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name of the term : Phosphorus

Short introduction

  • Phosphorus is a mineral with the symbol P.
  • Almost all of the phosphorus in the body occurs as phosphate.
  • Most of the body’s phosphate is found in the skeletal system (around 85%) where it combines with calcium.

Main natural sources

  • Found in protein-rich foods such as milk and milk products and meat and alternatives (beans, lentils, nuts) and grains, especially whole grains.
  • In smaller amounts in vegetables and fruit.

Main function

  • Major structural component of bone and teeth. When calcium combines with phosphorus, they form a structure called hydroxyapatite. This structure provides the strength to bones and teeth.
  • Required for growth, maintenance and repair of all tissues and cells, and for the production of the genetic building blocks, DNA and RNA.
  • Involved in energy production.

Deficiency disease

  • A deficiency in healthy individuals who are consuming a balanced diet is quite rare because phosphorus is found in a variety of foods.
  • Some health conditions such as diabetes, malabsorption disorders and alcoholism can cause levels of phosphorus in the body to fall. Symptoms include loss of appetite, anxiety, bone pain, fragile bones, stiff joints, fatigue, irregular breathing, irritability, weakness and weight change. In children, decreased growth and poor bone and tooth development may occur.

Recommended daily intake

Latest Dietary Reference Intakes  (DRIs) 
Institute of Medicine (IOM)

Age categoryPer day
Pregnancy
14 – 18 years
19 – 50 years

1250 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)

Lactation
14 – 18 years
19 – 50 years
1250 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)
Infants 6 – 12 months275 mg (AI)
Children
 1 – 3 years
 4 – 8 years
460 mg (RDA)
500 mg (RDA)
Males
 9 – 13 years
14 – 18 years
19 – 30 years
31 – 50 years
50 – 70 years
> 70 years
1250 mg (RDA)
1250 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)
Females
 9 – 13 years
14 – 18 years
19 – 30 years
31 – 50 years
50 – 70 years
> 70 years
1250 mg (RDA)
1250 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)
700 mg (RDA)

 

AI = Adequate Intake.
RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowance.


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