Beer, Bones, Silicon, and Kidney Stones

I ran into an article that connects several of my recent ‘themes’. From beer, to things that contribute to kidney stones, to how the element silicon is used in life and metabolism. The major thrust of the article is directed at bone growth and how dietary silicon is important to proper bone growth, but along the way it finds some other interesting connections.

One, which I found rather interesting, was that beer is a major source of bio-available silicon. While this might have something to do with their funding ( I’ve become more sensitive to questions of funding thanks to the Global Warming hysteria showing folks willing to create outcomes for funding…) the article does look to be honest and well supported.

At the bottom it notes:

The Frances and Augustus Newman Foundation and the charitable foundation of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling for their support.

Then again, it finds low availability of silicon from distilled spirits…

But it does find that beer is a very good source.

The intake within different age groups is not well documented (33). It appears to be similar for children (27 mg/day) and adults (29 mg/day) in Finland, although their major sources of intake are different (32). In children the major source is from cereals (68% of total dietary intake), whereas the major source in adult males is from beer ingestion (44%) (30, 32). Intake in females is lower than in males, which is due to the higher intake of beer in males (30, 32, 36). Beer is a highly bioavailable natural source of silicon (see below). Intake also decreases significantly with age in adults (0.1 mg for every additional year) (30, 33).

So I guess one could argue for old folks having a few beers to support good bone growth… but they also make it pretty clear that a bowl of cereal does a good job too.

Somehow I don’t think we’re going to see roving bands of old women carting six packs of beer and leering at boys, just so they get stronger bones.

The article doesn’t find exactly how silicon is used in the body ( I’ve yet to find an article that does). But it finds a fair amount of circumstantial evidence for silicon involvement in the growth and production of collagen and bones. Including some studies that did silicon deprivation in lab animals and got weak collagen and weak bones. As another source of silicon is hard water, I’m also left wondering to what extent folks drinking more filtered, softened, and silicon reduced water might have contributed to various increases in bone and connective tissue problems.

The Abstract

Low bone mass (osteoporosis) is a silent epidemic of the 21st century, which presently in the UK results in over 200,000 fractures annually at a cost of over one billion pounds. Figures are set to increase worldwide. Understanding the factors which affect bone metabolism is thus of primary importance in order to establish preventative measures or treatments for this condition. Nutrition is an important determinant of bone health, but the effects of the individual nutrients and minerals, other than calcium, is little understood. Accumulating evidence over the last 30 years strongly suggest that dietary silicon is beneficial to bone and connective tissue health and we recently reported strong positive associations between dietary Si intake and bone mineral density in US and UK cohorts. The exact biological role(s) of silicon in bone health is still not clear, although a number of possible mechanisms have been suggested, including the synthesis of collagen and/or its stabilization, and matrix mineralization. This review gives an overview of this naturally occurring dietary element, its metabolism and the evidence of its potential role in bone health.
Keywords: Silicon, orthosilicic acid, human exposure, dietary sources, silicon metabolism, bone health

It then proceeds to do just the overview it promises.

Some High Points

Along the way it touches on the bad side of silicon too. How breathing in a lot of silicon minerals can cause collagen formation and fibrosis forming diseases in the lungs, for example. It also turns out that high silicon can increase the tendency to kidney stones:

In modern pharmaceuticals Si is present mainly in antidiarrhoeals, antacids and in proprietary analgesics such as aspirin. In analgesics, silicates (magnesium silicate and magnesium trisilicates) are present as excipients, which are inert ingredients that hold the other ingredients together, or as desiccants, if the active ingredient is hygroscopic (37, 52, 58). The levels of silicates in these drugs, however, are not well documented and bioavailability is suggested to be negligible. Abusive use, however, can cause inflammation of the kidneys termed ‘analgesic nephropathy’, but it is unclear if this is related to the active ingredient or the excipient
Long-term use of high doses of silicate containing drugs, such as analgesics and antacids (magnesium trisilicates) could cause damage to the renal kidney tubules and lead to chronic interstitial nephritis (63). As noted previously, the high levels of silica in these drugs can lead to the formation of renal stones/calculi which are responsible for kidney damage. Formation of silica stones/calculi (urolithiasis) is also a common problem in cattle and sheep who ingest large quantities of silica daily, since grass consists of 2% silica by weight, and drink very little water (22, 37). However, ingestion of amorphous silica is not associated with toxicity in the rat (33).

