Send to

Choose Destination
Kidney Int. 2016 Oct;90(4):753-63. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2016.03.039. Epub 2016 Jun 7.

Phosphate-a poison for humans?

Author information

Division of Nephrology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara, Japan; Interactive Translational Research Center for Kidney Diseases, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara, Japan; The Institute of Medical Sciences, Tokai University, Isehara, Japan.
Division of Nephrology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara, Japan. Electronic address:


Maintenance of phosphate balance is essential for life, and mammals have developed a sophisticated system to regulate phosphate homeostasis over the course of evolution. However, due to the dependence of phosphate elimination on the kidney, humans with decreased kidney function are likely to be in a positive phosphate balance. Phosphate excess has been well recognized as a critical factor in the pathogenesis of mineral and bone disorders associated with chronic kidney disease, but recent investigations have also uncovered toxic effects of phosphate on the cardiovascular system and the aging process. Compelling evidence also suggests that increased fibroblastic growth factor 23 and parathyroid hormone levels in response to a positive phosphate balance contribute to adverse clinical outcomes. These insights support the current practice of managing serum phosphate in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease, although definitive evidence of these effects is lacking. Given the potential toxicity of excess phosphate, the general population may also be viewed as a target for phosphate management. However, the widespread implementation of dietary phosphate intervention in the general population may not be warranted due to the limited impact of increased phosphate intake on mineral metabolism and clinical outcomes. Nonetheless, the increasing incidence of kidney disease or injury in our aging society emphasizes the potential importance of this issue. Further work is needed to more completely characterize phosphate toxicity and to establish the optimal therapeutic strategy for managing phosphate in patients with chronic kidney disease and in the general population.


chronic kidney disease; fibroblastic growth factor 23; parathyroid hormone; phosphate

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center