Increased phosphate intake increases blood pressure in healthy adults
Burgers are in the truest sense on everyone's lips. While many know that white flour burger buns are rather unhealthy and meat consumption should be only moderate, since here too cancer-causing substances are released by over-searing, it is rather unknown that Scheiblettenkäse is anything but healthy. In fact, this contains many phosphates. As researchers have found, high levels of these salts can massively increase blood pressure even in healthy young adults.
Fast food puts a strain on the body
Lots of fat and carbohydrates and low fiber: fast food is an enormous burden on our body. According to experts, it takes several hours to get rid of the high-fat and high-calorie foods. However, not only the unhealthy fats are problematic, but also certain salts, which are often found in such foods. For example, in processed cheese, which is used to make burgers, you can usually find a lot of phosphates. Those who take large amounts of it risk high blood pressure, as researchers have now found out.
Although phosphates are also found in natural foods, today's eating habits are leading us to ingest more and more of these salts.
After all, they are used as an additive in numerous industrially produced foods: phosphates support the preservation of many meat products, they hold coffee powder free-flowing and make spreadable cheese spreadable.
It has been known for some time that phosphates in disc cheese and co-products can damage your health.
For example, scientific studies have shown that phosphates can alter the inner walls of vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Also, the risk of osteoporosis is increased by too much phosphate in the body.
Even healthy young adults face health consequences: if they ingest too much phosphate through their diet, blood pressure and heart rate rise.
This is shown by a study led by the University of Basel, which has now been published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Risk also for healthy
As stated in a statement by the University of Basel, a low-phosphate diet has long been recommended for people with chronic kidney problems because high levels of phosphate, for example, lead to deposits in blood vessels.
With increased phosphate intake via the diet, however, the probability of developing or even dying of vascular calcification or cardiovascular disease also increases in healthy people.
This is indicated by epidemiological studies that examine the relationship between potential risk factors and specific diseases.
A research team led by Professor Reto Krapf from the University of Basel has now for the first time checked this statistical relationship in a study of 20 healthy subjects.
Half of the study participants received an additional dose of sodium phosphate in tablet form for eleven weeks as part of their normal diet, which increased the phosphate content in their blood to an above-average level, albeit widespread among the general population.
Subjects in the second group took in a drug that binds phosphate and inhibits uptake into the body. In addition, they received saline to make them equal to the first group in terms of sodium administration.
Blood pressure increased and heart rate increased
After six weeks, the doctors examined how the different diets affect various indicators of cardiovascular function, such as blood pressure and heart rate.
A comparison of the two groups showed that increased phosphate uptake significantly increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure in young, healthy adults – by 4.1 and 3.2 millimeters of mercury, respectively.
At the same time, the pulse rate increased on average by four beats per minute.
As a cause, the scientists suspect that the increased phosphate intake or an increased serum phosphate level affects the sympathetic nervous system, which affects heart activity and blood pressure.
However, the effect was reversible: Two months after completion of the study, the subjects had returned to normal.
Vitamin D without effect
In a second phase, it was examined how the additional administration of vitamin D has an effect. Although the vitamin increases the uptake of phosphates in the gut, no impact on cardiovascular levels was observed in either group.
"Our findings provide an important explanation for the relationship between intake of dietary phosphate and increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the general population," said study leader Reto Krapf.
"These conclusions are relevant to public health and should be further explored through larger studies in different populations." (Ad)