Phosphorus is an important mineral that is used in many important ways by the human body. It is the second most common element in the body, making up about 1% of the total weight of a person. About 85% of the phosphorus in the body is found in the bones and teeth. The other 15% is found in soft tissues, external fluids, and cells all over the body. This piece will talk about what phosphorus does, where you can get it from, and how important it is to get the right amount of this important nutrient.
Phosphorus is used for many different things in the human body. Some of its most important jobs are:
- Bones and teeth: Phosphorus is an important element that is needed for healthy bones and teeth. Together with calcium, it is the main part of hydroxyapatite, a mineral complex that gives bones and teeth their strength and stiffness.Hydroxyapatite crystals give bones their dense, hard structure, which is important for supporting the weight of the body and protecting key organs. For proper bone formation and to keep bones healthy, you need to eat enough phosphorus. When the body doesn’t get enough phosphorus, it can weaken the bones, which can make them more likely to break or get osteoporosis. Phosphorus is also used in many biological processes, such as making DNA, making energy, and sending messages between cells. Adults should get about 700 mg of phosphorus every day, but this can change based on age, sex, and general health. Dairy products, meat, fish, chicken, beans, nuts, and whole grains are all good sources of phosphorus. But getting too much phosphorus can be bad for your health and cause problems like kidney damage and heart disease.
- Energy metabolism: Phosphorus is an important part of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the body’s main source of energy. ATP is a key source of energy for many biological processes, such as muscle contraction, nerve impulse transfer, and the making of proteins. ATP is made when glucose and other foods are turned into energy through a process called cellular respiration. During cellular respiration, glucose and other nutrients are broken down through a number of biochemical reactions that release energy. This energy is then used to turn adenosine diphosphate (ADP) into ATP, which saves the energy for use in different biological processes. In order to make ATP from ADP, a phosphate group needs to be added. This is where phosphorus comes in. Phosphorus is an important part of the phosphate group that is added to ADP to make ATP. If the body didn’t get enough phosphorus, it wouldn’t be able to make enough ATP to meet its energy needs. This can make you tired, weaken your muscles, and cause other health problems. Phosphorus is also a part of phospholipids, which are important building blocks of cell membranes.
- Nucleic acid synthesis: Phosphorus is a very important part of bones, teeth, and ATP. It is also a very important part of the process of making DNA and RNA molecules. DNA and RNA are the elements that carry genetic information, which is important for all living things to work and grow correctly. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the genetic material that gives directions for how living things grow and work. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is a substance that communicates between DNA and the ribosomes, which are the parts of cells that make proteins. In the form of phosphate groups, phosphorus is an important part of both DNA and RNA molecules. These phosphate groups are the backbone of DNA and RNA molecules. They give these molecules the structural security they need to work properly. Phosphorus not only keeps things stable, but it also helps control gene expression, which is the process by which genes are turned on or off in reaction to signals from the environment and cells. Signaling routes that control gene expression use molecules with phosphorus in them, like adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and guanosine triphosphate (GTP). Getting enough phosphorus is important for the health and well-being of DNA and RNA structures and for the body as a whole. Dairy products, meat, fish, chicken, beans, nuts, and whole grains are all good sources of phosphorus.
- Structure of the cell membrane: Phosphorus is an important part of making phospholipids, which are important parts of cell membranes. Phospholipids are molecules with a phosphate group, a molecule of glycerol, and two chains of fatty acids. These molecules have a special shape that lets them make up the building blocks of cell walls. Cell membranes are the top layer of a cell and keep the cell from interacting with its surroundings. They are in charge of keeping the cell together and controlling how chemicals move into and out of the cell. Phospholipids are important for the formation and maintenance of cell membranes because they make a two-layer barrier that is both stable and flexible. Phospholipids are important for the movement of molecules across the cell membrane. They also help keep the structure of the cell together. The hydrophobic (water-hating) fatty acid chains in phospholipids stop water-loving molecules, like ions and polar molecules, from getting through. The hydrophilic phosphate group, on the other hand, makes it possible for transport proteins to move these molecules across the membrane. Cell walls need the right amount of phosphorus in the diet to form and stay healthy. Foods that are high in phosphorus, like dairy, meat, fish, fowl, beans, nuts, and whole grains, can help make sure that you get the right amount.
