Fluoride damages the brain

The fluoride within our drinking water has always been a hot topic for debate. It’s known to cause a number of health problems ranging from lowered thyroid function to cancer. Today we’re going to look at fluoride and the brain specifically. Fluoride damage to the brain happens to be one of the most active areas of research today.

In the past thirty years, over one hundred studies that have taken place have found evidence to prove that fluoride exposure can actually damage the brain. This particular research has included:

  • More than 100 animal studies proving long-term exposure to differing levels of fluoride will damage the brain. This is especially the case when the person in question is suffering from an iodine deficiency or has an excess amount of aluminium in their body.
  • 43 human studies have linked medium to high fluoride exposure and reduced level of intelligence.
  • 32 animal studies have reported that mice and/or rats that have ingested fluoride have a lowered ability to learn and remember.
  • 12 studies on human and animals have linked fluoride with neurobehavioural defects i.e. impaired visual-spatial organisation.
  • 3 human studies have linked fluoride exposure to an impaired fetal development.

Taking this ever increasing amount of research and evidence, including several rather prestigious reviews such as the report authored by the U.S National Research Council, a number of red flags have now been raised as to the potential for even low levels of fluoride to damage brain development in a number of different members of the population.

Authoritative reviews into effect fluoride has on the brain

The National Research Council review took place in 2006 and stated that it was clearly apparent that fluoride had the ability to interfere with the brain’s ability to function. With this in mind, they demanded more U.S based research into the effects of fluoride and our IQ as well as expressing a growing concern over the possibility of fluoride to contribute to dementia. In 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency followed suit with their scientists from the Neurotoxicology division carrying out a review and as a result finding substantial evidence to prove that fluoride contained a developmental neurotoxicity. The developmental neurotoxin is a chemical that will damage a young and developing brain.

The scientists working on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency based their conclusion on a number of studies, which showed fluoride exposure during the gestational period had the ability to damage the fetal brain. Three separate studies from China were consistent with these findings, discovering the brain of the human fetus to be significantly damaged due to the mother’s high fluoride intake. More recently in July 2012, a team of Harvard researchers published a meta analysis. A meta analysis bases itself on the statistics gained from multiple studies in the hopes of finding patterns, sources of disagreement or other interesting relationships that may come to light thanks to multiple studies.

The Harvard Review in 2012 produced their Meta analysis as a result of 27 different studies that all investigated the relationship between human intelligence and the brain. 26 of the 27 studies found a direct relationship between elevated fluoride exposure and a reduced IQ in children. As a result of the overwhelming majority’s findings, the Harvard team concluded fluoride’s effects on a child’s developing brain to be a high priority in terms of research. In spite of such findings as recent as 2012, no such studies have been carried out as a result.

Fluoride and your IQ

In February 2015, a total of 50 studies looked at the relationship between fluoride and our own intelligence. Another 34 studies also investigated the relationship between fluoride and an animal’s ability to learn and remember. Of these studies, a whopping 43 of the 50 human based investigations found elevated fluoride exposure to be associated with a reduced IQ while 32 of the 34 animal based investigations discovered fluoride exposure impaired the learning and memory ability of the animals.

The human studies consisted of IQ examinations on more than 11,000 children and resulting in some rather compelling evidence to show that fluoride exposure during a child’s early years could damage a child’s brain as it developed. A brief summary of just some of the results from the 43 studies that found an association between fluoride and lowered IQ can be found below:

  • Sources of fluoride exposure – 35 of the 43 studies involved communities that were given a regular dose of fluoride through their water. The remaining studies investigated fluoride exposure via coal burning.
  • Fluoride levels in water – significant IQ reductions were seen with fluoride levels as low as 0.7 to 1.2mg/L. For children with an iodine deficiency then a mere 0.88mg/L had a significant impact.

Despite these rather significant findings, both the NRC and Harvard were quick to point out that the majority of the fluoride/IQ investigations used quite simple designs and as a result couldn’t adequately control the number of differing factors that could all affect a child’s intelligence such as parental education and socioeconomic status. For a number of different reasons, it’s unlikely that any of these limitations could explain the link between fluoride and IQ. Firstly, the majority of the studies controlled the key factors and a link between fluoride and a reduced IQ was still observed.

