Phosphorus is among the top 6 most abundant element in the human body. As such, it is difficult for the body to function without phosphorus. Phosphorus is vital to bone health and strength. It also plays a significant role in the functioning of various organs such as the kidney, heart, and liver.
Most proteinous foods (such as eggs, nuts, pork, seeds, tuna, and dairy products) are good sources of phosphorus. However, there are also non-proteinous foods that are rich in phosphorus such as broccoli, dried fruits, potato, and garlic.
According to Institute of Medicine recommendations, the recommended dietary intakes of phosphorus are as follows:
- 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
Pregnant or lactating women:
- Younger than 18: 1,250 mg/day
- Older than 18: 700 mg/day
*AI or Adequate Intake
Below are 15 health benefits of phosphorus;
1. Bone Growth And Health
Especially for newborns, infants and toddlers, foods high in phosphorus are essential. The mineral plays a key role in the growth and overall health of bones and teeth. For expectant mothers, it’s highly recommended that phosphorus be a key part of their diets. Adults and senior citizens benefit from phosphorus as well, since the mineral aids bone density and can help prevent bone fractures. Foods rich in phosphorus include instant oatmeal, halibut, edamame, yogurt, and salmon.
2. Arthritis And Osteoporosis Prevention
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated in 2015 that nearly 60 million adults in the U.S. have an officially-diagnosed form of arthritis, fibromyalgia, or lupus. In approximately 20 years, the CDC expects that number to increase to 78 million Americans. Furthermore, five percent of men, 65 or older, have osteoporosis in their neck and spine. That number increases significantly in women. Once again, phosphorus, because of its presence in bones, strengthens them. It also helps reduce inflammation in arthritic patients’ joints.
3. Natural Energy Boost (Reduces Fatigue)
When you feel sluggish, your muscles get tired or sore, one of the causes is a loss of phosphorus in your body. Typically, you may see professional and amateur athletes consume energy drinks to help replenish the fluids they lose during physical activity. Interestingly, most energy drinks only contain one to two percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of phosphorus. Athletes may want to switch to chocolate milk. The USDA reports a cup of chocolate milk contains 378 mg of the mineral. In order for adults to function effectively during the day, they need approximately 1200mg of phosphorus daily.
4. Cellular Repair From Within
Our cellular structure is extremely complex and delicate. Any change in the environment or even the foods we eat affects our overall cellular health. This must be where the saying you are what you eat comes from. A healthy diet featuring fruits, vegetables, and whole foods stimulate the metabolism of proteins needed to repair cells. One of the key minerals in this recuperative process is phosphorus.
5. Fully Functioning Brain
Dementia is a general term for a sustained and demonstrated a decline in brain function. It can be caused by severe cranial injury or a stroke. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Memory loss severe enough to affect a patients’ daily life is diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. But more generally dementia should not be considered a disease of aging. Without a proper diet, the body would not produce the proteins necessary to heal it. Physicians and medical professionals often advise that a diet, rich in phosphorus, aids in cell repair in the body and the brain. Often times, those who suffer from dementia will show a loss of vitamins and minerals in their bodies.
6. Improved Digestive Health
Phosphorus plays a vital role in digestive health and the body’s ability to break down foods into the protein and nutrients it needs to function. Phosphorus helps in the digestion of riboflavin and niacin. These are two derivates of vitamin B. Vitamin B is one of the most important nutrients for various cellular activities in our body from energy production, neurological activity, and the functioning of the nervous system. Sure you can take supplements, even shots, but the human body functions its best through the natural absorption of vitamin B. Again, the right diet provides the minerals and nutrients the body needs to stimulate cellular activity.
7. Eliminate Toxins In The Body
When we eat, our body breaks down food to extract the nutrients it needs to function and then eliminates waste through the kidneys and liver. Phosphorus detoxifies those key organs and stimulates urination; the body’s natural process for getting rid of harmful toxins, chemicals, and metals.
8. Weight Loss
Adults and children trying to lose weight often have their rate of metabolism measured by a medical professional. Why is this important? A low metabolism doesn’t efficiently break down fats and complex carbohydrates in foods that could lead to weight gain. A higher metabolism breaks down fats and carbs more effectively. Higher levels of phosphorus in the body stimulate metabolism and help eliminate fats.
9. Hormonal Balance
Hormones travel throughout the body, regulating complex physiological processes such as growth, metabolism, and reproductive health. The RDA of phosphorus in the body helps regulate the creation of hormones and when they are released. For example, too much estrogen in the body can cause weight gain, water retention, and acne. On the other end, too little testosterone can cause fatigue, a low libido, and a sense of confusion. Phosphorus, in its role of regulating hormones, is vital.
10. Protein Metabolism
The body and, more importantly, organs get the energy it needs to function from the metabolic breakdown of proteins. Proteins are instrumental in functions including, cell regeneration, muscle recovery, and bone repair. Phosphorus boosts the break down of amino acids (the building block of proteins) and fats. For example, proteins like collagen and keratin are known as structural proteins. These connective proteins form the framework of bones, skin, muscles, and cartilage.
11. Nutrient Absorption
If phosphorus aids digestion or the elimination of waste from foods, it’s logical that the mineral also helps with the absorption of nutrients from foods. As discussed, diet can stimulate or dampen the chemical reactions and metabolic processes that are happening in the body at all times.
12. Regulate pH Balance
Phosphorus is one of the key nutrients the body uses to maintain proper pH balance. The acronym literally means the “power of hydrogen”. In biology, it is the amount of hydrogen ion concentration in the human body. The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14 (acidic to alkaline). A pH number of seven is considered to be neutral and recommended by medical professionals. With a phosphorus deficiency, pH balance could get compromised. If the body becomes too acidic, it can lead to acne, fatigue, and chronic pain in the joints. Psychologically, an acidic pH level produces depressive feelings and difficulty in feeling happiness.
A pH imbalance that is too alkaline can lead to nausea, involuntary muscle spasms, and a cognitive sense of confusion.
13. Good Teeth
Similar to phosphorus’ benefit to bones, the mineral strengthens teeth and gums. It supports the formation of tooth enamel, creates a denser jawbone, and keeps teeth in position.
14. Gene Therapy
The user manual for the human body is the molecular structure known as DNA. DNA has all the genetic information the body needs to develop, function, reproduce. The body can’t form DNA, generate new cells or repair tissue damage without sufficient phosphorus.
15. Nervous System Regulation And Muscular Function
Phosphorus helps ensure healthy nerve and muscle function. Your muscles can’t move without the signals they receive from your nervous system. That means phosphorus supports every step taken by the human body to even moving a hand away from a hot stove. Phosphorus, in combination with calcium, transmits nerves impulses. This, in turn, helps muscles contract and keeps the heart beating at normal intervals.
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