- pH regulation: Compounds with phosphorus, like phosphate, are also very important for keeping the acid-base balance in the body. Acid-base balance is the control of the pH levels in the body’s fluids, which is important for many physiological processes to work well. Phosphate works as a buffer, which means it helps keep the pH of the body’s fluids in a narrow range that is best for the body. Buffers are molecules that can soak up extra hydrogen ions (H+) or hydroxide ions (OH-) in the body’s fluids. This keeps the pH level from changing too much. Depending on the pH of the environment, phosphate ions can work as either an acid or a base. When the body’s fluids are too acidic, the phosphate ions can work as a base and soak up the extra hydrogen ions, which makes the acidity go away. On the other hand, if the body’s fluids become too alkaline, the phosphate ions can work as an acid and release hydrogen ions, which neutralizes the alkalinity. Phosphate-containing substances are also very important for how well the kidneys work. The kidneys are very important for keeping the acid-base balance in the body in check. They do this by filtering out extra hydrogen ions and storing or getting rid of bicarbonate ions. In the kidneys, phosphate ions can combine with bicarbonate ions to keep the right balance of these ions and stop acidosis or alkalosis from happening. For these balancing systems in the body to work well, the body needs to get enough phosphorus. Foods that are high in phosphorus, like dairy, meat, fish, fowl, beans, nuts, and whole grains, can help make sure that you get the right amount.
- Activation and control of enzymes: Phosphorus is also very important for the activation and control of many enzymes in the body. Enzymes are proteins that speed up and slow down biological reactions in the body. This makes them important for many physiological processes. Molecules with phosphorus, like ATP and ADP, are involved in activating and controlling many enzymes. These molecules work as coenzymes, which means they give or take phosphate groups to help enzymes do their catalytic jobs. Phosphorus-containing molecules can not only act as coenzymes, but they can also control the phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of enzymes to control how they work. Phosphorylation is the process of adding a phosphate group to an enzyme. Depending on the enzyme and where the phosphate group is added, this can either turn on or turn off the enzyme’s catalytic action. Dephosphorylation is the process of taking a phosphate group off of an enzyme, which can also change how the enzyme works. Phosphorus also plays a role in controlling the cell cycle and cell communication pathways, which are both important for cells to work and grow properly. Phosphorylation and dephosphorylation are very important for controlling these processes, and molecules with phosphorus play a key part in both of these processes. For these enzyme activation and regulation processes in the body to work well, the body needs to get enough phosphorus. Foods that are high in phosphorus, like dairy, meat, fish, fowl, beans, nuts, and whole grains, can help make sure that you get the right amount.
- Signal transduction: Phosphorus is also a part of cell signaling pathways, which are needed for cells to talk to each other and control how they work. Cell signaling pathways involve the sending of signals from one cell to another or from the outside of the cell to the inside. These signals can change the way a cell acts. Many cell signaling pathways involve phosphorus-containing molecules like ATP and cyclic AMP (cAMP). These molecules act as second messengers, which means they send signals from the outside of the cell to the inside, where they can turn on or off different cellular processes. For example, cAMP controls many physiological processes, such as metabolism, hormone regulation, and gene expression. When a signaling molecule, like a hormone, binds to a cell surface receptor, it can turn on an enzyme that changes ATP into cAMP. The cAMP then turns on another enzyme, which can change how a cell acts. Phosphorus is also involved in controlling protein kinases, which add phosphate groups to proteins to turn them on or off. Protein kinases are involved in many biological processes, such as cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis (programmed cell death). These cell signaling pathways in the body need enough phosphorus to work properly. Foods that are high in phosphorus, like dairy, meat, fish, fowl, beans, nuts, and whole grains, can help make sure that you get the right amount.
