Fluoride Causes Extreme Bone Density

Making headlines this week is a story about a 47 year old Michigan woman who, everyday for the last 17 years, drank a pitcher of tea made with more than 100 tea bags. The woman experienced chronic bone pain in her hips, arms and legs that she believed to be cancer, but was in fact caused by excessive levels of fluoride - resulting in extremely dense bones and brittle teeth. Doctors confirm that her bones were so brittle that biopsy instruments were unable to penetrate.  Her teeth also became brittle to the point that they fell out. The case is so unusual that the New England Journal of Medicine recently covered the story, bringing fluoride back to the public attention but this time with a new focus on bone health.

Tea leaves absorb flouride from soil and flouride is also added in low amounts to drinking water in most parts of the US. The recommended concentration of fluoride in drinking water is 0.7 mg per liter but in this case the woman consumed more than twenty-five times that amount every day.  The body normally excretes extra fluoride, but the process is complicated when excessive amounts are consumed. Certain regions, including parts of India, where water fluoride levels are higher also see a greater number of people diagnosed with skeletal fluorosis as a result of ingesting too much fluoride. A low-calcium, low-vitamin D diet is one option to assist in the removal of fluoride from bone.

Fluoride replaces an important part of the bone molecules and stays there for decades.
It was originally thought that fluoride would make bone stronger, but time and research confirm that too much fluoride can be bad for bone and make it brittle when excessive fluoride accumulates over many years. Fluoride should be avoided in bone health supplements – yet some products wrongly claim fluoride compensates for natural bone formation.

The conversation around strontium and bone health has some similarities to the fluoride debate. The FDA has not approved strontium as a treatment for osteoporosis. It is not considered an “essential” nutrient for bone health yet continues to be added to supplements.  Strontium replaces the calcium in bone and stays there for decades. Since strontium is heavier than calcium, it makes the bone appear denser on x-ray and DXA scans – which can be misread as an improvement in bone density.  Strontium may make bones stronger initially but we do not require strontium for any known biological function. Strontium can not be regulated by our bodies as it accumulates and there are other health risks beyond bones. Silical®* supplements from Institute for Better Bone Health specifically do not contain strontium or fluoride in any form.

Organic silicon, in contrast to fluoride and strontium, is an essential nutrient for bone formation.  The body cannot form bone without adequate amounts of silicon. Silicon helps attract calcium to bone protein and improves the effects of calcium and vitamin D in the bone forming process. After bone has formed, silicon is no longer needed and it leaves the body completely.  Silicon is only found in a handful of dietary sources, which is why it is so important to supplement with an organic form of silicon, in addition to calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, boron and other important nutrients for bone health.

One of the ironic things about the woman’s case is that she may have taken up an unusual diet thinking it would have some health benefit.  But the foundation for bone health is balanced nutrition, from a variety of whole foods and supplements without resorting to megadoses to meet recommended daily amounts of bone building nutrients.  Stick with bone health supplements that only include safe ingredients that are part of the natural bone building process.

*Adequate calcium and vitamin D, throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

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