‘Normal levels of phosphorus’ is a widely searched term in internet search engines. And with good reason, it’s a very important mineral required by many of the complex systems in our bodies.
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What is phosphorus?
Phosphorus is a mineral found in our bodies and the general environment around us. It’s also one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies second only to calcium.
What are normal phosphorus levels in blood?
The normal levels of phosphorus required to stay healthy for most adults is 2.5 – 4.5 mg/dl. A phosphorus level in the blood between those ranges is considered safe/normal.
The levels fluctuate with age and diet and are normally higher in children than adults.
Mg/dl refers to milligrams per decilitre. A milligram is 1/1000th of a gram and a deciliter is 1/10th of a liter.
Typical total body phosphorus for a 154lb [70kg] man is between 700 – 800 mg.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of phosphorus
The recommended daily intake for phosphorus changes with age. Generally speaking, adults require less than children over 8, but more than children 8 and under.
The RDA of phosphorus for the different age groups is as follows –
- 0 – 6 months: 100mg
- 7 – 12 months: 275mg
- 1 – 3 years: 460mg
- 4 – 8 years: 500mg
- 9 – 18 years: 1250mg
- 19 years and above – 700mg
Most of us will be able to maintain normal levels of phosphorus through a healthy diet alone without the need for phosphorus supplements. It’s more common in fact to have an overabundance of this mineral than too little.
What level of phosphorus is too high?
A phosphorus level over 4.5mg/dl is considered too high. As stated earlier the healthy range is 2.5 – 4.5 mg/dl.
Avoid a phosphorus level that’s too high by not going over the RDA for long periods of time.
What level of phosphorus is too low?
A phosphorus level under 2.5mg/dl is considered too high. As stated earlier the healthy range is 2.5 – 4.5 mg/dl.
Why are normal levels of phosphorus important?
Phosphorus is a very important mineral. It’s vital for our bodies and most of their vital functions.
Levels that are too high or too low over the long term can lead to health problems as serious as heart disease.
Other minerals also rely on normal phosphorus levels too. It has a heavy connection with calcium and works in conjunction with it to build strong bones. However, the levels of each need to be within their respective normal range for normal absorption levels.
What does phosphorus do in your body?
Normal levels of phosphorus are vital for some bodily processes and help with others.
Phosphorus is vital for –
- Muscle contraction
- Production of energy
- Strong and healthy bones
Phosphorus helps with –
- Energy use and storage
- Filtering waste from the kidneys
- Correct nervous system function
- A regular heartbeat
- Producing DNA and growth, repair, and maintenance of cells and tissue
- Reduced muscle pain after exercise
- Building strong teeth
As you can see from the above phosphorus is an essential mineral required by your body.
The effects of too little phosphorus
A diet low in phosphorus can result in levels of this vital mineral getting too low in our bodies.
Some of the symptoms of low phosphorus levels include –
- Losing your appetite
- Joint and/or bone pain
Experiencing any of the above symptoms in combination or isolation could indicate low phosphorus levels.
The effects of too much phosphorus
It is possible to have too much of this vital mineral in the body.
The effects of too much phosphorus in the body are as follows –
- Affects the body’s ability to make use of other vital minerals.
- Can cause diarrhea.
- Causes mineral deposits to form in the muscles.
- Hardening of the internal organs.
It should be noted though it is a rare occurrence among generally healthy people.
Mostly only those with kidney issues or calcium regulation problems are at risk of this problem.
Which foods have phosphorus?
Many, in fact, most foods actually contain phosphorus. Foods that are high in calcium and protein are generally also high in phosphorus. Therefore, if you have sufficient protein and calcium in your diet you’ll most likely have sufficient phosphorus too.
Some good sources of phosphorus are the following –
- Dried fruit
- Fizzy [carbonated] drinks
- Whole grains
Overall, phosphorus is a very important mineral for our bodies.
Thankfully it’s not hard to find and is found in many foods. So, if you have a healthy diet you should be fine.
Knowing the foods that are rich in this mineral, and the symptoms of high and low levels are useful knowledge to have.
If you think you may be suffering the symptoms of too much or too little phosphorus have a word with your doctor about it.
As always, feel free to leave a comment if you have any thoughts, advice, questions, or opinions related to this article.
Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness, or exercise.