So one needs to watch the analgesic consumption… But that also raises the question of “To what extent to they make arthritis feel better due to the pain medication and to what extent due to better collagen formation from the silicates?” Still, if you are a ‘stone former’ best to watch for silicate on the pill bottle ingredients list.

There is a mention of silicon substituted artificial joints having better bone formation (likely due to an early collagen matrix formation in the silicon activation sites).

All in all, it looks like silicon causes or is helpful in collagen formation and thus the tissues that depend on it. ( Along with having too much of it when mineral silicates are left in long term contact with soft tissues such as lungs).

Oral ingestion of crystalline or amorphous silica/silicates in the diet may also cause toxicity. The inflorescences of Steria italica (millet) promotes oesophageal cancer, while the seeds of the Phalaris family of grass (e.g. canary grass, Phalaris canariensis) promote skin tumours (42, 124, 125). Finely ground silicate minerals from eroded acid granite in drinking water has been linked to ‘Endemic or Balkan Nephropathy’, which is inflammation of the kidneys (interstitial nephritis), found in confine parts of the Balkans (Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania) (63).

That connection to Balkan Nephropathy may also give a clue as to how the plant toxin that seems to cause most of the problem might operate. It might be an interference in the pathways that use silicon.

But what about evidence of importance? Well, it is found in different tissues in different amounts. The excretion tends to be proportional to calcium excretion. Take it away and bad things happen… Also added silicon correlates with better bone growth in living animals, people, and cells in the lab.

Tissue levels however vary. In the rat highest levels are found in bone and other connective tissues such as, skin, nail, hair, trachea, tendons and aorta and very much less (10-20 fold less) in soft tissues (19; Jugdaohsingh et al., unpublished data). A similar tissue Si distribution is expected in humans, although this has not been investigated. Silicon is suggested to be integrally bound to connective tissues and their components and to have an important structural role (82) as silicon deprivation studies have reported detrimental effects on these tissues (16,17) as is also speculated to occur with normal ageing with the decline in tissue Si levels. Vice versa, silicon supplementation has been reported to have beneficial effects on these tissues especially bone where much of current work has concentrated (36,48,54-56, 83-86). The potential importance of Si to bone health is discussed below.
Silicon deprivation experiments in the 1970′s, in growing chicks (17) and rats (16), suggested that silica may also be essential for normal growth and development in higher animals, including humans, primarily in the formation of bone and connective tissues. However, these results have not been subsequently replicated, at least to the same magnitude and thus the essentiality of Si in higher animals remains questionable.
Dietary silicon intake and BMD
As mentioned above, the main and most important source of exposure to silicon is from the diet and recently two cross-sectional epidemiological studies from our group have reported that dietary silicon intake is associated with higher bone mineral density (BMD). In the Framingham Offspring cohort we reported that higher intake of dietary silicon was significantly positively associated with BMD at the hip sites of men and pre-menopausal women, but not in post-menopausal women (36). This study was repeated using the APOSS (Aberdeen Prospective Osteoporosis Screening Study) cohort, a women only cohort, and it similarly showed that dietary silicon intake was significantly positively associated with BMD at the hip and spine of pre-menopausal women. We also showed a similar correlation in post-menopausal women but only in those currently on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (94). A weaker (non-significant) correlation was found in past-HRT users and no correlation in those who had never taken HRT. These two studies suggest that higher silicon intake is associated with higher BMD, a marker of bone strength, and also, a potential interaction between silicon and oestrogen status.

