Phosphorus is a mineral that naturally takes place in numerous foods and is also available as a supplement. It plays multiple functions in the body. It is a key element of bones, teeth, and cell membranes. It helps to activate enzymes, and keeps blood pH within a typical variety. Phosphorus controls the normal function of nerves and muscles, including the heart, and is likewise a building block of our genes, as it makes up DNA, RNA, and ATP, the body’s significant source of energy. The kidneys, bones, and intestines tightly manage phosphorus levels in the body. If the diet does not have phosphorus or too little phosphorus is absorbed, numerous things take place to preserve its stores and try to keep normal levels: the kidneys excrete less phosphorus in urine, the digestion tract becomes more effective at absorbing phosphorus, and the bones launch its shops of phosphorus into the blood. The opposite actions occur in these organs if the body has appropriate phosphorus stores. [3]


Many proteins and sugars in the body are phosphorylated. In addition, phosphorus plays essential functions in regulation of gene transcription, activation of enzymes, maintenance of typical pH in extracellular fluid, and intracellular energy storage. In people, phosphorus comprises about 1 to 1.4% of fat-free mass. Of this quantity, 85% remains in bones and teeth, and the other 15% is distributed throughout the blood and soft tissues. Many different kinds of foods consist of phosphorus, mainly in the form of phosphates and phosphate esters. However, phosphorus in seeds and unleavened breads is in the form of phytic acid, the storage type of phosphorus. Due to the fact that human intestines do not have the phytase enzyme, much phosphorus in this form is unavailable for absorption. Phosphorus undergoes passive absorption in the small intestine, although some is taken in by active transport.

Phosphorus and calcium are related because hormonal agents, such as vitamin D and parathyroid hormonal agent (PTH), manage the metabolism of both minerals. In addition, phosphorus and calcium comprise hydroxyapatite, the primary structural component in bones and tooth enamel. The combination of high phosphorus consumption with low calcium consumption increases serum PTH levels, but evidence is mixed on whether the increased hormone levels decrease bone mineral density.

The kidneys, bones, and intestines manage phosphorus homeostasis, which requires upkeep of urinary losses at comparable levels to net phosphorus absorption and making sure that equal amounts of phosphorus are deposited and resorbed from bone. Several hormones, consisting of estrogen and adrenaline, also affect phosphorus homeostasis. When kidney function decreases, as in persistent kidney failure, the body can not excrete phosphate effectively, and serum levels rise. Although phosphorus status is not usually evaluated, phosphate can be measured in both serum and plasm. In adults, normal phosphate concentration in serum or plasma is 2.5 to 4.5 mg/dL (0.81 to 1.45 mmol/L). Hypophosphatemia is defined as serum phosphate concentrations lower than the low end of the normal variety, whereas a concentration higher than the high-end of the range shows hyperphosphatemia. However, plasma and serum phosphate levels do not necessarily reflect whole-body phosphorus material.

Consumption suggestions for phosphorus and other nutrients are supplied in the Dietary Referral Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medication. DRI is the basic term for a set of recommendation values used for planning and assessing nutrition consumption of healthy individuals. These values, which vary by age and sex, consist of:.

  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): Typical daily level of intake sufficient to fulfill the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%– 98%) healthy individuals; frequently used to plan nutritionally adequate diets for people.
  • Appropriate Consumption (AI): Intake at this level is presumed to ensure nutritional adequacy; developed when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA.
  • Approximated Typical Requirement (EAR): Typical day-to-day level of consumption approximated to fulfill the requirements of 50% of healthy individuals; generally used to assess the nutrient consumption of groups of individuals and to prepare nutritionally sufficient diet plans for them; can likewise be used to examine the nutrient consumption of people.
  • Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): Optimum day-to-day consumption unlikely to cause negative health impacts. [4]


Phosphorus was discovered by German alchemist Hennig Brand name in 1669 through a preparation from urine, which naturally includes significant amounts of dissolved phosphates from regular metabolism. Operating in Hamburg, Brand tried to boil down some salts by vaporizing urine, and while doing so produced a white material that glowed in the dark and burnt brilliantly. Since that time, phosphorescence has been used to explain substances that shine in the dark without burning. Phosphorus was first made commercially for the match industry in the nineteenth century. The process included distilling off phosphorus vapors from precipitated phosphates heated up in a retort. The precipitated phosphates were made from ground-up bones that had been de-greased and treated with strong acids (Threlfall 1951). This procedure became obsolete in the late 1890s when the electrical arc furnace was adjusted to minimize phosphate rock (Threlfall 1951).

