Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral found in the human body. A balance diet of calcium and phosphorus can help in the strengthening of bones and teeth. Roughly 85% of phosphorus is found in bones and a small amount in tissues and fluids. It is also a bodily source of phosphate, which helps to create and manage energy, synthesize fats, carbohydrates, contract muscles and balances body fluids.

Functions of phosphorus

  • Phosphorus helps in the formation of teeth and bones because of which it can also help in preventing osteoporosis. It also helps in preventing gum problems and tooth decay thus, maintaining a good oral health.
  • It helps in the synthesis of protein which helps in growth, maintenance and repair of tissues and cells.
  • Phosphorus helps in maintaining the kidney. It also helps in improving digestion and resolving problems of constipation and diarrhea.
  • It can make you more active and alert.
  • Phosphorus is also available in brain cells, thus it can help in increasing your memory and concentration levels
  • Phosphorus helps simulate your glands for the proper secretion of hormones.

Sources of phosphorus

All food sources which contain calcium and proteins also have an adequate amount of phosphorus. The main food source belongs to the protein group that is milk and meat. Fruits and vegetable contain small amounts of phosphorus. The other sources of phosphorus are yogurt, cheese, egg, beef, chicken, turkey, halibut, salmon, whole wheat bread, enriched white bread, almonds, peanuts, sesame seeds and lentils.

The interesting fact is, junk food contains a good amount of phosphorus.

Deficiency of phosphorus

Deficiency of phosphorus is usually caused due to excessive consumption of alcohol and large doses of antacids containing aluminum. As phosphorus helps is the absorption of calcium, deficiency in this mineral can lead to weaker bones and teeth and also pains in the joints. Other problems associated with the deficiency of phosphorus are loss of appetite, exhaustion, tingling sensation, numbness, weight loss and anxiety. In children it could be a reason for decreased growth and poor teeth and bone development.

Recommended dietary allowance for phosphorus

The recommended dietary allowance differs from age to age:

  • Infant from 0-6 months requires 100 mg/day and those from 7-12 months require 275 mg/day.
  • Children from 1-3 years require 460 mg/day, 4-8 years requires 500 mg/day and those from 9-13 years require 1,250 mg/day.
  • Adolescents from 14-18 years require 1,250 mg/day.
  • Adults more than 19 years require 700 mg/day.
  • Pregnant woman 18 years and younger requires 1,250 mg/day and those who are 19 years and older requires 700 mg/day.
  • Breast feeding woman 18 years and younger requires 1250 mg/day and the ones who are 19 years and older requires 700 mg/day.

Tips and warnings

  • Women more than 60 years of age should take a balanced supplement of calcium and phosphorus.
  • Higher intake of phosphorus can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Toxicity can lead to twitching, jerking and convulsions.