Impact of westernization on fibroblast growth factor 23 levels among individuals of African ancestry

Karl Eckberg, Holly Kramer*, Myles Wolf, Ramon Durazo-Arvizu, Bamidele Tayo, Amy Luke, Richard Cooper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


IntroductionThe Western diet is associated with high consumption of processed foods preserved with phosphate. Higher dietary phosphate consumption stimulates production of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), which heightens risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality. We hypothesized that adults living in a more westernized society have higher levels of FGF23 due to increased phosphate consumption as measured by urinary phosphate excretion. MethodsWe measured plasma C-terminal FGF23 levels and urinary phosphate and creatinine levels in timed urine collections among 100 African adults living in the rural area of Igbo-Ora, Nigeria (52 women, 48 men), and 100 African Americans (32 women, 68 men) living in Maywood, IL, an urban suburb of Chicago, IL, USA. Among these 200 participants, urine collections were adequate in 76 and 68 of the Maywood and Igbo-Ora participants, respectively. ResultsIn the total group, the mean age and body mass index, respectively, were 34.6 ± 8.2 years and 22.1 ± 3.9 kg/m2 in Igbo-Ora, and 42.8 ± 7.2 years and 25.8 ± 6.5 kg/m2 in Maywood. Demographic characteristics for each site were very similar after excluding participants without adequate urine collections. Among all 200 participants, the median (interquartile range) FGF23 levels were significantly higher in Maywood versus Igbo-Ora [63.8 (45.0-89.9) versus 12.5 RU/mL (8.5-18.5); P < 0.0001] and these differences did not change substantially after excluding nine women from Maywood with FGF23 levels >400 RU/mL or after excluding participants with inadequate urine collections. Among participants with adequate urine collections, the mean 24-h urinary phosphate excretion was significantly higher in Maywood versus Igbo-Ora (810.6 ± 309.0 versus 347.5 ± 153.1 mg; P < 0.001) and FGF23 levels correlated significantly with total urinary phosphate excretion (r = 0.62; P < 0.001) and urinary phosphate-to-creatinine ratios (r = 0.50; P < 0.001). ConclusionsLiving in a more westernized society may be associated with greater net phosphate absorption, as reflected by higher urinary phosphate excretion, and higher FGF23 levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-635
Number of pages6
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • African diaspora
  • FGF23
  • phosphorus excretion
  • potassium excretion
  • sodium excretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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