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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Phosphorus
      Category : Health Centers > Food, Nutrition, and Metabolism


Overview & Description | Functions and Sources

Phosphorus is an essential mineral, and the second most abundant mineral in the body. Eighty percent of phosphorous is found in the bones and teeth. The other 20 percent works in body functions. It is found in every cell of the body.


The recommended amount of phosphorus a person should get each day is similar to that of calcium. The recommended daily allowance, or RDA, for adults is 800 mg. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should get 1200 mg daily.

It is quite easy to get enough phosphorus because it is found in so many foods. Deficiencies are rare. A person who takes an antacid with aluminum hydroxide for a long time could have symptoms of a deficiency, including:

  • osteoporosis, or bone thinning
  • weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle pain
  • Getting too much phosphorus, from drinking too many carbonated drinks or eating too much meat, can cause adverse affects. High phosphorus levels can interfere with calcium absorption. This can eventually lead to poor bone maintenance and osteoporosis, or brittle bones. Excess phosphorus can also interfere with the absorption of iron.


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    Phosphorus: Functions and Sources

    Author: Kimberly Tessmer, RD, LD
    Reviewer: Jane Hemminger, RD, LD
    Date Reviewed: 04/03/01

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