Archive for December, 2010

Are Your Underarms Aluminum-free?

December 24th, 2010

The last thing we may want to think about is our underarms – unless of course it is to be sure they don’t sweat, or heaven forbid, that they smell. Each morning  we slather on antiperspirant and deodorant to make sure we don’t have to think about them the rest of the day. But is that smell a messenger that deserves more attention? Research is beginning to surface that shows hindering the ability to sweat under our arms is not a good thing. Preventing this natural detoxification process by using products with aluminum could possibly affect our overall health. It may be time to meet our underarms and seek an aluminum-free deodorant.

Sweating may make us feel warmer but it actually is the mechanism that cools the body down so it can stay at its normal temperature, 98.6 degrees. Heat is naturally produced by the body as it burns off the food we eat during the day. This gets the brain in gear to launch our body’s cooling process.

There are two kinds of sweat glands, the eccrine and apocrine. The more numerous of the two are the eccrine glands and they are all over the skin including the underarms. Thermoregulation, allowing the body to rid itself of excessive heat, is their principle function. As much as several liters of water can be lost from the body even hourly and it is the evaporation of this water that brings about body cooling as well as the release of toxins and other substances.

The apocrine sweat glands are located in only certain areas of the body and they release a secretion rich in organic substances such as proteins and the natural corticosteroids produced by the body. The sweat produced by the underarms, releases internal toxins as well.

The axillary, or armpit secretion, is what causes the odor problem. This ‘sweat’ may innocently begin as odorless, but it is a gourmet treat for bacteria and the more they munch, the more they grow and multiply. Just like us, when they eat, they produce waste with a smell that may be reminiscent of a compost pile rather than a flower garden.

It is understandable that we don’t want to give exploitive bacteria any advantage so, yes, deodorant can be a very good idea. But it may be prudent to look for an aluminum-free, natural or organic deodorant that kills bacteria. Here’s why.

The sweat functions are important for the body, so we may want to rethink the old one-two punch that drugs like antiperspirants provide to prevent both sweat and odor. Yes, antiperspirants are classified as over the counter drugs, because they change the natural physiological function of the body.  When sweat begins its natural journey from the sweat ducts to the skin, it runs into the protective shield of antiperspirant, and  has no place to go, so it absorbs the antiperspirant into the pores and causes the cells to swell. The cells rebel and the swollen sweat ducts become constricted and slam shut.

The active ingredient causing this unnatural drama in the cells is one of many forms of aluminum.  Whether it be aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, potassium alum or ammonium alum etc., it is considered a neurotoxin, with over 2000 references in the National Library of Medicine on its adverse effects.

If you have been using an antiperspirant or deodorant containing aluminum you might want to find a non-aluminum deodorant to cleanse the aluminum from your body.  There seems to be only one on the market that is truly a nighttime detox deodorant.  It helps release aluminum and other metal ions in your body while you sleep.

There are many experts in the health field who believe that body odor can be made worse through poor nutritional habits.  It may be wise to work from the inside as well by choosing whole, natural and organic fruits, vegetables and grains and reducing toxic, processed and factory-farmed foods. Treat your body and the planet to a healthy diet.

Misconceptions About Non-Aluminum Deodorants

December 14th, 2010

According to Dr. Christophe Exley, “There is no difference in ‘safety’ between antiperspirants made of aluminium chlorohydrate (and related salts) and those made of alum (potassium aluminum sulphate), the so-called crystal ‘natural’ products.” He also confirms, “We know from research that aluminum applied under the arm appears in the urine, so it does permeate through the skin.”*

There is a considerable amount of ambiguous and misleading information regarding the compounds Potassium alum and Ammonium alum when used in ‘natural’ products, particularly in relationship to their use in deodorants. Possibly due to misunderstanding or maybe just marketing, many people believe that neither are actually components of aluminum and thus constitute an aluminum-free deodorant. A couple of other misconceptions include the fact that the molecule has a different charge and that it is also too big to be absorbed.

Here is what is true:

1.      The alum in crystal deodorants is either Potassium alum or Ammonium alum — both alums are aluminum in that they are potassium or ammonium salts of aluminum sulphate.

2.       Potassium alum and Ammonium alum used in crystal deodorants are compounds that dissociate/break down with water and/or sweat and will be absorbed under the arm if applied. According to Dr. Exely, “the evidence we have is that a very small proportion of applied Al, probably <0.01 will be absorbed into the bloodstream.”

3.      Once dissolved in the aqueous solution (sweat) the molecule is no longer too big to penetrate the skin.  The aluminum frees from the potassium and exhibits the actions of aluminum and potassium exhibits the actions of potassium. When these alums dissolve they form their constituent parts as was indicated above. The Al3+(aq) could reprecipitate, for example in sweat ducts, as aluminum hydroxide, the form in which the Al is absorbed and enters the bloodstream is not known.

4.      Aluminum bio-accumulates so small amounts do add up and is implicated in a variety of diseased states.

5.      The aluminum charge can change but it still can be absorbed. Some Al will remain as monomeric charged forms while other might form small particles of aluminum hydroxide with little or no charge.

In addition to the confusion about crystal deodorants being natural and aluminum-free, it may prove true that many are neither. “In recent years, the crystal deodorant market has become increasingly saturated with artificial potassium alum and ammonium alum made from synthesizing aluminum hydroxide with sulfuric acid,” according to Verdan, makers of private label crystal deodorants.

When making your deodorant choice, you may want to begin with Herbalix Restoratives™ Nighttime Detox Deodorant to remove any aluminums that may have collected under your arms.  Compliment Detox Deodorant with one of the organic Daytime Deodorants from the company.

* Christopher Exley PhD,  Bioinorganic Chemistry – The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, UK.   Dr. Exley is an international authority on aluminum and the myriad of ways that it impacts upon life on earth.