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  • IMAGE Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body, after calcium. About 85% of phosphorus in the body exists in bone.
  • Functions

    Phosphorus’ functions include:
    • Forming bones and teeth
    • Growing, maintaining, and repairing of cells and tissues
    • Synthesizing and activating proteins, such as enzymes and hormones
    • Maintaining acid-base balance
    • Producing, regulating, and transferring energy in the body
    • Converting carbohydrates, protein, and fat into energy
    • Important cell membrane component
    • Important in hemoglobin’s oxygen delivery function
  • Recommended Intake

    Age Group Recommended Dietary Allowance
    0-6 months No RDA; Adequate Intake (AI) = 100
    7-12 months No RDA; AI = 275
    1-3 years 460
    4-8 years 500
    9-18 years 1,250
    19 years and older 700
    Pregnancy and lactation, 18 years and younger 1,250
    Pregnancy and lactation, 19 years and older 700
  • Phosphorus Deficiency

    Phosphorus deficiency is called hypophosphatemia. Since phosphorus is present in such a large variety of foods, dietary phosphorus deficiency is rare.
    Symptoms of hypophosphatemia may include:
    • Loss of appetite
    • General weakness
    • Muscle weakness
    • Bone pain
    • Increased susceptibility to infection
    • Prickling, tingling, or numbness of the skin in the arm, hands, legs, or feet
    • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Phosphorus Toxicity

    Phosphorus toxicity is rare in people with normal kidney function. However, those with kidney problems may experience hyperphosphatemia, or elevated levels of phosphorus in the blood. Hyperphosphatemia can result in decreased levels of calcium in the blood and overproduction of parathyroid hormone, which can lead to bone loss.
    The following table shows the upper intake levels for phosphorus. But, it's important to note that these levels are not created for people with kidney disease. If you have problems with your kidneys and are concerned about your phosphorus intake, talk to your doctor.
    Age Group Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)
    0-12 months This amount has not been established.
    1-8 years 3,000
    9-70 years 4,000
    70 years and older 3,000
    Pregnancy and lactation 3,500 and 4,000
  • Major Food Sources

    Are you looking to add more phosphorus to your diet? Here are some good food sources:
    Food Serving Size Phosphorus Content
    Skim milk 8 ounces (227 grams) 247
    Plain, nonfat yogurt 8 ounces (227 grams) 306
    Part-skim mozzarella cheese 1 ounce (28 grams) 131
    Egg 1 large 86
    Beef 3 ounces (85 grams) 179
    Chicken 3 ounces (85 grams) 135-196
    Turkey 3 ounces (85 grams) 217
    Fish (halibut) 3 ounces (85 grams) 244
    Fish (salmon) 3 ounces (85 grams) 315
    Almonds 1 ounce (28 grams) 136
    Peanuts 1 ounce (28 grams) 108
    Lentils 4 ounces (113 grams) 178

    Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    Choose My Plate—United States Department of Agriculture


    Dietitians of Canada

    Health Canada


    Block GA, Port FK. Re-evaluation of risks associated with hyperphosphatemia and hyperparathyroidism in dialysis patients: Recommendations for a change in management. Am J Kidney Dis. 2000;3596:1226-1237.

    Cannata-Andia JB, Rodriguez-Garcia M. Hyperphosphataemia as a cardiovascular risk factor-how to manage the problem. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2002; 11:16-19.

    Phosphorus. Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute website. Available at: Updated June 2014. Accessed March 26, 2015.

    Revision Information

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