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Protein foods of animal origin such as meat (extra lean ground beef), fish (halibut, salmon), poultry (chicken breast) and eggs are excellent sources of phosphorus. Other sources are milk and dairy products, nuts, legumes, broccoli, lima beans, asparagus, corn, oatmeal, dried fruits, and highly carbonated beverages. Also seeds: sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower. The availability of the phosphorus in cereal grains, especially the bran portion, is somewhat doubtful since much of this phosphorus is present as phytic acid which is not well utilized.

What is known to be good for:

Bone mineralization, collagen formation, ATP (energy) production, Acid-basic balance in: blood plasma, phospholipids, DNA, and Enzymes.

Other functions of Phosphorus:

Brain functions.

Lack of Phosphorus:

Phosphorus deficiency has been reported in individuals consuming a prolonged and excessive intake of non-absorbable antacids which bind dietary phosphorus preventing its absorption. Symptoms of phosphorus deficiency include weakness, anorexia, malaise and pain in the bones. Hemolytic anemia, granulocyte dysfunction, erythrocyte glycolysis, neurologic and psychiatric disorders, hypercalciuria and renal calculi may also result from phosphorus deficiency.

Excess of Phosphorus can:

Hyperphosphophatemia is associated with certain disease states such as hypoparathyroidism or chronic renal failure. Hypocalcemia is often associated with hyperphosphatemia, since excessive phosphate interferes with calcium utilization. Signs of hyperphosphatemia may include neuroexcitability, tetany and convulsions.

Do you know where you find Phosphorus in your body?

Eighty percent of the body's phosphorus is found in bone as calcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite. In the bone the phosphorus to calcium ratio is 1:2.

Storage and manipulation of suppliers of Phosphorus:

There is no free elemental phosphorus in the body. It is present as a constituent of various lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, enzymes, nucleic acid and ATP. In its ionic form, phosphorus serves to modify acid-base balance in the blood. Phosphorus acts as a cofactor in a number of enzyme systems involved in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. Phosphorus is important as a component of phospholipids in cell membranes, lipoproteins, etc., and is involved in the renal excretion of hydrogen ions.

Absorption, Storage and Excretion

Absorption of phosphate is dependent upon dietary phosphorus intake and food sources. The efficiency of absorption is increased when dietary phosphorus intake is low and during growth. Lack of 1.25-dihydroxy D3 will reduce both calcium and phosphorus absorption. Certain minerals such as calcium, aluminum and strontium will bind with phosphorus forming insoluble phosphates, rendering both elements unavailable for absorption. Serum phosphorus levels range from 2.4-4.4 mg/dl. Approximately half of this amount is present as phosphate ions, with one third complexed to sodium, calcium and magnesium and the remainder bound to protein.

Sources: Yeung, David L. and Idamarie Laquatra. HEINZ HANDBOOK Of Nutrition, 9th ed.

Adapted by Editorial Staff, August 2007
Last update, August 2008


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