Higher dietary phosphorus intake is associated with greater left ventricular mass (LVM) and an elevated risk of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in women, but not men, new findings suggest.

A team led by Bryan Kestenbaum, MD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, investigated the link between dietary phosphorus and left ventricular mass (LVM) in a group of 4,494 participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a community-based study of individual free of known cardiovascular disease. The researchers estimated dietary phosphorus intake using a 120-item food frequency questionnaire. LVM was measured using magnetic resonance imaging.

The mean dietary phosphorus intake was 1,167 mg/day among men and 1,017 mg/day among women, the investigators reported online ahead of print in Kidney International. Each quintile increase in the estimated dietary phosphorus intake was associated with an estimated 1.1 gram increment LVM, after adjusting for demographic factors, dietary sodium, total calories, comorbidities, lifestyle factors, and known LVH risk factors. The highest gender-specific dietary phosphorus quintile was associated with an estimated 6.1 gram greater LVM compared with the lowest quintile. Compared with the lowest quintile of dietary phosphorus intake, the highest quintile was associated with a threefold increased risk of LVH among women, but no increased risk among men in adjusted analyses.

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“If confirmed in other populations, these findings suggest the possibility that dietary phosphorus could have adverse cardiovascular consequences in the general population,” the authors wrote.

Dr. Kestenbaum and his colleagues observed that the consumption of phosphorus has increased steadily in the U.S. This increase has been driven, in part, by greater consumption of phosphorus-containing food additives, they noted.