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Phosphorus Facts

What is Phosphorus?

Phosphorous is a critical component of every cell. It works with the B vitamins to generate energy. Phosphorus is necessary for growth of bones and teeth; bones and teeth are 85% phosphorous. It works with sodium and potassium to maintain acid-base balance, and assist in muscle contraction, kidney function, heartbeat regulation, and in nerve conduction.

Phosphorus requirements

The RDA for phosphorous for healthy adults is 700 mg/day. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for healthy adults is 4,000 mg/day; after age 70, the UL drops to 3,000 mg/day to reflect the increased likelihood of impaired kidney function.

What happens when Phosphorus intake is too high?

Excessively high levels of phosphorus in the blood, although rare, can combine with calcium to form deposits in soft tissues such as muscle. High levels of phosphorus in blood occur only in people with severe kidney disease or severe dysfunction of their calcium regulation.

What happens when Phosphorus intake is too low?

Generally, phorphorous is never deficienct because it is so readily widespread in food. Most diets in the U.S. have adequate amounts of phosphorus. Dietary phosphorus deficiency is usually seen only in alcoholics and in cases of near total starvation.

Which foods are high in Phosphorus?

Phosphorus is found in most foods. Dairy products, meat, and fish are particularly good sources. Phosphorus is in most soft drinks in the form of phosphoric acid, and it is found in many food additives.
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