No silicon deprivation studies have been conducted in humans, but, as described above, in laboratory animals Si deprivation resulted in skeletal abnormalities and defects. In chicks, legs and beaks were paler, thinner, more flexible and thus easily fractured (17). In rats, defects to the skull including the eye sockets was reported as was disturbances and impairment to incisor enamel pigmentation (16). More recent studies by Seaborn and Nielsen (95-100) (see Table 5) and others have not been able to reproduce these dramatic effects but have reported decreases in BMD, mineral content and collagen synthesis, and increases in collagen breakdown, thus confirming Si deprivation has a negative impact on bone.

There are also a couple of charts in the article that are worth looking at. For example, this is a bit from Table 6:

Human Osteoblast Cells
 Brady et al. (115) From trabecular bone & MG-63 cell line (Zeolite A; 0.1-100 μg/ml) ↑: Cell proliferation (124-270%), ALP activity (144-310%)
 Mills et al. (116) Zeolite A ↑: Cell proliferation & extra cellular matrix
 Keeting et al. (117) From trabecular bone (Zeolite A; 0.1-100 μg/ml) ↑: Cell proliferation (62%), ALP (50-100%), osteocalcin (100%)

The up arrow means “increases”.

So you get some real measured science done, too.

Looks like folks with collagen or bone density issues ought to be eating their cereal, drinking water ‘on the rocks’ – literally, and maybe having a beer or two.

In vitro cell culture studies
Numerous cell and tissue culture studies have also been conducted to determine the mechanisms of silicon’s effect on bone (Table 6) (109-119). Studies by Carlisle in the early 80′s using chondrocytes and tibial epiphyses from chick embryos reported that silicon increased bone matrix synthesis (non-collagenous matrix polysaccharides and collagen) and that Si dose dependently increased prolyl hydroxylase activity, the enzyme involved in collagen synthesis (109-114). Recent studies with human osteoblast cells and zeolite A, an acid labile aluminosilicate, reported increased osteoblast proliferation, extracellular matrix synthesis, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and osteocalcin synthesis (115-117). More recent studies using orthosilicic acid have also reported increases in type I collagen synthesis and cellular differentiation (118) and in addition increases in the mRNA of these proteins, suggesting potential involvement of Si in gene transcription (118, 119).
Thus tissue and cell culture studies have also suggested that silicon is involved in bone formation by increasing matrix synthesis and differentiation of osteoblast cells. Effects of silicon on bone resorption and osteoclast cell activity has not been well studied. Schutze et al (120) reported that zeolite A, but not separately its individual components (Si and Al), inhibited osteoclast activity (pit number and cathepsin B enzyme activity).

There’s even a bit of a connection to Egyptian Liquid Stone. Earlier I’d speculated on the potential to make a poured stone via high alkaline treated silicates and sand. This article confirms some of the silicon chemistry that ought to be involved as it looks at how silicon is mobilized from rock into the diet:

Silicon (Si) is a non-metallic element with an atomic weight of 28. It is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust at 28 wt %, (19, 20) but it is rarely found in its elemental form due to its great affinity for oxygen, forming silica and silicates, which at 92%, are the most common minerals. Quartz (12%) and the aluminosilicates, plagioclase (39%) and alkaline feldspar (12%) are the most prevalent silicates (21). These are present in igneous and sedimentary rocks and soil minerals and are highly stable structures that are not readily broken down except with extensive weathering. Thus natural levels of soluble (available) silica are low. Chemical and biological (plants, algae and lichens) weathering, however, releases silicon from these stable minerals, increasing its bioavailability. Dissolution of Si, from soil minerals in water results in the formation, by hydrolysis, of soluble silica species. Below pH 9, and at a total Si concentration below 2 mM, silicon is present predominately as Si(OH)4 the most stable specie at low Si concentration. This monomeric form of silica, ‘monomeric silica’, is water soluble and a weak acid (pKa of 9.6), thus also referred to as ‘monosilicic acid’ or ‘orthosilicic acid’ (22). At neutral pH, this tetrahedral, uncharged (i.e. neutral) species is relatively inert, but does undergo condensation reactions (polymerisation) to form larger silica (polysilicic acid) species, especially at Si concentrations > 2-3 mM. Indeed, only in very dilute solutions, it is suggested, that the monomer will be found in its pure form, as often the dimer [(HO)3Si-O-Si(OH)3] is also present (but never > 2%), even in solutions greatly below 2 mM Si (22, 22). Above 2 mM Si, Si(OH)4 undergoes polymerization to form small oligomers (linear and cyclic trimers and tetramers or cyclic decamers) and, at concentration much above 2 mM, small colloidal species will also be present, which upon aggregation will eventually results in the formation of an amorphous precipitate, which at neutral pH (pH 6-7) is a gel (20, 22-24). Thus polymerisation of Si(OH)4 reduces its solubility and hence bioavailability.

