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Phosphate additives pose a risk to health

Excessive consumption of phosphate is damaging to health. Therefore, food that contains phosphate additives should be labeled, as recommended by Eberhard Ritz and coauthors in their article in the current issue of Deutsches rzteblatt International [Dtsch Arztebl Int 2012; (109 (4): 49-55].

Ritz et al. selectively review the literature on the subject, which documents the fact that ex-cessive phosphate consumption elevates mortality in patients with renal disease. Recent stud-ies have also shown that phosphate apparently damages blood vessels and induces aging pro-cesses. Free phosphate (the type found in food additives) is entirely resorbed in the gastroin-testinal tract. Persons with renal disease have been found to have a markedly elevated serum phosphate concentration.

Phosphate additives are present in many types of fast food, which are eaten mainly by persons of lower socioeconomic status. It seems likely that excessive phosphate consumption is linked to the increased prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in the general population.

The authors conclude that physicians and the public need to be educated about the role of phosphate additives as a risk factor for disease.


Contact: Dr. Eberhard Ritz
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

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