Early matches included white phosphorus, which threatened due to its toxicity. Murders, suicides, and unexpected poisonings arised from its usage. In addition, exposure to the vapors gave match workers a necrosis of the jaw bones, referred to as “phossy jaw.” When a safe procedure for producing red phosphorus was discovered, with its far lower flammability and toxicity, laws were enacted (under a Berne Convention) needing its adoption as a safer option for match manufacture. The electrical heater method enabled production to increase to the point phosphorus could be used in weapons of war. (Emsley, John. 2000). In World War I, it was utilized in incendiaries, smoke screens and tracer bullets (Threlfall 1951). A special incendiary bullet was developed to contend hydrogen-filled Zeppelins over Britain (hydrogen obviously being highly combustible when it is fired up). During The Second World War Bomb of benzene and phosphorus were distributed in Britain to specifically picked civilians within the British Resistance Operation, for defense; and phosphorus incendiary bombs were used in War on a large scale. Burning phosphorus is tough to snuff out, and if it sprinkles onto human skin it has dreadful impacts (see safety measures listed below). People covered in it were known to dedicate suicide due to the torture.

Today phosphorus production is larger than ever, utilized as a precursor for various chemicals, (Aall 1952). in particular the herbicide glyphosate sold under the trademark name Roundup. Production of white phosphorus happens at large facilities and is carried heated in liquid kind. Some major accidents have occurred during transport, train derailments at Brownston, Nebraska and Miamisburg, Ohio lead to big fires. The worst mishap in current times though was an environmental one in 1968 when phosphorus spilled into the sea from a plant at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. [5]


Phosphorous is a multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group. It is discovered in nature in a number of allotropic forms, and is an essential element for the life of organisms. There are numerous types of phosphorous, called white, red and black phosphorous, although their colours are most likely to be a little various. White phosphorous is the one produced commercial; it shines in the dark, is spontaneously combustible when exposed to air and is lethal poison. Red phosphorous can vary in colour from orange to purple, due to minor variations in its chemical structure. The 3rd kind, black phosphorous, is made under high pressure, looks like graphite and, like graphite, has the capability to perform electrical energy.


Focused phosphoric acids are used in fertilizers for farming and farm production. Phosphates are used for unique glasses, sodium lamps, in steel production, in military applications (incendiary bombs, smoke screenings etc), and in other applications as: pyrotechnics, pesticides, toothpaste, cleaning agents.

Phosphorous in the environment

In the natural world phosphorous is never encountered in its pure type, but only as phosphates, which consists of a phosphorous atom bonded to four oxygen atoms. This can exists as the adversely charged phosphate ion (PO43-), which is how it happens in minerals, or as organophosphates in which there are organic particles connected to one, 2 or 3 of the oxygen atoms. The amount of phosphorous that is naturally present in food varies considerably but can be as high as 370 mg/100 g in liver, or can be low, as in vegetable oils. Foods rich in phosphorous include tuna, salmon, sardines, liver, turkey, chicken, eggs and cheese (200 g/100 g). There are lots of phosphate minerals, the most plentiful being forms of apatite. Fluoroapatite offers the most thoroughly mined deposits. The chief mining areas are Russia, USA, Morocco, Tunisia, Togo and Nauru. World production is 153 million tones annually. There are concerns over for how long these phosphorous deposits will last. In case of depletion there could be a severe problem for the worlds food production because phosphorus is such a vital component in fertilizers. In the oceans, the concentration of phosphates is really low, especially at the surface area. The factor lies partly within the insolubility of aluminum and calcium phosphates, however in any case in the oceans phosphate is rapidly used up and falls into the deep as natural debris. There can be more phosphate in rivers and lakes, leading to excessive algae growth. For more details go to ecological effects of phosphorous. [6]


Phosphorus is discovered as phosphate in the body. Phosphate is found in the DNA and RNA of the human body. Phosphorus is an active part of the distribution of energy throughout the human body. The advised dietary intake of phosphate is 800 mg each day. A few of the foods that are rich in phosphorus are turkey, chicken, tuna, eggs, salmon, cheese etc. Consumption of phosphate in larger quantities than that which is needed causes serious health problems like osteoporosis, kidney problems etc. Direct exposure to white phosphorus often leads to drowsiness, nausea, stomach discomfort etc., in some people. [7]


Let us see how phosphorus benefits our entire body in detail:.

