Fluoride in drinking water may contribute to thyroid dysfunction

Tapped Out

Fatigue, low blood pressure, cognitive impairment, depression, slow reflexes, weight gain, fluid retention – these are just a few symptoms that signal a potential thyroid problem.

Nearly 60 million Americans experience these symptoms, triggered by overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroid), or underproduction (hypothyroid).

But here’s a little secret you’re not likely to hear from the mainstream: For many of these patients, symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and their associated risks (including heart disease) might be easily alleviated just by avoiding tap water.

Taken on faith

Fluoride is added to about 2/3 of the U.S. water supply, and it’s widely taken on faith that this helps prevent tooth decay. But I wonder how many dentists are aware that the Environmental Protection Agency considers fluoride a toxic contaminant when levels are too high?

And high levels are not a rarity. Far from it.

In the e-Alert “Hard to Swallow” (2/13/08), I told you about a Scientific American report that found over-consumption of fluoride to be common. Ironically, this over-consumption can do irreparable harm to teeth, prompting discoloring and pitting.

But other consequences are far worse. According to a National Research Council (NRC) review of hundreds of fluoride studies, fluoride intake can alter endocrine function, especially in the thyroid.

The chair of the NRC committee that conducted the fluoride review told Scientific American: “The thyroid changes do worry me.”

And for very good reasons.

A press release about the NRC report includes this quote from Kathleen Thiessen, Ph.D., one of the co-authors of the report: “Many Americans are exposed to fluoride in the ranges associated with thyroid effects, especially for people with iodine deficiency.”

Dr. Thiessen also notes that risk of depression, heart disease, and high cholesterol is increased with a low level of thyroid hormone.

Familiar dilemma

In yesterday’s e-Alert I told you about the enormous amounts of drug waste that are discarded into the environment, with traces filtering back to us in our drinking water.

That e-Alert arrived at the same dilemma as today’s: If you can’t trust your tap water, where do you turn to get your daily dose of fresh, clean, unadulterated water?

As I noted yesterday, bottled water is not an entirely reliable solution because many bottled water products are virtually no different than tap water. Distilled water doesn’t contain fluoride, but not everyone cares for the “flat” taste of distilled.

In previous e-Alerts I’ve told you about the Doulton water filter – a system that removes fluoride and many other harmful components that most water filters miss. The Doulton line of filters are highly recommended by William Campbell Douglass II, M.D. For information, check the Doulton website – doultonusa.com.

Sources:
“Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards” Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water, National Research Council of the National Academies of Science, March 2006, nap.edu
“First-Ever Government Review of Fluoride/Thyroid Toxicology Shows Risk” Press Release of the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc., 5/19/08, pr- inside.com