As discussed in our previous blog, Fluoride: What Do You Need to Know? as inconvenient and alarming as it is, there are some known health risks associated with fluoride consumption. Understanding these effects is a new area of research and in this blog, we will discuss some of the findings regarding fluoride consumption adding depth to the effect it has on the human body and our children.
This blog is divided into the following sections:
Fluoride – can it impact the Endocrine System?
Fluoride and the Thyroid Gland
Fluoride and the Pineal Gland
Fluoride – Can it possibly lower IQ?
Can Fluoride Impacts Future Generations?
Fluoride and Infant Formula.
Fluoride – What’s all the Fuss?
Currently, billions of people around the world receive artificially fluoridated water in about 24 countries, including Australia, Canada, Ireland, the US, and the UK. Since the 1950s, there has however been relentless debate over whether there’s any real reason to do this. Since the 50’s a number of dentists and health experts have said that fluoridation of water isn’t the best way to reduce tooth decay, and more and more studies question the safety of chronic fluoride exposure. We discussed some of this in Fluoride – What Do You Need to Know?
Paul Connett, PhD Co-Founder, Fluoride Action Network says,
“Today, many people living in fluoridated communities are ingesting doses of fluoride (1.6-6.6 mg/day) that fall within the range of doses once used by doctors (2 to 10 mg/day) to reduce thyroid activity in hyperthyroid patients.
This is of particular concern considering the widespread problem of hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) in the United States. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include obesity, lethargy, depression, and heart disease.”1
As you’ve probably gathered so far, fluoride is a “contentious health topic.” Some go as far as to say that fluoride concerns are nothing more than ramblings of paranoid truth gurus particularly since water fluoridation is supported by many international organizations, including the World Health Organization, the World Health Assembly, and the World Dental Federation. Australian national organizations supporting water fluoridation include the NHMRC, the Australian Dental Association, and the Public Health Association of Australia. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States includes water fluoridation in its list of top 10 public health initiatives of the 20th century, alongside immunisation, seatbelts, and smoking bans.
The concerns expressed in these blogs with respect to fluoride, conflict with many government websites around the world which claim the following to be true: Fluoridation helps protect people of all ages from tooth decay, from the young to the old. Water fluoridation is a fair way of delivering the benefits of fluoride to the community, regardless of individual age, education, income, or motivation.2
If you are willing however to consider the health implications raised by health experts and look below the fluoride surface, you too may find a convoluted, suspicious mess. One that you will need to ponder and discern for yourself.
The first point to consider is that although big organizations recommend a product, a process, or protocol, we need to remember that we have seen countless examples of negligence from health authorities before. Over the decades we’ve seen advertisements and campaigns promoting the use of nicotine during pregnancy, the use of insecticide DDT to keep flies away from babies, the use of “heroin hydrochloride” by order of a physician, and asbestos as a good option for building insulation.
In the 30’-40’s researchers and doctors hadn’t yet discovered a clear link between smoking and lung cancer, and a great majority of them smoked cigarettes. In fact, tobacco companies used a doctors’ authority in cigarette ads, to make their claims about their cigarettes seem more legitimate.
To the modern-day reader, the pitching of cigarettes as “healthy” to young adults and to pregnant moms through the use of doctor endorsements, may sound horrifying. Yet prior to 1950, tobacco companies spent fortunes paying for endorsements and there wasn’t at that point enough evidence demonstrating that cigarette smoking caused cancer. The point being, many experts argue today as they did in the ’50s about cigarettes being innocuous, stating that fluoride is safe and that there is insufficient research to suggest harm.
Authors of the book Thyroid Power Dr. Richard L. Shames, M.D. and Karilee H. Shames, Ph.D., RN state that when researching thyroid issues, they were, shocked by the unexplained skyrocketing of thyroid disease and its spin-off epidemics of fatigue, depression, anxiety, infertility, and overweight. “While researching influences on the thyroid gland, we were astounded by a large number of fluoride citations. We were confronted with long lists of articles, from scientists around the world, reporting in medical journals about the harmful effects of fluoride.”
