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An average adult human contains about 700 grams of the essential nutrient phosphorus in the form of phosphate, which is required for all known forms of life.
Biological molecules such as DNA and RNA include phosphate as a part of the structural framework of these molecules.
Living cells use phosphate to produce cellular energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which can be utilized to drive energy consuming processes in the body.
Phospholipids are important structural components of all cell membranes.
Calcium phosphate salts assist in stiffening bones and teeth in the form of apatite. About 85% of the body’s phosphorus is in the bones and teeth.
Good sources of phosphorus are foods rich in protein, for example, milk, eggs, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, and legumes.
The recommended daily intake of dietary phosphorus for adults is 700 mg.
Normally you do not need to take phosphorus supplements. If your diet contains sufficient amounts of protein and calcium, then the amount of phosphorus should also be sufficient. Here is a list of foods having the highest content of phosphorus.
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's disease and celiac disease. All are characterized by hypophosphatemia (low concentration of phosphate in the blood).
The 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.
Too much phosphorus in the body is generally caused by kidney disease or by consuming too much phosphorus and too little calcium in the diet.
High intakes of phosphorus may be 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.
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