Reinforces Bone and Teeth

Phosphorus is an essential part of the development process, along with the maintenance of bones and teeth. It works in association with calcium to develop strong bones, which can withstand the normal wear and tear of human life. It also helps in increasing the health of your gums and tooth enamel. It assists in easing severe issues like bone loss or the loss of mineral density, likewise known as osteoporosis. This mineral lays the foundation of a strong skeletal structure to ensure a healthy and practical living. One of the recent discoveries of phosphorous likewise links it to heart health, indicating that with an appropriate consumption, you can much better safeguard yourself from a series of heart diseases.

Increases Food digestion

Phosphorus plays an essential role in assisting in reliable digestion in the body. It does this by stimulating the digestion of riboflavin and niacin in an efficient way. These 2 varieties of vitamin B are responsible for everything from energy metabolism to neurological and emotional response systems.


Phosphorus plays an essential function in keeping the kidneys healthy. It does this by making sure the proper release of waste from kidneys through the process of urination and excretion. By increasing the amount and frequency of urination, the body is able to stabilize its levels of uric acid, excess salts, water, and even fat, because urine is normally about 4% fat. Phosphorous encourages the healthy balance of all fluids and materials that are gotten rid of from the body, thereby helping the entire body remain healthy and toxin-free.

Minimizes Weakness

Phosphorous has the capability to eliminate minor health issue like muscle weakness, pins and needles, fatigue and comparable ailments. Normal levels of phosphorous in the body are a fantastic way to remain fit and active. Sexual weakness can also be cured with healthy supplements of phosphorous into the body, so concerns like loss of libido, frigidity, impotence, and sperm motility can be enhanced by having an adequate supply of phosphorus in your system.

Supports Cognitive Advancement

Considering that phosphorous is an essential element discovered around as well as inside the cells of the brain, it is clearly responsible for crucial functions. Correct levels of phosphorous guarantee appropriate brain function and cognitive development and development. Studies have actually linked a phosphorus deficiency to an increased risk of cognitive breakdown, and the early onset of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Promotes Protein Metabolic Process

Phosphorus is one of the most crucial elements in the development of proteins, which even more help in the process of recreation. It also facilitates the maximum usage of proteins in the human body to guarantee proper development of cells, along with their repair when essential. In the same manner, phosphorus also assists our bodies make use of carbohydrates along with fats. The metabolic process of proteins is what keeps our body growing and keeping itself as the wear and tear of the years continues. It is among the important parts of human metabolic process, so phosphorus’ stimulating impact is essential to our general health.

Boosts Cell Repair

Phosphorus is an extremely crucial element in the structure of DNA, which exists in the nucleus of the majority of cells in the body. Thus, it is extremely the mineral is highly essential during pregnancy. Phosphorus also contributes to the repair process and upkeep of different body cells which experience daily wear and tear. It guarantees that body cells are established appropriately and stay active for remarkable total health. This contribution primarily can be found in the type of helping to produce protein and stimulating the correct hormones to react appropriately around the body to stimulate metabolic activity.

Ensures Hormonal Balance

The health advantages of phosphorus may be considered vital for regulating the balance of hormonal agents in the body. It guarantees that hormones, especially those needed for good reproductive health, are always present in pertinent and well balanced quantities. Phosphorus does this by directly communicating with the endocrine glands of the body and helps to manage the production and release of hormones. The numerous hormones in our body play very crucial functions in all of our health concerns, and phosphorus is an irreplaceable part of that control system.

Promotes Metabolism

Phosphorus aids in the process of energy extraction by promoting the process of metabolism of different nutrients. Furthermore, it assists in the flow of energy and its effective use by different organ systems, some of which is because of its ability to absorb vitamins so efficiently.

Facilitates Nutrient Uptake

Phosphorus functions as a participant or co-factor in a variety of chemical reactions taking place inside the body. Also, it assists in the proper usage of numerous nutrients entering the body. All in all, make sure to constantly include phosphorus in your diet plan, you will not get far without it! [8]

Adverse effects

Phosphate supplements are thought about safe if taken as prescribed. Taking any supplement, however, might have prospective negative effects. These negative effects may prevail or extreme.

Common Negative Effects

  • Queasiness and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach discomfort or upset
  • Increased thirst
  • Bone, joint, or muscle pain

Severe Adverse Effects

Allergies to phosphate are unusual, but it’s still essential to call your service provider or look for emergency situation care if you experience any of the following after taking a phosphate supplement:.

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast heart beat
  • Swelling of the face, throat, or tongue

These could be signs of a potentially lethal, whole-body response called anaphylaxis.

Individuals with chronic kidney illness might need to avoid phosphate supplements. Because the kidneys are less able to clear phosphate from the body, the mineral may collect and lead to hyperphosphatemia (exceedingly high phosphorus levels). Signs may include:.

