Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Center for Translational Metabolism and Health

About Nutrition & Health

With support from the AHA Strategically Focused Disparities Research Netowrk, CTMH investigators are working to determine how lack of access to food options low in dietary phosphates impact health and contribute to disease. We hypothesize that large amounts of phosphate-based additives, consumed through processed foods, contribute to heart failure (HF) and advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), and that these risks are brought about by elevated levels of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) that contribute mechanistically to pathological cardiac remodeling and kidney injury.

Food Deserts and Public Health

Food deserts are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as “urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options.”  A lack of accessible and affordable fresh options leads to the disproportionate consumption of processed foods among populations who are economically disadvantaged.  Our center contends that this is at the core of the disparately high risks of HF and CKD among these populations.

Phosphates, FGF23 and Health

Our current work proposes that elevated FGF23 is a novel and modifiable molecular mediator of disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and CKD. This focus was developed through:

Phosphates in the News

Interested in learning more about phosphates, nutrition, and their impacts on health? Follow along with our research efforts by visiting the links below.

News: AHA Strategically Focused Disparities Research Network

July 2015, Is Phosphate the Next Sodium?

August 2015, Connecting the Dots Between Phosphate and Heart Disease

March 2016, Phosphates, Common Food Additive, Raise New Health Concerns