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Phosphorus is one of the bulk elements and has numerous tasks in the human organism. It is found in all living cells and is also part of bones, teeth and cells. Phosphorus is involved in processes of energy production and storage (ATP) as well as in the regulation of the acid-base balance (buffer properties, pH value). A balanced diet rarely results in an undersupply.
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- more on the subject
- Where is phosphate found?
- How much phosphate do we need?
- Too much / too little phosphate
Where is phosphate found?
Phosphate is found in almost all foods. Protein-rich foods are usually also rich in phosphate. Good sources include liver, meat, sausage products, milk and dairy products, bread and eggs.
How much phosphate do we need?
The recommended daily intake for adults (25 to <51 years) according to the DA-CH reference values is 700 mg phosphorus. Adolescents (10 to <19 years) have an increased phosphorus requirement with 1,250 mg phosphorus per day due to bone growth. Pregnant women need 800 mg, breastfeeding women 900 mg phosphorus per day.
You can find out more about all age groups or groups of people as well as gender in the DA-CH reference values. For more information, see Covering Your Daily Mineral Requirement.
Too much / too little phosphate
- With a balanced diet there is no increased intake in healthy people. An increased level of phosphate in the blood can have various causes, such as the reduced excretion of phosphate with impaired kidney function. Taking certain phosphate-containing drugs (e.g. bisphosphonates) can also lead to high phosphate levels. As far as we know today, high amounts of phosphate do not have a negative effect on bone health, and a specific calcium-phosphorus ratio no longer has to be maintained.
- Through a balanced diet can be a phosphate deficiency easily avoid - a phosphate deficiency due to insufficient supply is not known. However, a deficiency can occur with certain diets, anorexia or alcohol abuse. Excessive excretion of phosphate (e.g. with certain kidney diseases) or insufficient absorption (e.g. with vitamin D deficiency, chronic diarrhea or vomiting, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases) as well as certain hormonal disorders can lead to a deficiency. Symptoms of phosphorus deficiency include hypophosphataemia (too little phosphate in the blood) and general weakness.
For more information on phosphate, see Laboratory Values.
Note Phosphate is used as an additive in the processing of foodstuffs (e.g. as a release agent and raising agent, as an acidifier in soft drinks, and as a melting agent in processed cheese production).