Phosphorus
January 2001

Phosphorus is a mineral that is essential in the body, just like calcium; in fact 80 to 90 percent of phosphorus in the body is concentrated in the bones and teeth. It is found in DNA and RNA (the genetic makeup) of all cells. Cells cannot form or grow without phosphorus! B vitamins and enzymes require phosphorus to function and it is also key in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

Deficiencies of phosphorus are rare, thank goodness, because it is widely distributed in foods such as dairy products, eggs, meat, fowl, legumes, and whole grains such as oatmeal and brown rice.

A word of caution: Many health professional and especially nutritionists, worry that people who drink too much soda pop or eat too much meat may be overdosing on phosphorus. Excess phosphorus intake interferes not only with the absorption of iron, but can also upset the calcium/phosphorus ratio, which may lead to osteoporosis. Regular daily consumption of soft drinks with high meat and dairy intake can create an imbalance of the phosphorus to calcium ratio. Increasing calcium and decreasing foods high in phosphorus can help eliminate this imbalance.
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