Phosphorus is a mineral required for the body to perform a variety of important functions. It exists naturally in many foods but it can also add more phosphorus to food processing.
Phosphorus is used in the body to keep the bones strong and healthy. Phosphorus also helps in waste treatment and repair of damaged tissues.
Most people are getting ample phosphorus through their diet. People with certain health problems, such as kidney disease or diabetes, can need to change their intake of phosphorus, however.
Learn more about dietary sources of phosphorus and their function within the body in this article.
What is dietary phosphorus?
Phosphorus is a mineral used by the body to create bones and teeth and to make proteins that grow and repair tissues and cells.
Phosphorus also plays a part in how carbohydrates, or sugars are handled by the body. It also contributes to body functions including:
- the nervous system
- kidney function
- muscle contraction
- heartbeat regulation
Dietary phosphorus is phosphorus which can be ingested by a person by food and drink. Many people are able to get all the phosphorus they need from dietary sources.
Phosphorus provides many health advantages, as it impacts the body’s several different processes. Some of the Phosphorus benefits include:
- keeping the bones and teeth strong
- helping the muscles contract
- aiding muscle recovery after exercise
- filtering and removing waste from the kidneys
- promoting healthy nerve conduction throughout the body
- making DNA and RNA
- managing the body’s energy usage and storage
Foods that contain phosphorus
Most people get enough phosphorus in their diet, particularly if they eat plenty of protein and calcium-containing foods.
Many diets high in protein are excellent sources of phosphorus. Such foodstuffs include:
- low fat dairy products, such as yogurt and cottage cheese
Certain foods that are less protein-high can also be good sources of phosphorus, but such foods do not absorb the phosphorus as quickly in the body. Including:
- whole grains
- dried fruit
The criteria for phosphorus differ by age and depend upon whether a person has any underlying medical conditions.
Persons usually need the following amounts of phosphorous per day
- infants (0–6 months): 100 milligrams (mg)
- infants (7–12 months): 275 mg
- children (1–3 years): 460 mg
- children (4–8 years): 500 mg
- children (9–18 years): 1,250 mg
- adults (19 years and older): 700 mg
Pregnant and breastfeeding women do not need extra phosphorus.
Risks of too much phosphorus
Many people don’t have a problem consuming too much phosphorus. Nevertheless, a accumulation of too much phosphorus could be possible for people with chronic kidney disease or whose bodies have trouble processing calcium.
When a person’s blood contains extremely high amounts of phosphorus, the phosphorus will strip calcium from the bones, making them weak. It can also be combined with calcium to form deposits within the body’s soft tissues. Such deposits can result in increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or death.
Recent findings have shown that too much phosphorus in the body could be more harmful to the health of an individual than was previously believed by experts.
The authors of a 2017 study state that excessive intake of phosphorus can cause the following negative effects in animals:
- calcifications in the vascular and renal systems
- injuries to tubes within the kidneys
- abnormal protein in the urine, which can indicate kidney damage
- premature death
More research is necessary to determine the risks of too much phosphorus in humans.
Risks of too little phosphorus
Some people in their diet get enough phosphorus, but some groups can need more phosphorus than others.
Those who require more phosphorus include diabetes patients who take insulin to control their blood sugar. Those suffering from alcohol use disorder will also need to increase their consumption of phosphorus.
Certain medications can also minimize phosphorus levels in the body, including:
- ACE inhibitors
- some antacids
- some diuretics
- some anti-seizure drugs
People who have diabetes or are taking either of the above medications should be aware of the effects of low phosphorus levels. Those symptoms may include:
- loss of appetite
- joint pain
- bone pain
- breathing problems
- electrolyte imbalances
In rare cases , people with hazardously low phosphorus can experience a coma or other complications that endanger life.
A doctor usually can fix low levels of phosphorus by treating the underlying condition. The doctor can suggest making dietary changes or taking supplements to ensure they are getting enough phosphorus.
To order to perform all of its essential functions the body requires the mineral phosphor. A lot of people get phosphorus from their diet.
People who have certain health problems or are taking different medication may need to increase or decrease their intake of phosphorus.
Someone who is worried about their phosphorus intake or experiences phosphorus deficiency symptoms should speak to their doctor.