Fluoride has been shown to lower IQ’s and calcify the pineal gland, and it’s also been linked to birth defects and is damaging to the thyroid, kidneys, and other organs. Still, it is commonly found in drinking water in most cities in the United States. It’s also found in toothpaste, non-stick pans, and antibiotics.
Pharmacognosy Magazine published a new study titled, “Curcumin attenuates neurotoxicity induced by fluoride: An in vivo evidence,” which supports that fluoride is indeed a brain-damaging substance, and it also reveals that curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, can protect against the damaging effects of fluoride.
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 induce 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 demonstrates 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.
An overview published in Advanced Experimental Medical Biology in 2007 stated that, “Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.”
Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis, muscle pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, liver problems, wounds, digestive problems, mouth lesions and skin diseases. To read more, see The Benefits of Turmeric.