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Muscle cramps
  • Spasms
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Tingling and tingling around the mouth

Excess phosphorus can likewise impact urine level of acidity and lead to the dislodgement of a previously undiagnosed kidney stone. Outside of extreme kidney dysfunction, hyperphosphatemia is really rare. It is more related to the failure to clear phosphorus from the body instead of with the use of phosphate supplements. [9]

Phosphorus Rich Foods


Egg is a good source of phosphorus. However, different parts of the egg include different quantity of phosphorus. For example, a whole egg includes 6g of protein and 86mg of phosphorus, whereas egg white from one big egg consists of 3.6 g protein and 5mg of phosphorus, suggesting that the bulk of phosphorus in the egg remains in the yolk.

Red meat

Red meat such as beef and veal is maybe the most phosphorus-rich food. The ideal ratio of calcium to phosphorus is 1:1. Red meats have about 10 to 20 times more phosphorus than calcium. So consuming high quantity of red meat might contribute to calcium-phosphorus imbalance and cause hyperphosphatemia.


Poultry such as chicken and turkey consist of less phosphorus than red meat and fatty fish. Often, poultry items (meats too) included phosphate additives which considerably increase the total phosphorus content. Unless you specifically need to consume more phosphorus, it is best you try to find items that do not have phosphorus additives.

Fatty fish and shell fish

Shell fish such as clams and mollusks are excellent sources of phosphorus. For example, each 100 g of salmon includes 21g protein and 282mg phosphorus. Likewise, 100g of cooked scallops provide 426mg of phosphorus equivalent to 43 percent of the daily value (DV).

Milk and yogurt

Dairy foods have a more well balanced calcium-phosphorus ratio and are thus good phosphorus-rich foods. A 150g serving of low fat plain yogurt provides 40 percent of our day-to-day phosphorus requirement. Similarly, milk, a total food in itself, is a well balanced source of phosphorus. For example, a 200ml glass of milk supplies more than half the everyday phosphorus requirement of a 6-year-old kid and about 36 percent of everyday requirement of a grownup.


Different kinds of cheese may contain a range from less than 100 mg to practically 1000 mg per serving of integrated organic and inorganic phosphorus based upon the type of the cheese and its method of processing. Hard cheese, ricotta or paneer, and cream cheese have greater phosphorus as compared to other cheeses. However, it is best to prevent processed cheese given that it includes inorganic phosphorus that is taken in by the human intestinal tract in its entirety and may result in excess accumulation of phosphorus in the body.


Yeast is very rich in phosphorus content. Although it is not something that you can utilize as food per se, breads made with yeast make the phosphorus more available to the body. Apart from phosphorus, yeast is likewise abundant in B vitamins, chromium and several minerals and amino acids. In earlier days, maker’s yeast was utilized by physical fitness lovers in the preparation of energy protein drink.

Beans and lentils

Although beans and lentils may contain higher amount of phosphorus as compared with say chicken or beef, animal proteins are considered the best sources of phosphorus. This is since animal protein foods have much better accessibility for phosphorus thinking about the reality that 40 to 60 percent of phosphorus in animal foods is absorbed by the human body, whereas just 10 to 30 percent of phosphorus in plant.


The amount of phosphorus in chocolate varies depending upon the kind of chocolate. 100g of dark chocolate supplies 308mg of phosphorus and the exact same quantity of white chocolate offers 176mg of phosphorus. Milk chocolates too have a whopping quantity of phosphorus as milk too is rich in phosphorus.

Carbonated soda pop beverages

Inorganic phosphorus present in processed foods such as carbonated drinks and processed cheese is one hundred percent soaked up by the body. So you may require to be cautious with carbonated drinks and processed foods so as not to surpass phosphorus and dis-balance the calcium– phosphorus ratio. And a high phosphorus-to-calcium ratio increases parathyroid hormone secretion which in turn triggers calcium loss. Diet plan sodas too are unhealthy since they are nothing but water, sweetening agents and chemicals such as phosphoric acid. [10]

How much phosphorus do you require?

The amount of phosphorus you need in your diet plan depends on your age. Adults require less phosphorus than kids in between the ages of 9 and 18, but more than kids under age 8.

The suggested dietary allowance (RDA) for phosphorus is the following:

  • grownups (ages 19 years and older): 700 mg
  • kids (ages 9 to 18 years): 1,250 mg
  • children (ages 4 to 8 years): 500 mg
  • kids (ages 1 to 3 years): 460 mg
  • babies (ages 7 to 12 months): 275 mg
  • infants (ages 0 to 6 months): 100 mg

Couple of people require to take phosphorus supplements. Most people can get the essential quantity of phosphorus through the foods they eat.

