For healthy adults, maintaining phosphorus levels in the body is generally achieved through eating plenty of lean meats and low-fat dairy. Those who have certain health problems or who do not eat phosphorus-containing food regularly may require supplementation. Additionally, people who have certain health conditions may have phosphorus levels which are too high. This may require medical treatment, such as dialysis, or other methods of controlling both the amount of phosphorus and the underlying condition.
Phosphorus is a naturally occurring trace mineral which is found in the bones of humans and in many common foods, primarily meat and dairy products. It aids in the processing of calcium and certain vitamins so that they can be effectively used by the body. The body also uses phosphorus to strengthen the teeth and bones along with calcium and it helps with tissue and cell regeneration. This makes proper phosphorus levels extremely important for the overall health of the body.
Most people eat enough phosphorus containing foods to maintain proper levels within the body. Meats, dairy, whole grains, and nuts all contain ample phosphorus levels. Heavily processed foods may be lacking in this and other minerals, so they should be eaten in moderation. Those who do not eat enough foods which contain phosphorus may require supplementation. Supplements can be found over the counter, but they should not be taken unless advised by a doctor since having too much phosphorus is also dangerous.
Those who have certain health conditions, such as kidney disease, may also have unusual phosphorus levels. This is usually caused by the kidneys or liver failing to properly filter out excess phosphorus, thus allowing it to build up in the body. Since this can lead to several health problems, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Those with long-term conditions may require dialysis to help flush excess minerals and other wastes from the body more efficiently. Certain medications, staying well hydrated, and other methods may also help flush extra phosphorus out of the body.
Keeping phosphorus and calcium levels balanced is crucial for proper health. Low levels can lead to irritability, fatigue, and worry. Too much can eventually cause hardening of certain tissues and brittle bones, among other ailments. If a deficiency is suspected, blood tests may be done to determine if phosphorus levels are lower than normal and supplementation may be recommended.