Ever since 1911, scientists have had questions about the safety of aluminum in our diets. Most notably, aluminum has been cited as a potential cause of Alzheimer’s Disease. Despite an ever-growing body of research conducted throughout the last century, few clear conclusions have been reached regarding this complex issue, leaving the average person to wonder how much worry—if any—they should be devoting to the matter. We aren’t smarter or better-trained than actual scientists and medical professionals, so we aren’t going to claim to know the implications of aluminum in diseases. What we can do, though, is talk about the aluminum in Real Salt and what we know about its effect on the human body.
The first thing to know is that the minerals and trace elements in Real Salt pink sea salt are all naturally-occurring. We aren’t adding aluminum-containing additives like anti-caking agents (or anything else) to Real Salt. This is important when seeking to understand if it’s safe to eat. The naturally-occurring amount of aluminum in Real Salt is 0.0139% and is likely bound to the silica, making it aluminum silicate, as opposed to pure unbound elemental aluminum (which is the element research has raised questions about).
That said, pure elemental aluminum has a gastrointestinal tract absorption rate of less than 1%. This number is suspected to be even lower in aluminum silicate as the body’s ability to fully break down silica is up for debate. This means that your body is going to absorb, at the most, less than 1% of a substance that makes up 0.0139% of Real Salt—that’s about 0.000139%, or 1/10,000 of a percent.
Per ¼ teaspoon serving, Real Salt contains 0.194 mg of aluminum. For context, most adults consume between 1 and 10 milligrams of aluminum daily, to no ill effect. You will find aluminum in spinach, tea, most baked goods, some types of fish, and many vegetables. Meat, eggs, and fresh fruit also contain it. Because of its abundance in the earth’s crust, it is present in many of our food sources—including the natural, organic, and cleanly produced ones.
Possibly the most comforting bit of information on this topic is the intelligence of the human body. According to this paper on the safety of dietary aluminum, “The healthy human body has effective barriers (skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract) to reduce the systemic absorption of aluminum ingested from water, foods, drugs, and air. The small amount of aluminum (<1%) that is systemically absorbed is excreted principally in the urine and, to a lesser extent, in the feces. No reports of dietary aluminum toxicity to healthy individuals exist in the literature.” Our bodies are better at protecting us than we sometimes give them credit for.
If you’ve been wondering about the safety of aluminum in natural sea salt, we hope these points will prove useful in helping you make an informed decision about what’s right for you.