3. Food Sources of Phosphorus
Phosphorus is found in a lot of foods, and many of them give you enough of this important vitamin. Phosphorus can be found in some of the best food items, such as:
Protein-rich foods: Foods that are high in protein include meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Phosphorus in these foods is in a form that is easy for the body to receive and use. Phosphorus is also found in plant-based foods like beans, nuts, and whole grains, but the phosphorus in these foods is less accessible and may be harder for the body to use. Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, salmon, and tuna are all examples of animal-based foods that are high in phosphorus. Not only do these foods have a lot of phosphorus, but they also have other important nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc. Phosphorus can also be found in yogurt, cheese, and milk, among other dairy items. Not only do these foods have a lot of phosphorus, but they also have important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, which are important for bone health.
Legumes: Beans, lentils, and peas are good sources of phosphorus that come from plants. These foods are a good way for vegetarians and vegans to get phosphorus, since they can’t eat foods that come from animals that are high in phosphorus. People with kidney disease or other health problems that require them to reduce the amount of animal-based foods they eat may also benefit from getting their phosphorus from plants. Black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and green peas are all legumes that are high in phosphorus. Not only do these foods have a lot of phosphorus, but they also have other important nutrients like fiber, protein, and iron. It’s important to remember that phosphorus in plant-based foods is often linked to phytic acid, which can make the phosphorus less bioavailable. Phytic acid is a substance that is found in grains, beans, and nuts. It can link to minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc, making them harder for the body to absorb. Soaking, sprouting, or fermenting beans can help get rid of the phytic acid and make phosphorus and other minerals more bioavailable.
Whole grains: Brown rice, quinoa, barley, and whole wheat bread are all good sources of phosphorus because they are made of whole grains. These foods are a good source of phosphorus and other important nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, and minerals. The bran and germ layers of whole grains, which hold most of the grain’s nutrients, are where phosphorus is found. Refined grains, like white rice and white bread, have much less phosphorus because the nutrient-rich outer layers are stripped away during processing. Eating whole grains is an important part of a healthy diet and can help lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Whole grains’ fiber can also help improve gut health and make you feel full, which can help you control your weight. It’s important to note that some whole grains, like oats and wheat bran, contain phytic acid, which can make it harder for your body to absorb minerals like phosphorus. Soaking or fermenting grains can lower the amount of phytic acid and make it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients.
Nuts and seeds: Phosphorus is found in nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. People who don’t eat animal-based foods or are looking for plant-based options can eat these foods as a healthy and easy snack. They are also a good source of phosphorus. Nuts and seeds also have a lot of other important nutrients, like protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Adding nuts and seeds to your diet can help improve your overall health and lower your chance of long-term diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Some nuts and seeds, like almonds and sesame seeds, have phytic acid, which can make it harder for your body to absorb phosphorus and other nutrients. Soaking or roasting nuts and seeds can help lower the amount of phytic acid and make the nutrients in them more bioavailable.
Vegetables: Broccoli, green beans, and potatoes have about the same amount of phosphorus as other veggies. Vegetables aren’t usually thought of as a major source of phosphorus, but they can still add to your overall phosphorus intake and give you other important nutrients, like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Broccoli is a good source of phosphorus and other nutrients, like vitamin C and vitamin K. Along with fiber and other vitamins and minerals, green beans are also a good source of phosphorus. Potatoes are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, and they also have a moderate amount of phosphorus. It is important to note that spinach and Swiss chard have high levels of oxalates, which can bind to calcium and make both calcium and phosphorus less bioavailable. But overall, oxalates have a small effect on how well nutrients are absorbed, and eating a range of vegetables can help make sure you get enough calcium and phosphorus.
Fruits: Phosphorus isn’t as common in fruits as it is in other food groups, but some fruits do have small amounts of this vitamin. Some fruits, like bananas and dried fruits like raisins and apricots, have phosphorus in them. Fruits may not be a big source of phosphorus, but they do have other important nutrients, like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Adding a variety of fruits to the diet can help improve overall health and lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and some cancers. It is important to keep in mind that some fruits, like citrus fruits and berries, have a lot of vitamin C, which can help the body absorb non-heme iron but may make it harder for the body to absorb phosphorus. But vitamin C doesn’t have much of an effect on phosphorus absorption as a whole, and eating a range of fruits can help make sure you get enough of both nutrients.
4. Phosphorus Absorption and Metabolism
Phosphorus is mostly absorbed in the small intestine, where both active and passive transport processes are used. Phosphorus can be absorbed at different rates based on things like diet, age, and the body’s needs.
