By Dr. Mercola
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The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland located between the two hemispheres of your brain. It is sometimes called the "third eye" due to its resemblance to the human retina. While your pineal gland is only about the size of a single grain of rice (5-8 mm), it performs several functions that are extremely important to your body.
One main role of your pineal gland is to produce melatonin, the natural sleep hormone that plays a vital role in your normal sleep function. Melatonin is not only necessary for proper sleep however, it also regulates the onset of puberty and fights against harmful free radicals. When your pineal gland function is suppressed, melatonin production suffers and you are putting yourself at risk for a number of startling conditions including:
||Hormone imbalances: low melatonin
||Low back pain
When Your Pineal Gland Stress Leads, Disease Follows
Any form of pineal gland stress is concerning due to its integral role in your body, which has been studied for thousands of years. In the third century, a prominent Roman physician named Galen described the pineal gland as the "seat of the soul."
This term was referenced once more by the prominent philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650), who went on to write about the pineal gland in depth. Adding to Galen's thoughts on the gland, Descartes stated:
"My view is that this gland is the principal seat of the soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed."
One form of pineal gland stress is known as pineal gland calcification -- the cause of which may be shocking to you. Sodium fluoride, present in your drinking water and certain store-bought products, and other sources such as Prozac (fluoxetine), fluoroquinolone antibiotics and non-stick cookware could all be contributing to the alarming increase in pineal gland calcification.
I have been warning you about the toxic effects of fluoride for years, and during this time more and more scientists have begun to recognize the dangers. There are so many studies highlighting the toxic effects of fluoride on your body, particularly affecting brain function, yet remarkably, a majority of the tap water in the United States, as well as a few other countries, is still heavily fluoridated.
The connection between pineal gland calcification and fluoride intake may very well be one of the most vital pieces of information in the fight against water fluoridation. You see, up until the 1990's, no research had ever been conducted on the impact of fluoride on the pineal gland. However, we now have major universities discovering that your pineal gland is a primary target of fluoride accumulation in your body.
Research Confirms Pineal Gland as a Major Fluoride Collector
Thanks to research first conducted by the University of Surrey in England in 1997, it is now known that the soft tissue of the adult pineal gland contains more fluoride than any other soft tissue in your body. In fact, the levels of pineal gland fluoride examined in the study were high enough to inhibit enzymes.
When your enzymes are damaged, it can lead to collagen breakdown, eczema, tissue damage, skin wrinkling, genetic damage, and immune suppression. It can also cause problems with your:
- Immune system
- Digestive system
- Respiratory system
- Blood circulation
- Kidney function
Pineal gland fluoride levels were measured at ~330 parts per million (ppm). The EPA currently sets the maximum allowed level of sodium fluoride in the drinking water at 4 ppm. This is nothing compared to the amount of fluoride found to be stored in the harder tissues of your pineal gland known as hyroxyapatite crystals. Fluoride levels observed in the hard tissue were found to be as high as 21,000 ppm. Hyroxyapatite crystals store more fluoride than any other hard tissue in your body, including teeth and bone.
After researchers concluded that the pineal gland was a major target for extreme fluoride accumulation in your body, they decided to conduct a series of experiments to determine if it was enough to impact the functioning of the gland, particularly melatonin production. Dr. Jennifer Luke from the University of Surrey in England led the researchers in performing the study.
The results were surprising even to the scientists on the research team. Animals treated with fluoride not only had lower levels of melatonin as expected, but female animals experienced an early onset of puberty. Due to the interference of melatonin production in the animals in response to the fluoride treatment, the hormonal triggers that are responsible for puberty were disturbed.
Dr. Luke summarized the findings:
"In conclusion, the human pineal gland contains the highest concentration of fluoride in the body. Fluoride is associated with depressed pineal melatonin synthesis by prepubertal gerbils and an accelerated onset of sexual maturation in the female gerbil. The results strengthen the hypothesis that the pineal has a role in the timing of the onset of puberty."
The Early Puberty Connection
U.S. girls are reaching puberty at younger ages than ever before. In the 1990s, breast development -- the first sign of puberty in girls -- at age eight was considered an abnormal event that should be investigated by an endocrinologist. However, by 1999, following a 1997 study that found almost half of African Americans and 15 percent of whites had begun breast development by age eight, the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society suggested changing what is viewed as "normal."
Could pineal gland calcification be the cause of early puberty in young girls?
As mentioned earlier, the major study performed by the University of Surrey in England says absolutely YES. The connection between gland calcification and an early onset of puberty was even mentioned as a main point in the study's summary by Dr. Luke.
It is important to remember that the groundbreaking study was conducted in 1997, before the 1999 research that brought to light the epidemic of early puberty. We have known all of this time about the correlation between fluoride exposure and early puberty, yet there has been little coverage of the subject!
The Explosion of Information on Pineal Gland Toxicity
Following the initial breakthroughs on the link between fluoride and pineal gland calcification, scientists began to examine the issue more closely. In 2006, the National Research Council (NRC) released its report: "Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA's Standards."
The NRC began working on the report in 2003 as requested by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to review the latest research on fluoride toxicity and assess the EPA's current safe drinking water standards for fluoride. In 2006, the report was released with a summary that backed up the work of Dr. Luke and her research team who conducted the first experiment on the role fluoride plays in pineal gland calcification back in 1997. The summary was printed in the National Academies Press, Washington D.C. P221-22:
"The single animal study of pineal function indicates that fluoride exposure results in altered melatonin production and altered timing of sexual maturity... Recent information on the role of the pineal organ in humans suggests that any agent that affects pineal function could affect human health in a variety of ways, including effects on sexual maturation, calcium metabolism, parathyroid function, postmenopausal osteoporosis, cancer, and psychiatric disease."
