Thursday Dec 11, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- In patients
with moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD), higher levels of phosphorus in the
blood may increase calcification of the major arteries and heart valves and raise
the risk of cardiovascular disease, a study in the Journal of the American
Society of Nephrology (JASN) suggests.
Very high levels of phosphorus in the blood have already
been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and vascular
calcification in dialysis patients, according to Bryan Kestenbaum, MD, of the
University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, coauthor of the study.
"We are now recognizing that even a mild increase in
the serum phosphorus level is associated with cardiovascular events in people
with CKD who are not on dialysis," said Dr. Kestenbaum.
The study was meant to examine the association between
blood phosphorus levels and vascular (blood vessel) calcification in a group of
439 patients with moderate CKD.
The researchers used a special computed tomography (CT)
scan to assess calcification indicative of overall atherosclerosis.
Coronary artery calcification is associated
with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction
The researchers found calcifications of the coronary
arteries in two-thirds of the CKD patients although 95 percent of the patients
had phosphorus levels within the normal range—between 2.5 and 4.5 milligrams
per deciliter (mg/dL).
Within the normal range of phosphorus, each 1 mg/dL
increase in the phosphorus level raised risk of coronary artery calcification
by 21 percent after other factors were considered, the study found.
The association was not influenced by
traditional risk factors including vitamin D.
"Higher serum phosphorous levels within the normal
range have been associated with cardiovascular events and premature death in
people with CKD," said Dr. Kestenbaum. "Experimental work suggests
that phosphorous causes toxicity by promoting calcification of blood vessels.
We were able to demonstrate that people with higher serum phosphorus levels
tended to have more calcification."
In the same issue of JASN, another study showed that
high-normal phosphorus levels are linked to increased coronary artery calcium
even in healthy adults without kidney disease.
Both studies suggested that reduced intake of dietary
phosphorus may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in CKD patients and even
in healthy adults. Those who have high levels of phosphate levels may be better
off cutting their dietary intake of this mineral.
Phosphorus is a structural component of bone in the form
of a calcium phosphate salt known as
Phosphorus in the form of phospholipids is present as major structural
components in cell membranes. It is also present in molecules involved in
energy production and responsible for the storage and transmission of genetic
High levels of phosphorus have been linked to Attention
Deficit Disorder and Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Reducing
intake of phosphorus in diet may help reduce ADD/ADHD risk.
According to phosadd.com, the following processed foods
and beverages contain high levels of phosphate, cited in verbatim:
Soft drinks, soda
drinks, especially cola or coke and fizzy lemonade
sweets, candy, sugar
Skim milk powder
(often added to processed foods)
cakes from the supermarket
especially soft cheese spread
Baking powder and
self-raising flour often contains phosphate aerator
All foods that list
as an ingredient mineral salts, emulsifiers and lecithin
Phosphorus may even show up at high levels in natural
foods. Those who want to restrict their intake of this mineral may pay
attention to those foods listed as follows, cited in verbatim from phosadd.com:
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