Can Fluoride In Water Cause Hypothyroidism?


Hi, this is Dr. Ruscio, and let’s discuss
the question, “Can fluoridated water or non-filtered water contribute to hypothyroidism?” The short answer here according to the best
available data, which is a systematic review, is yes, it does appear that fluoridated water
can contribute to hypothyroidism. Let’s outline the details so you have all
the necessary information. Allow me to put the abstract on the screen,
a systematic analysis on the possibility of water fluoridation causing hypothyroidism. Now, a systematic analysis is a review of
the available data, so it’s very powerful data. It’s not just one study, but rather, an analysis
and summary of all the available literature. So this is very powerful information and is
arguably the highest level of scientific evidence. At least, it’s the best available evidence
to answer this question to-date. Let’s quote the findings from this research
group. “The present systematic review suggests
a positive correlation between excess fluoride and hypothyroidism. This calls a need for further well-controlled
studies in this otherwise emerging, alarming issue.” We’ll outline this further. Let’s look at what data was analyzed. To quote:
“37 full articles were related to the association of fluoride and hypothyroidism. Of the 37 articles, 10 articles met the inclusion
criteria.” Meaning only the 10 articles that were well-performed,
seem to have a reduced or minimal risk of bias, and were high-quality. So we look at all the data 37, and pair down
to only the highest quality of those 37, 10, and this is what is analyzed. We’re really kind of cutting the fat, looking
at the best quality data. Continuing here to quote:
“The analysis suggests a positive correlation of excess fluoride and hypothyroidism.” Okay. An interesting note here:
“There is sufficient evidence of the ill effects of excess fluoride content in water,
causing skeletal and dental fluorosis. Reviews also indicate that fluoride is an
endocrine disruptor of tissues competitively requiring iodine.” We’ll come back to what that competitive requirement
means here in just a second. It tells us part of the mechanism through
which too much fluoride in your system can actually interfere with iodine. Which is what’s ultimately one part of what’s
needed for a healthy thyroid function. Before we move to the connection between fluoride
and iodine, I’ll provide some references to other evidence points I’ve reviewed on this. So if you want to read more or listen more
on this issue, you have additional references at your disposal. Now, why might fluoride be problematic for
thyroid health? Well, I don’t mean to torture you here with
this periodic table of elements, but this is helpful in depicting how it is that fluoride
and potentially even chlorine and bromine, can interfere with thyroid health by competitively
inhibiting the ability of iodine to function in the body. I’ll put up on the screen a periodic table
of elements and I’ll draw your attention to the lower right-hand corner where you see
I or iodine. Now, this is known as a halogen. One of the elements or a number of elements
are classified as halogens. That’s what you’re seeing highlighted by the
green row. You see above iodine is bromine, above that
chlorine, and above that fluoride or fluorine. The theory, and there does seem to be some
evidence to support this, is that these other halogens, in this case, namely fluoride, can
outcompete for iodine receptors. So you have this iodine receptor, let’s say
in the thyroid gland, and both iodine and fluoride can bind to it. Fluoride seems to be better at getting into
that receptor than iodine. So if your fluoride levels are too high, they
dislodge iodine, and you can almost end up with a pseudo iodine insufficiency. This is one of the main theories through which
we think that fluoride, when too high, can cause problems with thyroid function. Again, if you’d like to explore the halogens
further and the relationship between those, I’ll refer to a prior podcast where we went
into quite a bit of detail on that topic. What can you do? Well, fortunately, the solution here seems
to be fairly simple; you can filter your water. You can fairly easily find out what water
filters will filter fluoride or fluorine through a quick internet search. Most will, so just do a bit of research. It should not be too hard to figure that out. You can also ensure that you’re getting adequate
iodine in your diet, which in the U.S., most people are. The recommended dietary intake is 150 micrograms
per day. Some evidence suggests that in patients at
risk of thyroid disease, either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, the sweet spot may be
around 450 micrograms per day. Iodine is interesting in the sense that too
much or too little, both pose a problem. So one of the things that we don’t want to
do is look at this information about fluoride, understanding that iodine and fluoride kind
of compete, think that you’ve been exposed to too much fluoride, and go on a campaign
of using copious amounts of iodine in your diet. That also may be a problem. The most practical path forward seems to be
to reduce your exposure to fluoride via water filtration. You also may want to quickly Google a list
of the other top sources where people are exposed to fluoride, one of which is fluoridated
toothpaste, and reduce your exposure to those in addition to making sure you have adequate
iodine in your diet. That should be sufficient. Some recommend using high-dose iodine to try
to do this kind of fluorine or fluoride flush. I don’t know if we really need to go to that
extreme. It seems much more practical to adhere to
the practice that seems to be the foundation in toxin reduction. Which is avoid exposure and focus on healthy
nutrients in the diet. That seems to be the best long-term strategy. In close, according to the best available
evidence, it does appear there is a relationship between fluoridated water and hypothyroidism. Now, I wish we had a little bit better data
in terms of, “Is this a 3% increase or a 50% increase?” because there does seem to be this
tendency for people to overreact. I do not want to contribute to that overreaction
at all, so I would not fret over this. I would not worry. I would simply look at this as a simple lifestyle
practice you can employ. Filtering your water and avoiding other top
sources of fluoride in a reasonable fashion is a proactive measure to improve the likelihood
that you will not have any thyroid conditions in the future or any exacerbation of a current
thyroid condition. Further evidence may also disprove this, but
it does seem, according to the best available data, looking at all 37 available studies
and consolidating down to the 10 best, the relationship there did hold. A simple practice you can use to improve your
thyroid health would be avoidance of fluoride. The best way to hit that end point would be
to filter your water. I hope this information helps you get healthy
and get back to your life.

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