Mainstream Medical Community Still in the Dark about Fluoride
There are so many scientific studies showing the direct, toxic effects of fluoride on your body, it's truly remarkable that it's NOT considered a scientific consensus by now. It truly amazes me that the medical (and dental) communities are so stubbornly resistant to connect the dots when it comes to the skyrocketing increase of cognitive decline in adults (Alzheimer's and various dementia's), and behavioral issues in children (ADD, ADHD, depression and learning disabilities of all kinds).
In fact, there have been over 23 human studies and 100 animal studies linking fluoride to brain damage. This includes such effects as:
|Reduction in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
||Damage to your hippocampus
||Formation of beta-amyloid plaques (the classic brain abnormality in Alzheimer's disease)
|Reduction in lipid content
||Damage to purkinje cells
||Exacerbation of lesions induced by iodine deficiency
|Impaired antioxidant defense systems
||Increased uptake of aluminum
||Accumulation of fluoride in your pineal gland
What is perhaps most surprising is that the harmful effects of fluoride have been known about by conventional medical organizations for over half a century. The Journal of the American Medical Association also stated in their September 18, 1943 issue that fluorides are general protoplasmic poisons that change the permeability of the cell membrane by certain enzymes.
And, an editorial published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, October 1, 1944, stated:
"Drinking water containing as little as 1.2 ppm fluoride will cause developmental disturbances. We cannot run the risk of producing such serious systemic disturbances. The potentialities for harm outweigh those for good."
Yet, this element, or as some may call it, this caustic industrial chemical, is deliberately added to about two-thirds of U.S. public water supplies. Now that it has been established that fluoride is extremely toxic to the health of you and your family, what can be done to prevent exposure?
Limiting Exposure to Toxic Fluoride and Other Substances
As mentioned, fluoride currently contaminates nearly 70 percent of the U.S. public water supplies. Therefore, it is an extreme challenge to limit your exposure even inside the safety of your own home. For people living in areas with fluoridated tap water, fluoride is a part of every glass of water, every bath and shower, and every meal cooked using that water.
Fluoride is not the only toxic substance in your tap water, however.
While chlorine is right at the heart of this matter, there is an even larger threat to your health. It is important to understand that when chlorine interacts with organic matter found in your water, disinfection byproducts (DBPs) form. And these DBPs are far more toxic than the chlorine itself. In fact, DBPs are responsible for the vast majority of the toxic effects of chlorinated water… toxic effects that can potentially lead to…
- Increased cancer, asthma, and skin irritation risks
- Respiratory irritation and fatigue
- Weakening of your immune system
The problem is that a hot steamy shower:
- Triggers your skin pores to open, which in turn…
- Spikes a high absorption rate of chlorine and other chemicals directly into your system and…
- Helps create a 'free pass' of foreign chemicals into your body fluids and bloodstream – unlike drinking tap water where your digestive processes at least get a chance to filter out some of the harmful contaminants.
Important! The producers of this powerful film are allowing a full and FREE preview through August 13th in celebration of Fluoride Awareness Week (Aug 7 - 13)! You can support Fluoride Action Network by purchasing the Professional Perspectives DVD at a special price of $10 during Fluoride Awareness Week.
Taking Action Against Fluoride
In addition to protecting yourself and your family from toxic consumption of fluoride on a personal level, there is also a political battle over removing it from the water supply altogether.This Fluoride Awareness Week will hopefully bring us a lot closer to that goal by spreading mass awareness.
The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) is an absolutely phenomenal resource for further education, and they're doing much to pressure the U.S. government for change. We are working together to tackle this issue head on. Once we reach the tipping point, which may be as little as 5 percent of the population, we will be able to reverse the policies of water fluoridation.
Please, join the anti-fluoride movement in the US, New Zealand and Canada by contacting the representative for your area below.
Contact Information for Canadian Communities:
- If you live in Ontario, Canada, please join the ongoing effort by contacting Diane Sprules at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The point-of-contact for Toronto, Canada is Aliss Terpstra. You may email her at email@example.com.
Contact Information for American Communities:
We're also going to address three US communities: New York City, Austin, and San Diego:
- New York City, NY: With the recent victory in Calgary, New York City is the next big emphasis. The anti-fluoridation movement has a great champion in New York City councilor Peter Vallone, Jr. who introduced legislation on January 18 "prohibiting the addition of fluoride to the water supply."
A victory there could signal the beginning of the end of fluoridation in the U.S. If you live in the New York area I beg you to participate in this effort as your contribution could have a MAJOR difference. Remember that one person can make a difference.
The point person for this area is Carol Kopf, at the New York Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF). Email her at NYSCOF@aol.com . Please contact her if you're interested in helping with this effort.
- Austin, Texas: Join the effort by contacting Rae Nadler-Olenick at either: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or by regular mail or telephone:
Austin, Texas 78713
Phone: (512) 371-3786
- San Diego, California: Contact Patty Ducey-Brooks, publisher of the Presidio Sentinel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Information for New Zealand Communities:
- New Zealand: Contact Mary Byrne if you would like to be involved in stopping fluoridation in New Zealand. Mary would like to hear from you! Email her at: email@example.com
In addition, you can:
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Fluoride Action Network has just reported that, thanks to city council votes or public referedums, more than 2.5 million Canadians have been freed from water fluoridation this year. In fact, there have been victories in every month of 2011 thus far! Folks, "one community at a time" seems to be working.