The Effects of Phosphorus in Cardiovascular and Renal Health

The Effects of Phosphorus in Cardiovascular and Renal Health
  • Jose Santeliz
  • May 3, 2022

The Western diet is high in dietary phosphorus, partially due to added phosphorus, (i.e., phosphates) predominantly present in processed food products. Elevated serum phosphate levels, otherwise known as hyperphosphatemia, have been associated with changes in health status, of note detrimental effects on cardiovascular and renal health. However, the extent to which highly absorbed added phosphorus contributes to these changes is relatively unknown, due to its poor characterization among food composition databases. 

Using regression analyses, we assessed relationships between estimated total, added, and natural phosphorus intakes on biomarkers of health status and mortality in individuals enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). 

Total, added, and natural phosphorus intakes were associated with several biomarkers of health status. Added phosphorus intake was consistently inversely associated with HDL cholesterol in both men and women, whereas naturally occurring phosphorus intake was inversely correlated with the risk of elevated blood pressure. However, in most cases, the predicted impact of increases in phosphorus intake would result in small percentage changes in biomarkers.   We did not find any relationship between phosphorus intake (i.e., total, added or natural) on markers of renal function.

No meaningful associations between phosphorus and mortality were found, but indications of a correlation between mortality with quintiles of naturally occurring phosphorus were present, depending on covariate sets used. The disparate results for natural and added phosphorus intakes within the current study provide increased support for updating current food composition databases to more accurately account for dietary phosphorus intake as total, naturally occurring, and added phosphorus.

Read the full text here: Association of Total, Added, and Natural Phosphorus Intakes with Biomarkers of Health Status and Mortality in Healthy Adults in the United States

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