Too Much Phosphorus May Shorten Life Span

There’s increasing concerns about the phosphorus in soda and cola drinks. A new study shows that too much phosphorus could even shorten lifespan – another good reason to give up soft drinks.

Now there’s another good reason not to pop the top off a soft drink can. Dark cola drinks and sodas contain high levels of phosphorus – and a new study shows that too much phosphorus could lead to premature aging and an early death – at least in mice.

In a study published in the FASEB Journal, researchers found that mice lacking a gene that lowers phosphate levels in their blood stream – and those fed a high phosphate diet -lived shorter lives than mice with lower levels of phosphate in their bodies. Scientists are now wondering if high phosphate levels could shorten lifespan in humans too.

A certain amount of phosphorus is needed by the body as a component of ATP – the energy molecule that drives cellular reactions and supplies the energy that allows muscles to contract. Phosphorus is also found in bones and teeth. On the other hand, too much phosphorus is a problem since it can lower bone density and increase the risk of osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, the average soft drink contains significant amounts of phosphorus – in the form of phosphoric acid – and one study showed that women who drink dark colored soft drinks have lower bone densities. Researchers believe it’s not so much the phosphorus in soda that’s the problem, since other foods that are high in phosphorus don’t necessarily decrease bone density.

When phosphorus is comes from sources such as soft drinks that lack calcium the phosphorus binds to the calcium that’s already present in the body and keeps it from being adequately absorbed. Some experts believe that the negative effects of too much phosphorus could be offset by adding more calcium to the diet.

More research is needed to determine whether too much phosphorus shortens life span or causes premature aging in humans, but it’s still a good idea to avoid drinking soft drinks – especially for people at high risk for osteoporosis. Not only is there little nutritional value in a can of soda, it also contains high fructose corn syrup. Plus, the extra calories add up all too quickly. Consider this finding one more reason to give up soft drinks.

References:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/186796.php

Biofactors. 2004;21(1-4):345-55.

Medscape.com website. “Regular Cola Consumption Linked to Lower Bone Density in Women”.

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