All of which implies that a silicate sand, treated with highly alkaline solution, ought to form some soluble silicon compounds; then ‘polymerize’ some silicate back between the sand grains when allowed to dry and neutralize the pH.

In Conclusion

Silicon looks to me like a very under appreciated element. We tend to think of it as part of rocks and electronics, but not much else. It really is much more than that. We need it to grow and live.

Given the impact on collagen and bones, it may well be that the silicon in beer justifies calling it ‘healthful’. (The article notes that no such high silicon level is found in wine or distilled spirits).

Could it be that the Egyptians, treating beer as medicinal and making giant structures out of what some folks claim is poured stones; and with a burial inscription on a great architect’s tomb claiming he new the secret of liquid stone; could they have just known more about silicon and it’s uses than we do?

Earlier I’d done a bit of an overview of silicon in life:

But that was more directed a things like diatoms and bamboo. Turns out we need to think of it as a food and medicine, as well as a structural material.

Subscribe to feed

About these ads

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Science Bits and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Beer, Bones, Silicon, and Kidney Stones

  1. Power Grab says:

    Awww…and I thought the current epidemic of weak bones was due to our avoidance of the fat-soluble vitamins!

  2. It appears that silicon (as silicon dioxide, at least) may be more widespread as an ingredient than I would have guessed:

    As it happens, I just last week discovered that I have an unusual problem in the osteoporosis line, and I need to address it quickly. So I’ve been noodling around, looking not just at calcium and silicon, but at boron and certain vitamins as well.

    And trying to find something without three hours of nasty aftertaste! As it is, I am willing to tolerate nasty aftertaste to improve nasty x-rays, but the stuff doesn’t have to taste bad.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  3. Jerry says:

    Hmmm, Isn’t Pink Slime mostly connective tissue? Wonder if it is a good source of SI? Maybe we should be demanding that it be added to ground beef and added to school lunch programs at every opportunity. :) Though a ‘rebranding/renaming’ just might be a good idea.

  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Keith DeHavelle: The origin of the osteoporosis propaganda is this: It happens that Calcium Carbonate is if not the cheapest one of the cheapest pharmaceutical raw materials and thus it is as big business as big oil, thus we ALL must be convinced of suffering some lack of calcium.
    The fact is that WE DO NOT HAVE PERMANENT BONES, they lose and get calcium all the time. It goes from bones to tissues and from tissues to bones. When it is at the tissues level, say muscle cells, it goes to the blood stream if the blood stream solution is lacking Magnesium, so any person REALLY suffering of calcium depletion does not need an intake of Calcium but of Magnesium, as its presence in the blood will inhibit calcium from going out from bones, by the known chemical principle of Osmosis. My suggestion would be taking Magnesium as citrate, which being a chelated form magnesium (metal organic salt) it is better absorbed, if liquid and with a little excess of citric acid it is a nice beverage.

  5. EM, as usual, I don’t have time to read the entire post…and my comments are slightly off topic…but that may be an oxymoron.

    Alcohol, Global Warming and the historical record; have you ever looked into the history of Champagne?

