April 26, 2010
Phosphates In Sodas Accelerate Aging?

Phosphates in sodas and processed foods speed aging in genetically engineered mice.

Here's another reason to kick the soda habit. New research published online in the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) shows that high levels of phosphates may add more "pop" to sodas and processed foods than once thought. That's because researchers found that the high levels of phosphates accelerate signs of aging. High phosphate levels may also increase the prevalence and severity of age-related complications, such as chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular calcification, and can also induce severe muscle and skin atrophy.

"Humans need a healthy diet and keeping the balance of phosphate in the diet may be important for a healthy life and longevity," said M. Shawkat Razzaque, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Medicine, Infection and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. "Avoid phosphate toxicity and enjoy a healthy life."

This study does not indicate just how much phosphate is too much for humans. What's a reasonable amount of phosphate to consume per day?

Here are the details. Note how they used two different genetic modifications. The first group of mice only had the klotho knock-out which caused high phosphate in the bodies of the mice and shorter life. You might might that the klotho shortened life by some other mechanism. But a second group had both klotho and a second knock-out for the NaPi2a gene which lowered phosphate. Those mice lived longer. But then when mice with both knock-outs were fed a high phosphate diet they also lived only 15 weeks, just like the first group.

To make this discovery, Razzaque and colleague examined the effects of high phosphate levels in three groups of mice. The first group of mice was missing a gene (klotho), which when absent, causes mice to have toxic levels of phosphate in their bodies. These mice lived 8 to 15 weeks. The second group of mice was missing the klotho gene and a second gene (NaPi2a), which when absent at the same time, substantially lowered the amount of phosphate in their bodies. These mice lived to 20 weeks. The third group of mice was like the second group (missing both the klotho and NaPi2a genes), except they were fed a high-phosphate diet. All of these mice died by 15 weeks, like those in the first group. This suggests that phosphate has toxic effects in mice, and may have a similar effect in other mammals, including humans.

Here's a table of phosphate in common foods. That list doesn't have much in the way of processed foods though. Here's a table of phosphorus in dairy products. The recommended daily allowance of phosphorus for adults is 700 mg. Anyone know a link to a good list of phosphates in processed foods?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 April 26 11:53 PM  Aging Diet Studies

Lou Pagnucco said at April 27, 2010 9:31 AM:

From Nutritiondata.com, here are lists of

Baked products highest in phosphorus

Snack products highest in phosphorus

One thing to note is the phosphorus in some of the grains and legumes is not very bioavailable since it is complexed with phytic acid.

Also, since high phosphorus diets may promote soft tissue calcification and some cancers, it would be interesting to check the prevalence of related diseases in populations which consume high phosphate diets.

Jake said at April 27, 2010 9:34 AM:

Excess phosphates also leaches calcium from your bones thus it is a cause of osteoporosis. This is a problem for me as I was a Diet Coke addict for many years.

Charles Martel said at April 29, 2010 12:54 PM:

Everytime I go on a soda binge I start to feel like utter crap after a week or so, especially in my joints. It happened last week, in fact. I have now sworn off soda for the 8000th time in my life. Totally anecdotal and unscientific, but there you have it.

Mandelbrot said at May 10, 2010 8:27 PM:

I stopped soda in high school and drink 1-1.5 gallons of water a day ever since. I have a high stress job (there have been 3 nervous break downs, 2 heart attacks, and 1 suicide in my department in 8 years), sleep only 4-5 hours a night, am a light smoker, and tend to overeat (although healthy fare mostly). Despite that lifestyle, at 38 I am often mistaken for 28 or so. My skin has been the envy of every girl I've dated and many I haven't. I credit that to all of the water I guzzle. Downside is I sweat more than anyone I know.

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