Phosphorus is an essential mineral that your body needs for nearly all of its functions. This nutrient is found in many foods and is often bound to calcium, showing how these two minerals work in conjunction within the body.
Phosphorus is found throughout the body, but it’s most abundant in the bones and teeth. In fact, almost 85% of your body’s phosphorus is found in your skeletal system.
Why You Need Phosphorus
Phosphorus helps support your health in a variety of ways and is an important component for several body systems. The good news is that because phosphorus is found in many foods, it is often abundant enough to help you avoid phosphorus deficiencies.
Nevertheless, its vital presence in body functions means that you need to maintain your intake of this mineral. Generally, the recommended daily phosphorus intake for youth and teens is about 1,250 milligrams and for adults is about 700 milligrams.
Phosphorus helps support the health of several body systems:
Musculoskeletal and Nerve Health
Your bones, teeth, muscles, tendons, joints, cartilage, and connective tissues make up the musculoskeletal system, and they need phosphorus to function properly. Phosphorus helps repair and strengthen bones and teeth, support muscle contraction, and maintain nerves and cells.
Cell and Tissue Health
Along with helping your muscles and nerves stay healthy, phosphorus is important for your overall cell and tissue health as well. Phosphorus is a part of most cells, especially in nucleic acid and cell membranes, and it supports energy storage and the formation of DNA and RNA.
Hemoglobin needs iron to help transfer oxygen from the lungs to the blood, but it also needs phosphorus. The molecule 2,3-diphosphoglycerate, which contains phosphorus, works alongside iron to help your blood stay oxygenated.
Foods With Phosphorus
Phosphorus is found in a wide variety of foods, but its bioavailability (the portion of phosphorus that is absorbed by your body) depends on the type of food source. Plant-based foods have a lower bioavailability of 20% to 50%, because phosphorus in these foods is a component of phytates, which the body doesn’t absorb as easily.
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