Q. I 
have read that aluminum seems to be associated with Alzheimer’s 
disease. Could the aluminum in antiperspirants increase the risk? What else can you use to reduce underarm sweating and odor?

A. The aluminum-Alzheimer’s connection has been debated for decades. Although there is no definitive proof, scientists have linked elevated levels of aluminum to the development of dementia (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, May, 2007).

It is not clear whether enough aluminum is absorbed from antiperspirants to pose a problem. There are options without aluminum, however. Some readers find that milk of magnesia applied to the underarm makes a safe and effective deodorant.

One person reports: “I am allergic to every kind of antiperspirant and commercial deodorant. I heard about milk of magnesia and have been using it very successfully for about six years. There is no smell or residue on clothing.”

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Althea B.

    I too have noticed the difference between doctors like Russell Blaylock whose parents died of the same disease and he studied the brain links to all kinds of items we ingest including Aluminum and says it’s not good for us, along with a lot of other items, however the Am Cancer society and the Alzheimer’s Assoc say it’s safe, one of them is right. I’m leaning towards Dr. Blaylock!

  2. Dana Reed

    Taking a steam bath (if you are a healthy candidate for it) helps you to sweat out toxins. When I can’t get to a steam bath, I use a miniscule amount of oregano oil mixed with liquid soap during a shower. It helps kill the bacteria-causing odor. It might only take one drop, depending on the strength of the oregano oil. But be careful: too much and you will burn your skin.
    Oregano oil has also killed a toenail fungus that I have tried to clear up for 13 years.

  3. LGF

    Most of you apparently don’t have that bad of a sweating/odorous problem. It has caused the women in my family a lot of grief and anxiety. I’ll take my chances with Alzheimer’s. I can say that Certain Dry (OTC) works great and Drysol (same thing only it’s Rx). Listerine helps with odor. I’m considering Botox, even if insurance doesn’t cover it.

  4. Faye Sheppard

    I am 63. When I was a teen-ager in the ’50s, the only way one could get an anti-persperant preparation was by prescription because of the aluminum. I realize excessive sweating is a problem for some, but it’s basically a normal bodily function that should be allowed to do its job. Whether the aluminum is directly related to breast cancer or Alzheimer’s is only one question. What are the repercussions of preventing sweat glands from sweating? I see two potential problems with anti-persperants. Talcum powder mixed with baking soda and corn starch makes a very satisfactory underarm deodorant.

  5. Terry Lynch

    Deoderants that are just deoderants, not “antiperspirants,” contain no aluminum. In addition to avoiding aluminum cookware, watch out for cans (e.g. soft drink cans)It doesn’t take that much effort/lifestyle change to avoid aluminum, so I figure better safe than sorry.

  6. TD

    I have heard that the aluminum in anti-perspirants can cause breast cancer in both female and male users. I have wondered if this is true. I have heard it from many sources. The next time you buy a deodorant, make sure it is only deodorant and not anti-perspirant.

  7. Seamus O'Hargadain

    I’m sure there’s a connection between aluminum and Alzheimer’s. This condition affects almost all humanity; so there’s no genetic link here.
    It should be prevelant in certain groups of people but it is not. So it has to be and enviromental factor that brings it on.
    I use a mineral salt solution that kills odor causing bacteria but does not contain aluminum nor does it inhibit sweating, which cools you off. If I cook it is in stainless steal not aluminum.
    It’s stupid to inhibit sweating by putting on anti-persperints, then wearing short pants to “cool you off”, which will not work!

  8. R Slayton

    I read your article regarding the use of milk of magnesia as a deodorant and tried it. The effects were horrible. I went to dinner last night with my date. We both had a Mediterranean fish soup. This was approximately 3 hours after applying the milk of magnesia.
    No sooner did I leave the restaurant when I had to go to the bathroom to relieve myself.
    The dinner was transformed into liquid. My date had no problem whatsoever. Therefore since we both had the same dinner and I was the one who used milk of magnesia, I can only assume that it must have been absorbed into my system and that is what caused the dire need to eliminate the waste.
    This morning I had a normal breakfast, and feel fine so I doubt there was any kind of a intestinal bug involved. Perhaps this remedy should be investigated further.

  9. C Hartje

    I used aluminum-based antiperspirants for over 35 years. In the last few years I had a lot of aches in my my muscles, the doctor said I had a persistant low grade inflammation. I switched to the salt crystal type of deoderant (not antiperspirants) about 8 months ago, in about 2 months my muscles no longer ached. Not sure of the correlation, but if there is a suspected negative of what the aluminum can do, then it made sense to me.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.