Phosphorus in the diet

Phosphorus is an important mineral that is taken up in the diet as phosphate. Together with calcium, it ensures the strength of bones and teeth, plays a role in the generation of energy, in building cell walls and as a buffer substance in the blood. Phosphorus has many functions in the human body, its importance has been known since the beginning of the 20th century. Phosphorus plays an important role in the mineralization of the bone substance. In addition, as part of the energy carrier adenosine triphosphate, it plays an important role in energy storage and energy provision.

Phosphorus: Occurrence and functions in the body

Phosphorus is needed for building up the cell walls and, as part of the nucleic acids in the genetic material (DNA), is partly responsible for its structure. Another function is as a buffer in the acid-base balance - it helps to stabilize the pH of the blood. The stock of phosphorus in the body is about 600-700 g; About 90% of these are bound in the bones. He is excreted mainly on the urine, less about the chair. When there is a lack of calcium in the blood, the parathyroid gland releases a hormone (parathyroid hormone) that dissolves calcium from the bone, at the same time liberating phosphorus.

Supply of phosphorus through the diet

The recommended daily dose of phosphorus is 700 mg. This daily dose of phosphorus is included in the diet, for example, in the following foods:

  • 55 g of wheat bran
  • 120 g soybeans
  • 120 g Gouda (30% fat)
  • 160 g of sardines
  • 170 g of lenses
  • 180 g of white beans
  • 350 g of mixed bread
  • 390 g roast pork
  • 760 g yoghurt (3.5% fat)
  • 1400 g of kohlrabi

Phosphorus occurs in almost all foods. Particularly good sources of phosphorus are protein-containing products, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

Deficiency symptoms of phosphorus

Phosphorus is present in virtually every food, so deficiencies in reasonable nutrition in adults are unlikely and most likely to occur in artificial diets. Other causes of phosphorus deficiency include renal impairment, hyperparathyroidism and vitamin D deficiency. If the phosphate level in the blood falls below a certain level, bone softening may occur (termed rickets in the child).

Overdose of phosphorus

Normally, the body excretes excess phosphorus with the urine. To a hyperphosphatemia. So too high a phosphate level in the blood occurs only in kidney dysfunction and a hypofunction of the parathyroid glands. The fact that a very high phosphorus intake and a simultaneous low calcium intake leads to disturbances of the bone structure is today rather denied. There may be an association between excessive phosphorus intake and the hyperactivity of many children (ADHD).

Phosphates in food

Phosphoric acid and phosphates are widely used as food additives in industrial food production. They serve as anti-oxidants, raising agents, acidity regulators and preservatives. Also in coke drinks, sodas, colored foods and sweets such as gummy bears phosphate is contained in relatively high doses. Together with sodium benzoate it is said to lead to a hyperactivity increase in children.

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