In general, 50% to 70% of phosphorus is absorbed by people. But there are things that can change how fast phosphorus is absorbed. For example, eating a lot of calcium can make it harder for your body to absorb phosphorus. On the other hand, taking vitamin D can make it easier for your body to absorb both calcium and phosphorus.
The rate at which phosphorus is taken in can also be affected by age.Phosphorus is absorbed more quickly by babies and young children because they are growing and developing quickly. Older people, on the other hand, may have a lower absorption rate due to changes in gut function and other factors that come with age.
Also, some health problems, such as kidney disease, can change how the body absorbs and gets rid of phosphorus. People with kidney disease may need to keep an eye on how much phosphorus they take in so they don’t get sick from having too much phosphorus in their blood.
The bowels, bones, and kidneys work together in a complicated way to tightly control the amount of phosphorus in the body. This control is important for keeping the right amount of phosphorus in the blood, which is needed for many bodily functions like bone health, energy metabolism, and cell communication.
Phosphorus is absorbed in the intestines by different hormones and enzymes that control how much phosphorus is taken in from food. Phosphorus can also leave the body through feces, which means that the intestines also play a part in this process.
Phosphorus levels in the body are also controlled by the bones, which are also an important part. Most of the phosphorus in the body is stored in the bones, where it can be taken out and put back in as needed.Hormones like parathyroid hormone and vitamin D are very important to this process because they control how much phosphorus is taken out of the bones and how much is put back in.
Extra phosphorus in the blood is filtered out by the kidneys, which then get rid of it. Hormones like fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) control how much phosphorus the kidneys let out of the body. High amounts of phosphorus in the blood can cause the body to make more FGF23, which can make the kidneys get rid of more phosphorus.
Keeping the right amount of phosphorus in the blood is important for health and well-being as a whole. Having too much or too little phosphorus can cause problems like bone loss, heart disease, and kidney damage. People with certain health conditions, like kidney disease, may need to keep an eye on and control their phosphorus amounts.
Phosphorus balance is mostly controlled by three hormones: parathyroid hormone (PTH), fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), and calcitriol, which is the active form of vitamin D.
- Parathyroid hormone (PTH): When blood phosphorus levels are low, the parathyroid hormone (PTH) causes phosphorus to be released from bone stores and reabsorbed more quickly by the kidneys. This raises blood phosphorus levels. This is part of the body’s complex system for regulating the amount of phosphorus in the blood, which is important for many bodily functions like bone health, energy metabolism, and cell signaling. When the amount of phosphorus in the blood is low, the parathyroid glands release PTH in response to signals from cells that can sense the amount of phosphorus in the blood. Osteoclasts are cells that break down bone tissue and release phosphorus into the bloodstream. PTH makes osteoclasts work harder. This helps to raise the amount of phosphorus in the blood. PTH also makes it easier for the kidneys to re-absorb phosphorus, which keeps phosphorus from being lost in the pee. This helps increase the amount of phosphorus in the blood even more. However, if blood phosphorus levels stay low for a long time, this can lead to problems like bone loss and weak muscles. So, it’s important to get the right amount of phosphorus by eating a healthy diet with a range of phosphorus-rich foods and keeping an eye on and taking care of any underlying health conditions that could affect the amount of phosphorus in the blood.
- Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23): FGF23 is a hormone that is mostly made by bone cells. It works to stop the kidneys from reabsorbing phosphorus and stop the intestines from absorbing it. This is important for controlling blood phosphorus levels because too much phosphorus in the blood can cause problems like bone loss, heart disease, and kidney damage. When blood phosphorus levels are high, bone cells release FGF23 in response to signals from cells that can sense blood phosphorus levels. FGF23 works to stop the kidneys from reabsorbing phosphorus. This makes it easier for the body to get rid of phosphorus. FGF23 also works to stop the gut from absorbing phosphorus, which lowers the amount of phosphorus that gets into the bloodstream. FGF23 works with other hormones like PTH and calcitriol to keep blood phosphorus levels in a narrow range. PTH works to raise blood phosphorus levels by releasing phosphorus from bone stores and increasing phosphorus reabsorption in the kidneys. Calcitriol, on the other hand, works to increase the amount of phosphorus absorbed by the intestines.
