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Phosphorous
 

What is it?
Phosphorus is a mineral. It is a major component of bones and teeth and makes up part of DNA and RNA.

What does it do?
Phosphorus serves as the main regulator of energy metabolism in cells, helps the body absorb glucose and transport fatty acids, and is part of the buffer system that helps control the acid-base balance of the body.

Where do you get it?
Almost all foods contain phosphorus, including:

  • protein-rich foods like milk, meat, fish, eggs and poultry
  • legumes and nuts
  • foods with phosphorus-boosting additives, such as baked goods, bread, processed meats and cheeses, and soft drinks

Good Sources of Phosphorus

Food

Amount

Phosphorus (milligrams)

All-bran cereal

8 oz. (1 cup)

792

Pancakes

3 pancakes

430

Chili with beans

8 oz. (1 cup)

393

Chocolate pudding (instant)

4 oz. (1/2 cup)

379

Pinto beans

8 oz. (1 cup)

273

1 % milk

8 oz. (1 cup)

245

Cinnamon raisin rolls

2 Hungry Jack rolls

234

American cheese

1 oz.

211

Rib-eye beef

3.5 oz. (less than 1/4 lb.)

208

Fried shrimp

3.5 oz. (less than 1/4 lb.)

191

Macaroni and cheese

8 oz. (1 cup)

182

Bran flakes

8 oz. (1 cup)

174

White cake from a mix

1 slice (1/12 of a cake)

170

Almonds

1 oz.

150

Oatmeal (regular, quick)

1 oz. (dry)

132

Egg

1 large egg

90

Cola

12 oz.

63

How much do we need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for phosphorus is:

  • 700 milligrams a day for adults 19-70 years old
  • 1,250 milligrams a day for children 9-18 and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding

Deficiencies of phosphorus are rare. Most men get at least 1,500 milligrams and women get more than 1,000 milligrams a day.

Is it safe?
The phosphorus levels in normal diets are not likely to be harmful. It is possible that excessive amounts may lower the levels of calcium in the blood and cause too much calcium to be lost through urine, especially if the intake of calcium and vitamin D is insufficient or marginal. Bone loss then could result.
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