Phosphorus

Next to calcium, phosphorus is the most abundant mineral in the body. These 2 important nutrients work closely together to build strong bones and teeth. About 85% of the body's phosphorus is in bones and teeth. Phosphorous is also present in smaller amounts in cells and tissues throughout the body. Phosphorus helps filter out waste in the kidneys and plays an essential role in how the body stores and uses energy. It also helps reduce muscle pain after a workout. Phosphorus is needed for the growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues and cells, and for the production of the genetic building blocks, DNA and RNA. Phosphorus is also needed to help balance and use other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, and zinc.

Most people get plenty of phosphorus in their diets. The mineral is found in milk, grains, and protein-rich foods. Some health conditions, such as diabetes, starvation, and alcoholism can cause levels of phosphorus in the body to fall. The same is true of conditions that make it hard for people to absorb nutrients, such as Crohn disease and celiac disease. Some medications can cause phosphorus levels to drop, including some antacids and diuretics (water pills). Symptoms of phosphorus deficiency include loss of appetite, anxiety, bone pain, fragile bones, stiff joints, fatigue, irregular breathing, irritability, numbness, weakness, and weight change. In children, decreased growth and poor bone and tooth development may occur.

Having too much phosphorus in the body is actually more common and more worrisome than having too little. Too much phosphorus is generally caused by kidney disease or by consuming too much dietary phosphorus and not enough dietary calcium. Several studies suggest that higher intakes of phosphorus are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. As the amount of phosphorus you eat rises, so does the need for calcium. The delicate balance between calcium and phosphorus is necessary for proper bone density and prevention of osteoporosis.

I Would Like to Learn About:

Related Information

Supplements with Similar Side Effects

View List by Side Effect

Supplements with Similar Uses

View List by Use

Uses of this Supplement

Anxiety

Drugs that Deplete this Substance

View List

Learn More About

Nutrition

Review Date: 8/5/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2022 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.