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Advantages of Breastfeeding: Formula Contains Aluminum!

Breast feeding offers advantages that formula can’t.

In spite of how much you want to breastfeed, or perhaps in part because of how much you want it, for many women breastfeeding causes so much anxiety they are driven to quit.

The fact is, the more a woman anticipates breastfeeding, the more the actual act may trigger anxiety. Playtex calls it “The two-month dip.” I promise to share diet-tips for minimizing anxiety in a future post. Meanwhile, I hope this post will serve to strengthen resolve.

If you are like most of my patients, you know that quitting eliminates the immune system boosting antibodies that reduce the risk of infections. However I know few women who were aware that formula contains potent toxins. The FDA falsely assures you, me, and your doctor that infant formula is safe. So safe, in fact, that you should never make your own.

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On the one hand, I fear the information you are about to read may add fuel to the anxiety fire and, because of this, I promise that a near-future post will discuss natural ways to reduce your anxiety. On the other hand, I have not seen this discussed elsewhere and it is so important I feel it needs to be shared right away. So here goes.

Formula fed babies are prone to inflammatory health conditions.

Within a few weeks of stopping breastmilk and starting premade, brand-name cow’s milk or soy formula, I’ve found that some babies develop blotchy pink skin rashes on the face and upper body. These rashes are outward signs of inflammation that is likely to affect other organs of the body, including the brain.The inflammation occurs after switching from breastmilk to formula because even organic infant formulas are typically made with low-quality cheap ingredients whose manufacture necessarily contaminates them with aluminum and trans fats.

Infant formula contains huge quantities of aluminum.

In doing my recent article on the potential link between aluminum-containing vaccines and autism I wanted to find out exactly how much aluminum a child would get from all the vaccines injected at age 2 months, and compare it to the amount of aluminum a baby would get from other sources.

Aluminum hazards from baby’s 2 month vaccines versus other sources:

Vaccines:  up to 2,125 mcg (depends on brand of vaccine administered) — over 50 times higher than FDA safety levels!

Breastmilk: 50 mcg/L

Cow’s milk formula: 400 mcg/L

Soy formula: 2346 mcg/L

Aluminum promotes inflammation.

Aluminum has been found to promte inflammation of the following body systems:

The brain and nerves, and is implicated in neurologic disorders in children and adults and potentially brain cancers

Our circulatory system (arteries and veins)

The immune system

The bone marrow

The skeletal system

Formula fed babies often develop inflammatory rashes like this one, diagnosed as eczema.

Aluminum is added to vaccines intentionally to induce inflamation so that the vaccine takes effect, so the idea that aluminum promotes inflammation is hardly controversial.

How can the FDA assure us that infant formula is safe when it is so loaded with aluminum?

The FDA considers injected aluminum, also known as “parenterally administered” aluminum, a potential health hazard. But these public officials do not seem to question the effects of aluminum that we eat. The FDA limit of exposure for aluminum in parenterally administered nutrition (TPN) is quite low, 25 mcg/liter. However, the aluminum content of food does not appear regulated at all, and all five major forms of aluminum (called aluminum salts) show up on their GRAS (generally regarded as safe) list, found here.

The FDA’s current position on aluminum in food seems unsupportable. I have studied toxicology at the graduate level and cannot fathom why, if we believe aluminum to be harmful when administered parenterally, it would be safe when eaten. To my knowledge none of the various forms of aluminum found on the planet that could be toxic when used in TPN would be somehow rendered safe by the process of digestion. We know this is not the case with lead. Lead is a metal cation much like aluminum, though lower on the periodic table of elements than aluminum and therefore less abundant. Lead is known to be harmful no matter how it gets into the body.

Soy, Canola, and other Vegetable Oils In Formula Contain TRANS Fats

Another toxin in formula are the trans fats. I discuss the hazards of trans fat from soy and/or Canola oils, both often used as the source of essential fat in infant formula, in Chapter 8 of Deep Nutrition. For information on why these harmful fats are never revealed on infant formula, read this post. And to make sure your healthy dinner salad won’t contaminate your own breastmilk wil trans fat, click here.

By learning to make your own baby formula from scratch, not only do you avoid feeding your baby the three most common highly processed ingredients all of us should avoid, you also reduce exposure to massive amounts of aluminum.

