Phosphorus is a nonmetallic chemical element essential to metabolize protein, calcium, and glucose (sugar). It is needed for bone and tooth formation (85% of phosphorus is found in the skeletal system), cell growth (and production of DNA/RNA), heart muscle contraction, and kidney function (waste filtration). Plus phosphorus helps the body to utilize vitamins, assists other body functions to convert food into energy, and maintains the blood's pH (acidity).
Although phosphorus is found abundantly in food sources, deficiencies can occur. Symptoms of phosphorus deficiency include weight loss, anemia, bone pain, fatigue, irritability, skin sensitivity, irregular breathing, and abnormal growth. Caffeine, magnesium, iron, and antacids containing aluminum can contribute to a phosphorus deficiency.
Sources of Phosphorus
A healthy diet is full of phosphorus dense foods: milk products, hard cheeses, eggs, nuts, pumpkin seeds, garlic, red meat, chicken, and canned fish. An adequate amount of phosphorus can be supplied by a healthy, balanced diet.
Phosphorus is also available in the following forms: dibasic potassium phosphate, dibasic sodium phosphate, monobasic potassium phosphate, monobasic sodium phosphate, and tribasic sodium phosphate.
Guidelines and Cautions
The recommended dietary allowance for adults is 800 mg daily (1200 mg if under age 24). Pregnant and breastfeeding women should take 1200 mg daily.
Excessive amounts of phosphorus can interfere with calcium uptake. When too much phosphorus exists, the body will pull calcium from bones. This can cause decreased bone mass/density. Balance between phosphorus, calcium and magnesium is important—excessive/insufficient amounts of any one of these can adversely affect the body.
Excessive amount of phosphorus (more than 1 gram daily) can cause diarrhea and hardening of the organs/soft tissue.
Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of SpineUniverse.com, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.