A diet high in inorganic phosphates – commonly found in processed food – can contribute to the risk of lung cancer among those already predisposed, as well as accelerating tumor growth, new research suggests.
Scientists at Seoul National University say that inorganic phosphates have a strong connection to the development of lung cancer among rodents and that limiting these additives can help treat the disease when it is already present.
In the past few decades, inorganic phosphates have been increasingly added to a number of processed foods, such as meats, cheeses, beverages and baked goods, explained lead researcher Myung-Haing Cho.
"As a result, depending on individual food choices, phosphorous intake could be increased by as much as 1,000 mg per day," he said, adding that in 1990s this level hovered around 470 mg per day.
Phosphates are usually added to food to boost water retention and improve texture.
The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, indicated that rats with lung cancer who consumed more phosphates had larger and further progressed tumors.
Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology linked high levels of phosphates in the blood with cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis.