Manataka American Indian Council







Submitted by:

Crystal Harvey, MAIC Correspondent

Fluoride Action Network


When Joint pain is not Arthritis

By Frank Shallenberger, MD



What if you found out that your joint pains are not osteoarthritis, as your doctor insists? What if the cause is excessive levels of a very common mineral?


Believe it or not, there's a condition that can perfectly mimic the pain and swelling of osteoarthritis. In fact, it can even look just like osteoarthritis on X-ray films. But this condition is completely different from osteoarthritis.


I am talking about skeletal fluorosis. As the name indicates, the cause of skeletal fluorosis is excessive fluoride. The mineral your dentist claims will save your teeth and bones. While it won't save your bones, it can kill you. Most people don't realize fluoride is a poison. As little as five grams of sodium fluoride will kill an adult. Smaller doses, such as those from toothpaste use and drinking water, can cause severe joint pain and many other problems.


This condition is extremely common, but doctors rarely diagnose it. That's largely because they never think to look for it. They usually think of arthritis or some other condition (such as ankylosing spondylitis; renal osteodystrophy; osteopetrosis; and Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis ) long before they suspect fluoride poisoning. And X-rays don't help. Skeletal fluorosis can look just like osteoarthritis or one of the previously mentioned diseases.


So how can you tell if fluoride is causing your joint and muscle pains? The best way to diagnose fluorosis is by testing for it. Your doctor can order a blood test called a serum sialic acid to GAG (glycosaminoglycans) ratio, or alternatively a serum sialic acid to serum seromucoid ratio. A ratio less than three in either test suggests fluoride poisoning.


A simple blood level for fluoride can also work. If you have a persistent elevation of serum fluoride above 0.04 mg/L (normal is less than 0.01 mg/L), you have fluoride poisoning.


Finally, since urine can concentrate fluoride up to 50 times more than blood, urine testing is another way. With this test, a fluoride level over 8 mg/L in a 24-hour collection indicates fluoride poisoning.


If your fluoride levels are high, there are two things you can do. First, avoid all sources of fluoride. This includes typical tap water and most toothpaste. Use a natural toothpaste from a health food store that doesn't have fluoride. And use a reverse osmosis filter for all your water, especially drinking, cooking, and bathing water. Your body will eventually excrete all the fluoride.


Second, it's possible taking iodine will hasten your body's removal. So consider taking an iodine supplement, such as Iodoral. These are available on the Internet.

Finding your real cures,

Frank Shallenberger, MD



Singh A, et al. (1963). Endemic fluorosis: Epidemiological, clinical and biochemical study of chronic fluoride intoxication in Punjab. Medicine 42: 229-246.


A K Susheela, T K Das, J S Khurana, A Jayaswal, and P K Dave. Circulating levels of sialic acid and glycosaminoglycans: a diagnostic test for ankylosing spondylitis.

Ann Rheum Dis. 1988 October; 47(10): 833-837.

Heller KE, et al (1997). Dental caries and dental fluorosis at varying water fluoride concentrations. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 57: 136-143.


Hileman B. (1988). Fluoridation of Water: Questions about health risks and benefits remain after more than 40 years. Chemical & Engineering News August 1: 26-42.




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