Bowel Pains – Could It Be Aluminum Exposure?

Exposure to aluminum is high (they even use it in water purification plants).  In recent years, IBS and IBD have increased. Now, 2 studies in mice have shown increased visceral  pain sensitization in keeping with usual human exposure of aluminum.


Aluminum has come under increased scrutiny with the finding that aluminum in dorsal root ganglion might cause chemotherapy oxaliplatin induced peripheral neuropathy pain:
Lee, Minji, et al.
Glutathione alleviated peripheral neuropathy in oxaliplatin-treated mice by removing aluminum from dorsal root ganglia.
American journal of translational research 9.3 (2017): 926.

Commentary was written here:

Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019;7(1):235-236.
doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2018.10.005.
Aluminum Meddles With Visceral Pain Perception.
Bretin A et al

  • Makes comment “prevalence of both IBS and IBD have shown marked increases in  incidence, roughly paralleling the modernization of society that accelerated in the mid-20th century, raising the possibility that environmental factors associated with human activity may be a driver of both diseases.”
  • make comment that “aluminum levels are difficult to measure in individuals”
  • speculates that maybe rodents might be more sensitive –  but who knows?


Sites 2 articles:
De Chambrun, G. Pineton, et al.
Aluminum enhances inflammation and decreases mucosal healing in experimental colitis in mice.
Mucosal immunology 7.3 (2014): 589.

Aluminum worsens colitis induced by 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid and dextran sodium sulfate in mice.

Main article it refers to:

N. Esquerre, L. Basso, C. Dubuquoy, M. Djouina, D. Chappard, C. Blanpied, P. Desreumaux, N. Vergnolle, C. Vignal, M. Body-Malapel
[Aluminum ingestion promotes colorectal hypersensitivity in rodents]
Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol, 7 (2019), pp. 185-196

  • Irritable bowel occurs in 10–25% of the population with twice as many women as men in Western countries
  • 50% of patients report having had symptoms before 35 years of age with no known cause.
  • No biomarkers of disease so  diagnosis is clinical
  • Increase intestinal permeability is seen
  • abnormal activation status of immune cells, particularly mast cells or T cells is seen
  • psychological factors, and preceding gastrointestinal infections associated.
  • oligosaccharide, disaccharides, monosaccharide, polyol, gluten, and nickel sensitivity are related and various diets might help.
  • estimated that most Americans ingest from 0.01 to 1.4 mg/kg body weight/d of aluminum which means more than more than 95 mg/d aluminum = meaning 1.58 mg·kg·d

So in their study the gave mice 1.5 mg/kg aluminum/day – results on day Four:


In the females, gut hypersensitivity has doubled…

There are a couple of IBS inducers in mice – repeated butyrate enemas and intrarectal injection of 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid in combination with 25–50% ethanol. They found Aluminum induced near similar levels of sensitization:

dug inducedIBS

A good study will show a dose-response effect – ie. –  more of it, more effect. This was seen:

aluminum dosage

  • The hypersensitivy induced by aluminum persisted during exposure “this aluminum-induced nociceptive effect was maintained for the duration of administration. After 30 days of exposure, it led to a 30% increase in pain compared with control animal.”
  • Withdrawal of aluminum did revert rats to normal over a period of a month though human ingesting it for years may not be as lucky: ” Increased pain induced by 1.5 mg/kg/d persisted significantly for 7 days after discontinuation of treatment, and 4 weeks were needed to reach the threshold of nontreated rats.”
  • those subjected to previous aluminum exposure, developed hypersensitivity much faster with a second challenge:  “second administration of AlCi at the same dose of 1.5 mg/kg/d induced pain within 2 days of administration compared with 8 days during the first administration “
  • To rule out effect of citrate on IBS, rats were given comparable doses of zinc citrate instead of aluminum citrate – zinc citrate did not induce any hypersensitivity.
  • They were able to demonstrate “aluminum induced mast cell degranulation and activation of the proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) which were required for aluminum-induced visceral pain”

Comment OMG – could it be that simple in some cases? I will write more but felt this needed to be got out there ASAP.


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