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Phosphorus

What is Phosphorous?

Phosphorous is an essential mineral that is extremely present and necessary to the human body’s successful function. In fact, it is required by every cell that is present and is stored in bones, DNA, cell membranes throughout the body and teeth.

What does Phosphorous do?

Because phosphorous is part of DNA, it plays a major role in growth and overall development. Phosphorous also has a hand in regulating normal kidney functions, heart contractions and affects most metabolic processes on some level.

Phosphorous is primarily stored in the bones for a very important reason. It is a necessary element in the formation of strong bone and teeth. The presence of phosphorous in cell membranes provides the opportunity for this mineral to aid in the conversion of food to energy the body can use on a daily basis. Phosphorous is also useful when it comes to converting Vitamin B into useful energies and nutrients. Additionally, phosphorous helps with carrying out efficient muscle contractions throughout the body.

Where is Phosphorous found?

Phosphorous is generally found in food that is available for consumption. While fruits and vegetables contain minimal amounts of phosphorous, the nutritional pyramid’s protein grouping contains the most phosphorous-rich products. Because phosphorous works alongside calcium in carrying out many of its primary functions, it is often recommended that a diet high in protein and calcium be utilized when looking to raise phosphorous levels.

Foods that are rich in phosphorous include meats, seeds, legumes and nuts. While whole grain breads do contain phosphorous, it is often more difficult for the body to break down and absorb. Additionally, certain cereals and eggs contain high enough levels of phosphorous to be recognized as phosphorous-rich products.

Phosphorous can be found in the form of dietary supplements, but should be taken under the counsel of a physician. Those who have been advised to take phosphorous supplements normally combine them with a calcium supplement for optimum function.

What happens when someone has a Phosphorous deficiency?

Fortunately, phosphorous is readily available in a wide variety of foods, which results in low numbers of individuals who suffer from phosphorous deficiencies. However, in the rare case that a person does struggle with this condition, the following symptoms may present themselves: loss of appetite, bone pain, muscle weakness, weakened immune system, difficulty walking or numbness.

Additional symptoms of a phosphorous deficiency may include difficulty breathing, anxiety, skin sensitivity or drastic fluctuations in weight. It’s important to understand the relationship between phosphorous and calcium when trying to determine whether an individual is at risk for a deficiency. Low calcium levels can be directly related to low phosphorous levels and may result in conditions such as high blood pressure.

Helpful food sources, supplements and additional benefits of Phosphorus

A balanced diet is recommended in order to maintain acceptable phosphorous levels. Because phosphorous is associated with many DNA processes, it’s important to keep levels in check. A few interesting food sources for products rich in phosphorous include pumpkin seeds and cauliflower.

Phosphorus – AIs (Adequate Intakes)

Infants
0-6 months
7-12 months
Milligrams per Day
100
275

 

Phosphorus – RDAs (Recommended Dietary Allowances)

Children
1-3 years
4-8 years
Milligrams per Day
460
500
Males
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years

1250
1250
700
700
700
700
Females
9-13 years
14-18 years
19-30 years
31-50 years
50-70 years
> 70 years

1250
1250
700
700
700
700
Pregnancy
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years

1250
700
700
Lactation
< 19 years
19-30 years
31-50 years

1250
700
700

 

Sources:
http://www.womens-health-club.com/minerals/phosphate.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002424.htm
http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/vitamins-and-minerals-good-food-sources
http://www.vitalhealthzone.com/nutrition/minerals/phosphorus.html
http://nutrition.about.com/od/nutrition101/g/phosphorusglossary.htm
USDA Dietary Reference Intakes