Fluoride Action Network


Endemic fluorosis is a condition resulting from prolonged ingestion of drinking water which contains excess fluoride. Studies on rats have suggested that fluoride toxicity may produce glucose intolerance and abnormalities in insulin secretion. We studied glucose and insulin profiles following an oral glucose load in patients with endemic fluorosis. Twenty-five young adults (age range, 15-30 years) with endemic fluorosis, and an equal number of matched healthy control subjects with normal fluoride intake were studied. Impaired glucose tolerance was demonstrated in 10 of 25 (40%) patients with endemic fluorosis. Patients with impaired glucose tolerance had significantly higher fasting serum immunoreactive insulin (p < 0.05), higher fasting serum fluoride (p < 0.001), and a significantly lower fasting glucose to insulin ratio than that in patients with normal glucose tolerance (p < 0.001) or control subjects (p < 0.05). The fasting serum fluoride levels correlated positively with the area under the glucose curve (r = 0.80, p < 0.01) in patients with impaired glucose tolerance. Interestingly these abnormalities could be reversed when the village was provided drinking water with fluoride levels within acceptable limits. The present study shows that chronic fluoride toxicity in humans could result in significant abnormalities in glucose tolerance which are reversible upon removal of the excess fluoride.