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Br J Nutr. 2006 Sep;96(3):545-52.

High phosphorus intakes acutely and negatively affect Ca and bone metabolism in a dose-dependent manner in healthy young females.

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  • 1Calcium Research Unit, Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, P.O. Box 66, University of Helsinki, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland.


Ca and P are both essential nutrients for bone and are known to affect one of the most important regulators of bone metabolism, parathyroid hormone (PTH). Too ample a P intake, typical of Western diets, could be deleterious to bone through the increased PTH secretion. Few controlled dose-response studies are available on the effects of high P intake in man. We studied the short-term effects of four P doses on Ca and bone metabolism in fourteen healthy women, 20-28 years of age, who were randomized to four controlled study days; thus each study subject served as her own control. P supplement doses of 0 (placebo), 250, 750 or 1500 mg were taken, divided into three doses during the study day. The meals served were exactly the same during each study day and provided 495 mg P and 250 mg Ca. The P doses affected the serum PTH (S-PTH) in a dose-dependent manner (P=0.0005). There was a decrease in serum ionized Ca concentration only in the highest P dose (P=0.004). The marker of bone formation, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, decreased (P=0.05) and the bone resorption marker, N-terminal telopeptide of collagen type I, increased in response to the P doses (P=0.05). This controlled dose-response study showed that P has a dose-dependent effect on S-PTH and increases PTH secretion significantly when Ca intake is low. Acutely high P intake adversely affects bone metabolism by decreasing bone formation and increasing bone resorption, as indicated by the bone metabolism markers.

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