Risks associated with excessive phosphorus

Excessive phosphate can be hazardous. An excess of the mineral can cause diarrhea, as well as a hardening of organs and soft tissue. High levels of phosphorus can impact your body’s capability to efficiently use other minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. It can combine with calcium triggering mineral deposits to form in your muscles. It’s uncommon to have excessive phosphorus in your blood. Typically, only people with kidney problems or those who have issues managing their calcium establish this issue.

Dangers related to insufficient phosphorus

Some medications can lower your body’s phosphorus levels. Examples consist of:.

  • insulin
  • ACE inhibitors
  • corticosteroids
  • antacids
  • anticonvulsants

Symptoms of low phosphorus can consist of:

  • joint or bone discomfort
  • loss of appetite
  • irritation or anxiety
  • fatigue
  • bad bone development in kids

If you take these medications, talk with your healthcare provider about whether it’s suggested that you consume foods high in phosphorus or take phosphorous supplements. [11]

Preventative measures

Because of the potential for negative effects and interactions with prescription and non-prescription medications, you need to take dietary supplements just under the guidance of an experienced health care company. Excessive phosphate can be poisonous. It can trigger diarrhea and calcification (hardening) of organs and soft tissue, and can hinder the body’s capability to use iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Professional athletes and others taking supplements which contain phosphate must just do so periodically and with the assistance and direction of a health care service provider. Nutritional experts advise a balance of calcium and phosphorus in the diet. The normal Western diet plan, nevertheless, contains roughly 2 to 4 times more phosphorus than calcium. Meat and poultry contain 10 to 20 times as much phosphorus as calcium, and carbonated beverages can have as much as 500 mg of phosphorus in one serving. When there is more phosphorus than calcium in the body, the body will utilize calcium kept in bones. This can trigger osteoporosis (brittle bones) and result in gum and teeth problems. A balance of dietary calcium and phosphorus can reduce the threat of osteoporosis.

Possible Interactions

If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you must not utilize phosphorus preparations without first talking with your physician.


Alcohol might leach phosphorus from the bones and trigger low levels in the body.


Antacids consisting of aluminum, calcium, or magnesium (such as Mylanta, Amphojel, Maalox, Riopan, and Alternagel) can bind phosphate in the gut and avoid the body from absorbing it. Utilizing these antacids long term can trigger low phosphate levels (hypophosphatemia).


Some anticonvulsants (consisting of phenobarbital and carbamazepine, or Tegretol) might decrease phosphorus levels and boost levels of alkaline phosphatase, an enzyme that assists remove phosphate from the body.

Bile acid sequestrants:

These drugs lower cholesterol. They can reduce the oral absorption of phosphates from the diet plan or from supplements. Oral phosphate supplements must be taken at least 1 hour before or 4 hours after these drugs. Bile acid sequestrants consist of:.

  • Cholestyramine (Questran)
  • Colestipol (Colestid)

Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids, consisting of prednisone or methylprednisolone (Medrol), might increase phosphorus levels in the urine.


High doses of insulin might lower blood levels of phosphorus in individuals with diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition caused by serious insulin insufficiency.

Potassium supplements or potassium-sparing diuretics:

Using phosphorus supplements together with potassium supplements or potassium-sparing diuretics may lead to excessive potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia). Hyperkalemia can be a serious issue, resulting in harmful heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias). Potassium-sparing diuretics include:.

  • Spironolactone (Aldactone)
  • Triamterene (Dyrenium)

ACE inhibitors

( high blood pressure medication): Angiotensin transforming enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, utilized to treat hypertension, may lower phosphorus levels. These consist of:.

  • Benazepril (Lotensin)
  • Captopril (Capoten)
  • Enalapril (Vasotec)
  • Fosinopril (Monopril)
  • Lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil)
  • Quinapril (Accupril)
  • Ramipril (Altace)

Other drugs:

Other drugs may lower phosphorus levels. They include cyclosporine (used to reduce the immune system), cardiac glycosides (digoxin or Lanoxin), heparins (blood thinning drugs), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or Advil). Salt replaces contain high levels of potassium and might reduce phosphorus levels if utilized long term.


The body needs the mineral phosphorus to carry out much of its basic functions. Most people get lots of phosphorus through their diet plan. People who have specific health conditions or are taking particular medications may need to increase or reduce their phosphorus intake. Anyone who is worried about their phosphorus intake or is experiencing signs of a phosphorus shortage ought to speak with their medical professional. [13]


Our Score