The study – published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease – investigated the suggested links between exposure to aluminium and Alzheimer's disease by testing whether reduction in aluminium levels had beneficial effects on the disease.
Led by Professor Christopher Exley, from Keele University, UK, the research team’s findings suggest regular consumption of up to 1 litre a day of a silicon-rich mineral water works to remove aluminium from the bodies of people with Alzheimer’s disease, and in some individuals offers ‘clinically-significant’ protection against cognitive decline.
“We have provided preliminary evidence that over 12 weeks of silicon-rich mineral water therapy the body burden of aluminium fell in individuals with Alzheimer's disease and, concomitantly, cognitive performance showed clinically relevant improvements in at least 3 out of 15 individuals,” said Exley and his team.
“This is a first step in a much needed rigorous test of the ‘aluminium hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease’ and a longer term study involving many more individuals is now warranted,” they said.
Exley and his colleagues explained that for several decades there has been ‘a substantive link’ between Alzheimer’s disease and everyday exposure to aluminium – which is a known neurotoxin.
However, they said that until now, no experimental studies have been conducted to test this link in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
“We contend that the only direct and ethically acceptable experimental test of the ‘aluminium hypothesis’, which would provide unequivocal data specific to the link, is to test the null hypothesis that a reduction in the body burden of aluminium to its lowest practical limit would have no influence upon the incidence, progression, or severity of Alzheimer's disease,” explained the authors.
“We are testing the hypothesis that silicon-rich mineral waters can be used as non-invasive methods to reduce the body burden of aluminium in individuals with Alzheimer's disease and a control group consisting of their carers’ and partners,” they added.
Exley and his colleagues studied the effects of a silicon-rich mineral water (Spritzer, containing 35 mg/L (ppm) total silicon) in 15 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) who were asked to drink one litre of the water each day for 12 weeks.
The team found that after the 12 week period the team reported that the ‘burden’ of aluminium - measured using urinary excretion – was significantly reduced.
In parallel with this reduction in body burden of aluminium, Exley and his team reported some ‘remarkable’ effects on cognitive function in the individuals with AD – with eight out of 15 showing no deterioration in cognitive abilities over the period of the study. Three of these eight, in fact showed clinically-relevant improvements in cognitive functions, they said.
Source: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-121231
“Silicon-Rich Mineral Water as a Non-Invasive Test of the 'Aluminum Hypothesis' in Alzheimer's Disease”
Authors: Davenward S, Bentham P, Wright J, Crome P, Job D, Polwart A, Exley C.