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Interesting Information: Fluoride for Breakfast–How’s Your Thyroid

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Interesting Information:  November 13, 2011

I am fortunate to have met a new Camden resident:  Dr. Judith Valentine.  Here’s a mini-bio of her experience:

Dr. Judith Valentine is a PhD nutritionist with over 20 years working with doctors and patients in the field of clinical nutrition and wellness. She has lectured at many businesses and governmental agencies including the USDA, NSA, FortMeade, Kaiser Permanente, Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, and various hospitals and colleges in Maryland, DC, and in Maine. She has written many science-related articles and published a book with CO-author Dr. Janet Cunningham, Weight Solutions: The New Body-Mind-Spirit Approach.  Dr. Valentine lives inCamden,Maine.

Judith knows chemistry in a way that is truly helpful for people like me.  Here’s an essay she’s written on the chemistry of fluoride in relationship to the human body:

Fluoride for Breakfast – How’s Your Thyroid?

In January of this year the federal government proposed that the level of fluoride in drinking water be lowered to 0.7 mg/l, the lower end of the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 mg/l. The Maine CDC will begin related rule-making this year. Some think we should remove fluoride totally from our public water and others feel safe with the new lower levels.

Whenever a health controversy arises, I always go to science. Particularly to unbiased chemists and biochemists not employed by industries directly related to the controversy. Independent experts evaluate the effects of compounds on living systems free from the temptation of the end justifying the means. Too often impartial experts are not sought out when we are struggling to make safe health decisions. In this article I present a pragmatic argument for totally removing fluoride from our drinking water and attempt to show, in understandable terms, how fluoride is harmful to the body.

A strong move was taken as far back as 1998 by hundreds of EPA scientists and professionals who voted unanimously to oppose the fluoridation initiative in California. “Our members’ review of the body of evidence over the last eleven years, including animal and human epidemiology studies, indicates a causal link between fluoride/fluoridation and cancer, genetic damage, neurological impairment, and bone pathology. Of particular concern are recent epidemiology studies linking fluoride exposure to lowered IQ in children.” [emphasis mine]

Although harmful effects of fluoride can occur throughout the body, a straightforward example is its injurious effect on the thyroid. While diagnosed thyroid diseases have been increasing rapidly over time, according to the Colorado Thyroid Disease Prevalence Study in 2000, up to 13 million Americans may have undiagnosed thyroid conditions. The root cause of damage to the thyroid and elsewhere in the body can be found by examining the characteristics of fluoride.

To better understand fluoride, it helps to remember the elemental chart. Perhaps you’ve been trying to forget it since high school or college. In the upper right, you find the so-called halogens. They are listed from top to bottom in this order: fluoride, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine. The order sequences the most aggressive halogen to the least aggressive; fluoride being the strongest and iodine being much weaker.

Fluoride is not essential to the body but iodine is and is found in every cell. Iodine is necessary for healthy cell metabolism (activity) throughout the body and no other molecule can be substituted. The highest concentrations of iodine are found in the thyroid gland. Because iodine is weaker, cell uptake is often displaced at the receptor site by the stronger, very similar fluoride molecule if it is present. This pushing away of iodine leads to diminishing levels and the inevitable progressive failure of the thyroid system so dependent on iodine to function.

Why do we need Iodine? In biochemistry the iodine molecule is utilized to generate vital thyroid-related hormones such as TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), and T3 and T4 hormones active inside the thyroid gland. Underactive thyroid (hypothyroid) is directly connected to the low production of these hormones due in great part to depleted iodine levels. When considering this, I can’t help but think about the millions on Synthroid; the fourth most prescribed pharmaceutical drug in theUSthis year. What would a small amount of iodine do to help these individuals?

What’s so bad about fluoride?  Fluoride is found in its natural, elemental state or in combination with another compound. Because of its antagonism to iodine, it was discovered that fluoride could be used to treat thyroid hyperfunction (over activity). Experiments were run inEuropein the 1930’s using the fluoride compound, fluorotyrosine, for this purpose. As a result, thyroid function was greatly depressed. However, dosing levels were unpredictable and unfortunately many experienced total thyroid loss. As a result of those experiments, the strong compound was given a new role – as a pesticide.

Here’s why; fluoride’s pesticide effects are formidable because of its activity as an enzyme distorter. Enzymes are complex proteins that are necessary for all biological chemical activity. Enzyme-protein chains are connected by other compounds called amides. Fluoride molecules split and distort amides damaging the enzyme-protein chains. These breakdowns and distortions of vital proteins make them unrecognizable by the immune system which therefore attacks them. An unremitting biochemical alteration such as this within the immune system is one of the reasons we see so many autoimmune disorders today, including autoimmune disruptions of the thyroid.

An argument in support of water fluoridation states that while admitting to its potential harmfulness the dilution of one part per million offsets the potential damage. However, enzyme damage has been shown to occur at extremely low concentrations, even lower than 1ppm.

Unfortunately, fluoride levels build up steadily over time because the body can only eliminate approximately half of total intake. Levels also increase due to its prevalence in water, the air, foods, toothpaste and pesticide residues. The EPA was concerned enough to announce in January, “…the majority of foods will not be fumigated with sulfuryl fluoride beginning this year and all food fumigation…will end in three years.” This is a good start for the younger set, but what about our older community who already experience injurious effects of long term fluoride excess?

Given this article’s example of one of the many deleterious effects of fluoride, why would we want to continuously expose our bodies to additional levels? The precautionary rule would suggest that we eliminate fluoride from our water and consider other already available and safe ways to reach our goal of fewer dental cavities.

A pertinent question was asked by Dr. Barry Durrant-Peatfield in his capacity as medical advisor to theUnited Kingdom when fluoridation was being considered there. “I would like to place a scenario in front of those colleagues who favour fluoridation. A new pill is marketed. Some trials not all together satisfactory, nevertheless, show a striking improvement in dental caries. Unfortunately, it has been found to be thyrotoxic, mutagenic, immunosuppressive, cause arthritis and infertility in comparatively small doses over a relatively short period of time. Do you think it should be marketed?”

If we were to ask the same question in Maine, what would our answer be?

Written by louisaenright

November 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm

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