“But fluoride is not simply an isolated problem for identified thyroid patients. As a widespread hormone disruptor, it is very likely to be causing wider mischief, even at supposed safe levels. Fluoride is just one of a great many environmental hormone disruptors. However, it is the only one we purposely put into our drinking water.”
Let’s look more deeply at the health impact.
Fluoride – Can It Impact the Endocrine System?
The endocrine system is responsible for regulating a range of bodily functions through the release of hormones. These hormones are secreted by the glands of the endocrine system, traveling through the bloodstream to various organs and tissues in the body. The glands of the endocrine system include the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, adrenal glands, and pancreas.
The hormones released from these glands then tell these organs and tissues what to do or how to function. Some examples of bodily functions that are controlled by the endocrine system include metabolism, growth and development, sexual function and reproduction, heart rate, blood pressure, appetite, sleeping and waking cycles, and body temperature.
Research has found links between fluoride and the disruption of essential endocrine glands, primarily the thyroid gland and the pineal gland.
Fluoride and the Thyroid Gland.
Situated near our ‘Adam’s apple’ is an essential endocrine gland known as the thyroid gland. Globally, millions of people suffer from thyroid-related problems. The thyroid releases hormones into our bloodstream that help to regulate copious bodily functions, especially related to metabolism. The two main hormones that are released are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Normally these hormones would control and regulate digestive function, heart rate, metabolic rate, brain development, and bone maintenance.
When the thyroid gland does not function properly, it can affect multiple aspects of our health. The most important effect is thyroid complications in pregnant women. Uncontrolled hypothyroidism can raise blood pressure during late pregnancy, increase the risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery, and affect brain development and growth rate.3
We see then that the thyroid gland is essential for basic bodily functions however when under the influence of fluoride it appears that the thyroid gland may not work at the level our body requires. Clinical pharmacist and author Dr Izabella Wentz says that,
“Just like other halogens, fluoride has been proven to act as a trigger in inducing thyroid cell death, as well as lead to the development of thyroid inflammation and autoimmune thyroid disease like Hashimoto’s.” 4
What these studies show is that the effects of fluoride on the thyroid are like that of hypothyroidism; a condition in which the thyroids activity and function, are diminished.
- Studies even suggest that fluoride mimics the hormone TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and disrupts the enzymes that are needed to form the T3 and T4 hormones.5 In one case- control study 198 cases and 213 controls were selected. Fluoride was determined by the SPADNS Colorimetric Method. It was found that fluoride has impacts on TSH, T3 hormones even in the standard concentration of less than 0.5 mg/L. Application of standard household water purification devices was recommended for hypothyroidism.
- A 2018 article in Scientific Reports states that, “During the years 2007–2016, the Parents of Fluoride Poisoned Children (PFPC) has reported over 190 studies on the effects of fluoride on thyroid hormones, including studies on both animals and humans6. They found that fluoride reduces the T4 and T3 levels and has generational and cumulative effects on the development of the offspring7.
- These adverse effects of fluoride on animal and human health are also well documented in the literature7,8. The effects of high fluoride ingestion through drinking water, green tea, and ambient air pollution on thyroid hormones (T3, T4, TH, and TSH) were investigated in both humans and animals. Some studies reported a reduction in the T4 and T3 levels as well as an abnormal increase in the TSH levels9-15. Prolonged exposure to fluoride can also cause irreversible damage to the thyroid such as thyroid cell death and an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s
If you are sceptical about the validity of what we have just said listen to this…
Forty years ago, fluoride was used as a treatment for hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) to reduce the activity of thyroid. So, there has been a longstanding “known” link between the function of the thyroid and fluoride. 4
Furthermore, multiple studies have shown that fluoride can alter the proper functioning of body processes by mistaking fluoride for something else. In the case of fluoride, it is recognized as iodine (another halogen) in the body.
Halogens are a group in the periodic table consisting of five chemically related elements: fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine.
Because iodine is essential for every major body function on a cellular level, the body absorbs fluoride it into its organ tissues, mistaking it for iodine. OUCH!!!
