Insufficient levels of phosphate in the blood may pose risk to cardiovascular health, claims a new research, challenging previous findings which suggested that low volumes of the mineral were beneficial to the heart.
Phosphate is an important mineral in the body and helps to regulate blood biochemistry, which can impact on the working of the heart.
It plays a crucial role in enabling red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the body's tissues and can be found in protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry and fish.
The new results showed that people with low levels (below 0.75 mmol/L) of phosphate in the blood were at a similar risk of developing heart disease as those with elevated levels (above 1.5 mmol/L).
"Our findings shed new light on the role of phosphate in the body and its relationship to cardiovascular health," said Andy McGovern from the University of Surrey.
For the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the team examined phosphate levels of more than 100,000 patients, over five- and nine-year intervals, and the impact on their cardiac health.
Risks associated with high levels of phosphate in the blood have previously been proven by the scientific community. This is the first time the dangers of low levels have been identified as potentially being just as dangerous.
The importance of phosphate in primary and secondary healthcare should be reviewed, the researchers suggested.
"In light of our findings we would suggest that clinicians consider people with low phosphate levels to be at higher cardiovascular risk and assess ways in which this can be reduced for each patient," McGovern added.