How To Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Nine Sources of Fluoride Exposure You Might Not Recognize
This week, we have a guest post from a special lady with a special website: Melissa from The Cellulite Investigation. Trust me, you’ll love the site — it’s a report on our modern cellulite epidemic, which resonates with the Cellulite Analyst (as she’s referred to) because of her own struggles with cellulite. Today she’s written a post for us about her experiences with fluoride, which, of course, is so important to the thyroid community. You’ll be shocked with what she’s uncovered:
It all started when I noticed a strange phenomenon while traveling. Living in the U.S. my face was one huge acne outbreak. Yet I didn’t need a single spot treatment when living abroad. This pattern repeated itself through two decades of frequent travel. Finally, after much perplexing, I understand the reason. It’s called fluoroderma, a form of halogen acne caused by fluoride.
Once I received the fluoroderma diagnosis, I began to limit my fluoride ingestion and saw immediate results with my cystic acne. In the beginning, I thought avoiding fluoride would be simple: just stop drinking fluoridated water. Turns out it wasn’t that easy. After a year and a half of trial and error, I finally succeeded in limiting my fluoride consumption enough to heal my fluoroderma (who says there’s no real cure for acne?!).
Now, dear Dear Thyroid readers, I would like to offer my fluoride-detecting superpowers to those of you who suffer with hypothyroidism. As you recall from earlier HTKYTA posts, fluoride blocks iodine receptors (iodine is also a halogen) and causes a decrease in absorbed thyroid hormone. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, fluoride in the range of 2-5 mg per day is enough to slow down thyroid function.1 In fact, fluoride was used to treat hyperthyroidism before more powerful medications were developed.
If you are looking to limit your fluoride exposure, here are nine sources of fluoride that might surprise you.
1. Non-Organic Tea
Tea leaves accumulate more fluoride from soil and air pollution than any other edible plant. Total fluoride content depends on steeping time. In one lab analysis, a cup of black tea was found to contain 17.5 mg of fluoride. The level in green tea was even higher, at 22 mg per cup. Non-organic iced tea, instant tea, and decaf tea are all known to contain high amount of fluoride.2
2. Processed Cereal
When cereals are manufactured using fluoridated water, the water evaporates, leaving concentrated levels of fluoride in the finished product. One study found that cereal made with fluoridated water contained fluoride levels ranging from 3.8 to 6.3 ppm (the maximum contaminant level for fluoridated water set by the EPA is 4 ppm).3
3. Other Food and Beverages Prepared in Fluoridated Water
This one is a little more obvious, but it’s still easy to overlook. Coming from someone who breaks out after eating steamed broccoli or drinking a single Newcastle (who knew Newcastle was one of the few cities in the UK to fluoridate its public water supply?), food and beverages made with fluoridated water are a significant source of fluoride exposure. When eating out at fluoridated restaurants, don’t forget that foods like pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables will contain some of the fluoridated water they were cooked in. Fruit juices can pack an extra fluoride punch due to the promiscuous use of fluoride-based pesticides. Which brings us to…
4. Grapes, Potatoes, and other Non-Organic Crops
The primary fluoride-based pesticide used in the U.S. is cryolite, most commonly used on crops of grapes and potatoes. The EPA allows over 7 ppm of cryolite on 30 different fruits and vegetables, including broccoli, citrus fruits, cucumbers, lettuce, peaches, peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes.4
5. Factory-Farmed Chicken
My fluoride-o-meter goes into hyperdrive with this one. When humans ingest fluoride, roughly half of it accumulates in the bones while the other half is excreted. A similar process must occur with chickens because it’s the chicken bones that contain the highest amounts of fluoride (commercial chicken feed can be high in fluoride-based pesticides). Chicken skin is another culprit. Watch out for soups made from a chicken stock base as well as mechanically deboned chicken products and luncheon meats.5
6. Teflon and Aluminum Pans
The next two fluoride sources have not been verified by my experience with fluoroderma, but the research makes them worth mentioning. I cook with cast iron, pyrex, and stainless steel, but some fluoridation opponents argue that teflon and aluminum cookware can leech dangerous fluoride compounds into the food. Considering that most of the fluoride added to the public water supply is a byproduct of the aluminum industry (you can check your local water report to find out where your fluoride comes from), this does not sound like an outlandish claim.
7. Fluorinated Pharmaceuticals
The list of fluorine-based medications is staggering, from anesthetics and antibiotics to antidepressants like Paxil and Prozac.6
[To find out if your medications are fluorine-based, here is an index of fluorinated pharmaceuticals from the Fluoride Toxicity Research Collaborative]
8. Showering/Bathing in Fluoridated Water
I haven’t found any scientific studies of fluoride exposure from bathing, so this evidence is mostly based on my anecdotal experience (although research does confirm that small amounts of fluoride may be inhaled or absorbed through the skin 7). I noticed a marked improvement in my fluoroderma when I installed a carbon filter in the shower, but I did not find complete relief until I moved into a non-fluoridated house. When I visit relatives who live in fluoridated cities, the fluoroderma flares up slightly even though the sink/shower is my only major source of fluoride exposure.
9. Non-Organic Wine
Remember all that fluoride-based pesticide they are spraying on grape crops? You probably don’t want to hear this, but it ends up in your wine glass. Researchers from California State in Fresno conducted a 5-year study on vineyards in San Joaquin Valley. They found fluoride levels between 3 and 9 ppm. At 6 ppm, one small glass of non-organic wine contains as much fluoride as a liter of “optimally” fluoridated water.8
Are you surprised by any of the items on this list? Do you know any I missed? And while we’re at it, what are your thoughts on fluoride? Could something we pay to add to the public water supply really be all that bad?
Tags: broccoli, citrus fruits, factory farmed chicken, grapes, guest blogger Melissa The Cellulite Investigation, How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass, Liz Schau thyroid nutrition writer, Newcastle Ale, non-organic tea, non-organic wine, potatoes, processed cereal, products with fluoride, showering and bathing in fluoridated water, Teflon and aluminum pans, thyroid health nutrition, thyroid nutrition tips, thyroid nutritional resources