Aluminum Containing Colloidal Minerals

Colloidal Mineral Controversy

Natural Grocers is selective when it comes to approving colloidal mineral products. Because colloidal minerals may contain high amounts of aluminum, we decided to have the aluminum content of the colloidal mineral products we carry tested. The following table lists the amounts of aluminum found in the colloidal mineral products that we will continue to carry. The amount of aluminum in these products is similar to what would be consumed when eating unprocessed foods. We are providing this information so that you can decide how much aluminum you want to ingest in your trace mineral supplement.

Quantities of Aluminum Found in Colloidal Mineral Products:

Product Aluminum Per Liter Aluminum Per Ounce
Optimum Plus 309 mg 9.7 mg
Optimum Plus w/ Silica 229 mg 7.2 mg
Now Colloidal 62 mg 1.9 mg
Ionic Tonic 1 mg 0.03 mg
Source of Colloidal Life ND <1 mg ND <0.03 mg


Aluminum is a controversial mineral, with some people claiming that it is toxic to the body in small amounts and others claim that it has no effect upon the body in small amounts. What is known about aluminum is that it is found in abundance in the earth, but in small amounts in plant and animal tissues. In humans, its greatest concentrations are in the brain, liver, thyroid, and lungs.1,2,3 The amount of aluminum in the human body ranges between 50 to 150 mg. Dietary intakes of aluminum vary between 5 to 125 mg per day; the body effectively excretes 74 to 96 percent of this.1,2,3 With decreased kidney function, more aluminum will be stored, particularly in the bones.

The major dietary sources of aluminum are food additives used in processed foods (such as sodium aluminum phosphate in processed cheese), table salt (with added sodium silico aluminate or aluminum calcium silicate added to help it run smoothly), municipal drinking water (alum and aluminum sulfate are used to treat water in many cities) and white flour (potassium alum is added to whiten flour).1,2,3 Acidic foods such as tomatoes or rhubarb cooked in aluminum pots leach the mineral into the water, as does cooking with fluoridated water in aluminum cookware. However, the amounts obtained in this manner are small compared with those from food additives. Additionally, since the earth contains aluminum, so does some foods. For example, apricots contain 1 mg per 3 ½ ounce serving, turnips contain 1.2 mg per 3 ½ ounce serving and eggplant contains 13 mg per 3 ½ ounce serving.

One of the problems with high amounts of aluminum in colloidal mineral products is that it may interfere with the absorption of the other trace minerals in the product – those trace minerals that promote optimum health. Most minerals are absorbed through a process known as passive diffusion. Essentially what this means is, those minerals at the highest concentrations in the intestines will be absorbed faster and better than those minerals at lower concentrations. Additionally, the minerals must be absorbed within a given time-frame; hence those minerals at the highest concentrations have the best chance of being absorbed. Thus, products with high aluminum levels may actually be counterproductive in trace mineral supplementation because the high aluminum can interfere with the absorption of health promoting trace minerals.

The other problem with high amounts of aluminum in colloidal mineral products is that, in addition to increasing the possibility of aluminum absorption, is the link between aluminum and brain disorders associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease.1,2,3 (Alzheimer’s is a form of senile dementia characterized by cerebral atrophy, neurofibrillary degeneration, and senile plaques.) However, it is unknown if altered aluminum status is a cause or effect of Alzheimer’s disease.2,3 It is believed that multiple concurrent effects, rather than a single agent, may explain the development of Alzheimer’ s. Neuronal accumulation of aluminum, along with a nutritional deficit of dysmetabolism of calcium, magnesium and zinc, seems to be a toxic agent.1

In Alzheimer’s disease, there are increased aluminum levels in the brain tissue and an increase in “neurofibrillary tangles,” which tend to reduce nerve synapses and conduction. Aluminum is known to be a strong cross-linking agent found in foods that can accumulate in tissues.1 Cross-linking in brain tissues is one of the factors which can lead to neurofibrillary tangles. Additionally, in a British government study, researchers reported high levels of aluminum in drinking water that they associated with substantially increasing a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’ s disease. High levels of aluminum were defined as more than 0.11 mg per liter of water.1

In addition to its association with Alzheimer’ s, aluminum is associated with interfering with other normal body processes as well. It may reduce vitamin levels or bind to DNA and it has been correlated with weakened tissue of the gastrointestinal tract.3 It may also reduce the absorption of selenium and phosphorus from the gastrointestinal tract. Ann Louise Gittleman, a prominent nutritionist, calls aluminum a “detrimental protoplasmic poison.”3 Additionally, it should be noted that citrus juice and vitamin C, when taken in conjunction with aluminum containing products, increases the absorption of aluminum.’


  1. The Big Family Guide to all The Minerals, by Frank Murray. New Canaan, Connecticut, Keats Publishing, 1995.
  2. The Nutrition Desk Reference, by Robert H. Garrison, Jr. R.Ph. and Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D. New Canaan, Connecticut, Keats Publishing, 1995, Third Edition.
  3. Staying Healthy with Nutrition, by Elson M. Hass, M.D. Berkeley, Claifornia, Celestial Arts Publishing, 1992.


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