Definition

Aluminium is a metal with no known functions within the body, and its main sources within the diet come from trace amounts in food, water, and transfer from aluminium foil and cooking tools. It is approved as a coloring agent, to provide a silvery finish.

Health considerations

Though no conclusive link has been proven, at the intake expected from a typical diet, studies have suggested a link between aluminium and disorders of the brain, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, and hyperactivity. Higher intake is associated with dysregulation of the body’s maintenance of appropriate calcium and phosphorus levels in the skeleton, which may lead to skeletal problems such as osteoporosis. Fortunately aluminium is not very readily absorbed by the body, however older individuals may be more susceptible to aluminium absorption and its effects.

Keep in mind

Acidic foods increase the amount of the metal that will leach from contact with aluminium pots, pans, foil, and utensils.

May be found in

Sugar-coated desserts and cake decorations with a silver finish. Leaching from: soft drinks in aluminium cans past sell-by dates; foods cooked in aluminium foil or vessels, particularly acidic foods.

References

The UK Food Guide
Food Standards Agency
Food Standards Agency 2
Environmental Sciences Europe
Environmental Reviews
Sage Journals
Food GOV UK

Alternative Spellings and Names

E173, Aluminum

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