Fundamentals of Human Nutrition/Phosphorous

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10.2 Phosphorous[edit]


10.2.1 Sources[edit]

Phosphorus can be found naturally in certain fresh foods and can act as an additive in the form of a phosphate salt. Since phosphorus is a vital component of every single living organism, it can be found in a variety of foods. In processed foods, the phosphate salts are used for smoothness, binding, and moisture retention, which are all nonnutrient functions. This mineral can be found in protein rich foods. Some good sources of phosphorus that are high in protein are meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, poultry, legumes, cereal products and nuts (Intakes 1997). Other sources that are not high in protein, but still have a sufficient amount of phosphorus, are whole grains, dried fruits, carbonated beverages, and garlic cloves. The RDA is split into the two categories. Children and adolescents ranging from the age of 9 to 18 years old have an RDA of 1,250 milligrams a day. Adults 19 years and older are required to have an RDA of 700 milligrams per day (Lpi. 2015). There are phosphorus supplements for those who do not meet the RDA's. Multivitamin and mineral supplements that contain phosphorus make up around 108 milligams of the total daily intake. There are also supplements to treat hypophosphatemia. Hypophosphatemia is a hereditary disorder in which the body begins to waste phosphate. This disorder requires medical supervision because strong sodium phosphate and potassium phosphate salts are used as supplements to treat this disorder (Ehrlich 2013). It can be hard for someone to calculate the amount of phosphorous intake they had for the day because some phosphorus that comes from food additives are not always integrated in food nutrient composition records. Therefore the total amount of phosphorus consumed by a person in the United States can be undervalued by at least 20% (Intakes 1997). It is important to try to adhere to the RDA and not have an excessive amount of phosphorous intake because excess phosphorus can create changes in the body that withdraw calcium of the bones. High levels of phosphorus can also lead to threatening amounts of calcium deposits in the lungs, heart, eyes, and blood vessels (The National Kidney Foundation 2014). Eating fresh foods that are natural sources of phosphorous is suggested in order to maintain the proper RDA to contribute to ones overall health.

10.2.2 Functions[edit]

Phosphorus is one of the more commonly found minerals in the body. When combined with calcium, it creates calcium phosphate. Calcium phosphate is highly present in hydroxyapatite, a mineral that makes up the majority of a healthy bone structure. Hydroxyapatite gives bones their tough and stiff build. Even though the bulk of it may be found in bones (about 85 percent of it), it is also present in cells, making it extremely important and abundant in its functions in the body. It plays an imperative role in helping body tissues grow, maintain health, and repair when needed. In addition to working together with calcium to ensure strong bones and teeth, phosphorus is vital in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is needed for energy storage and production. ATP is the molecule that produces and reserves energy for the body to use. It is considered the energy currency and dictates how the body uses carbohydrates, protein, and fats that are consumed. Phosphorus also synthesizes phospholipids, which makes up a large portion of cell membrane structures. It serves as a buffer to temper the acid-base balance (pH) of bodily fluids. Furthermore, phosphorus functions with the kidney as well as DNA and RNA. It sifts through waste in our kidneys to ensure they are healthy and operative. As far as working with deoxyribonucleic acid and ribonucleic acid, it is needed for them to function normally. DNA and RNA produce proteins and amino acids for our body and without phosphorus, effective protein and amino acid synthesis would be compensated.

10.2.3 Requirements[edit]

Phosphorus is extremely essential in strong bone and teeth structure, especially in the early stages of a person’s life. The three most fundamental stages are during the time in the womb, child anabolism, and then during puberty when growth hormones are imperative. Recommended daily allowances are listed below: • 0 to 6 months: 100 milligrams per day (mg/day)* • 7 to 12 months: 275 mg/day* • 1 to 3 years: 460 mg/day • 4 to 8 years: 500 mg/day • 9 to 18 years: 1,250 mg • Adults: 700 mg/day Additionally, women who are pregnant, lactating, or postmenopausal should strive to consume more phosphorus in order to maintain a healthy balance of minerals in their bone mass, while also providing for the growing fetus.

Phosphorus deficiency is usually quite uncommon, as it is not hard to fulfill the daily recommendations with a regular diet. However, if phosphorus levels are to fall too low, symptoms can include but are not limited to softer bones, loss of appetite, and muscle fatigue. On the other spectrum, overconsumption could be characterized by excessive diarrhea and hardening of organs. Toxicity also has the potential to obstruct other minerals needed for the body like zinc, calcium, magnesium, and more.

10.2.4 Imbalance[edit]