Phosphorus is not as well known as magnesium, calcium, and copper, however, there are 700 grams of phosphorus in our body in the form of phosphate. A large part (about 85 percent) is embedded in the bones and ensures that you can stand up and run stably.
A much smaller part is found in our teeth and blood plasma. Phosphorus and calcium are the two most important minerals for stable bones and healthy teeth in old age.
How does phosphorus affect your body?
Oranges have many vitamins, milk contains calcium, but what food contains phosphorus and what does your intake really do?
In addition to keeping our bone structure stable, phosphate also guarantees acid-base balance.
With an adequate supply of phosphorus, you ensure that your pH value is optimal and that your blood does not become too acidic.
The release of energy takes place through a combination of different messenger substances and minerals. If your level is too low, your body will have less energy than necessary. Your phosphate requirement may increase, especially if your life circumstances change (pregnancy) or if it is still growing.
How do you take phosphorus?
An average person is supposed to consume about 700 mg of phosphate every day, but where does it come from?
Cheese is a very good source of phosphorus, especially processed cheese, nuts also provide a large amount of the mineral. Dairy products are also often mentioned, but even if there is phosphate in milk and similar products, we often do not eat enough.
For example, you need a daily intake of 760 grams of yogurt to meet your phosphate needs, which is nonsense. With a sliced cheese (for example, Gouda) with a fat content of 30 percent, on the other hand, you only need 120 grams to meet your needs.
Sausages and meat also belong to phosphorus suppliers, but here too the amount consumed is not so high that it meets the daily requirement. He would have to eat almost 400 grams of roasted pork to absorb 700 mg of phosphorus in his body.
There is good news for you if you are a friend of legumes. With 170 grams of lentils, you cover your daily needs. If you are pregnant, your daily requirement increases to around 900 mg. Every day, after all, your baby also wants to be taken care of.
How does a phosphate deficiency affect the body?
Deficiency of vitamin D is a common topic of discussion in medical practice, however, almost no one talks about the lack of phosphate. The reason for this is that healthy people who eat a balanced diet rarely show symptoms of deficiency.
Most foods contain small amounts of phosphate, so if you consume a lot of vegetables and meat, it will almost always meet your needs. But this only applies to healthy people, several diseases can cause phosphorus not to be well absorbed by the small intestine.
These diseases mainly include gastrointestinal discomfort that persists for more than one or two weeks.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory bowel diseases. If you suffer from one of these two diseases, you should monitor your phosphate level. The inflamed intestine does not absorb phosphorus properly and may incur a deficiency.
Celiac disease or gluten intolerance can also cause deficiency symptoms. If your kidneys or thyroid do not work properly, this can also cause your body to have a low level of phosphorus.
While a short-term deficiency is usually easily compensated by the body, long-term phosphorus deficiency can cause a number of symptoms. In children, the deficiency often manifests with growth disorders.
A chronic deficiency can lead to instability of bones and brittle teeth. Enamel is no longer hard and solid, but becomes porous, teething suffers.
Falls lead to broken bones faster and healing time is much longer. This is an important problem, especially for the elderly, as the risk of falling increases with age.
The following symptoms may indicate all kinds of diseases, but they can also be caused by a lack of phosphate:
- Chronic fatigue despite adequate sleep
- A general feeling of weakness
- Heart muscle damage, for example, heart failure
- Weakened defense, frequent colds
Can there be an excess of phosphorus?
Our body is a small miracle, determines how much phosphate we need, and excretes the excess in the urine. However, this only works for healthy people. Both renal dysfunction and hypothyroidism can reduce phosphorus excretion.
Dialysis patients whose kidneys have stopped working and who have no residual urine output often suffer from excess phosphate and should be treated with medication. Improper use of laxatives can also lead to an increase in the phosphorus levels.
Some drugs in cancer therapy (chemotherapy drugs) cause an increase in the level of phosphate in the blood. Your doctor will discuss these side effects with you, and he knows what countermeasures you can take.
A short-term increase in phosphorus intake is not important for your body, especially if it does not have an organic malfunction. What is left over is simply eliminated by the kidneys.
The body only keeps what it really needs. If there is an excess of phosphate, lime can accumulate in the tissues and vessels. This in turn increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. In addition, a permanent high phosphorus level may favor the development of dementia.
However, such effects are the result of years of excess phosphate and do not occur with an overdose of the substance. Even if you consume twice the amount of phosphate you need every day for half a year, the risk of effects is negligible.