Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body, after calcium. About 85% of phosphorus in the body exists in bone.
Phosphorus’ functions include:
Phosphorus deficiency is called hypophosphatemia. Since phosphorus is present in such a large variety of foods, dietary phosphorus deficiency is rare.
Symptoms of hypophosphatemia may include:
Phosphorus toxicity is rare in people with normal kidney function. However, those with kidney problems may experience hyperphosphatemia, or elevated levels of phosphorus in the blood. Hyperphosphatemia can result in decreased levels of calcium in the blood and overproduction of parathyroid hormone, which can lead to bone loss.
The following table shows the upper intake levels for phosphorus. But, it's important to note that these levels are not created for people with kidney disease. If you have problems with your kidneys and are concerned about your phosphorus intake, talk to your doctor.
Major Food Sources
Are you looking to add more phosphorus to your diet? Here are some good food sources:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
United States Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate
Dietitians of Canada
Block GA, Port FK. Re-evaluation of risks associated with hyperphosphatemia and hyperparathyroidism in dialysis patients: Recommendations for a change in management. Am J Kidney Dis. 2000;3596:1226-1237.
Cannata-Andia JB, Rodriguez-Garcia M. Hyperphosphataemia as a cardiovascular risk factor-how to manage the problem. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2002; 11:16-19.
Phosphorus. Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute website. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/phosphorus. Updated August 2007. Accessed April 5, 2013.
Phosphorus. Vita Guide website. Available at: http://www.vitaguide.org/phosphorus.html. Accessed April 5, 2013.
Last reviewed April 2013 by Brian Randall, MD