The Health Benefits of Phosphorus

The Health Benefits of Phosphorus

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Introduction & Biological Role

Phosphorus is essential to our health and one of the most abundant minerals in the body.

Phosphorus is especially important for bone and dental health. It helps the kidneys filter out metabolic waste and plays a role in the body's energy production and storage. It’s important for growth, maintenance and repair of all tissues and plays a role in synthesis of DNA and RNA. Phosphorus is important in helping the body maintain healthy levels of other vitamins and minerals including vitamin D, calcium, iodine, magnesium and zinc. It plays a role in acid-base homeostasis.

Health Benefits/ Uses

Generally speaking, phosphorus is not well researched as a mineral or supplement to treat chronic conditions and there is an overall absence of evidence to supplement it for most medical problems.

Hypophosphatemia

Phosphate supplements are used to treat folks who have low levels of phosphate in their body.

Hypercalcemia

High calcium levels are associated with certain medical issues, phosphate supplements can help reduce the activity of the parathyroid hormone and reduce serum calcium levels. This should only be done under the supervision of a physician.

Calcium-based kidney stones

Similar to hypercalcemia, phosphate supplements can reduce your risk of developing calcium based kidney stones.

Constipation

Phosphates are included in certain laxatives and can be useful for folks with constipation.

Muscle pain and fatigue

Some athletes and weight lifters use phosphate before a competition to reduce muscle pain and fatigue. It remains unclear how much this helps or improves performance or recovery.

Deficiency

Phosphorus deficiency is rare as most people get plenty in their diets. Folks with conditions that cause decreased absorption in the gastrointestinal tract or have certain kidney diseases are at risk.

Symptoms include loss of appetite, anxiety, bone pain, fragile bones, stiff joints, fatigue, irregular breathing, irritability, numbness, weakness, and weight change. In children, this can manifest as rickets.

Toxicity

Although unlikely, too much phosphorous is more common than deficiency. Common causes are folks with kidney disease who may need a medication to decrease phosphate levels and individuals who consume too much dietary phosphorus.

High phosphorus levels are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sources

Dairy products, cereals, meat and fish are generally rich in phosphorus. It is worth noting that in plants, phosphorus is stored as phytates or phytic acid which I have previously covered. In this form, they have decreased bioavailability compared to the form stored in dairy, meat and fish.

The 10 most common sources are

  1. Cooked salmon (3 oz, 315 mg)
  2. Plain yogurt (8 oz, 306 mg)
  3. Skim milk (8 oz, 247 mg)
  4. Cooked halibut (3 oz, 244 mg)
  5. Turkey (3 oz, 217 mg)
  6. Chicken (3 oz, 135-196)
  7. Beef (3 oz, 179 mg)
  8. Lentils (¼ cup, 178 mg)
  9. Almonds (1 oz, 136 mg)
  10. Mozzarella cheese (1 oz, 131 mg)

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

  • Adults, 19 years and older: 700 mg
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding females under 18 years: 1,250 mg
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding females, 19 years and older: 700 mg

Related Links (View All: Vitamins | Minerals | Supplements )

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