Phosphorus is a mineral, which is essential for many body functions and is the next most abundant mineral after calcium present in the body. It works along with calcium to form strong teeth and bones, where 85% of all the phosphorus found in the body is present. Elemental phosphorus burns when it comes into contact with air and is a yellow or white waxy substance. It is used only as a homeopathic medicine.
Health benefits of Phosphorus
The health benefits of phosphorus are critical for repair of cells and tissues, producing RNA and DNA building blocks, for good health of teeth and gums and many other uses that are listed below.
Bone formation : Of all the health benefits of phosphorus, the most important is the integral role it plays in maintaining healthy teeth and bones and helping in their growth. Since most of the phosphorus found in the body is located in the bones and teeth, it works with calcium to protect them from wear and tear that occurs throughout the lifetime of a person. Phosphorus protects the teeth enamel and maintains healthy gums. It helps to prevent bone loss and therefore more serious conditions that occur in old age like osteoporosis. This mineral aids people in leading a healthy life by helping to provide a strong skeletal structure.
Digestion : Riboflavin and niacin are important for digestion. Phosphorus helps in the digestion of both these important B vitamins and hence it is needed for effective digestion.
Excretion : The normal function of kidneys needs phosphorus. By making sure the kidneys function normally, phosphorus helps in the excretion process of releasing waste from the body.
Weakness : Minor ailments like weakness, fatigue and numbness are alleviated by right amounts of phosphorus in the body. Symptoms of sexual weakness can also be cured by proper intake of phosphorus.
Protein formation : One of the important health benefits of phosphorus is in protein formation, maximum protein utilization by the body that ensures proper cell growth and cell repair when required. Phosphorus also helps in the optimum utilization of carbohydrates and fats. Reproductive activity is also aided by this essential mineral as it helps in protein formation.
Brain function : Phosphorus is found in the brain cells and around the brain. Hence it is essential for proper working of various brain functions.
Hormone Balance : Hormonal imbalance can lead to various health problems. By helping to regulate the hormonal balance in the body, phosphorus plays an important role in reproductive health.
Energy Extraction : Phosphorus aids in proper flow of energy throughout the body and its efficient usage. It also helps in the metabolism of various nutrients and therefore in the energy extraction process.
Cell Repair : Different body cells experience wear and tear throughout the lifetime of a person. Phosphorus helps to repair and maintain all body cells. This ensures the body functions normally and a person has good health.
Chemical Reactions : There are many chemical reactions that take place in the body and several of them need phosphorus as a participant. The various nutrients that are absorbed by the body also need phosphorus for their proper utilization.
Miscellaneous health benefits of phosphorus
- Reduces muscle pain as a result of exercise. Athletes and those who work out heavily take phosphate supplements to reduce fatigue and muscle pain.
- It is needed for producing genetic building blocks – DNA and RNA
- Phosphorus provides proper balance and use minerals like iodine, vitamin D, zinc and magnesium
- Proper balance of calcium and phosphorus is needed to maintain good bone density
- Phosphorus is used to treat hypophosphatemia that occurs due to low levels of this mineral in the body. Those who are malnourished – like alcoholics – suffer from this condition.
- Phosphorus treats hypercalcemia that is a result of high calcium in the blood
- Kidney stones that occur due to calcium can also be treated by phosphorus
- Phosphates can help as laxatives in enemas
- Phosphorus is critical for the manufacture of adenosine triphosphate – ATP – the molecule needed by the body to store energy.
- In conjunction with B vitamins, phosphorus helps in muscle contraction, maintaining regular heart beat, and nerve conduction.
Foods rich in Phosphorus
Foods rich in proteins like poultry, meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, eggs and legumes provide the best health benefits of phosphorus. Whole grains, dried fruit, hard potatoes, carbonated beverages, garlic cloves also contain phosphorus . Foods that contain calcium and protein invariably provide adequate quantities of phosphorus too. Whole grain cereals and breads have more phosphorus than those made from refined flour. However, these sources contain phytin – storage form of phosphorus – that humans cannot absorb . Some other foods rich in phosphorus are broccoli, peas, sunflower seeds, rice, white bread, tuna, pork and peanut butter .
Precautions when taking Phosphorus
Consuming too much phosphorus is toxic. It causes calcification of soft tissue and organs, diarrhea and interferes with the ability of the body to properly utilize calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. Those who take phosphorus supplements like athletes must ensure they do so under strict medical supervision. Nutritionists recommend that calcium and phosphorus must have the right balance to prevent the risk of osteoporosis, brittle bones, teeth and gum problems .
The health benefits of phosphorus especially for healthy bones and teeth are critical. Deficiency of phosphorus while rare can result in weak bones, fatigue, tooth decay, rickets, osteoporosis and many other bone problems. People can also experience anxiety, weight loss, tremors and restricted growth. Since it is easy to get the daily requirement of phosphorus through a balanced diet, most people need not suffer from phosphorus deficiency. All those who need more phosphorus and have to take supplements must do so under medical advice only.