Type 2 Diabetes: Could Fluoride Be the Culprit?

Diabetes, as we know, has risen at an alarming rate across the world – cases have nearly quadrupled over the past 3 decades, and nearly 1.4 million people are diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone.

How a person develops the disease can vary, and scientists are constantly looking to discover new contributing factors for the condition. But could something as innocuous as fluoride be the cause?

A new study, published in the Journal of Water and Health, recently looked at the possible links between the rise in type 2 diabetes cases and fluoridated water.

Model Behavior

Fluoride is a chemical known to prevent cavities, but it also acts as a preservative for blood glucose. To study how the chemical connects to the increase of diabetes cases, author Kyle Fluegge, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, analyzed public data on fluoride levels and diabetes instances using mathematical models.

“The models look at the outcomes of [diabetes] incidence and prevalence being predicted by both natural and added fluoride,” Fluegge said. His research included data from 22 states in the U.S., and Fluegge “included adjustments for obesity and physical inactivity collected from national telephone surveys to help rule out confounding factors,” according to a press release from the University.

Results By The Numbers

Fluegge's research indicated that each “one milligram increase in average county fluoride levels predicted a 0.17 percent increase in age-adjusted diabetes prevalence.” Further regression analysis also pointed to supplemental water fluoridation in 2005 and 2010 – years that also met with increases in diabetes.

“The models present an interesting conclusion that the association of water fluoridation to diabetes outcomes depends on the adjusted per capita consumption of tap water,” explained Fluegge. However, this doesn't mean we should say farewell to drinking water; Fluegge was quick to point out that “[I]t is not appropriate to apply these findings directly to individuals.”

Still, Fluegge's study may open doors in the scientific community and further the conversation for treatment, prevention, and a cure for diabetes – and that, of course, is the ultimate goal.

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