Although sold as a necessary "nutrient" to enhance the health of our teeth, fluoride is actually a highly toxic substance, more toxic than lead and only a tiny bit less toxic than arsenic. Historically, fluoride has been used as a potent pesticide to kill rats! Still, fluoride exists in many supplements, pharmaceuticals, baby food, toothpastes and is even added to our drinking water.
So, is fluoride important to teeth health? The research on its benefits to prevent cavities is actually unclear, with studies showing nearly no benefit. Countries such as Switzerland, Germany and Sweden have stopped fluoridating their water because of the lack of evidence regarding fluoride and teeth as well as systemic health concerns. Still, however, the United States and many other countries continue to fluoridate their water supply.
The argument arises regarding how much fluoride is a toxicity issue, however, chronic use over time can have detrimental effects since fluoride is stored readily in the body. It accumulates and contributes to your overall toxic load. The safe upper limit has been shown to be toxic to human health, according to the NRC ( National Research Council ). Some members of a population may be more likely to experience toxicity effects due to toxic overload, their environment, heavy metal toxicity, gene variants such as MTHFR, methylation issues, existing nutrient deficiencies and health history.
Although fluoride has claims to be safe, enough studies now exist that make one question it’s settled safety for this reason. The Environmental Protection Agency, in fact, stated in 2001, “Water fluoridation is an unreasonable risk.”
So, what is meant by “unreasonable risk?” Studies have shown that fluoride can cause harm to bones and ironically teeth as well as being a carcinogen. It also impacts the brain and thyroid and is linked to nutrient deficiencies that may further affect one’s health.
Bones and Teeth:
Fluoride ironically has been linked with dental fluorosis, which is a condition that negatively affects the tooth enamel as well as skeletal fluorosis, a skeletal bone disease caused by excess fluoride in the body. Studies show that fluoride may also increase bone fracture risk and be associated with joint pain, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Over 400 studies have shown the effects of fluoride as a neurotoxin, causing damage to the brain. These include both animal and human studies, showing that fluoride causes brain damage. Studies demonstrate that the combination of fluoride supplementation and iodine deficiency as well as heavy metal toxicity further the damage to the brain. Fluoride is linked to learning and memory disorders, behavioral issues, impairing fetal brain development, lowering IQ and neurological disorders such as autism.
A Harvard-based meta-analysis of 27 studies on fluoride and its impact on IQ, which was published in the Lancet, shows the association between reduced IQ in children and fluoride exposure. In addition, The Lancet also published a review in 2014 focused on fluoride’s neurotoxicity, linking fluoride to ADHD, cognitive decline, hyperactivity, autism and other learning disabilities and neurological disorders, of which many are considered permanent, irreparable damage.
Thyroid tissue is considered the most sensitive to fluoride, interfering with the body’s ability to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone, which affects multiple systems. Fluoride creates an imbalance in TSH, T3 and T4, causing hypothyroidism. It affects the body’s ability to convert T4 by destroying enzymes necessary for this conversion process.
Fluoride also interferes with the body’s uptake of iodine by blocking iodide transport. and iodine is necessary for optimal thyroid and metabolic function. Iodine also helps detoxify the body by removing pathogens such as parasites as well as heavy metals.
Interestingly, fluoride was prescribed in Western medicine forty years ago for treatment of an overactive thyroid! It’s no wonder that fluoride in water, toothpaste, pharmaceuticals such as antidepressants would affect thyroid function today and reduce thyroid function.
A recent study from the UK examining fluoride in drinking water and hypothyroidism showed that even low levels of fluoride (.3 milligrams per liter) in water increased thyroid damage risk by 30%, causing underactive thyroid function. The study also compared rates of hypothyroidism in urban areas to rural ones and found that cities, which were exposed to fluoridated water (the rural areas were not) had double the number of hypothyroid rates. A correlation between heavy metal toxicity, particularly aluminum, coupled with exposure to fluoride, magnified the effects of fluoride toxicity, demonstrating that even extremely small amounts of fluoride can have detrimental effects in combination with heavy metal exposure.
Fluoride exposure is linked to nutrient deficiencies which cause further damage, including dental fluorosis, brittle bones, mutagenicity and neurotoxicity. These nutrient deficiencies include iodine, vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin C, calcium and boron to name a few.
Those already deficient in these vitamins and minerals may be impacted at a higher level by fluoride toxicity. Fluoride increases oxidative stress, according to multiple studies. A diet and supplementation regimen that is rich in antioxidants may help reduce the effects of fluoride toxicity.
Glutathione is the master antioxidant, so supplementation may help with fluoride detoxification, especially when coupled with Nrf2 activation to unblock detoxification pathways. Detox pathways may be clogged as a result of toxic overload, methylation issues, gene variants and other factors. Sulforaphane, which is produced intrinsically by the body from the natural ingredients in broccoli and radishes (glucoraphanin and myrosinase), helps unblock detox pathways and provides tremendous antioxidant support.
Boron supplementation has also been studied in rats to help with reducing the effects of fluoride toxicity. The combination of boron and calcium chloride helped reduce the toxic effects of fluoride in all internal organs.
In spite of the wealth of research, fluoride still lurks in your drinking water, prescriptions, supplements, baby food and formula and toothpaste. You can help reduce your exposure to fluoride by purchasing a water filter that specifically removes fluoride, read labels carefully and buy fluoride-free toothpaste. Request a fluoride-free dental cleaning at your twice a year appointments or consider only going to a biological dentist.
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