    When Matthew W posts about beer on ‘Bacon Time !!!!!’ it’s much easier to drop a few topical comments… I love both your blogs. Often similar topics, both exceptionally enlightening.

    One is like a great neighborhood bar…great food, great conversation; the other is like dinner at The French Laundry…


  6. E.M.Smith says:


    One can also just soak in the Magnesium in a nice comfortable warm bath:

    Turns out Epsom salts are very cheap, make you feel good, and soak in through the skin modestly well.

    After initial pilot studies, all volunteers took baths (temperatures 50-55°C) and stayed in the bath for 12 minutes. They added varying amounts of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) to the bath before entry and ensured that the salts were completely in solution.
    There was a wide individual variation in this parameter. However, all individuals had significant rises in plasma magnesium and sulfate at a level of 1% Epsom salts .This equates to 1g MgS04/100ml water; 600g Epsom salts/60 litres, the standard size UK bath taken in this project (~15 US gallons). However, most volunteers had significantly raised Mg/S04 levels on baths with 400g MgS04 added. Above the 600g/bath level, volunteers complained that the water felt ‘soapy’.

    I kind of like the ‘soapy’ feeling, so put about a pint of salts per bath.

    Lets see, so I can now go soak in a hot tub with Epsom Salts in it while downing a couple of beers and legitimately claim it as ‘medicinal’? Golly ;-)

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Keith DeHavelle:

    So the kind of delivery that was found to correlate with cancers and tumor growth is allowed in just about any food, and the kind we need is taken out via milling and processing. And colon cancer is one of the major causes of death today. I’m sure there’s no connection, after all, the government said it was OK…

    Odd you would mention Boron… At one time I discovered that using some Boraxo made a few things get better. Looked into it. Spouse now takes a boron pill per package directions. ( I just occasionally wash something in Boraxo ;-) Boric Acid makes a dandy insecticide, too. But I’ve swapped over to using “20 Mule Team Borax” which is a lot cheaper and just as effective as near as I can tell. (The ants get dusty in it, then back at the hive ‘clean off’ and consume an overdose of boron. As long as you are not using the stuff like body powder, it’s not a problem. Toxic dose is up in the tablespoons range IIRC.) So clean your tub with 20 Mule Team, then take your Epsom Salts bath with the drink cooler to hand…

    Trace mineral management is so much fun ;-)

    @Power Grab:

    Could well be multi-factor… so I’m planning on some Fried Chicken to go with the beer. Pan drippings gravy ought to catch the oil soluble vitamins ;-)

    Or eggs and bacon to start the day… Or sushi… or…

    I find it rather interesting that the path to more vitamins and minerals leads back to a traditional diet of long ago… My Grandad lived to 90 something with an Amish spouse feeding him giant piles of eggs, ham, beef, dairy, cheese, breads, butter, gravy, chicken, potatoes and vegetables of all sorts. No plastic packaged anything and no cans she didn’t can up herself in glass jars. “Additives” consisting of salt, pepper, and baking powder.

    She had no issue with “weak bones” either.

    I think I’m going to do more shopping in the fresh vegetables isle and less in the packaged goods isle…

  8. Hah, 20 Mule Team…its so cheap! It kills stuff, cleans stuff, it’s does a nice job on urine stains…and it works as a flux for gold prospectors, replacing Mercury.

    I have mixed boric acid with bacon grease and sugar for ants to snack on.

    In solution it can be used to stop dry rot and termites. I would assume Borax would do the same.

    Don’t forget Diatomaceous earth.

  9. tckev says:

    And the other source of dietary silicon is in non-dairy creamers.
    (I like the idea that it also a great flame thrower fuel)
    This has a fair amount of anti-caking agent, aluminum sodium silicate, in it. If you drink a lot of coffee with this you are probably getting a good amount of daily silicon but I’m not that sure how biologically active it is.

    Personally I find that Coffeemate (and others) cause me a lot of joint pain within an hour of drinking it. Unfortunately due to other medical problems beer is out. However my favorite medicinal food is nettle soup, which has many minerals (depending on the soil its grown in) including silicon, and this alway calms my arthritic joints.

