Phosphorus is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, second only to calcium. This essential mineral is required for the healthy formation of bones and teeth, and is necessary for the metabolism of fats, protein, and carbohydrates. It is also a part of the body’s energy storage system, and helps with maintaining health blood sugar levels. The regular contractions of the heart are dependant upon phosphorus as are normal cellular growth and repair.
The human body must maintain a balance between magnesium phosphorus, and calcium. Excess intake of phosphorus can occur in people with diets high in processed foods, soft drinks, and meats, leading to osteoporosis. Since phosphorus is found in almost all plant and animal food sources, a deficiency of this mineral is rarely seen, and only in cases where antacids or anticonvulsant drugs are consumed in excessive amounts over extended periods of time.
The Recommended Dietary Allowances for phosphorus is 300 milligrams for infants, and between 800 and 1,200 milligrams for adults. It is estimated that Americans ingest on average between 1,500 and 1,600 milligrams of phosphorus per day, almost twice the recommended amount.
Foods highest in phosphorus include asparagus, brewers yeast, dairy products, eggs, fish, dried fruit, meats, garlic, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.