- Calcitriol: Calcitriol is the active form of vitamin D. It helps keep the amounts of calcium and phosphorus in the body at the right levels. One of calcitriol’s main jobs is to help the body absorb more calcium and phosphorus through the intestines. This helps make sure that the body has enough of these minerals for things like bone health, nerve function, and muscle contraction. Calcitriol also works with PTH to promote bone resorption and release of phosphorus into the bloodstream when blood phosphorus levels are low. This is done by increasing intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus. This helps keep phosphorus levels in the blood at the right level, which is important for many bodily functions. When phosphorus levels in the blood are low, the parathyroid glands release PTH in reaction to signals from cells that can sense phosphorus levels in the blood. Osteoclasts are cells that break down bone tissue and release phosphorus into the bloodstream. PTH works to make these cells work harder. Calcitriol and PTH work together to speed up this process, which increases how much phosphorus is released into the bloodstream.
5. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Phosphorus
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) sets the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for phosphorus based on age and gender. These are the RDAs for phosphorus:
- 100 mg per day for babies 0 to 6 months old
- 7–12-month-old babies: 275 mg/day
- Children ages 1-3: 460 mg per day
- Children ages 4 to 8: 500 mg per day
- Children ages 9 to 13: 1,250 mg per day
- Teenagers (ages 14–18): 1,250 mg/day
- Adults (19 and up): 700 mg per day
- Pregnant and nursing women: 700 mg per day; teens: 1,250 mg per day
6. Phosphorus Deficiency
Phosphorus shortage is rare in healthy people because phosphorus is found in many foods and the body has good ways to make sure it gets what it needs. Phosphorus is in a lot of things, like dairy, meat, fish, chicken, nuts, beans, and whole grains. The body also has a complicated system for controlling the amount of phosphorus in the blood. This helps keep the right amount of phosphorus in the body for all of its functions.
But there are some things that can make the risk of phosphorus shortage higher, such as:
- Chronic kidney disease: People with kidney disease may have trouble controlling their phosphorus levels, which can cause both high and low phosphorus levels in the blood. In the early stages of kidney disease, the kidneys may still be able to control phosphorus levels, but as kidney function goes down, the kidneys’ ability to get rid of excess phosphorus goes down, too. When the kidneys can’t get rid of excess phosphorus, blood phosphorus levels can rise, which can cause problems like bone loss, heart disease, and kidney damage. But sometimes, people with kidney disease can also get low amounts of phosphorus in their blood. This can cause problems like weak muscles and bone pain. Taking care of phosphorus is an important part of treating kidney disease. This is usually done by reducing the amount of phosphorus in the diet and using medicines like phosphate binders to help stop the body from absorbing phosphorus from food. Some people may also take vitamin D pills to help control how their bodies use calcium and phosphorus. People with kidney disease need to keep an eye on and control their phosphorus levels to avoid complications caused by high or low amounts of phosphorus in the blood. Talking to a doctor or registered dietitian can help you figure out the best ways to handle your condition based on your needs and health goals.
- Malabsorption disorders: Conditions like celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease that make it hard to absorb nutrients can cause phosphorus shortage. These conditions can make it hard to absorb and use nutrients, like phosphorus, which can lead to a deficiency over time. Celiac disease is an autoimmune problem that affects the small intestine and can cause damage to the intestinal lining. Damage like this can make it harder to absorb nutrients like phosphorus, which can lead to shortages. People with celiac disease may need to follow a strict gluten-free diet and may need to have their nutrient levels checked to prevent deficiencies. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract. This inflammation can cause damage to the walls of the intestines, which can make it hard to absorb nutrients like phosphorus. People with IBD may need to keep an eye on their phosphorus levels and take supplements to make sure they don’t get too little.