  10. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: If cancer is the problem why not trying a cancer curing peruvian bark: The “Cat´s claw” bark , take it as an infusion or as a pill or capsule, and if you take it or drink it everyday you won´t suffer, as it cleanses away all toxins. (You can find it everywhere, just google it)

  11. adolfogiurfa says:

    @tckev: …..and you´ll forget everything that bothers you….as aluminum it is not present in human´s body and it causes Alzheimer disease… :-)

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    I was just observing that the kind of silicon compound (basically quartz) in the anti-caking additive was the same kind shown to add to cancers, not the kind that helps the body via absorption. No cancer issues in our household. Just a general comment about rising cancer rates in the society at large.

    Nice to know about the plant, though.

  13. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M. That kind of Silicon it is insoluble in our bodies, as also Magnesium silicate (talc) present in many pills. The only solubles silicates are those of alkali metals (Na,K,etc), So if you want a soluble silicon you should choose Silicic Acid (Silica Gel) H3SiO4, which is currently used as humidity absorbers. (those little bags filled with white grains found in some electronic gadgets). Silica (quartz, sand) is SiO2 …it´s the same as you could try chewing glass (calcium silicate).

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    I´m with you in trying some beers!….Cheers!, Salud Amigo!

  15. adolfogiurfa says:

    the silicon in blood is nearly entirely found as either free orthosilicic acid or linked to small compounds.–deficiency-and-food-sources-144952.html

  16. adolfogiurfa says:

    No,No!. The correct recipe would be: Take a tub bath with Epsom Salts while drinking beer!!
    That will be really nice!

  17. gallopingcamel says:

    It never occured to me that “Aspirin” contained silicon. I thought the active ingredient was acetylsalicylic acid but failed to make the connection to silicon. Duh!

  18. John F. Hultquist says:
  19. @E.M. “The article doesn’t find exactly how silicon is used in the body ( I’ve yet to find an article that does)”

    Google Pamela Anderson…

    I encountered some stinging nettles over the weekend. along a riverbank. They are high in Calcium Carbonate, I knew you could eat nettles and make tea. I found it interesting that if they are consumed when they are mature they can cause some issues.

    “After stinging nettle enters its flowering and seed setting stages the leaves develop gritty particles called “cystoliths”, which can irritate the urinary tract”

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @Andrew Newberg:

    I’d just been wrapping up a posting about shoving my brains through a sieve over magnetohydrodynamics and the relationship of angular momentum to magnetic moment, so a bit ‘fried’ and come here to catch up on comments… so I read this…

    And I’m about 1/2 way into getting the search engine window open and starting to type “Pame…” and it hits me… This isn’t a serious direction… Damn. ;-)

    At least I didn’t get the thing typed and have pictures pop up before I worked it out… Mode shifted now, from abstract reasoning to social interaction skills ;-)

    Score a 1/2 “gotcha” for yourself…

  21. j ferguson says:

    Besides. Wasn’t that more binary silicone?

  22. Pascvaks says:

    Gotta’ ask-
    Does a ‘glass’ jar leach silicon into the contents the way a chemi-film lined can can?

    An Old Expression, “buying a pig in a poke”, and a lot more like it (usually a cat) refers to the following: “The scheme entailed the sale of a suckling pig or pup in a poke (bag). The bag would actually contain a cat or dog (not particularly prized as a source of meat), which was sold to the victim in an unopened bag.” ( EM, you sure do know how to let the cat out of the bag.

