Fluoride’s neurotoxicity has been the subject of academic debate for decades, and now a matter of increasingly impassioned controversy among the general public, as well. From ‘conspiracy theories’ about it being first used in drinking water in Russian and Nazi concentration camps to chemically lobotomize captives, to its now well-known IQ lowering properties, to its ability to enhance the calcification of the pineal gland — the traditional ‘seat of the soul’ — many around the world, and increasingly in the heavily fluoridated regions of the United States, are starting to organize at the local and statewide level to oust this ubiquitous toxicant from municipal drinking water.
A compelling study published in the Pharmacognosy Magazine titled, “Curcumin attenuates neurotoxicity induced by fluoride: An in vivo evidence,” adds experimental support to the suspicion that fluoride is indeed a brain-damaging substance, also revealing that a natural spice-derived protective agent against the various health effects associated with this compound is available.
The study was authored by researchers from the Department of Zoology, University College of Science, M.L. Sukhadia University, Udaipur, India, who have spent the past decade investigating the mechanisms through which fluoride induces severe neurodegenerative changes in the mammalian brain, particularly in cells of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.
The study opens by describing the historical backdrop for concern about fluoride’s significant and wide ranging toxicity:
“Fluoride (F) is probably the first inorganic ion which drew attention of the scientific world for its toxic effects and now the F toxicity through drinking water is well-recognized as a global problem. Health effect reports on F exposure also include various cancers, adverse reproductive activities, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases.
The study focused on fluoride induced neurotoxicity, identifying excitoxicity (stimulation of the neuron to the point of death) and oxidative stress as the two main drivers of neurodegeneration.
It has been observed that subjects with the condition known as fluorosis, a mottling of tooth enamel caused by excessive exposure to fluoride during tooth development, also have neurodegenerative changes associated with a form of oxidative stress known as lipid peroxidation (rancidity).
Excess lipid peroxidation in the brain can lead to a decrease in total brain phospholipid content. Owing to these well-known mechanisms of fluoride associated neurotoxicity and neurodegeneration, the researchers identified the primary polyphenol in the spice turmeric — known as curcumin — as an ideal agent worth testing as a neuroprotective substance.
Previous research on curcumin indicates that it is capable of activing as an antioxidant in 3 distinct ways by protecting against: 1) singlet oxygen 2) hyrodxyl radicals and 3) superoxide radical damage.
Also, curcumin appears to raise endogenous glutathione production in the brain, a major antioxidant defense system.
In order to assess the neurotoxic effects of fluoride and prove curcumin’s protective role against it, researchers randomly divided up mice into four groups, for 30 days:
- Control (no fluoride)
- Fluoride (120 ppm): fluoride was given in distilled water drinking water without restriction.
- Fluoride (120 ppm/30 mg/kg body weight) + Curcumin: Oral dose of curcumin dissolved in olive oil along with fluoride in drinking water
- Curcumin: (30 mg/kg body weight)
In order to ascertain the effect of treatment, the researchers measured the malondialdehyde (MDA) content in the brains of the different treated mice. MDA is a well-known marker of oxidative stress/damage.
As was expected, the fluoride (F) only treatment group showed significantly elevated MDA levels vs. the non-fluoride treated control. The F + Curcumin group saw reduced MDA levels vs. the fluoride only group, demonstrating curcumin’s neuroprotective activity against fluoride associated neurotoxicity.
The study concluded,
“Our study thus demonstrate that daily single dose of 120 ppm F result in highly significant increases in the LPO [lipid peroxidation, i.e. brain rancidity] as well as neurodegenerative changes in neuron cell bodies of selected hippocampal regions.
“Supplementation with curcumin significantly reduce the toxic effect of F to near normal level by augmenting the antioxidant defense through its scavenging property and provide an evidence of having therapeutic role against oxidative stress mediated neurodegeneration.”
This is far from the first study to demonstrate curcumin’s remarkable brain-saving properties. From the perspective of the primary research alone, there are over two hundred peer-reviewed published studies indicating that curcumin is a neuroprotective agent. On our own turmeric database we have 115 articles proving this statement: Turmeric Protects The Brain.
We have also featured studies on turmeric’s ability to protect and restore the brain:
Considering the many chemical insults we face on a daily basis in the post-industrial world, turmeric may very well be the world’s most important herb, with over 800 evidence-based health applications. Visit our Turmeric Research database — the world’s largest, open access turmeric resource of its kind — to view the first hand published research on the topic.
[i] Bhatnagar M, Rao P, Saxena A, Bhatnagar R, Meena P, Barbar S. Biochemical changes in brain and other tissues of young adult female mice from fluoride in their drinking water. Fluoride. 2006;39:280–4. [Ref list]
[ii] Bhatnagar M, Sukhwal P, Suhalka P, Jain A, Joshi C, Sharma D. Effects of fluoride in drinking water on NADPH-diaphorase neurons in the forebrain of mice: A possible mechanism of fluoride neurotoxicity. Fluoride. 2011;44:195–9. [Ref list]
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