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New cause of high blood pressure and heart disease discovered
Date:5/5/2014

Phosphate rich foods include processed cheese, Parmesan, cola, baking powder and most processed foods. Phosphates are widely used in the food industry as preservatives and pH stabilizers. When large quantities of phosphates are consumed, production of the FGF23 hormone is stimulated, which has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system. Reinhold Erben, the head of the Unit of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Biophysics at the Vetmeduni Vienna, warns that "our phosphate consumption is relevant for our state of health."

Over 500 million people around the world suffer from chronic kidney disease. Clinical studies have shown that these patients often develop cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and vascular calcification. Until now, the connection between renal disease, the accumulation of the hormone FGF23 which is produced in the bones, and cardiovascular disease was unclear.

FGF23 controls renal excretion of sodium, and so the blood pressure

The researchers showed that FGF23 has a so called sodium conserving effect, meaning it controls the reabsorption of filtered sodium in the kidneys. Mice lacking FGF23 excrete higher amounts of sodium in their urine, resulting in low blood pressure. Animals with high FGF23 levels show high levels of sodium in their blood, and in turn, high blood pressure.

A raised level of FGF23 puts increased strain on the heart. Reinhold Erben explains that, "In patients with chronic renal disease, both the phosphate levels and the levels of FGF23 are chronically high. This often leads to cardiovascular disease.

FGF23 controls calcium, and therefore vascular calcification

A second study, published by Erben's group in mid-January in EMBO, showed that FGF23 also controls calcium levels. As with sodium, the calcium is filtered in the kidneys and reabsorbed back into the body. If this reabsorption does not take place, the body loses calcium. T
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Contact: Reinhold Erben
reinhold.erben@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-4550
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert

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