Trace Minerals - Phosphorus
(advisory by Grace Wang, Guardian Pharmacist)
What is phosphorus?
Phosphorus is an essential mineral that accounts for about 1% of a person's total body weight. It is the second most abundant mineral in the body, after calcium. The majority of phosphorus in the body is found in bones and teeth, and some are present in the cells and tissues.
What is the function of phosphorus in the body?
Phosphorus plays an important role in many of the body's biological processes, such as bone mineralisation, energy production and many others. In addition, phosphorus aids in maintaining organ/system functions such as the kidneys, heart, muscles and nervous system.
What are the sources of phosphorus?
The main sources of phosphorus are foods that are rich in protein, such as meat, dairy products and eggs. Some non-protein food such as whole grains, potatoes and dried fruits also contain phosphorus.
How much of phosphorus is recommended daily?
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for phosphorus varies depending on a person's gender and age. Generally, adolescents between the ages of 9 to 18 years old require the highest amount of phosphorus, up to 1250mg/day. Children below 8 years of age typically require below 500mg/day, whereas adults require 700mg/day of phosphorus.
What are the risks associated with too much or too little phosphorus?
Excessive levels of phosphorus in the body can cause diarrhea and hardening of organs and soft tissue. It may also affect the body's ability to effectively absorb other trace minerals. Conversely, low levels of phosphorus can lead to symptoms such as poor bone development or bone pain, loss of appetite, muscle weakness and fatigue