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What is phosphorus and why is it important?

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in your body. The first is calcium. Your body needs phosphorus for many functions, such as filtering waste and repairing tissue and cells.

Most people get the amount of phosphorus they need through their daily diet. In fact, it’s more common to have too little phosphorus in your body than having too little phosphorus. Kidney disease or eating too much phosphorus and not enough calcium can cause too much phosphorus.

However, certain health conditions ( such as diabetes and alcoholism ) or medications (such as some antacids) can cause phosphorus levels in your body to drop too low.

Too high or too low phosphorus levels can cause medical complications such as heart disease , joint pain, or fatigue.

What does phosphorus do?

Phosphorus is required to do the following :

  • Keep your bones strong and healthy
  • Help generate energy
  • Move your muscles

In addition, phosphorus helps:

  • Make strong teeth
  • Manage how your body stores and uses energy
  • Reducing muscle soreness after exercise
  • Filter waste from your kidneys
  • Enlarge, protect and repair tissues and cells
  • Produces DNA and RNA , the genetic building blocks of the body
  • Balance and use vitamins like B and D as well as other minerals like iodine , magnesium and zinc
  • Maintaining a regular heartbeat
  • Facilitate nerve conduction

Which foods contain phosphorus?

Most foods contain phosphorus. Protein-rich foods are also excellent sources of phosphorus. These include:

  • Meat and poultry
  • The fish
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Eggs

When your diet contains enough calcium and protein, you will likely have enough phosphorus. This is because most foods high in calcium are also high in phosphorus.

Some non-protein food sources also contain phosphorus. For example:

  • Whole grains
  • Potato
  • Garlic
  • Dried fruit
  • Carbonated drinks (phosphoric acid is used to produce carbonation)
  • Whole grain bread and cereal varieties contain more phosphorus than those made from white flour.
  • However, phosphorus in nuts, seeds, grains and beans depends on poorly absorbed phytate.

How much phosphorus do you need?

The amount of phosphorus you need in your diet depends on your age.

Adults need less phosphorus than children ages 9 to 18 and more than children under 8 years old.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for phosphorus is as follows:

  • Adults (19 years and older): 700 mg
  • Children (9-18 years old): 1,250 mg
  • Children (4-8 years): 500 mg
  • Children (1-3 years old): 460 mg
  • Babies (7-12 months): 275 mg
  • Babies (0-6 months): 100 mg

Few people need to take phosphorus supplements. Most people can get the necessary amount of phosphorus from the food they eat.

Risks associated with too little phosphorus
Too much phosphate can be toxic. Excess minerals can cause diarrhea and hardening of organs and soft tissue.

High phosphorus levels can affect your body’s ability to use other minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc effectively. It can combine with calcium and cause mineral deposits to form in your muscles.

It’s rare to have too much phosphorus in your blood. Typically, only people with kidney problems or problems regulating their calcium develop this problem.

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

  • Insulin
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antasitler
  • Anticonvulsants

Low phosphorus symptoms can include:

  • Joint or bone pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Poor bone development in children
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