The best information on making infant formula can be found on the Weston A Price website here. One caveat: Avoid sunflower oil. Even when expeller pressed, this oil is almost always refined and will therefore contain trans fats. Instead, I recommend using an unrefined omega-6-rich oil, such as unrefined sesame or grapeseed oil. Don’t skip this step because, as is true of omega-3, omega-6 is an essential fat your baby must have.

My purpose here is not to make any woman feel bad about yesterday’s choices! I hope this information will help any woman actively struggling with the gentle art of breastfeeding make an even more informed choice tomorrow.

Learn More:

Why a great first step is to change from iron fortified formula to non-fortified unless your baby has been diagnosed with iron deficiency (I guest-posted at Food Renegade, one of my favorite sites).

I discuss new insights into the autistic mind in this post.

And Sean Croxton and I discuss some of the controversial theories on the cause of autism on his Underground Wellness postcast here.

With over two decades of clinical experience and expertise in genetic and biochemical research, Dr. Cate can help you to reverse metabolic disease and reshape your body.

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This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. Hi Dr. Cate,

    I note that the homemade formula recipes call for sunflower oil which is one of the hateful eight. Would it be okay to leave it out and increase either the coconut and/or olive oil instead?

    Thank you!

    1. Baby brain strikes again (LOL) This paragraph (above) says: “The best information on making infant formula can be found on the Weston A Price website here. One caveat: Avoid sunflower oil. Even when expeller pressed, this oil is almost always refined and will therefore contain trans fats. Instead, I recommend using an unrefined omega-6-rich oil, such as unrefined sesame or grapeseed oil. Don’t skip this step because, as is true of omega-3, omega-6 is an essential fat your baby must have.”

  2. I’m pregnant and want to be prepared to mix raw milk formula if I absolutely cannot breastfeed. I noticed that the suggested Weston Price recipe includes cod liver oil, which you advise avoiding in Deep Nutrition. Substitution please?

    1. Good for you for planning ahead. Try finding a source of quality actual liver, and there may be some recipes with just liver and no cod liver oils. Plus grass-fed dairy has short-chain omega 3s and without seed oils contaminating our bodies the human liver can elongate short to long.

  3. I’ve read about how not only does formula contain aluminum, but that it also contains ridiculous amounts of manganese (way above any safe intake level for adults, much less babies) in addition to soy isoflavones. I’m just being a parrot right now and repeating what I heard, but can’t excess manganese cause neurological damage and potentially encourage violent behavior? Correct me if I’m wrong. So then, with aluminum and god knows what else they put in formulas, are formula companies trying to make everyone’s babies sick? I don’t get it. And part of me also doesn’t want to.

  4. For anyone who wants to learn good solid facts about breastfeeding (there are a lot of myths out there) I highly recommend La Leche League’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th edition. Actually, any info from LLL is great as they are the world’s foremost authority on the subject – And of course support from LLL is just a phone call away. Also good is Kathy Dettwyler’s info (anthropological perspective)at
    Also, a friendly comment to the one who feels like she is wasting her time pumping because she knows formula fed people who are fine….keep up the good work with pumping! You are giving your child an amazing gift, full of antibodies and it’s specifically designed just for that child. Things like diabetes, sleep apnea, cancer, lower IQ, even Crohn’s disease, can be linked to formula feeding. So some of those people who were formula fed could be experiencing the disadvantages, even though they may appear healthy now. We are constantly finding new and amazing benefits of breast milk. The studies are out there if anyone wants to read about these topics. To any mom who breastfeeds, even if just for a few weeks, good for you for giving a gift that will continue to keep on giving for a lifetime 🙂

    1. Thank, you Rachel. I have heard from many new mom’s with wonderful experiences from LLL outreach, thank you for the news on their book.

  5. Its 4:11 am where in FL right now, I have a 27 day old little girl and she has just been put on Alumimum formula due to gas so bad. I breastfeed her for for 3 weeks and gas was so bad and still is that she never slept. I asked my her Dr. about it and she suggested different formulas. We tried several different ones and still gassy. My question to you is how and will this formula even help her.

  6. Great post. I’ve know about other bad ingredients in formula and would never give it to my baby, but this tops the cake. A little unrelated, but as you recommend women take pre-natal vitamins before getting pregnant, I was wondering what brand(s) you recommend; keeping in line with healthy traditional diets. Not sure if someone has already asked this question. Thank you!

    1. I don’t yet fully endorse any brands but have been favoring products produced by a company called Standard Process. I believe you can buy their products from Amazon.

