What is phosphorus?

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for all life form. It is the second most abundant mineral in our body that makes up 1% of a person’s total body weight. About 85% of the body’s phosphorus is in the bones and teeth as it’s a vital structural component for skeletal and teeth formation.

As a naturally occurring mineral that is found in large quantities in the environment, we acquire it from almost every food but also small amounts from the water we drink. Phosphorus is involved in many cellular functions, including aids in transmission of nerve impulses, needed for metabolism of carbohydrates and fats to produce energy (ATP), helps filter out waste in the kidneys, supports growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues and cells, and for the production of genetic materials, DNA and RNA.

Phosphorus deficiency

Most people get plenty of phosphorus in their diets, therefore, a phosphorus deficiency is uncommon. However, certain health conditions, such as diabetes, Crohn’s disease, alcoholism, and starvation can cause levels of phosphorus in the body to drop. The effects of moderate to severe phosphorus deficiency may include muscle weakness, bone pain, anemia, changes in appetite, numbness and tingling, stunted growth, and osteoporosis.

Phosphorus health benefits:

1. Maintains bone and teeth density

As the main function of phosphorus, along with calcium, it is one of the most important minerals in our body to maintain healthy skeletal and teeth strength. It also helps in relieving serious problems like loss of mineral density which could lead to osteoporosis. The body must maintain a balance between phosphorus and calcium. Excess intake of phosphorus can occur with diets high in processed foods, soft drinks, and meats, which could lead to problems with bone metabolism over time.

2. Supports detoxification through urination and excretion

Phosphorus plays an important role in keeping kidneys healthy by supporting the process of urination and excretion. In order to remove excess organic molecules like uric acid, sodium, water and fat within the body, the kidneys rely on electrolytes like phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Phosphorus encourages the healthy balance of all organic molecules and help the entire body remain toxin-free.

3. Helps nutrient utilization and metabolism

Phosphorus is needed to properly synthesize, absorb and use B vitamins like riboflavin and niacin, which are responsible for energy metabolism. It also facilitates the utilization of amino acids in the body to ensure proper growth and repair of cells. In addition, phosphorus supports a healthy metabolism and digestion of carbohydrates and fats by producing digestive enzymes that turn nutrients into usable energy for concentration and energy expenditure.

Intake recommendation

Most people do not need to take phosphorus supplements, because it is a critical constituent of all living organisms which found in most food. Dairy foods, cereal products, meat, and fish are particularly rich sources of phosphorus. According to survey, phosphorus intakes were well above the RDA in developed countries with average 1,602mg in men and 1,128mg in women daily. The RDA by Food and Nutrition Board recommended 700mg for adults, and 1,250mg for children as phosphorus is a critical nutrient for skeletal and teeth development.

High phosphorus foods list: Salmon, tuna, sardine, turkey, chicken, beef, yogurt, milk, cheese, egg, almonds, peanuts, whole-wheat bread, oats, soybeans, lentils, broccoli

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