Fluoride-Free Diet Stimulates Pineal Growth in Aged Male Rats

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2020 Sep;197(1):175-183. doi: 10.1007/s12011-019-01964-4. Epub 2019 Nov 12.


The pineal gland is a naturally calcifying endocrine organ which secretes the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Age-related changes of the pineal have been observed, including decreased pinealocyte numbers, increased calcification, and a reduction in melatonin production. Since fluoride is attracted to calcium within the pineal gland, this study sought to examine the effects of a fluoride-free diet on the morphology of the pineal gland of aged male rats (26 months old). All animals had previously been raised on standard fluoridated food and drinking water. These control animals were compared to other animals that were placed on a fluoride-free diet ("fluoride flush") for 4 or 8 weeks. At 4 weeks, pineal glands from fluoride-free animals showed a 96% increase in supporting cell numbers and at 8 weeks a 73% increase in the number of pinealocytes compared to control animals. In contrast, the number of pinealocytes and supporting cells in animals given an initial 4-week fluoride flush followed by a return to fluoridated drinking water (1.2 ppm NaF) for 4 weeks were not different from control animals. Our findings therefore demonstrate that a fluoride-free diet encouraged pinealocyte proliferation and pineal gland growth in aged animals and fluoride treatment inhibited gland growth. These findings suggest that dietary fluoride may be detrimental to the pineal gland.

Keywords: Aging; Calcification; Drinking water; Fluoridation; Fluoride; Melatonin; Neurodegenerative disease; Pineal gland; Pinealocytes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet
  • Fluorides
  • Male
  • Melatonin*
  • Pineal Gland*
  • Rats


  • Melatonin
  • Fluorides