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Accelerated Aging Linked to Soda and Processed Foods from Phosphate

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers say phosphorous in soda and processed foods may accelerate signs of aging. According to new findings from scientists conducting a study on mice, the secret to longevity and good health is to "avoid phosphate toxicity".

High levels of phosphate in soda and processed food has been linked to kidney disease, may contribute to heart disease, and can also cause skin changes from muscle atrophy, and has been linked to increase the risk for skin cancer and lung cancer.

Phosphorous is important for bone health. energy metabolism, and for maintaining normal acid-base balance in the body. Excess phosphate is filtered by the kidneys, and high levels can interfere with the body's production of calcitrol, the active form of Vitamin D. High levels of phosphorous can lead to kidney damage. Just two cans of soda a day has been found to double the risk of early kidney disease in women.

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

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The scientists studied three groups of mice to find the link between phosphorous in soda and processed foods and accelerated aging. One group lacked a gene that leads to phosphorous toxicity - another group lacked two genes at the same time, leading to low phosphate levels. A third group was fed a high phosphate diet and also lacked two genes.

Scientists discovered the mice with lower phosphate levels lived longer than the group with toxic phosphorous levels and the group fed a high phosphate diet. Higher phosphate levels lead to shorter lifespan and also produced signs of premature aging.

"Soda is the caffeine delivery vehicle of choice for millions of people worldwide, but comes with phosphorous as a passenger" said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. "This research suggests that our phosphorous balance influences the aging process, so don't tip it."

Researchers say the findings that mice with high phosphate levels lived shorter lives could also apply to humans who might experience accelerated aging and health complications from consuming soda and processed foods that can upset phosphorous homeostasis in the body. Phosphates in soda and processed food that can raise phosphorous levels in the body are suggested to accelerate aging, based on the study findings.

FASEB Journal: doi: 10.1096/fj.09-152488.