edited: November 2003
The Phosphorus and Sugar Story
Human metabolism is not yet adapted to P fertilizers and to the carbohydrate excess in the diet
Recommendation about calcium (Ca) intake to fight osteoporosis should also come with a warning about high phosporus (P) intake. On average actual crops contain about 20% less Ca, and 5% less magnesium (Mg) than 40 years ago. Meanwhile the widely use of phosphate based fertilizers resulted in an increase of 6% of the P content in crops harvested from intensive farming.
A good reason to recommend a sustained Ca and Mg supplementation and to ban the use of phosphoric acid containing popular drinks.
The effects of P on Ca are not limited to the absorption of Ca in the bowel. P also influence the calcium level in blood and in bone. An increase of P blood content creates acidity (In more technical terms, it lowers the pH of circulating blood). Ca is used to conteracts a low pH in the circulating blood. However, the Ca content of blood has to stay within narrow limits. Whenever blood Ca is used to conteracts a low pH, the Ca content of blood drops, and Ca is immediatly released from bones to compensate for the deficit. Such up and downs of Ca is an often forgotten factor in the development of osteoporosis.
Another factor of osteoporosis results from the carbohydrate excess in the diet. When cells use carbohydrates for fuel instead of fatty acids (the best cell fuel), they generate lactic acid as a waste product. Lactic acid lowers the circulating blood pH resulting in mobilization of bone Ca to compensate for the Ca used in neutralizing blood acidity.
Edmund Devroey MD