Nutrition and Information Guide: Minerals Phosphorus

About the mineral phosphorus, nutritional information guide, uses, effects of deficiency and overdose, good sources of phosphorus.

Phosphorus

Use in the Body: Plays a part in nearly every chemical reaction in the body and performs more functions than any other mineral. Phosphorus is important for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells, and the production of energy. It provides energy for muscle contractions and nerve impulses. It is involved in the genetic transfer of hereditary traits. Phosphorus is also an important component of phospholipids, which utilize fats and fatty acids, maintain the pH level (acidity-alkalinity) of the blood, and assist in the secretion of hormones.

Deficiency May Lead to: Stunted growth, poor quality of teeth and bones, and bone disorders. Phosphorus deficiency may result from insufficient supplies of calcium or vitamin D, both of which are needed for phosphorus absorption. Also, excess use of antacids may inhibit phosphorus absorption.

Overdose May Lead to: Since the body efficiently stores phosphorus, there is no known toxicity.

Notes: Next to calcium, phosphorus is the body's 2nd most abundant mineral, but it should be consumed in greater quantity. It functions mostly with calcium, which it needs for proper utilization; a healthy balance of calcium-phosphorus is 2:1. Phosphorus is found in every cell of the body, but 80% of it is present in the bones and teeth. It may be beneficial in the treatment of fractures, brittle bones, rickets, and teeth and gum disorders. Older people need more phosphorus because their systems generally do not absorb it too well.

Best Sources: Powdered skim milk, wheat germ, and brewers' yeast are especially high. Fish, chicken, meats, seeds, legumes, and dairy products.

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