This fact was reiterated within the Harvard review, which also reported a significant link within the studies that controlled certain key factors. The two studies, which controlled the largest number of factors, (Rocha Amador 2007 and Xiang 2003a,b) still reported some of the largest links to date. Secondly, the link between fluoride and a lowered IQ in children is predicted by a large body of other evidence, which found links between fluoride and neurobehaviour in ways that were consistent with a neurotoxin. In addition to this, the studies focusing on the learning and memory capacity of rats after fluoride exposure were all under very carefully controlled laboratory conditions.

Aside from this, an even larger body of animal research discovered that fluoride could directly damage the brain after confirming their findings in aborted human fetuses from areas with high-fluoridated water. Last but not least, it’s also worth remembering that before such studies were carried out, scientists had predicted that fluoride would be able to reduce our IQ based on the behavioural effects seen in fluoride treated animals.

When considering their consistency, it’s highly unlikely all 43 human studies be a complete fluke. The question today however isn’t whether fluoride damages the brain but at what dose and over how long a period? It’s also a question of how the dose and timing can vary based on the individual person’s overall health and wellbeing along with their exposure to other such contaminants such as aluminium and arsenic (both of which can be found in your drinking water).

Fluoride and the animal brain

The notion that ingesting fluoride impairs intelligence along with our neurological functions isn’t just supported by research on the human fetal brain but a vast amount of animal research also. As mentioned previously, the research has included 15 lab experiments that discovered learning and memory issues, however there were also 40 other studies that investigated the impact of fluoride on other parameters of brain quality. These studies consistently demonstrated that fluoride is toxic to the brain and effects from exposure to the substance included:

  • A reduction in nicotinic receptors
  • A reduction in protein content
  • Alterations in the expression of said protein
  • Hippocampus damage
  • A lessening of cholinesterase activities
  • An increase in oxidative stress
  • Neuronal degeneration

On top of this, there were a number of other quite important findings for example, the toxic effects of fluoride on the brain were a lot worse in those with an iodine deficiency. Fluoride’s effects were also seen to reduce quite substantially when anti-oxidant intake was increased.

Fluoride and the fetal brain

As we all know, the human placenta doesn’t block the passage of fluoride from mother to the fetus and as a result, the fetus can become harmed by fluoride that’s ingested during pregnancy. Based on some of the most recent studies in China, the fetal brain is one of the most susceptible organs to poisoning from fluoride. The three main studies in China found evidence to suggest that there was substantial neurological damage.

It also showed there to be a significant drop in the ability of the central nervous system. It became significantly weaker. The fluoride levels that these pregnant women were exposed to were slightly higher than most women within western countries however, there has been little investigation into what would be considered a safe lower level. Interestingly enough, in the 1960’s, the FDA actually banned the use of prenatal fluoride supplements due to the concern of possible harm that could happen to the unborn child. It’s also worth noting that women drinking large quantities, made with fluoridated water will have similar levels of fluoride in their blood as the women within these studies.

On top of this, if women receive a fluoride gel treatment from the dentist during their pregnancy, their fluoride levels within the blood can spike to alarmingly high levels for around fifteen hours or more. These will usually exceed the reported short-term exposure levels that will impair the glucose metabolism and kidney function in human adults and the potential consequences of a fluoride spike on the health of the unborn child is yet to be investigated.

Combat the effects of fluoride on the brain with distillation

With the evidence mounting up it’s becoming more obvious just why we should be opposing fluoride within our drinking water. It also means the need to distil drinking water has become ever more necessary. With steam distillation being the only method of water purification to actually remove fluoride, then a counter top water distiller would be the best option for any family home.

Make Water Pure is the leading supplier of water distillers and their accessories in Europe and offer you the ability to purify your water, completely ridding you of the dangers of fluoride, for less than £115. With the evidence before you, the question remains, what are you waiting for?

Source - Dong Z, et al. (1993). Determination of the contents of amino-acid and monoamine neurotransmitters in fetal brains from a fluorosis-endemic area. Journal of Guiyang Medical College 18(4):241-45.

Source: Pereira M, et al. (2011). Memory impairment induced by sodium fluoride is associated with changes in brain monoamine levels. Neurotox Res. 19(1):55-62.