Sources Of Phosphorus

Seafood – tuna, mackerel, pike, red snapper, salmon, sardines, whitefish, scallops, shad, smelt, anchovies, bass, bluefish, carp, caviar, eel, halibut, herring, trout
Meats – liver (beef, chicken, hog, lamb), rabbit, sweetbreads, turkey, beef brains, chicken, eggs, egg yolk, lamb heart, kidney
Nuts/seeds – pinon, pistachios, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, hickory, peanuts, pecans
Vegetables – chickpeas, garlic, lentils, popcorn, soybeans
Dairy – cheeses
Grains – wheat bran and germ, wild rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, oatmeal, brown rice, rice bran, rye, wheat
Miscellaneous – chocolate, kelp, yeast, bone meal

Roles In The Body

  • Bone structure – 80-85% of phosphorus in the body is located in the bones and teeth
  • Energy production – (ATP – adenosine triphosphate and ADP – adenosine diphosphate)
  • Cell membranes – (as phospholipids)
  • Genetic reactions – in DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA – ribonucleic acid
  • Buffering agent, to maintain osmotic pressure

Functions Of Phosphorus

Digestive – regulates absorption of calcium and a variety of trace elements. Phosphorus in excess has a laxative action
Nervous – source of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), component of the myelin sheath
Endocrine – interacts with vitamin D
Blood – red blood cell (RBC) metabolism
Muscular – adenosine triphosphate (ATP) needed for muscle contraction
Skeletal – component of bone and teeth
Immune – adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for leukocytes
Metabolic – energy production via phosphorylation reactions
Detoxification – in liver – via adenosine triphosphate (ATP)

Symptoms Associated With A Phosphorus Deficiency

arthritis tooth decay
fatigue stunted growth
fragile bones weakness, muscle
reproductive problems

Symptoms Associated With A Phosphorus Excess

anemia (iron deficiency) hyperexcitability
arthritis irritability
calcium and magnesium deficiency tremors
diarrhea zinc deficiency

Synergetic Nutrients

Absorption – sodium, potassium, low calcium diet, vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, high fat diet
Metabolic – calcium, magnesium, B-complex vitamins (in energy production)

Antagonistic Nutrients

Absorption – calcium, aluminum, iron, magnesium, vegetarian diets,vitamin D deficiency

Hair Analysis Notes

  • High Hair Phosphorus:
    • An elevated phosphorus level is frequently indicative of excessive protein breakdown of body tissues. As proteins break down, phosphorus is released.
    • Phosphorus levels may increase temporarily as toxic metals are being eliminated in the course of a nutrition program.
    • Very high phosphorus (greater than 25 mg%) can indicate a serious metabolic disturbance.


    Pubic hair samples often show elevated phosphorus readings. This is a characteristic of pubic hair.

    Low Hair Phosphorus:

    • A low phosphorus level is frequently associated with inadequate protein synthesis.
    • Although most diets are adequate in phosphorus, those on low-protein diets or vegetarians may have a low phosphorus intake.
    • Zinc is required for protein synthesis. Often a low phosphorus level is associated with a zinc deficiency, cadmium toxicity, or zinc loss. When these imbalances are corrected, the phosphorus level improves.
    • A low phosphorus level may be due to poor digestion or assimilation of protein. This may be due to digestive enzyme deficiency, low hydrochloric acid level, or other factors.