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Increased phosphate intake increases the blood pressure of healthy adults
Unhealthy ingredients such as processed cheese are often used for fast foods such as burgers. And this in turn usually contains a lot of phosphates. As researchers have now found, high intake of these salts can increase blood pressure even in healthy young adults.
Fast food strains the body
Lots of fat and carbohydrates and little fiber: fast food is an enormous strain on our body. According to experts, it takes several hours to train the high-fat and high-calorie dishes. Not only the unhealthy fats are problematic, but also certain salts, which are often found in such foods. For example, a lot of phosphates can be found in processed cheese, which is used to prepare burgers. Those who consume large amounts of it risk high blood pressure, as researchers have now found.
Although phosphates are also found in natural foods, today's eating habits mean that we consume more and more of these salts.
After all, they are used as an additive in numerous industrially produced foods: phosphates support preservation in many meat products, they keep coffee powder free-flowing and make processed cheese spreadable.
It has long been known that phosphates in sliced cheese and the like can harm health.
For example, scientific studies have shown that phosphates can change the inner walls of the vessels, increasing the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Too much phosphate in the body also increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Even healthy young adults face health consequences: if they ingest too much phosphate in their food, their blood pressure and pulse rate will 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 for healthy people too
As stated in a communication from the University of Basel, people with chronic kidney problems have long been recommended to eat a low-phosphate diet because, for example, high phosphate levels lead to deposits in the blood vessels.
With an increased intake of phosphate through food, the likelihood of developing vascular calcification or cardiovascular disease or even dying from it also increases in healthy people.
This is indicated by epidemiological studies that examine the relationship between potential risk factors and certain diseases.
A research team led by Professor Reto Krapf from the University of Basel has now verified this statistical connection for the first time in a study with 20 healthy test subjects.
Half of the study participants received an additional dose of sodium phosphate in tablet form for 11 weeks in addition to their normal diet, which increased the phosphate content in their blood to an above-average level, albeit widespread among the population.
The subjects in the second group took an agent that binds phosphate and inhibits absorption in the body. In addition, they received table salt to make them equal to the first group in terms of sodium.
Blood pressure increased and pulse rate increased
After six weeks, the doctors examined how the different diets affect different indicators of cardiovascular function such as blood pressure and pulse.
A comparison of the two groups showed that the increased phosphate intake significantly increases the 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 by an average of four beats per minute.
The scientists suspect that the cause is that the increased supply of phosphate or an increased serum phosphate level affects the sympathetic nervous system, which affects cardiac activity and blood pressure.
However, the effect was reversible: two months after the end of the study, the values in the test subjects had returned to normal.
Vitamin D without effect
In a second phase, it was examined how the additional administration of vitamin D works. Although the vitamin increases the absorption of phosphates in the intestine, there was no influence on the cardiovascular values in either group.
"Our results provide an important explanation for the relationship between the intake of phosphate in food and the increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in the general population," said study leader Reto Krapf.
"These conclusions are important for public health and should be further investigated through larger studies in different population groups." (Ad)