Phosphorus is an important mineral found in all cells of the human body. It is the second most abundant mineral near calcium, accounting for about 1 percent of your total body weight. Phosphorus is one of the 16 essential minerals. These are the minerals the body needs to function normally.
Although the primary function of phosphorus is to build and maintain bones and teeth, it also plays a major role in the formation of DNA and RNA (genetic building blocks of the body). Doing so helps to ensure that cells and tissues are properly stored, repaired, and replaced as they age.
Phosphorus also plays a key role in metabolism (conversion of calories and oxygen to energy), muscle contraction, heart rate, and the transmission of sensory signals. Phosphorus is also considered a macromineral (along with calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, chloride, and sulfur) because it needs more than trace minerals such as iron and zinc.
Phosphorus deficiency is often accompanied by hypophosphatemia, or low levels of blood phosphate, which can affect all organs and can lead to muscle weakness, bone pain, fractures, fainting, and respiratory failure. Unlike certain micronutrients, the body cannot produce phosphorus on its own. You need to get it from food and, if necessary, a dietary supplement (phosphate is a phosphorus drug). The main sources of food for phosphorus are meat, milk, fatty fish, and seeds.
Phosphate supplements are commonly used to prevent phosphorus deficiency, a condition considered uncommon in the United States except for certain high-risk groups.
According to a study from Harvard Medical School, phosphorus deficiency is often seen in:
- people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (about 21.5 percent)
- chronic alcoholics (up to 30.4%)
- people in critical condition (up to 33.9 percent)
- people involved in serious abuse, such as high fever (75 percent)
- people with sepsis (up to 80%)
Low phosphorus can also affect people with certain illnesses or medical conditions, including Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, parathyroid disease, vitamin D deficiency, and malnutrition. Hypophosphatemia can also be caused by excessive use of diuretics (water pills) or phosphate-reducing drugs used during kidney dialysis.
In addition to the prevention or treatment of phosphorus deficiency, the phosphate supplement can provide certain health benefits, especially for older adults and people who are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs). It is also believed to increase athletic performance and strength, although there is little clinical evidence to support the claim.
About 85 percent of phosphorus in the human body is stored in the bone. Some are freely distributed in the blood to perform other biological functions.
Phosphorus works with calcium to help build healthy bones and teeth. These minerals are converted into the body into calcium phosphate salts that strengthen and strengthen bones.
Phosphorus also regulates how much calcium is in the body and how much it is excreted in the urine. Doing so prevents excess calcium from entering the bloodstream, which can increase the risk of atherosclerosis (atherosclerosis).
In the past, there have been concerns that consuming too much phosphate could lose this well-balanced balance, absorb calcium from the bone and increase the risk of osteoporosis (loss of bone mineral). A 2015 study published in the Nutrition Journal proved this to be the case.
According to current research, high doses of phosphate increase bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC) while reducing the risk of osteoporosis in adults with adequate calcium intake.
Also, an increase in phosphate intake was not associated with toxicity. Any excess phosphate in the blood is excreted in the urine or stool.
Urinary Tract Infection
Phosphate ingredients are sometimes used to make the urine more acidic. It has long been thought that doing so would help treat some urinary tract infections or prevent kidney stones from forming. Recent studies, however, suggest that this may not be the case.
According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Biochemical Chemistry, urine with a high pH (meaning less acid) has significantly stronger antimicrobial effects compared to urine with a higher pH/acidity.
However, UTIs are more common in women with hypercalcemia (unusually high calcium) as an increase in urinary calcium promotes viral growth. Phosphate ingredients can help reverse this risk by binding with free circulating calcium and cleansing it from the stool.
Similarly, kidney stones made of calcium phosphate usually grow when the urine pH is above 7.2 (meaning alkaline). By lowering pH (and increasing acidity), phosphate can prevent kidney stones in people at high risk.
Or this is not true of all stones. Kidney stones made of calcium oxalate grow when the urine pH is below 6.0 (meaning it is acidic). Increasing acidity with phosphate can only promote, rather than inhibit, their growth.
Another Possible Health Benefits
- keeping the bones and teeth strong
- helping the muscles contract
- aiding muscle recovery after exercise
- filtering and removing waste from the kidneys
- promoting healthy nerve conduction throughout the body
- making DNA and RNA
- managing the body’s energy usage and storage
The Dangers of Too Much Phosphorus
Getting too much phosphorus is not a problem for most people. However, in people with chronic kidney disease or who have difficulty processing calcium, they may have too much phosphorus.
When a person has a high level of phosphorus in their blood, phosphorus can absorb calcium from the bones, leaving them weak. It can also combine with calcium to build up in the soft tissues of the body. These funds can lead to a risk of heart attack, stroke, or death.
Recent studies have suggested that too much phosphorus in the body can be more harmful to human health than experts previously thought.
The authors of a 2017 study that phosphorus overdose can cause the following side effects in animals:
- calcifications in the vascular and renal systems
- injuries to tubes within the kidneys
- abnormal protein in the urine, which can indicate kidney damage
- premature death
Is Phosphorus good for health?
Phosphorus is a mineral that is part of every cell in your body. It is found mainly in your bones and teeth. Phosphorus works with calcium and other nutrients to build healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus also helps maintain normal acid/base balance, supports growth, and is involved with the storage and use of energy.
Why is phosphorus important for life?
Phosphorus, the 11th most common element on earth, is fundamental to all living things. It is essential for the creation of DNA, cell membranes, and for bone and teeth formation in humans. Today phosphorus is an essential component of commercial fertilizer.
Where is phosphorus mostly found on Earth?
Phosphorus is most commonly found in rock formations and ocean sediments as phosphate salts. Phosphate salts that are released from rocks through weathering usually dissolve in soil water and will be absorbed by plants.