Phosphorus is present in all plant and animal cells, and 80% of the phosphorus in the body is present as calcium salts in the skeleton. It is found in many foods and is unlikely to be in short supply in UK diets. Excess phosphorus may only be a problem in babies fed on unmodified cow's milk, as this can affect calcium balance.
Food Sources of Phosphorus
Dairy products, Egg yolks, Meat, poultry, fish, Legumes, Soft drinks.
Significant amounts of phosphorus are contained in asparagus, bran, brewer's yeast, corn, dairy products, eggs, fish, dried fruit, garlic, legumes, nuts, sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, meats, poultry, salmon, and whole grains.
Benefits and Functions of Phosphorus
Constituent of bone tissue;
Forms compounds needed for energy conversion reactions (e.g. adenosine triphosphate - ATP). Phosphorus is mainly found in bones and teeth working alongside calcium to maintain strength and rigidity. It is responsible for controlling the amount of energy released from our systems. It is useful for healthy muscles, nerves and for mental and physical activity. Phosphorus may assist in the treatment of nervous disorders, reduced sexual vigour and general weakness.
Males 800 mg per day and females 800 mg per day.
Adults need 550 mg a day. Taking 250 mg or less of phosphorus supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm.
What are the deficiency symptoms of Phosphorus?
Deficiency of this element is unusual but may have symptoms varying from painful bones, irregular breathing, fatigue, anxiety, numbness, skin sensitivity and changes in body weight. A ratio of 2:1 in the diet between phosphorus and calcium can cause low blood calcium levels.
If calcium is in short supply relative to phosphorus there may be increased risks of high blood pressure and bowel cancer.
Overdosage Signs of Phosphorus
Lowers blood calcium. Excess phosphorous can interfere with the body's absorption of: calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Taking high doses of phosphorus supplements for a short time can cause diarrhoea or stomach pain. Taking high doses for a long time can reduce the amount of calcium in the body, which means bones are more likely to fracture.