New research in the FASEB Journal shows that high levels of phosphate in sodas and processed foods accelerate the aging process in mice and contribute to age-associated complications such as chronic kidney disease.


As if we didn’t already have enough reason to stop drinking sodas and eliminate processed foods from our diet, here’s another one.  A new study published online in the FASEB Journal 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.”


To make this finding, Dr. Razzaque and colleagues evaluated the effects of high phosphate levels in three groups of mice. The first group of mice did not have the klotho gene, when absent, causes them to have extremely high levels of phosphate in their bodies that are toxic.  They  lived 8 to 15 weeks.


A 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  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.


“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.”