Phosphorus is, after calcium, the most common mineral in our body, and the average person has about 650 grams of it. About 85% of phosphorus is found in bones and teeth, and the rest is in the blood and in various organs, including the heart, kidneys, brain and muscles. He interacts with many nutrients, but mostly with calcium. The calcium – phosphate ratio in bones is 2:1, while in other tissues this ratio is largely in favor of phosphorus.
How does it work?
There is almost no biological or cellular process in which phosphorus is not involved, either directly or indirectly. It protects cells by strengthening their membranes, but also acts as a biological companion that helps many substances in carrying out their role. Phosphorus activates B vitamins and allows their useful action.
MAIN USEFUL EFFECTS: one of the major roles of phosphorus is to build bones together with calcium and help to maintain a healthy and firm skeleton. The combined action of calcium and phosphorus is also important for strong and healthy teeth. Phosphorus also reacts with fat and creates phospholipids, which are very important for the structure and metabolism of all cell membranes in the body. This element is also important in the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which serves as a storage of energy for all cells.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: phosphorus contributes to coordinated muscle contractions, the transfer of nerve signals from the brain to the rest of the body and the secretion of hormones. Appropriate intake of this mineral can increase physical abilities and help in treating fatigue. Phosphorus is also required to maintain a normal pH value (acidity in the body) and to create DNA and RNA molecules, carriers of all genes.
How much of phosphorus is needed?
Phosphorus is found in so many types of food that the deficiency rarely occurs; almost never. A person shoul take 550 mg of phosphorus per day, and this value is the same in women and men. Previously calcium and phosphorus intake were recommended in 1 : 1 ratio, but today it is considered that this is not of greater importance. In modern nutrition there is more phosphorus than calcium.
IF YOU TAKE TOO LITTLE: although it is rare, the lack of phosphorus causes bone and teeth fragility, weakness, loss of appetite, pain and stiffness in the joints, and increased susceptibility to infections. A mild deficiency may cause a sense of energy shortage.
IF YOU TAKE TOO MUCH: the consequences of excess phosphorus do not appear immediately, but after a long period of time too much intake may reduce calcium absorption.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: most people get all the required phosphorus through food. Minor amounts are sometimes found in multivitamin and multimineral dietary supplements. If you suffer from any bowel disease or kidney failure, your doctor will prescribe an appropriate dose.
USE GUIDELINES: never take any dietary supplements with phosphorus, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
A food rich in protein, such as meat, fish, poultry and dairy porducts are great sources of phosphorus. It is also used as an additive in many types of processed food. Often, large quantities are found in soft drinks, especially those like coca cola. Phosphorus is also found in grains, but whole grains contain some substances that interfere with its absorption.
IMPORTANT: the greatest danger comes from an excessive amount of phosphorus, because it can cause calcium deficiency. Therefore, never take any supplements with phosphorus, unless advised by your doctor.