By Dr. Mercola
In the US, where about two-thirds of drinking water supplies are fluoridated, men may be putting their fertility at risk with every sip of water from the tap.
Research has long linked fluoride in drinking water with sperm damage and other threats to reproductive health, although many Americans remain completely in the dark about the association.
Yet, most of the studies on fluoride use sodium fluoride, which while extremely toxic is pharmaceutical-grade fluoride -- NOT the kind added to water supplies. So researchers set out to determine the toxicity of the fluoride compounds that are actually in most water supplies. Here's what they found…
Fluoride in Drinking Water May Be Toxic to Sperm
First a bit of background… sodium fluoride was the first of the fluoride waste materials to be used for fluoridation, but now is rarely used. It's the most well known, as this is 'pharmaceutical grade' compound used in toxicology studies and other research into the potential health dangers of fluoride.
The other two types of fluoride, sodium silicofluoride and hydrofluorosilicic acid, are the compounds actually used for water fluoridation. Sodium silicofluoride and hydrofluorosilicic acid are the waste products from the fertilizer industry and are actually classified as hazardous wastes.
The new study compared the toxicity of three fluoride compounds – sodium fluoride and two silicofluorides used for water fluoridation – to determine their effect on the growth, feeding and reproduction of roundworms. They found:1
"Exposure to these compounds produced classic concentration-response toxicity profiles… This suggests that silicofluorides have similar toxicity to NaF [sodium fluoride]."
Since sodium fluoride appears to be equally toxic as the fluoride chemicals added to drinking water, it raises serious concern about another recent study, which found sodium fluoride may damage sperm chemotaxis, the process by which sperm are attracted toward an egg, which plays a critical role in allowing fertilization to occur.2 Though this study involved mice, if the findings apply to humans it could put men at risk of becoming infertile…
Fluoride May Be Dangerous to Male Fertility
Past research, too, has shown that fluoride has potentially disastrous effects on the male reproductive system. The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) reported:3
- Exposing ram semen to 0.38 parts per million (20 umol/L) of fluoride for five hours caused a "statistically significant decrease in the motility of spermatozoa" along with other changes that would "undoubtedly affect the physiological function of the sperm."
- Infusing testes with modest amounts of fluoride (4.75 parts per million) inhibited the synthesis of testosterone
- Sixty animal studies have found that fluoride adversely impacts the male reproductive system, including:
|Decreases in testosterone levels
||Reduced sperm motility
||Altered sperm morphology
|Reduced sperm quantity
||Increased oxidative stress
||Reduced capacity to breed
It's not only animal studies that have shown an emerging problem, however. As FAN explained:4
"Consistent with the in vitro and animal research, studies of human populations have reported associations between fluoride exposure and damage to the male reproductive system. Most notably, a scientist at the Food & Drug Administration [FDA] reported in 1994 that populations in the United States with more than 3 ppm fluoride in their water had lower 'total fertility rates' than populations with lower fluoride levels …
While 3 ppm is a higher concentration than used in water fluoridation programs (0.7 to 1.2 ppm), it is still considered a 'safe' level by the EPA. To date, no U.S. health agency has attempted to replicate… [these] findings.
However, three studies of highly fluoride-exposed populations in China and India have found that high fluoride exposure is associated with reduced male fertility. In addition, five studies from China, India, Mexico, and Russia have found that high-fluoride exposure is associated with reduced male testosterone levels."
Fluoride Is an Undeniable Poison to Your Entire Body
Men of reproductive age may now be thinking twice about the fluoride in their drinking water, but this is not the only population that stands to be harmed.
Study after study has confirmed that fluoride is a dangerous, toxic poison that bio-accumulates in your body while being ineffective at preventing dental decay. For instance, there are 25 studies showing that fluoride reduces IQ in children, and approximately 100 animal studies have also linked fluoride to brain damage.5
One particularly striking animal study6 showed that fluoride ingestion had a profound influence on the animals' brains and altered behavior. Pregnant rats given fluoride produced hyperactive offspring. And animals given fluoride after birth became apathetic, lethargic "couch potatoes." Other research has linked fluoride toxicity with the wide-ranging problems listed below.
|Increases lead absorption
||Disrupts collagen synthesis
||Increases manganese absorption, which is also linked to lower IQ in children
||Crippling skeletal fluorosis and bone fractures
|Genetic damage and cell death
||Increased tumor and cancer growth
||Disrupts immune system
||Inhibits antibody production
|Brain damage, and lowered IQ
||Severe eye problems, including blindness
|Impaired thyroid function
||Bone cancer (osteosarcoma)
||Inactivates 62 enzymes
What's Better Than Fluoride for Preventing Cavities?
Well, practically anything, since ingesting fluoride in drinking water does NOT decrease rates of tooth decay. In all seriousness, anyone who has ever read Dr. Weston Price's book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration will soon recognize that diet is the most important factor in dental health.
Dr. Price wrote this book in 1920 and it is full of pictures of cultures with excellent dental health that rapidly deteriorated once processed Western food was introduced. When Dr. Price studied these native diets, he noticed some similarities in the foods that kept them so healthy. Among them:
- The foods were natural, unprocessed, and organic (and contained no sugar except for the occasional bit of honey or maple syrup).
- The people ate foods that grew in their native environment. In other words, they ate locally grown, seasonal foods.
- Many of the cultures ate unpasteurized dairy products, and all of them ate fermented foods.
- The people ate a significant portion of their food raw.
- All of the cultures ate animal products, including animal fat and, often, full-fat butter and organ meats.
I believe that if you have an optimal diet, without processed foods and sugars from infancy, you can be virtually assured of cavity-free teeth. All of the brushing and flossing in the world will not give you the healthy teeth that following the eating patterns described above will, so if you value your pearly whites, get started eating a healthier diet today.