  7. Thank you Dr Cate for another great article. My baby is 8.5 months old and recently my milk supply has gone down due to going back to work and other stresses. I gave the baby a couple ounces of organic formula a few times and she flat out refused it! Spit it out and turned her head. I tried a couple more times and same thing. I started drinking Mother’s tea and went to a raw dairy farm to supplement a couple ounces of that until my milk built back up. She loved the raw milk and now she’s back to getting all breast milk. Do you have any advice on other ways to increase milk supply? I find that if I cut carbs or lengthen time between meals my milk supply decreases. I want to nurse until at least a year. At that point do you think it’ll be ok for her body to handle all raw milk? When does food become the dominant form of calories vs. milk?
    Thank you!

    1. Breastfeeding moms may need to get out of ketogenesis from time to time or even more often to optimize milk supply. One of the reasons I recommend a range of carb intake from 30 to 70 grams daily is that uninterrupted ketogenesis may not be optimal either.

  8. The title of that book for feeding kids (you know, the one Lissa said you should write,) is “How to pack nutritious lunch for your kids without making them feel like total weirdos in public school.” Good luck with that.

    My child shall breastfeed until she is 18. I think that’s the only safe solution…

    1. Maybe they could go to the school that Obama’s girls go to? Apparently they eat organic there??? 🙂

  9. Do you recommend a commercial formula or the West Price Foundation’s recipe for homemade formula for adopted infants?

  10. I am unable to breast feed as my body produces very minimal breast milk (I have tried with 3 children so far, pumping, supplemental feeding systems, demand feeding, scheduled feedings, medications, herbals, several meetings with lactation consultants, etc.) I am currently pregnant with my fourth and again my breasts have not changed AT ALL so I anticipate the same problem. I always assumed I would BF and it has been an emotional thing not being able to. So…what do you recommend for someone where BF is actually not an option.

    1. The best info I have found is from the Weston Price Foundation. Lots of good info on various formula types and how to change up the mix with age. Adapting a high-nutrient, traditional style diet has helped support breastfeeding in many women and it would also help your overall health!

      1. Hi Dr. Care,

        Quick question for you. I note that the homemade formula recipes call for sunflower oil which is one of the hateful eight. Would it be okay to leave it out and increase either the coconut and/or the olive oil?

        Thank you!

  11. Thanks for the response. For some reason, aluminum has not been on my radar so I appreciate the post. My son is scheduled for his 4 month vaccinations soon and I was thinking I might try to spread out the aluminum containing vaccinations over a period of visits so he wouldn’t receive them all on the same day. I found an interesting discussion on this website–not sure if you would like the link, but I found it to be helpful.

  12. I just ordered “Food Rules”. Soon I’ll get it. Nice 🙂
    And It just crossed my mind, that I would also read a book written by you, Dr. Cate, about food solutions for babies and kinds and about care after babies. Would be nice.

    Best regards.

  13. What are the sources of aluminum in breast milk and how do you reduce exposure? The link you provided doesn’t work for non library users. Also, due to the aluminum in vaccines, do you recommend delaying or foregoing vaccinations? Thanks for the information.

    1. Link is fixed, thanks!

      Aluminum gets into formula through the processing, which involves lots of aluminum exposure under heat and acid conditions so it leaches. The source in a woman breastmilk is her prior lifetime of processed food.

      My sister just asked me the same question about vaccines and the answer I gave is it depends on what you eat (affects immune health) and where you are going to go with your baby. The more travel/daycare etc, the more exposure to vaccine preventable disease and therefore the more important vaccines. The better your family’s diet, the less important. It needs to be customized and a decision you make with your baby’s care provider.

      1. Looking into this further–having read a few articles off the internet –it appears that aluminum in intravenous solutions is handled differently by the body than intramuscularly injected aluminum. At least this one study seems to say so:
        I am not sure what this means for concerns over aluminum in vaccinations versus formula–perhaps the aluminum in formula is much worse because it is handled differently by the body; injected aluminum is rapidly eliminated by the body and is not given continuously over a period of time as formula is. Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks so much.

        1. You are right to point out that aluminum will have different impact on the body depending on where it enters. Unfortunatly, not a lot of reserach on the oral route because it is considered a nontoxic natural element. Of course, just because something is natural doesn’t mean we ought to be getting a huge amount of it. This is yet another way in which we are experimenting on ourselves and our environment.

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