Here’s the real kicker – very little fluoride is excreted via urine or sweat, which is what tends to lead to toxicity in the body. Over time, fluoride absorption in tissues manifests as actual lesions on endocrine glands, such as the thyroid. Thus, fluoride is considered an endocrine disruptor (which means it disrupts the endocrine system).
Unfortunately, what some of the animal studies also suggest is that fluoride toxicity appears to increase with each generation impacting both brain function and the thyroid. We discuss further down under Fluoride – can it possibly lower IQ?
The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland located superior to the brainstem. Its function is to regulate the production and release of the hormone melatonin which is mainly responsible for maintaining our bodies circadian rhythm.
The pineal gland is a calcifying tissue which means that it accumulates calcium salts, similar to our teeth and bones. Surprisingly, the calcified parts of the pineal gland (hydroxyapatite crystals) contain the highest fluoride concentrations in the human body, even higher than our teeth and bones!16
Research suggests that the presence of fluoride in the pineal gland inhibits enzymes that are essential to produce melatonin. The body’s antioxidant defence, blood pressure, temperature, cortisol levels, sleep, as well as sexual and immune function are all things affected by insufficient melatonin production. 17
It’s interesting that Pineal gland calcification potentially exacerbated by chronic fluoride exposure is associated with several diseases in the medical literature:
- Alzheimer Disease
- Bipolar Disease
- Circadian Dysregulation
- Hormone Imbalances: Low Melatonin
- Low Back Pain
- Parkinson Disease
- Sleep Disorders
For all my spiritual friends…
If you are a believer in spiritualism or have some basic knowledge, I’m sure you are familiar with the third eye. For many years now the pineal gland has been labelled as the third eye. Its appellation comes from the glands relationship with light and the similarity of the pineal gland cells to that of the retina cells (eye).
Buddhists and many others believe that the third eye forms the metaphysical connection between the spiritual word and the physical world.18
If this is something that you are passionate about, perhaps consider how well your third eye can access spiritual connection with excessive calcification from fluoride…?…
Recent studies have proposed that fluoride is a neurotoxin, especially for children in utero and below the age of three. A study has been published that links reduced IQ in children to fluoride consumption and it has caught the eye of the media.
Several American universities grouped together to conduct a research task on the link between fluoride consumption and IQ levels in children. Between the years of 2008-2012 the research team analysed 601 pairs of pregnant women and their children from 10 different Canadian cities. Of these 601 women 41% lived in areas in which their public water had been fluoridated. Urine tests and questionarres were completed by the mothers to give an indication of the amount of fluoride that they were consuming per day. Once the birthed children reached the age of three or four an IQ test was to be completed by them.
The results of the study displayed an association between the intake of fluoride and a lowered IQ. ‘For every 1 mg increase in the daily intake of fluoride, there was on average a corresponding 3.66 decrease in the children’s IQ score.’ Additionally, maternal exposure to higher levels of fluoride during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years. These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.19
This is a quite alarming and concerning statistic for mothers globally. However, the study was criticised for not controlling environmental variables efficiently enough such as children being exposed to other chemicals and consuming more processed and artificial foods. This criticism denied the study from being brought the publicity that it potentially could have reached.
Despite this criticism scientists were still intrigued with this link, so another study was conducted in 2019. This study took place in America and some areas of Mexico. Like the last study mother’s urine was analysed for fluoride levels and their children’s IQ tested. Here’s an excerpt: “In this study, higher levels of maternal urinary fluoride during pregnancy (a proxy for prenatal fluoride exposure) that are in the range of levels of exposure in other general population samples of pregnant women, (as well as nonpregnant adults) were associated with lower scores on tests of cognitive function in the offspring at 4 and 6–12 y old. Specifically, ‘The child of a mother who was drinking 1mg/L of fluoridated water would be predicted to have 5 to 6 IQ points lower than if the mother had drunk water with close to zero fluoride in it.’20
The Fluoride Action Network (FAN ) created the following graph to better illustrate the relationship found between mothers’ urine fluoride and childrens’ IQ.21
“This simplified version of the graph highlights the range of urine fluoride levels common in women in the USA with the blue text and bracket. When comparing mothers at the low end to those at the high end of this range, the subsequent loss of IQ in their children was 6 points. The light red shaded zone around the relationship line is the 95% Confidence Interval and demonstrates that the relationship is statistically significant across the entire range of fluoride exposures.”
