Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a highly abundant mineral that is found primarily in the teeth and bones as well as all the cells and tissues in the body. Meat and dairy products are the best food sources to supply ample amounts of phosphorus.

Phosphorus benefits

Primarily used in forming the teeth and bones in the body, it also aids in filtering out waste via the kidneys. Phosphorus is involved in the process of carbohydrate and fat utilization for energy as well as synthesizing proteins for cellular/tissue growth, maintenance, and repair.

Phosphorus is also known to assist in muscular contraction, maintaining a regular heartbeat, and nerve function. It will also regulate and balance other vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, and zinc.

Sources of phosphorus

The primary source of phosphorus are meats and milk. A general rule of thought associated with phosphorus consumption is that if the food contains protein and calcium, it will contain phosphorus. Legumes, eggs, and nuts are also decent sources of phosphorus.

Whole-grain breads and cereals will claim to contain more phosphorus than their non-whole-grain counterparts but this is a bit misleading. Phosphorus is stored in the form of phytin within whole-grains and that is not able to be digested by humans. Fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of phosphorus.

Recommended amounts

Set forth by the Institute of Medicine, the recommended dietary allowances for phosphorus are below (some individuals may be placed on a plan that requires higher than normal amounts to manage a specific issue they may be experiencing).

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances for Phosphorus1
Age Amount
0-6 months 100mg/day
7-12 months 275mg/day
1-3 years 460mg/day
4-8 years 500mg/day
9-18 years 1250mg/day
19+ years 700mg/day
Pregnant or Nursing Females under 18 years 1250mg/day
Pregnant or Nursing Females 18+ years 700mg/day

Phosphorus side effects

A deficiency is phosphorus is quite rare as it is so abundant in easily accessible food sources. The more common ailment with phosphorus is consuming too much of it and not enough calcium. Studies suggest that high levels of phosphorus can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Sources:
1Phosphorus - http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/phosphorus-000319.htm

Phosphorus in diet - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002424.htm

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