Health implications of inorganic phosphate additives in food products: a systematic review

Chinedu C. Anukam, Benedicta N. Agu


Background: Evidence based data identifies phosphate additives in food products as a public health concern, especially in the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, there is limited public awareness of the risks associated with phosphate additives. This study focuses on a systematic review of findings on health implications of phosphate additives, with the aim of strengthening public health knowledge, insight, understanding and prevention of exposure to phosphate toxicity and chronic diseases.

Methods: Studies with primary data on phosphate additives were identified using keyword electronic database search in PubMed and BMC. To meet the review criteria, articles needed to (1) be published in English (2) focus on phosphate additives (3) address the potential health risks associated with phosphate additives (4) identify existing health problems caused by phosphate additives (5) published between 2005 to 2017 to provide a more dynamic review and (6) hold a strong research evidence that confirms the associated risks of phosphate additives.

Results: Findings from reviewed literature suggest a link between high phosphate content in food products and chronic renal failure, cardiovascular complications, accelerated aging process, allergic reactions and increased morality rate. The need to regulate the use of phosphates additives in food products and strengthen public health education is essential to minimise high exposure to phosphate additives.

Conclusions: Further research, proper food labelling, strict regulation of unhealthy food additives, nutrition education and sensitisation of consumers are required to minimise exposure to phosphate additives and susceptibility to chronic diseases. 


Systematic review, Phosphate additives, Health implications

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