- The loss of IQ is very large. The child of a mother who was drinking 1 ppm F water would be predicted to have 5 to 6 IQ points lower than if the mother had drunk water with close to zero F in it.
- The study measured urine F, which is usually a better indicator of total F intake than is the concentration of F in drinking water. When drinking water is the dominant source of F, urine F and water F are usually about the same. So, the average urine F level in this study of 0.9 mg/L implies that woman was ingesting the same amount of F as a woman drinking water with 0.9 mg/L F.
- The range of F exposures in this study is likely to be very close to the range in a fluoridated area of the United States. The doses in this study are directly applicable to areas with artificial fluoridation. There is no need to extrapolate downward from effects at higher doses. The claims by fluoridation defenders that only studies using much higher doses than occur in areas with artificial fluoridation have shown a loss of IQ are squarely refuted by this study. Those false claims range from 11 times to 30 times higher, but are based on the logical fallacy that it is the highest dose amongst several studies that is relevant, when it is the LOWEST dose amongst studies that is most relevant.
- This study was very carefully done, by a group of researchers who have produced over 50 papers on the cognitive health of children in relationship to environmental exposures. This was funded by the NIH and was a multi-million-dollar study. This was the group’s first study of fluoride, their other studies mostly dealing with lead, mercury, and other environmental neurotoxicants.
- This study controlled for a wide range of potential factors that might have skewed the results and produced a false effect. It was able to largely rule out confounding by these other factors. The factors ruled out included Pb, Hg, socio-economic status, smoking, alcohol use, and health problems during pregnancy.
- This study offers confirmation of previous less sophisticated studies in Mexico, China and elsewhere. Some of those studies had higher F exposures than are commonly found in the USA, but many did not. The sole study in a country with artificial water fluoridation (as opposed to artificial salt fluoridation which was likely a main source of F in this new study) was by Broadbent in New Zealand. That found no association between water F and IQ and was trumpeted by fluoridation defenders. But that study was shown to have almost no difference in TOTAL F intake between the children with fluoridated water and those with unfluoridated water, since most of the unfluoridated water children were given F supplements.
- The study authors are cautious in their conclusions, as is common for scientists. But the implications of this study are enormous. A single study will never prove that F lowers IQ at doses found in fluoridated areas, but this is more than a red flag. It is a cannon shot across the bow of the 80-year-old practice of artificial fluoridation
A fascinating study done in India analysed the effect of fluoride toxicity on multiple generations. In this study, the researchers extensively studied fluoride’s effect on the brain, as well as on the thyroid. They administered high-fluoride water to three generations of rats orally, to study the fluoride-induced changes on their thyroid hormone status, their acetylcholinesterase (an enzyme that helps break down acetylcholine), the levels of fluoride in their brain, as well as their learning and memory retention.
The study observed a significant decrease in FT3 and FT4 serum levels, in the rats who consumed fluoride-treated water, as compared to the control group. This decrease was most significant in the third-generation rats. The presence of degenerating neurons was also observed, and once again, it was worst in the third-generation rats. The same was true of the rats’ learning and memory capabilities. So, fluoride can actually cause brain fog in rats! Though studies will need to be conducted on human populations, this observation in rats however suggests that those who have fluoride in their drinking water are at risk for developing hypothyroidism and increased brain fog, and their offspring are more likely to have developmental defects.22
Clinical pharmacist and author Dr Izabella Wentz suggests that if your mother had fluoride toxicity, it is likely you will be more susceptible, and your children even more so, and so on. She outlines some associated symptoms of acute and chronic exposure:4
- Acute oral exposure to high levels of fluoride may cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, drowsiness, headaches, polyuria (excessive urination) and polydipsia (excessive thirst), coma, convulsions, cardiac arrest, and even death.
