An Essential Mineral: Phosphorus


You would be amazed to know that this mineral we`re discussing today ― phosphorus ― is the first known mineral to be discovered. It was discovered by Henning Brand, a German merchant. He discovered phosphorus in 1699 through the distillation of urine. The name, phosphorus, is derived from Greek; it is translated as “possesses brilliance”. This name came about as a result of the capability of phosphorus to shine in the dark. Much later, a few researchers also started freeing phosphorus particles by adding sand and coal to urine. As research progressed, a decade later, its importance as a part of the bone structure was discovered by Brand himself. The first commercial phosphorus production was a strange one; it involved the reaction of bones with sulfuric or nitric acid, which created phosphoric acid, which was then heated with coal creating elementary phosphorus. In the 19th century, phosphorus was commercially produced using the electric furnace, and this is the method still being used. Phosphorus works with calcium to build bones. Getting the right amounts of calcium and phosphorus ensures bone health. The body absorbs less phosphorus when calcium levels are too high, and vice versa. What’s more? Vitamin D is required to absorb phosphorus properly.

What is Phosphorus?

In simple terms, it is a mineral that the body uses for repair and growth of body cells and tissues. Phosphorus is a major part of almost all body cells and tissues, with 85% concentration in the teeth and bones.

Phosphorus is used by the body to carry out a number of biochemical processes such as pH regulation and energy production.

Which Foods Contain Phosphorus, and How Much?

  • Cheese 112-125 mg
  • Milk 217mg +
  • Yogurt 183- 217mg
  • Venison 17-0mg+
  • Pork 130-221 mg
  • Chicken and turkey 134-163mg
  • Liver (beef) 345mg+
  • Salmon 244-255mg
  • Scallops 320mg
  • Baby soybeans/edamame 138-150mg
  • Potato with its skin on 121-130mg
  • Mushrooms 124 mg
  • Rice bran 335 mg
  • Wheat Bran 270 mg
  • Waffles cooked 135-147mg
  • Quinoa cooked 149mg
  • Wheat germ cereal 344mg
  • Bran Flakes 108—261 mg
  • Instant oatmeal cooked 127-134mg
  • Oats regular 127-134mg
  • Herring cooked 219-244mg
  • Halibut 214mg+
  • Tuna canned 104mg
  • Asides these, phosphorus can be found in seeds, vegetables, nuts, and chickpeas.

What are the Health Benefits of Phosphorus?

Bone Growth

Phosphorus is a significant mineral present in the bones, and a good amount of it is required for an excellent state of health. Phosphorus is crucial for the bone development of babies and should be an indispensable part of an expecting mother’s diet. It is also great in preventing bone density loss and ensuring the bone structure is protected from fractures and bone damage.

Healthy Digestion

Phosphorus aids in the digestion of riboflavin and niacin, and these are derivatives of vitamins that ensure body repair of any oxidative damage. These vitamins are essential for the metabolic process and neurological response systems. Phosphorus absorption through digestion is responsible for energy production in the body. It clears up indigestion and also relieves constipation.

Healthy Brain Function

healthy brain

Phosphorus ensures cell repair and tissue growth in both the body and the brain. It is an essential component of cells, little wonder it is so highly essential for the proper brain functioning. An adequate amount of phosphorus promises a healthy memory in older ages.

Protein Metabolism

Metabolism is essential to keep organs functioning. The body derives its energy to perform cell regeneration from metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates. Phosphorus stimulates the metabolism of proteins, helping the body break down proteins and fats in an effective manner to promote healthy absorption of nutrients without retaining bad fats and cholesterol.

It’s a Kidney Lover

Phosphorus keeps the kidneys healthy, promoting urination, and drawing out toxins. It also eliminates the accumulation of harmful chemicals and metals in the kidneys. What’s more? It balances out the uric acid in the body, and this prevents inflammation. It also detoxifies the liver and kidneys, keeping the body safe from many chronic illnesses.

Nutrient Absorption

To function properly, the body needs to absorb nutrients from food. Phosphorus is a part of major enzymatic and biochemical reactions in the body that are required for the absorption of nutrients in the digestive system. Phosphorus helps extract nutrients and enhances oxygenation in the bloodstream.

It Reduces Fatigue and Weakness

Phosphorus is vital for the increase of energy levels. It reduces inflammation of joints and reduces numbness and weakness. A certain amount of phosphorus is required to keep the body functioning — adults require about 1200mg per day.

It Prevents Arthritis and Osteoporosis

Aging, menopause, or deficiency of certain nutrients are some of the causes of arthritis and osteoporosis. Phosphorus builds the strength of the bones and protects against chronic illnesses. People who experience joint pain or a burning sensation in the joints can add phosphorus supplements to their diets for healing.

Cell Repairing Mechanism

Poor eating habits can be somewhat disastrous for cellular health. With phosphorus, there is a self-repair on a cellular level. The required forms of protein for cell repair is created, and there is a drastic reduction in the effects of free radicals.

Balanced Hormones

Phosphorus regulates the hormones related to reproduction and eliminates dysfunctions, irrespective of gender. Phosphorus interacts with the endocrine glands and prevents the excessive release of hormones into the bloodstream.

Weight Loss


You remember phosphorus and its essential role in metabolism? Here it goes again, this super essential mineral — it helps the body break down fats and carbohydrates faster, and prevents the absorption and retention of bad fats in the stomachs lining. Do you want to lose some weight? Get some phosphorus in your system.

Recommended Daily Phosphorus Intake

  • Infants 0–6 months: 100 milligrams daily
  • Infants 7–12 months: 275 milligrams
  • Children, 1–3: 420 milligrams
  • Children, 4–8: 500 milligrams
  • Ages 9–18: 1,250 milligrams
  • Adults ages 19–50: 700 milligrams
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: 700 milligrams

As stated above, teens need the most phosphorus because they are rapidly growing and developing bone mass.

What about Phosphorus Deficiency?

Really, phosphorus deficiency is uncommon. Poor diets or eating disorders are factors that may cause it. Let’s discuss some other possible causes of phosphorus deficiency.


Diabetes leads to phosphorus deficiency when the body isn’t producing sufficient insulin and can’t break fat down as fuel. As a result of this, acids build up in the blood, causing a phosphorus deficiency.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol intake may lead to malnutrition, hence, nutritional deficiencies.

Inherited Disorders

There are some genetic disorders that affect the body’s ability to store phosphorus. These disorders lead to excessive excreting of phosphorus in the urine or a challenge of absorbing the mineral from foods.


Evaluation of phosphorus levels can be done through blood work or urine tests. For healthy adults, the range of phosphorus in the blood should be between 2.5 and 4.5 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL).

What are the Symptoms?

People who have phosphorus deficiency usually have bone-related symptoms. Bone pain, fragile bones are common symptoms.

Are there other Symptoms?

  • irregular breathing
  • irritability
  • joint stiffness
  • weakness
  • changes in body weight
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • numbness

What Happens When Phosphorus is Too Much?

High levels of phosphorus affect the body’s ability to effectively use other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Phosphorus, no doubt, is integral mineral. It is necessary for healthy bones and a healthy body. Sometimes health conditions such as kidney disease can affect the levels of phosphorus in the body. There is no one as reliable as your doctor when it comes to health issues.