Chewing gums made with phosphate-binding ingredient can help maintain proper phosphate levels, and prevent cardiovascular disease, in dialysis patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a new study.
The condition of having high levels of phosphate in the blood is called hyperphosphatemia, which occurs in CKD patients on dialysis.
It was found that despite of taking medications to reduce phosphate acquired through diet, about half of the patients fail to limit their phosphate levels to the recommended value.
Hyperphosphatemia also have high levels of phosphate in their saliva, and that is why the researchers tested whether there could be any benefit to binding salivary phosphate during periods of fasting, other than using phosphate binders with meals.
Dr. Vincenzo Savica of the University of Messina, and Dr. Lorenzo A. Calo of the University of Padova, Italy, recruited 13 dialysis patients with high blood phosphate levels to chew 20 mg of phosphate-binding chewing gum twice a day for two weeks between meals, in addition to their prescribed phosphate-binding regimen.
The researchers found that salivary phosphate and blood phosphate levels significantly decreased during the first week of chewing.
By the end of two weeks, salivary phosphate decreased 55 percent, and blood phosphate 31 percent, from levels measured at the start of the study.
Salivary phosphate returned to its original level by day 15 after discontinuing the chewing gum, whereas blood phosphate took 30 days to return to its original value.
The findings indicate that this chewing regimen might help control phosphate levels in patients with CKD.
"Adding salivary phosphate binding to traditional phosphate binders could be a useful approach for improving treatment of hyperphosphatemia in hemodialysis patients," concluded the authors.
The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN).