Phosphorus everything about this essential mineral

Phosphorus : everything about this essential mineral

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the human body. It is an important component of bones and teeth. In fact, 85% of the phosphorus in the human body is found in bones and teeth. In the body, it is found in the form of phosphates.

Characteristics of phosphorus

  • Very abundant mineral in bone tissue and teeth
  • Ensures the strength of bones and teeth and forms the membranes of cells
  • Mostly found in fish and seeds
  • Phosphorus requirements change over the course of life
  • A supplement in phosphorus may be recommended to preserve the bone capital, ensure good growth or fight against fatigue

Why consume foods rich in phosphorus?


Bone mineral density

Associated with calcium, phosphorus is stored largely in bone tissue. It provides good bone mineral density and thus ensures the strength of bones and teeth.

Constituent cells

The membranes of the cells of the body consist of two phospholipidic layers, and therefore of phosphorus.

Maintaining the blood pH

Phosphorus helps to maintain a stable blood pH by neutralizing acid or alkaline excess. It is, in this sense, essential to the balance of the body.

Synthesis of DNA and RNA

Phosphorus is present in DNA and RNA molecules which makes it essential for growth.

20 foods rich in phosphorus

The vast majority of foods contain phosphorus. Foods rich in protein are the best sources of phosphorus. According to National Health Survey data, an average adult’s diet contains about 62 mg of phosphorus per 100 calories.

Foods Servings (mg)
Pumpkin or squash seeds1/4 cup676 mg
Beef liver, braised or sauteed100 g485-497 mg
Canned sardines100 g490 mg
Cooked soy beans1 cup445 mg
Roasted sunflower seeds, roasted in oil or dry1/4 cup375-393 mg
Cooked lentils1 cup377 mg
Canned or grilled salmon100 g256-354 mg
Canned or Steamed Clams100 g338 mg
Grilled swordfish100 g337 mg
Grilled red tuna100 g326 mg
Braised poultry offal100 g223-289 mg
Fillet of plaice or sole, grilled100 g289 mg
Fillet of halibut, pollock or walleye, toasted100 g268-285 mg
Ham100 g281 mg
Blue or Royal Alaska Crab, Canned or Boiled100 g206-280 mg
Natural yoghurt, 0% to 4% MF125 g242-265 mg
Cow’s milk, 0% to 3.25% MF250 ml217-261 mg
Grilled Haddock100 g241 mg
Ricotta cheese, made from partly skimmed milk or whole milk125 ml205-240 mg
Turkey with or without skin, roasted100 g198-207 mg

* People who consume large amounts of soft drinks generally have higher phosphorus intakes due to the phosphoric acid content of this type of drink. A can of soft drink contains on average 50 mg of phosphorus.

How to use phosphorus?

Use of phosphorus

Here are the nutritional reference intakes for phosphorus.

Your daily needs in Phosphorus:

Age Recommended Dietary Allowance (mg / day)
Children 1-3 years old460 mg
Children 4-8 years old500 mg
Children 9-13 years old1,250 mg
Adolescents 14-18 years old1,250 mg
Adults 19-30 years old700 mg
Adults 31-50 years old700 mg
Adults 51 years and over700 mg
Pregnancy≤ 18 years: 1250 mg

19-50 years: 700 mg

Breastfeeding≤ 18 years: 1250 mg

19-50 years: 700 mg

Phosphorus food supplements

There are many dietary supplements based on phosphorus. They are particularly effective for preserving bone capital and vitality. In times of growth or generalized fatigue, they can also help the body cope. It is generally recommended to supplement up to 250 mg daily. However, ask your doctor for advice before taking a phosphorus supplement.

Adverse effects of phosphorus

Phosphorus deficiency

The lack of phosphorus is very rare. In some cases (diabetic ketoacidosis, acute alcohol poisoning, severe malnutrition), hypophosphatemia may occur. Signs of phosphorus deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, decreased bone mineralization, bone pain, confusion, tingling, numbness, and tingling.

Excess phosphorus in the blood

Excessive phosphorus intake can cause hyperphosphatemia. In humans, it occurs only in people with end-stage chronic renal failure or vitamin D intoxication. The effects are a reduction in calcium absorption and calcification of soft tissues. especially the kidneys.

What is phosphorous diabetes?

Phosphorus diabetes is also called chronic family-related phosphate diabetes. It results in a massive leak of phosphorus in the kidneys which leads to bone demineralization, or osteomalacia. This is a very rare pathology.

Interactions with other nutrients

Foods of plant origin such as cereals, legumes or nuts contain phytic acid, a form of phosphorus reserve unavailable to the body. The phosphorus of these foods is therefore less available than that of foods of animal origin. High doses of calcium in the form of calcium carbonate supplements can hinder the absorption of phosphorus as well as an excessive consumption of antacids containing aluminum.

Chemical Properties

The symbol of phosphorus is P, its atomic number is 15. The phosphorus has an atomic mass of 30.973761998 u. Phosphorus belongs to the group of pnictogens. It can be found in different shapes and colors: white, yellow, red or dark purple. On earth and in organisms, phosphorus is mostly found in the form of phosphates. That is surrounded by four oxygen atoms. The phosphorus cycle is unique, it does not affect the atmosphere because it does not have a gaseous component.

Phosphoric acid is a mineral acid obtained by combustion of phosphorus, it is used as raw material for the production of phosphates. It is also used as an additive (E338) pH regulator and especially in sodas and other industrial soft drinks.

Nutrient History

Phosphorus is one of the first 15 chemical elements discovered with sulfur, copper, iron and zinc. It was H. Brandt who was discovered in 1669 by analyzing urine.

It was not until 1737 that the discovery of phosphorus and its method of synthesis was made public.

In 1769, G. G. Gahn discovered traces of phosphorus in calcined bone powder. He manages to extract it with sulfuric acid.

Currently, phosphorus is extracted from phosphorus rocks heated to very high temperatures. This process saves time and is economical.


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