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Research Highlights

Additives May Subtract Health

  • January 15, 2009
  • Hit 9720
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Lab Tests in Mice Link Diet High in Phosphate to Faster Lung Tumor Progression; Food Industry Questions Study

Professor CHO Myung-Haing of Veterinary Medicine says it appears that a food additive found in many processed foods may accelerate lung cancer growth, and increase the risk of lung cancer in people predisposed to the disease.

Evidence is accumulating that excessive intake of food additives known as inorganic phosphates, which are put into some meats, cheeses and bakery products to keep them moist, may play a significant role in the aggressiveness and development of lung cancer.

The researchers conducted the study using mice with lung tumors. Two groups of mice were fed diets containing either 0.5 percent or one percent phosphate, levels roughly equivalent to normal amounts consumed in a human diet.

John Heffner, past president of the American Thoracic Society, says the mice that consumed food laced with the higher amount of the additive had the more aggressive tumors.

"And, they concluded that high dietary phosphate appeared to promote the development and the progression of cancer," said John Heffner."And, also, they looked at some of the molecular signaling that was going on that promote tumor development, and found alterations in the high phosphate animals."

Cho said the consumption of foods with additives such as inorganic phosphates has been growing steadily, and future studies may be needed to determine safe levels.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths around the world.

This study was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

January 15, 2009
SNU PR Office

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