Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body, after calcium. About 85% of phosphorus in the body exists in bone.

Functions  

Phosphorus’ functions include:

  • Forming bones and teeth
  • Growing, maintaining, and repairing of cells and tissues
  • Synthesizing and activating proteins, such as enzymes and hormones
  • Maintaining acid-base balance
  • Producing, regulating, and transferring energy in the body
  • Converting carbohydrates, protein, and fat into energy
  • Important cell membrane component
  • Important in hemoglobin’s oxygen delivery function

Recommended Intake  

Age Group Recommended Dietary Allowance
(mg/day)
0-6 monthsNo RDA; Adequate Intake (AI) = 100
7-12 monthsNo RDA; AI = 275
1-3 years460
4-8 years500
9-18 years1,250
19 years and older700
Pregnancy and lactation, 18 years and younger1,250
Pregnancy and lactation, 19 years and older700

Phosphorus Deficiency  

Phosphorus deficiency is called hypophosphatemia. Since phosphorus is present in such a large variety of foods, dietary phosphorus deficiency is rare.

Symptoms of hypophosphatemia may include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Anemia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bone pain
  • Rickets and osteomalacia, which is a softening of the bones
  • Increased susceptibility to infection
  • Prickling, tingling, or creeping of the skin in the arm, hands, legs, or feet
  • Loss of muscular coordination