    People are funny, and they don’t seem to have changed very much over the last 25K years. I actually think there really is more than just one sucker born every minute. The tricks and schemes are always the same, it’s just the victims who change. True, true, instead of cats in bags we buy pills and every other kind of modern ‘pig’ in the poke. And our Government is supposed to be ‘protecting’ us? I’ll bet we could bottle 100 capsules of fresh, blue Arctic Air, guarantee that it will give you an essential metabolic ‘rush’ and even say that it’s not been clinically proven. I’ll bet we could open our plant in New Orleans, in the old 9th Ward area, and suck in fresh NOLA ‘air’ into our injectors too. We’d make a mint! Really! People have got to be the dumbest excuse of a two legged lifeform on this whole planet! Just remember y’all, when things get really cold and someone tries to sell ya’ a pig in a poke, look inside, and if it just don’t smell right, let the cat out of the bag.

  23. @E.M.

    Hah, well one could write a pretty interesting post about peoples perceptions vs. reality…

    I make a joke, you think I am serious…

    Prehistoric man finds giant shark teeth and dinosaur bones…look out for dragons…

    Over the years I have made a lot of people laugh with wit and sarcasm…but I have also had to appologize profusely when it was taken the wrong way.

    At least this time the worst possible outcome was you being forced to look at a silicone enhanced B list celebrity. (that wasn’t libelous was it? ;-)

    I guess I better go read what you wrote.

  24. @Adolfo:

    Your comments about aluminum and Alzheimer’s.

    Is there any cause and effect relationship at work here? Aluminum is a relatively new metal in terms of human history. It took awhile for man to realize lead ain’t the best substance to make dishes with.

    I have worked for some big insurance companies in the past, and I have a decent working knowledge of mortality and morbidity tables. Something MUST be the leading cause of death right? If somebody finds the cure for cancer the headlines will read “Heart Disease deaths on the rise!”

    My point; Alzheimer’s predominately impacts people in their 70′s and 80′s. 100 years ago, statistically speaking, people didn’t live much past 60. Accidental deaths have been dropping, wars don’t kill as many people as they once did, crime rates are down…but you got to die sometime.

    Causation or correlation?

  25. @Pascvaks

    I think you are ABSOLUTELY on to something!

    Big Pharma, the FDA…I am not a conspirisy guy at all. Companies goal should be to make lots of money. If the Government allows them to sell stuff, they will. But when the Government wants to check with the experts, they ask the same people that are selling the drugs.

    It’s kinda like the Fox guarding the Hen House…

  26. p.g.sharrow says:

    @ Andrew says; “It’s kinda like the Fox guarding the Hen House…”

    More like the farmer asking the Fox if he can look inside the hen house.
    Don’t worry man! them chickens are just fine. Trust me! 8-) pg

  27. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Andrew Newberg : The aluminum pot era! the 50´s, 60´s…But aluminum it is not a NEW metal, it is the most abundant element on earth, composing the surface of the earth the SIAL (after silicon and aluminum), however in pottery it is in the form of its insoluble compounds: Clay, aluminum silicate, while in Al pots….. You won´t believe it but if aluminum oxide is removed from the surface of an Al pot, it readily and in minutes turns into a white powder, like white hair.
    If you rub its surface with a lemon it will react forming aluminum citrate, and this is the reason why tomato pasta sauce must NEVER be cooked in an aluminum pot, because it becomes dark…
    So, the best for cooking meals is pottery or iron/plain carbon steel.

  28. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, I was about to go on a mini-rant about aluminum being common in pretty much all water of the world and just about everything everywhere having trace aluminum compounds floating around and how water dissolves silicates putting aluminum into the water and if THAT’s the case, then anyone drinking water or using (horrors!) Aluminum Hydroxide antacid ought to just curl up and go demented in no time…

    But thought I ought to get a citation for percentage of Al in typical drinking water…

    And landed on:

    which finds statistical evidence for high aluminum levels in local water supply to be causal of an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s … but not ‘dose dependent’ in the range of their study.

    So I think I’ll just keep quiet instead. ;-)

    I’m glad I have a fondness for cast iron and stainless steel, with the occasional ceramic and enamel glazed steel…

  29. @Adolfo

    My academic background is international politics and history with enough archaeology thrown in to get a minor. I did however take enough science in high school to foolishly think I could be a Biology major, lol.

