Beginner’s Guide: Phosphorus

You may not have realized it, but phosphorus is an essential nutrient that plays a role in many different body processes. This mineral is found in every cell of the human body, and it’s necessary for the growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues. Here’s a closer look at what phosphorus does in the body and why it’s so important to get enough of this essential nutrient.

What Does Phosphorus Do in the Body?

Phosphorus is a mineral found in many plant- and animal-based foods. It’s essential for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues throughout your body. Phosphorus also helps to regulate metabolism, store energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), and contribute to healthy bone structure. In addition, this mineral is necessary for the proper functioning of your muscles, heart, and kidneys.

Cell growth: This mineral is necessary for cell reproduction and regeneration.
Bone health: Phosphorus helps to build strong bones and teeth. It also helps the body absorb calcium, which is another important mineral for bone health.
Kidney function: Phosphorus aids in filtering waste from the blood and balancing fluids in the body.
Nerve function: Phosphorus is necessary for proper nerve function.
Muscle contraction: This mineral helps the muscles contract and relax.

As you can see, phosphorus is involved in many different processes in the body, which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re getting enough of this nutrient.

Food Sources & Supplementation

Phosphorous Rich Foods

Most people get the phosphorus they need from their diets since it’s found in a variety of foods. Some good food sources of phosphorus include:

Red meat, chicken, and turkey are all good sources of phosphorus.

Fish such as salmon and tuna are also excellent sources of this mineral. Fish is a good source of phosphorous, with salmon containing about 300 mg per 3-ounce serving and tuna containing about 200 mg per 3-ounce serving. Other fish that are high in phosphorous include sardines, herring, and mackerel.

Dairy Products
Good source of phosphorous, with milk containing about 98 mg per cup and cheese containing about 160 mg per ounce. Yogurt is also a good option, with about 75 mg per cup.

Eggs are another good source of phosphorous, with a large egg providing about 85 mg.

Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of phosphorous, with almonds containing about 97 mg per ounce and sunflower seeds containing about 109 mg per ounce. Other nuts and seeds that are high in phosphorous include pumpkin seeds, cashews, and pistachios.

Beans are a good source of phosphorous, with black beans containing about 120 mg per cup and kidney beans containing about 110 mg per cup. Other beans that are high in phosphorous include lentils, chickpeas, and soybeans.

Whole grains
Whole grains are a good source of phosphorous, with brown rice containing about 80 mg per cup and quinoa containing about 170 mg per cup. Other whole grains that are high in phosphorous include oats, barley, and buckwheat.

Mushrooms are a good source of phosphorous, with white mushrooms containing about 55 mg per cup and portobello mushrooms containing about 150 mg per cup. Other mushrooms that are high in phosphorous include shiitake mushrooms and oyster mushrooms.

It’s important to note that most people probably don’t need to worry about getting too much phosphorus since it’s so easy to get from food. However, if you take phosphorus supplements or have certain medical conditions that increase your need for this nutrient, you may be at risk for getting too much phosphorus. Too much phosphorus can cause problems such as kidney damage or bone loss, so it’s important not to take more than you need. Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure how much phosphorus you should be getting each day.

Possible side effects or interactions

Most people can safely get the magnesium they need from food or supplements. However, if you take certain medications (such as antacids or antibiotics), you may be at risk for drug interactions. If you have any concerns about your magnesium intake, speak to your healthcare provider.


It’s important to get enough phosphorus in your diet because this essential nutrient plays a role in many different body processes. Good sources of phosphorus include meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and some cereals and breakfast foods. Most people get enough phosphorus by following a healthy diet; however, certain conditions can lead to a deficiency of this mineral. If you think you may be deficient in phosphorus or are experiencing symptoms of a deficiency (such as weak bones or fatigue), talk to your doctor about getting tested.

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