut oil and fish (oil), which is anti – inflammatory. It’s the same thing that happens around the Mediterranean. They eat a lot of wheat pasta, which is inflammatory, but counteract the negative effect with fish and olive oil. Thus it’s not that there are certain things we can’t eat at all, but we must have a balance.
The problem is that it may not be enough to strive for this balance in our own lives, if there are too many unhealthy sources around us. I’ve only scratched the surface, but I encourage you to read more. This isn’t discussed much today, but it is perhaps the biggest threat we face. Food contains progressively less nutrition, and increasingly higher concentrations of substances that will harm the body. If this continues, there will be no such thing as healthy food, and talking about organic food will be a joke.
The consequence is not that we’ll all die, but future generations might have a shorter life consisting of more disease. Most people who are healthy today retains this health until they are at least 50. Perhaps more people will experience chronic disease already in the 30s. There are actually some fates worse than death.
I have used mostly Norwegian sites, but here are some of the English language sites: