High-normal phosphate levels linked to early atherosclerosis

Nov 13, 2008

Healthy adults with higher levels of phosphate in the blood are more likely to have increased levels of calcium in the coronary arteries—a key indicator of atherosclerosis and future cardiovascular disease risk, reports a study in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

"Phosphate level may represent a previously unidentified and modifiable cardiovascular risk factor, and could help identify people for whom modifiable risk factors could be screened and managed," comments Robert N. Foley, MD, of University of Minnesota and the US Renal Data System (USRDS), both in Minneapolis, MN.

Dr. Foley and colleagues studied the relationship between phosphate levels and coronary artery calcium in 3,015 healthy young adults from a long-term study of risk factors for coronary artery disease. At an average age of 25 years, the subjects underwent measurement of their serum phosphate level. The phosphate level reflects the mineral phosphorus, which plays an important role in bone metabolism.

A special computed tomography (CT) scan was used 15 years later to measure the level of calcium in the coronary arteries. Coronary artery calcium is an early sign of atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries."

After adjustment for other factors, blood phosphate levels at age 25 were significantly related to coronary artery calcium levels at age 40. Subjects with higher phosphate levels were about 50 percent more likely to be at the highest level of coronary artery calcium, compared to those with lower phosphate levels. The relationship was strongest at higher phosphate levels—however, phosphate levels were within range of normal for nearly all of the young adults studied.

Patients with kidney disease have increased phosphate levels, which are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. If higher phosphate levels play a role in causing cardiovascular disease, then a link between phosphate level and early atherosclerosis might be found even in healthy people without kidney disease.

"Our findings indicate that phosphate levels in the normal range may be risk factors for coronary artery atherosclerosis," says Dr. Foley. "For physicians and patients, improved understanding of risk factors for heart disease and coronary artery disease provides more opportunity to screen for and modify them."

Another study in the same issue of JASN shows that higher phosphate levels are linked to increased coronary artery calcium in patients with moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD). The two studies raise the possibility that phosphate-lowering drugs—generally used only in patients with end-stage renal disease on dialysis—might help to reduce cardiovascular risk in CKD patients and even in healthy adults with high-normal phosphate levels.

Since the study was not experimental, it cannot establish any cause-and-effect relationship. In addition, it lacked data on some possibly relevant laboratory values—especially parathyroid hormone and vitamin D, which, like phosphate, have important effects on bone.

Source: American Society of Nephrology

Explore further: China to open first high security bio laboratory

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Materials scientists turn to collagen

Jun 05, 2014

(Phys.org) —Miniature scaffolds made from collagen – the 'glue' that holds our bodies together – are being used to heal damaged joints, and could be used to develop new cancer therapies or help repair ...

Osteoporosis drug may be associated with irregular heartbeat

Apr 28, 2008

Alendronate, a medication used to prevent fractures in women with osteoporosis, may be associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, a type of abnormal heart rhythm, according to a report in the April 28 issue ...

Recommended for you

China to open first high security bio laboratory

3 minutes ago

China's first high-security biosafety laboratory will be ready for use by December, in a move hailed as a "crucial" moment in the fight against pathogens such as the Ebola virus, officials said Tuesday.

US Ebola labs, parts for clinic arrive in Liberia

1 hour ago

U.S. mobile Ebola labs should be up and running in Liberia this week, and American troops have broken ground for a field hospital, as the international community races to increase the ability to care for ...

Ebola-hit Liberia staring into the abyss

5 hours ago

With its collapsed health service, sick and poorly equipped security forces and broken economy, Ebola-hit Liberia finds itself on the brink of complete societal breakdown, experts warn.

Dallas hospital monitoring patient for Ebola

5 hours ago

A patient in a Dallas hospital is showing signs of the Ebola virus and is being kept in strict isolation with test results pending, hospital officials said Monday.

'Deadly diarrhea' rates nearly doubled in 10 years

15 hours ago

Infections with the intestinal superbug C. difficile nearly doubled from 2001 to 2010 in U.S. hospitals without noticeable improvement in patient mortality rates or hospital lengths of stay, according to a study of 2.2 mi ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

barakn
1 / 5 (2) Nov 13, 2008
Hmmm... what about all that phosphoric acid in soda pop?
physpuppy
5 / 5 (1) Nov 13, 2008
Hmmm... what about all that phosphoric acid in soda pop?


If we dare to use Wiki as a reference,
"Total phosphorus intake was not significantly higher in daily cola consumers than in nonconsumers; however, the calcium-to-phosphorus ratios were lower. "

http://en.wikiped...ric_acid

From other sources I've seen, consuming large amounts of phosphoric acid doesn't increase uptake of phosphate, but it tends to decrease calcium in the body.

Maybe the body uses calcium to eliminate the excess phosphate? (guessing here)
Soylent
5 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2008
Hmmm... what about all that phosphoric acid in soda pop?


The persistent attempts to finger "artificial" or highly processed foods for all evils is kind of silly.

Damned near every grain, seed, nut, fish, meat and dairy product contains high levels of phosphate.

I doubt that phosphate intake is even the problem; your body is pretty good at getting rid of an excess of most but not all vitamins and minerals via the urine.
Soylent
5 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2008
(6 cl of milk or 20 g of chicken contains as much phosphate as a regular 33 cl can of coca cola. A can of coke contains 55 mg of phosphate.

http://www.health...hate.pdf )