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Fluoride in Your Gut

Chemist Shares Concerns About Fluoride

As a chemist I am always amazed at the behavior of fluoride. After swallowing fluoride from water treated with industrial fluoride chemicals, (this can be soda, soup, chicken broth, or any beverage or liquid that is made with fluoridated water) the fluoride ion (F-) reaches the stomach.

Hydrochloric acid in the stomach converts fluoride into hydrofluoric acid HF [1]. Hydrofluoric acid is an extremely corrosive acid! And, hydrofluoric acid is a fat soluble molecule that passes freely through cell membranes. So, ingested fluoride from industrial compounds lacking calcium is assimilated into the bloodstream from the stomach.

Once in the blood which is alkaline, hydrofluoric acid ionizes back to fluoride which diffuses into all organs of the body. This is the means by which fluoride ion gains entry into all parts of the body after swallowing.

If the stomach were not acidic, then fluoride would be mostly eliminated because the ion itself cannot readily diffuse across cell membranes. The conversion to HF is impaired by the presence of calcium because fluoride is a calcium binding agent.

When the fluoride in bone builds up and the levels exceed 3-4,000 mg/kg, bone is weakened and more subject to stress fracture. Every day and every week that we continue to drink fluoridated beverages and soups, we are exposed to fluoride that builds up more and more and more in our bodies. After a lifetime of consumption of typical municipal fluoridated water in this country and use of fluoridated toothpaste, fluoride can accumulate in bone to over 6,000 mg/kg which can cause bone pain [2]. This is huge and this is important for all of us to know. Who would want bone pain if you could avoid it?

Cells in the stomach lining are designed to resist damage from acid because their job is to produce hydrochloric acid to help with digestion. In basic water such as in the bloodstream, hydrogen fluoride completely dissociates into fluoride ions and this is a problem.

As you can see, in this one small example, drinking fluoride has some system wide manifestations. Did anyone ever consider that hydrogen fluoride, this extremely corrosive acid, would be made in your gut?

We must be aware that in chemistry fluorine is king on the periodic table. It is small, tiny, and, importantly, it the most reactive element on Planet Earth. It can react with materials that other less reactive elements cannot do. Fluoride is the reduced form of fluorine after it has reacted with other material. Hydrogen fluoride is a big, big issue for the gut and the entire organism.

As a chemist, and in the chemistry lab, we have a lot of respect for hydrogen fluoride and its unique powers and only use it with the utmost care and, preferably, never.

[1] Sauerheber,R. Physiologic Conditions Affect the Toxicity of Ingested Industrial Fluoride, Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2013, article 439490.

[2] National Research Council, Report on Fluoride in Drinking Water, National Academies, Washington, D.C. 2006.

Written by: Richard Sauerheber, PhD