Sodium hexametaphosphate is a chemical commonly found in a variety of foods and other products. In this article, we’ll go over what is sodium hexametaphospahe and if it’s bad for you.
What is Sodium Hexametaphosphate
Sodium hexametaphosphate is an inactive metallic ion. In personal care products and cosmetics, it is used to help prevent deterioration of the substance. It is often found in mascara and foundations, as well as skincare products (like moisturizers).
Sodium hexametaphosphate is present in many foods as well. It is a texturizer and emulsifier, as well as a sequestrant ingredient. It is also found in toothpaste, where it is used as an anti-staining agent.
Is Sodium Hexametaphosphate Bad For You?
This chemical is thought to put you at greater risk of pancreatic cancer. It has other side effects, as well. While the FDA considers this chemical to be generally safe and occasional consumption is usually not problematic, sodium hexametaphosphate is an ingredient you should try to avoid when possible.
With excessive intake, the chemical can have a negative impact on the heart, kidneys, and bones. In a lab experiment using rats, skin irritation, strange changes to muscle fibers, bone calcium loss, and inflammation of the kidneys were found.
The fact that sodium hexametaphosphate contains phosphate salts means that (like other chemicals containing this substance) it can lead to damage of the blood vessels and increased risk of renal disease. It can also speed up the aging process (which is something that none of us wants).
Sodium hexametaphosphate has several short-term side effects such as gastrointestinal irritation, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and headache. The phosphate in sodium hexametaphosphate can lead to allergic reactions in some people. This might involve general respiratory irritation and mild chest pain.
Possible Long-Term Effects of Sodium Hexametaphosphate
Possible long-term effects of substantial intake of the chemical can include skin irritation, kidney concerns, calcium bone loss, and pancreatic cancer.
Foods in Which Sodium Hexametaphosphate is Commonly Found
Some of the foods in which the chemical is commonly found include:
- Packaged egg whites
- Salad dressings
- Cheese dip/powders
- Whipped toppings
- Processed maple syrup
- Roast beef
- Bottled beverages
- Ice cream
- Frozen desserts
- Fruit jelly
- Fish fillets
- Imitation cheese
- Canned milk
Long-term and substantial intake of sodium hexametaphosphate is believed to put people at greater risk of developing bone loss. Bone loss occurs when not enough new bone is created by the body to replace the old bone that is reabsorbed by the body. This means that you will have progressively weaker bones as time goes on. Bone loss puts you at greater risk of bones being broken in a fall or accident.
People with extremely severe bone loss and fragile bones can break their bones even in situations that would generally be considered very minor. To help prevent bone loss, minimize your intake of sodium hexametaphosphate and increase the calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Good sources of calcium can be sardines, salmon, green leafy vegetables, and dairy products. You also need to get enough exercise on a daily basis. This helps to strengthen the bones.
It is believed that long-term and substantial ingestion of sodium hexametaphosphate could put you at higher than normal risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is a particularly dangerous form of cancer, partly because it often goes undetected for a long period of time. Early diagnosis is difficult because there are frequently few symptoms or very mild ones that could be confused as signs of something else. Cut down on your intake of sodium hexametaphosphate and maintain a healthy diet to reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
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“What Causes Bone Loss?” https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000506.htm