Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a mineral that makes up 1% of the total body weight. It is present in every cell of the body, but 85% of the body’s phosphorus is found in the bones and teeth.

The main food sources are the protein food groups of meat and milk (also lentils, seeds, beans, nuts, chocolate, peanut butterand bran). A meal plan that provides adequate amounts of calcium and protein also provides an adequate amount of phosphorus.

Whole-grain breads and cereals contain more phosphorus than refined cereals and breads made from refined flour. However, the phosphorus in whole-grain products is in the form of phytin, a storage form of phosphorus that is not absorbed by humans well.

Fruits and vegetables contain only small amounts of phosphorus.

The main function of phosphorus is in the formation of the bones and teeth. It plays an important role in the body’s utilization of carbohydrates and fats, and in the synthesis of protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.

Phosphorus works with the B vitamins in their functions in the body. It also assists in the contraction of muscles, in the functioning of kidneys, in maintaining the regularity of the heartbeat, and in nerve conduction.

The recommended allowances of intake of phosphorus are:

Birth-3 years: 300-800mg

4-10 years: 800mg

Adults, men and women: 800-1200mg

Pregnancy/lactating women: 1200mg

Most diets in the U.S. have adequate amounts of phosphorus. There is no known deficiency of phosphorus because it is so available in the food supply.

Excessively high levels of phosphorus in the blood, although rare, can combine with calcium and deposit in soft tissues like muscle. These high levels of phosphorus in blood only occur in people with severe kidney disease or severe dysfunction of their calcium regulation.

 


Phosphorus can help with the following

Metabolic  


 


Key

May do some good
Reasonably likely to cause problems

Glossary

Phosphorus

The second most abundant mineral in the body found in every living cell. It is involved in the proper functioning of both muscles and nerves. It is needed for metabolic processes of all cells, to activate many other nutrients, and to form energy-storage and energy-releasing compounds. The phosphorus content of the body is approximately one percent of total body weight. Phosphorus combines with fats to form phospholipids.

Mineral

Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.

Protein

Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Calcium

The body's most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.

Carbohydrates

The sugars and starches in food. Sugars are called simple carbohydrates and found in such foods as fruit and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are composed of large numbers of sugar molecules joined together, and are found in grains, legumes, and vegetables like potatoes, squash, and corn.

Milligram

(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.

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