The link between fluoride and osteoarthritis
(NaturalHealth365) Osteoarthritis is now the leading cause of disability in the United States, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that one in three adults suffer from some form of this condition. And, although Western medicine lists assorted causes for arthritis – such as aging, injuries and stress on joints – many natural health experts maintain that exposure to fluoride in our drinking water is a major contributor to this epidemic.
Over 70 percent of municipal water supplies in the United States are still being fluoridated – despite the fact that recent research has shown that fluoridation is associated with a condition known as skeletal fluorosis.
The “great pretender” – skeletal fluorosis closely mimics osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a potentially debilitating condition that causes degeneration of the bone cartilage and bone tissue. Symptoms can include pain, stiffness, swelling and tenderness in the affected joints, along with loss of flexibility and mobility. Bone spurs or outgrowths – also known as osteophytes – can also occur.
Like osteoarthritis, skeletal fluorosis is manifested by symptoms of joint pain and stiffness, along with bony outgrowths and cartilage calcification. But, its similarity to osteoarthritis can cause skeletal fluorosis to be easily misdiagnosed – sometimes for years!
For example, one study showed that a 35-year-old woman with a history of high fluoride ingestion (produced by drinking water with fluoride concentrations of 1.9 parts per million) developed seronegative arthritis, a type of arthritis in which the signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are present – but the autoantibodies that indicate RA are not.
This means that doctors could easily misidentify the condition – along with its link with water fluoridation. However, as clearly indicated by its name, there is no doubt as to the actual cause of skeletal fluorosis.
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Extensive studies have linked the incidence of the condition with elevated levels of fluoride.
For example, in one well-designed Chinese study, the researchers noted that greater fluoride exposure caused the occurrence of fluorosis to be not just higher – but “remarkably higher.”
Alert: Experts warn that skeletal fluorosis is progressive and insidious
Skeletal fluorosis can be a very “sneaky” disease, capable of causing osteoarthritis before it can even be recognized. In fact, as awareness of this condition grows, researchers are calling it “progressive,” “insidious” and “crippling.”
In one Turkish study, the investigators noted that the participants displayed arthritis in the knees even before demonstrating the spinal bone changes that dictate a diagnosis of skeletal fluorosis. In most cases, fluorosis occurs in those with poor kidney function and advanced kidney disease – but this is not always true.
In a surprising study conducted by the prestigious Mayo Clinic, fluorosis was linked with habitual drinking of tea. Keep in mind, both black and green teas contain substantial amounts of fluoride.
The team noted that one 35-year-old female participant developed musculoskeletal pain and other arthritis symptoms after regularly drinking large amounts of commercial instant tea made with fluoridated water. After years of misdiagnosis, the woman was ultimately able to alleviate her pain by reducing her intake of tea.
Another 36-year-old participant – who reported drinking close to a gallon a day of triple-strength Nestea – also experienced resolution of arthritis symptoms after reducing her tea consumption.
While the CDC crows about the success of water fluoridation, the World Health Organization begs to differ
The CDC hails water fluoridation – which they say helps to reduce tooth decay – as “one of the top ten health achievements of the 20th century.”
But, are you ready for a shocker? According to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no discernible difference in tooth decay between nations that fluoridate water and those who do not.
And there’s this to consider: according to Fluoride Action Network (FAN) – a group dedicated to increasing awareness among citizens, scientists and policymakers on the toxicity of fluoride compounds – fluoride’s cavity-preventing properties come from contact with teeth, and not through ingestion.
In other words, commercial fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes are likely more effective than water fluoridation for this purpose. So, why is water fluoridation still practiced?
It should be noted: Skeletal fluorosis is not the only adverse effect of fluoridation. FAN points out that fluoridation has caused millions of children to develop dental fluorosis – indicated by disfiguring brown stains on teeth.
In addition, fluoride exposure can cause dangerously high fluoride levels in dialysis patients and others with advanced forms of kidney disease.
Finally, natural health experts maintain that fluoridated water can cause or contribute to damage to the developing brain, reduce thyroid function and possibly cause bone cancer.
Reduce fluoride exposure through proper water purification techniques
A high-quality water purification system is the first, most obvious step for reducing fluoride exposure.
You can also reduce exposure through reducing or eliminating your use of high-fluoride foods, such as fluoridated salt. Fluoride is also found in certain pesticides, particularly sodium aluminum fluoride, which may be used on grapes (another reason to buy organic produce!)
Environmental pollutants, such as cigarette smoke, can also contribute to fluoride exposure (yet another incentive to quit smoking, if you haven’t already).
Encouragingly, over 300 communities throughout North America – including Calgary, Alberta; Portland, OR and Bucks County, PA – have stopped using fluoridation since 1990 – a truly hopeful turn of events.
For seven ways you can stop fluoridation, including an activist tool kit, visit FluorideAlert.org.
When used to prevent disease, fluoride is classified as a drug – not a nutrient. The recent research linking water fluoridation with osteoarthritis gives us yet another reason to object to this “mass medication” – which is given without our consent.
Sources for this article include: