Phosphorus, also denoted as ‘P’ was an ancient name for the planet when it appeared before sunrise. It was derived from the Greek word ‘phosphoros’ which means ‘light bearing’. Phosphorus is a non-metal and highly poisonous element. Hence it is never found free in nature but is in combination with a wide variety of minerals. A highly reactive element, it is kept under water as the contact with the skin may lead to burns. Phosphorus is a macro-mineral and the majority of it is stored in the body in the bones and the teeth.

What is the role of Phosphorus in your body?

Phosphorus is a mineral that busily works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Phosphorus enables the kidney to filter waste and stores energy in the body. Also our steady heartbeats are because of Phosphorus as it helps in the contractions. The development of tissues and cells in the body are supported by Phosphorus. The mineral is responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It acts as a producer of the genetic building blocks, namely the DNA and the RNA. Phosphorus helps in balancing the use of the minerals and vitamins along with vitamin D, iodine, magnesium and zinc. Phosphorus, along with Vitamin B, helps the body in kidney function, muscle contractions, normal heartbeat and nerve signalling. About 1% of the body weight depends on Phosphorus.

How much Phosphorus is enough for your body?

The general recommendation for Phosphorus among children between 6 months to 8 years is about 100 mg – 500 mg a day and among the adults is about 700 mg daily.

How does lack of Phosphorus affect you?

Phosphorus along with calcium plays a balanced proportion in the body. However, deficiency of Phosphorus may lead to painful bones, irregular breathing, fatigue, anxiety, numbness, skin sensitivity and certain changes in the body mass and weight.

What illness does it give rise to?

The illnesses are:

  • Chronic Kidney disease: Phosphorus helps the kidneys in filtering the waste; the tiny filters in the kidneys are called nephrons. If they are damaged, it affects the working of the kidneys. The symptoms are less urination, swelling from the build up in the tissues, tired or sleepy, not feeling hungry, sick stomach, vomiting, sleeplessness, etc.

  • Hyperparathyroidism: It is a complicated disease, the cause of which is not known to the doctors. Its symptoms are either mild or non specific. They include weakness, fatigue, depression, aches or pains, loss of appetite, nausea, constipation, confusion and increased thirst or urination.

  • Rickets: Deficiency of calcium, Vitamin D and Phosphorus leads to Rickets. It is seen among the children between 6-24 months of age. The types include hypo-phosphatemic rickets, kidney rickets, and osteomalacia rickets. Its symptoms are bone pain, dental deformities, delayed formation of teeth, low muscle strength, short stature, rib-cage abnormalities, etc.
How does excess of Phosphorus affect you?

High intake of Phosphorus in the short term does not affect the body much. However in the long run, if it exceeds by 3 to 4 grams, it may interfere with the absorption of calcium.

How can you increase Phosphorus in your body?

One can increase the level of Phosphorus in the body with the intake of foods that are rich in protein like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts and legumes, whole grains, potatoes, dried fruits, garlic cloves and aerated drinks.

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