Phosphorus, next to calcium, is the most abundant mineral in our body. Though it is not as popular as calcium is for health, phosphorus is vital for bones and teeth and is a key nutrient to help the body use and store energy. Phosphorus also aids in regulating kidney and nerve function, muscle contractions and heartbeat and is essential for the normal functioning of every cell in our body.
Calcium and phosphorus combine in a delicate balance to protect the bones from osteoporosis (porous bones), impede dental problems and support normal cell function in the body.
Phosphorus deficiency is rare in individuals as this nutrient is widely found in the food we eat. When you consume a variety of foods, phosphorus is automatically added to your body. Poultry, meat, fish, eggs and dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese are rich in phosphorus. Other good sources of phosphorus include whole grains, beans and nuts in the form of phytate, the principal storage form of phosphorus. Phytate is not easily absorbed by the body and we absorb just half of the phosphorus from these foods.
Too much of phosphorus can have a negative impact on people with kidney disease. This is because, normal kidneys function continuously to flush away any excess phosphorus which does not happen in people with kidney disease. The process is disturbed and may lead to dangerously high levels of phosphorus in the blood.
People don’t take phosphorus supplements unless recommended to do so by a health care provider. In order to know if your body requires these supplements, get in touch with a nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com. Prolonged use of large doses of antacids that contain aluminum, calcium or magnesium can decrease phosphorus absorption and cause low blood levels of the mineral in the body. Certain medications can also interfere with phosphorus absorption or cause low levels of phosphorus in the body. Consult with your health care professional to get a clear picture of the effect of these criteria on your phosphorus levels.