The Spice That Protects Your Brain From Too Much Fluoride

New research adds to over 200 peer-reviewed studies of curcumin's neuroprotective ability
August 13, 2020 Updated: August 13, 2020
Fluoride is found everywhere today, from antibiotics to drinking water, nonstick pans to toothpaste, making exposure inevitable. Fluoride’s neurotoxicity has been the subject of academic debate for decades, and now a matter of increasingly impassioned controversy among the general public, as well.
Fluoride has been the subject of “conspiracy theories” about it being first used in drinking water in Russian and Nazi concentration camps to chemically lobotomize captives, as well as actual research that discovered its now well-known IQ lowering properties. Fluoride also exacerbates the calcification of the pineal gland—the traditional “seat of the soul”—raising concerns about other less-understood side effects. The controversy surrounding this ubiquitous toxicant has many people around the world, and increasingly in the heavily fluoridated regions of the United States, organizing at the local and statewide level to get fluoride removed from municipal drinking water.

A compelling study was published in the Pharmacognosy Magazine titled, “Curcumin attenuates neurotoxicity induced by fluoride: An in vivo evidence.” The study adds experimental support to concerns that fluoride is indeed a brain-damaging substance, also revealing that a natural agent derived from turmeric can protect against health effects associated with this compound is available.

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 induces severe neurodegenerative changes in the mammalian brain, particularly in cells of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex.

While the study focuses on negative effects of fluoride, it also cites evidence from other studies that point to benefits of fluoride use in appropriate amounts, including benefits for teeth and bones. To achieve these benefits, it is important fluoride isn’t over-ingested. Otherwise it can damage teeth and make bones more brittle.

The current study focused on fluoride-induced neurotoxicity and a process that leads to neuron death called excitotoxicity, which happens when overactive neurotransmitters damage or neurons (brain cells). The study identifies excitotoxicity and oxidative stress as the two main drivers of neurodegeneration, or the damage and death of our neurons. People with the condition known as fluorosis, a mottling of tooth enamel caused by excessive exposure to fluoride during tooth development, have been found to also have neurodegenerative changes associated with a form of oxidative stress known as lipid peroxidation (rancidity).

Lipids are one of the main components of cells. Lipid peroxidation is oxidative damage. It happens when free radicals take electrons from certain lipids called phospholipids that make up cell membranes. This process damages the cell.

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. In short, they wanted to know if curcumin could protect our brains from damage that happens due to excessive levels of fluoride.

Previous research on curcumin indicates that it is capable of acting as an antioxidant in three distinct ways by protecting against 1) singlet oxygen, 2) hydroxyl 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:

  1. Control (no fluoride)
  2. Fluoride (120 ppm): fluoride was given in distilled water drinking water without restriction.
  3. Fluoride (120 ppm/30 mg/kg body weight) plus Curcumin: Oral dose of curcumin dissolved in olive oil along with fluoride in drinking water
  4. 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 fluoride plus curcumin group saw reduced MDA levels versus the fluoride-only group, demonstrating curcumin’s neuroprotective activity against fluoride associated neurotoxicity.

The researchers concluded, “Our study thus demonstrate that daily single dose of 120 ppm fluoride resulted 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 reduced the toxic effect of fluoride to near normal level by augmenting the antioxidant defense through its scavenging property and provides evidence of having a 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 more than 200 peer-reviewed published studies indicating that curcumin is a neuroprotective agent. On GreenMedInfo’s turmeric database there are 115 articles proving turmeric protects the brain.  There are also two featured studies on turmeric’s ability to protect and restore the brain: How Turmeric Can Save the Aging Brain From Dementia and Premature Death, and Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients.

Considering the many chemical insults we face on a daily basis in the post-industrial world, turmeric may very well be the world’s most important herb, with more than 800 evidence-based health applications. Visit GreenMedInfo’s Turmeric Research database—the world’s largest, open access turmeric resource of its kind—to view the first hand published research on the topic.

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