    My biggest problem…I didn’t take enough math in high school, so Chem 121 was TOUGH…both times I took it ;-) I did take 2 years of pretty advanced biology in high school. My senior project consisted of testing water samples from a local creek; my school was working with the state to reestablish a run of salmon. I was able to get some surplus testing equipment from my neighbor…who eventually was in charge of the states hatchery program.

    I share my modest scientific background with you because you clearly know way more about science than I do… That being said… I know what you are saying about aluminum. It takes a lot of energy to turn bauxite into aluminum. All the dams here in Washington provided the power to make all the planes Boeing built…and I said aluminum was a relatively new metal in terms of human history. We had the Bronze Age, then the Iron Age. Humans have only been cooking on aluminum for 150 years. Therefore, if there is a link to aluminum and Alzheimer’s it could only be observed in the last 50 years max…I think.

    I know you know way more about science than I do. I hope my comments don’t offend you. I know a bit about aluminum. I have worked with it extensively outside of the lab…and whenever I cut it or drill holes in it, I keep some of the shavings. I mean, one never knows when one might need to make some Thermite! (or maybe just sprinkle some in with some sugar and stump remover to make model rockets go farther, lol) I am sure you have forgotten more about the stuff than I will ever learn, but… it is relatively new…right? ;-)


  30. E.M.Smith says:


    Shows a big ramp up starting about 1950-60. Prior to that, hardly any made (and I’d wager mostly for military / industrial use, given that bump in W.W.II – so not a lot of pots and pans).

    That means that the typical exposure to aluminum metal for most folks has at most a 50 to 60 year span. If it has a long duration dietary impact, we’ll find out in about 20 years…

  31. @ E.M.

    Do you follow AA…(Alcoa, not the 12 Step AA)…

    Like CAT, it can be a great stock to own coming out of a economic downturn.

    This posting should attract some new visitors via the search engines for you! Beer, Kidney Stones, AA, Pamela Anderson…won’t they be surprised!

  32. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M:Aluminum Hydroxide antacid Two things: Our bodies manufacture our NATURAL ANTACID: Baking Soda (NaHCO3) in our mouth (saliva) and in the duodenum…but the aluminum lobby, ya know….the second issue: 20 years ago or more it was found that gastritis was not caused by acidity but because of an infection by the Helicobacter pylori, so… in any case if you eat too much or feel uncomfortable just take baking soda with or without a bit of lemon juice (sodium citrate), and if with pain then go to “your” (I don´t own one) doctor….and if he/she prescribes you aluminum hydroxide then ask him/her where he graduated.

  33. E.M.Smith says:


    I use sodium citrate as needed, but usually don’t need it. Bicarb is in the kitchen when I’ve had too much Mexican food ;-) Calcium Carbonate tablets if really pushed. Never saw much need for the Aluminum Chalk Sludge ;-)

  34. I read somewhere that vinegar works. I will take a swig of Balsamic occasionally, and it does seem to help, maybe it’s just the placebo effect.

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    @Andrew Newberg:

    When your face is sucked into a pucker that would make a straight mans sphincter in The Castro District of SF look ‘loose’; well, “placebo” isn’t quite the whole story ;-)

  36. @ E.M.


    I must tell say, a few years ago, my ex and I and another couple spent a few days in Napa doing the wine thing. The last night we stayed in SF. It happened to coincide with a very large annual parade…

    When in Rome…well…let me rephrase that…I would never make a point of attending such an event, but we did walk down to see the parade.

    I don’t really care what people (consenting adults) do in the bedroom…but don’t throw it in my face.

    But on the topic of Balsamic vinegar, the good stuff from Modena, 12-20 years old… pour some on a plate with some extra virgin olive oil and some crusty bread…you must (vinum mustum) have tried that before.

    Sorry, pun not intended initially.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    We have some nice Italian restaurants out here, so yes, I’ve had crusty bread dipped in EVOO with nice vinegar. It’s a glory! Puns always appreciated BTW ;-)

  38. Pingback: And Bones | Health Matters

Comments are closed.