Phosphorus

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General Description:

  • there is approximately 800 grams of P in the body, 700 of which resides in the bones

Actions:

  • P is essential for many processes including making ATP, creatine phosphate and many other steps in the energy cycle, and for the metabolism of RBCs
  • can be used to reduce urinary Ca in those prone to kidney stones
  • contributes to healthy bones, normal muscle contraction, and activation of the B vitamins

Deficiency.

  • long-term overuse of antacids can lead to deficiency
  • deficiency signs: muscle weakness, bone pain, and a loss of appetite
  • many phosphorus supplements also contain Na and K
  • average Ameriacan diet contains twice the RDA (around 1500 mg for males and 1000 mg for females)
  • it is important to maintain a healthy balance between Ca and P
  • Ca:P ratio should be 1.5:1 at infancy decreasing to 1:1 at childhood

Interactions and Toxicity:

  • phosphorus supplements should not be used when high blood pressure or Addison’s disease is present
  • phosphorus is used as an additive in many foods (colas, breads), which upsets the balance of Ca and P
  • a high P intake may contribute to osteoporosis as it leaches Ca from the bones
  • supplements of P sometimes produce a laxative effect
  • antacids containing aluminum hydroxide inhibit P absorption
  • hemolysis, caused by exercise, releases P and falsely elevates serum levels

Sources:

  • meat, milk, fish, and whole grains

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