- Alcoholism: Drinking too much alcohol can make it hard for the body to absorb and use phosphorus, which can lower the amount of phosphorus in the blood. Alcohol can make it harder to absorb nutrients, including phosphorus, by damaging the lining of the digestive tract and interfering with the work of enzymes that help absorb nutrients. Alcohol can also cause the kidneys to get rid of more phosphorus, which can lower the amount of phosphorus in the blood even more.Chronic drinking can cause malnutrition and other health problems, like bone loss and weak muscles, which can be linked to low phosphorus levels in the blood.
- Anorexia nervosa: Phosphorus stores can be drained by severely cutting calories and not eating enough. When the body doesn’t get enough calories and nutrients, it may start to break down its own tissues, including bone tissue, to get the energy and nutrients it needs. This can cause phosphorus to get into the bloodstream, which can lower the amount of phosphorus in the body over time. Malnutrition, which can be caused by things like anorexia, bulimia, or poverty, can also cause phosphorus stores to get low. Low amounts of phosphorus in the body can be caused by not eating enough phosphorus-rich foods. This can lead to problems like bone loss, muscle weakness, and neurological symptoms. Signs of phosphorus deficiency include loss of appetite, weakness, bone pain, and confusion. But these symptoms aren’t just caused by phosphorus shortage; they could also be signs of other health problems. People with extreme calorie restriction and malnutrition may need to have their phosphorus levels checked and managed to avoid deficiencies and the problems that come with them.
- Long-term use of certain drugs: Some medications can stop the body from absorbing phosphorus or make it leave the body faster, which can cause phosphorus levels in the blood to be too high or too low. Some medicines, like antacids, diuretics, corticosteroids, and some types of chemotherapy drugs, can change the amount of phosphorus in the body. Antacids are often used to treat heartburn and acid reflux. They contain aluminum hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide, which can bind to phosphorus in the stomach and stop it from being absorbed. This can cause phosphorus levels in the blood to drop over time. Diuretics, which make you pee more, can also make your kidneys get rid of more phosphorus. This can cause phosphorus levels in the blood to drop over time. This is especially true for loop diuretics like furosemide, which are often used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure. Corticosteroids, which are used to treat inflammation and autoimmune diseases, can stop nutrients, like phosphorus, from being absorbed. This can lead to low levels of phosphorus in the blood and increase the chance of bone loss and other problems.Chemotherapy drugs, which are used to treat cancer, can also interfere with phosphorus absorption and metabolism, which can lead to low levels of phosphorus in the blood.
If you don’t get enough phosphorus, you might feel weak, lose your hunger, have pain in your bones, or break a bone. When children don’t get enough phosphorus, they can get rickets, and when adults don’t get enough, they can get osteomalacia, both of which cause bones to become weak and soft.
7. Phosphorus Toxicity and Imbalance
Hyperphosphatemia is a situation in which the amount of phosphorus in the blood is too high. This can happen if you eat too much phosphorus.High amounts of phosphorus can throw off the body’s calcium balance, causing blood calcium levels to drop and calcium to be taken from bones. This can weaken bones and make them more likely to break.
A high phosphorus intake has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in people with chronic kidney disease. This is in addition to the risk of bone diseases. The link between phosphorus intake and cardiovascular risk in healthy people is not as clear, but it is still important for overall health to get the right amount of phosphorus and other necessary nutrients.
Phosphorus excesses can be caused by some of the following:
- High usage of processed foods: Many processed foods have added phosphorus in the form of phosphates, which can cause too much phosphorus to be taken in.
- Taking too many supplements: Taking too many supplements that contain phosphorus can lead to taking in too much phosphorus.
- Chronic kidney disease: People with chronic kidney disease may have trouble getting rid of too much phosphorus, which can lead to hyperphosphatemia.
- Long-term use of some medicines: Some medicines, like phosphate blockers and corticosteroids, can throw off the balance of phosphorus.
Phosphorus is an important nutrient that is needed for many bodily functions, such as building bones and teeth, using energy, making nucleic acids, and making cell membranes. Getting enough phosphorus means eating a healthy diet with a wide range of phosphorus-rich foods, such as protein-rich foods, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits.
Getting the right amount of phosphorus is important for general health, since both too little and too much can hurt bone health and increase the risk of heart disease. To get the right amount of phosphorus, it’s important to watch out for processed foods, supplements, and medicines that can change the balance of phosphorus.