- Chronic excessive intake of fluoride can lead to many diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer, infertility, brain damage, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune thyroid disease, DNA damage, gastrointestinal irritation, kidney dysfunction, calcification of teeth (known as dental fluorosis), and much more.
Although scientists aren’t entirely sure of the exact effects of fluoride on the developing brain there seems to be a developing trend in results from clinical studies. More studies are needed to demonstrate a definitive link between lowered IQ and fluoride consumption but nonetheless these studies can’t go unnoticed.
The developing brain of a foetus or child is incredibly susceptible to toxins, so please further your research on this. This leads to another important point that babies given formula may experience a greater effect from fluoride due to greater exposure.
Fluoride and Infant Formula.
It’s important to appreciate young babies who are formula feed are potentially exposed to higher levels of fluoride than breastfed babies if parents or care givers are not monitoring or removing fluoride from their drinking water. The ARCPOH guideline on infant formula states that ‘infant formula nowadays is safe for consumption by infants when using fluoridated or non-fluoridated water’. 20
While it’s important to stay informed on how much fluoride you are being exposed to, it’s encouraging to know that there are a lot of great action steps that you can take to detox from fluoride and to protect you and your family from excess fluoride. Please see our next blog How to Detox from Fluoride where we explore ways to eliminate fluoride from your day to day living and from your body.
Yours in Health
Bach. Chiropractic, Bach. App Clinical Science
Registered internationally, no longer practicing as a chiropractor in Australia.
Research Assistant & Student
Barcelona College of Chiropractic
3 Vanderpump, M. P. The epidemiology of thyroid disease. Br Med Bull 99, 39–51, https://doi.org/10.1093/bmb/ldr030 (2011).
6 PFPC Fluoride Education Project, https://poisonfluoride.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=218 PFPC Fluoride Education Project, https://poisonfluoride.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?p=986.
7 Basha, P. M., Rai, P. & Begum, S. Fluoride toxicity and status of serum thyroid hormones, brain histopathology, and learning memory in rats: a multigenerational assessment. Biol Trace Elem Res 144(1–3), 1083–94 (2011).
8 NRC (National Research Council). Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. (Available as a free download from https://www.nap.edu/catalog/11571/fluoride-in-drinking-water-a- scientific-review-of-epas-standards) Chapter 8 (2006).
9 KheradPisheh, Z. et al. Fluoride in Drinking Water in 31 Provinces of Iran. Expo Health 8, 465–474, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12403- 016-0204-z (2016).
10 Almodaresi, A. et al. Investigation of Fluoride Concentration in Rural Drinking Water Resources of Bardaskan County Using Geographic Information System (GIS) in 2014. Journal of Tanin Salamat (Health Chimes) 3(4), 32–41 (2015).
11 Bouaziz, H. et al. Effect of fluoride ingested by lactating mice on thyroid function and bone maturation of their suckling pups. Fluoride 37(2), 133–142 (2004).
12 Gas’kov, A., Sabchenkov, Y. U. & Yushkov, M. F. The specific features of the development of iodine deficiencies in children living under environmental pollution with fluorine compounds. [Article in Russian]. Gig Sanit 6, 53–5 (2005).
13 Li, H., Cai, Q. & Wang, D. Effects of fluoride on rat thyroid morphology, thyroid peroxidase activity and the expression of thyroid peroxidase protein. Chinese J Endemiol 31(5), 9–20 (2012).
14 Rocha Amador, D. Evaluation of thyroid hormones (TSH and T4) in pregnant women exposed to fluoride (F-) in drinking water” Abstract of Presentation at 27th Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, Aug. 30 – Sept 3, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2015).
15 Susheela, A. K., Bhatnagar, M., Vig, K. & Mondal, N. K. Excess fluoride ingestion and thyroid hormone derangements in children living in Delhi, India. Fluoride 38(2), 98–108 (2005).
22 Basha P, Rai P, Begum S. Fluoride Toxicity and Status of Serum Thyroid Hormones, Brain Histopathology, and Learning Memory in Rats: A Multigenerational Assessment. Biological Trace Element Research. 2011;144(1-3):1083-1094. doi:10.1007/s12011-011-9137-3.