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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-17 (EDT)

See Also Minerals


Phosphorus is a mineral found in the body that is important for building strong bones and teeth (along with calcium), promotes energy metabolism as it is necessary for B-complex vitamin utilization, promotes growth, maintenance and repair of all body tissues, buffers body fluids for acid-base balance, and acidifies the urine and reduces the risk of kidney stones.[1]. Dietary phosphorus is absorbed in the small bowel.

Food Sources

Nuts mix.jpg

The following foods are natural sources of phosphorus. For a more expansive list on food sources of specific nutrients visit Health Canada's Dietary Reference Intakes for Elements or USDA's National Nutrient Database

Other food sources include:[2]


Conditions which may/individuals who may require additional phosphorus include: [1]

Article No Rash Decision Towards Phosphorus for Shingles, NDNR; 2013 February
  • Prolonged vomiting
  • Inadequate caloric or dietary intake or increased nutritional requirement
  • Taking excessive amounts of antacids
  • Chronic wasting illness
  • Stress. People under excess stress for prolonged periods
  • People who have had recent urgery
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Alcoholism

Deficiency Symptoms

  • bone pain
  • loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • easily broken bones

Excess Symptoms

Adverse reactions or side effects of taking phosphorus may include:

  • abdominal pain
  • bone or joint pain
  • breathing problems
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • decreased volume of daily urine output
  • fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • muscle cramps
  • numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • tremor
  • unusual thirst

Assessment Procedure

Lab test to detect deficiency: [1]

Prescribing Considerations

  • Phosphorus is available in many forms. Sodium phosphate is available as monobasic, dibasic, and tribasic sodium phosphate. Potassium phosphate is available as monobasic, dibasic, tribasic, potassium phosphate. Some preparations have a mixture of different forms. Use of these salts for treatment of phosphorus deficiency requires medical supervision.
  • Calcium phosphate salts are mainly used as calcium supplements and come in tribasic and dibasic calcium phosphate.
  • Some homeopathics are phosphate salts (ex. Kali phosphoricum, Ferrum phosphoricum, Magnesium phosphorica, and Natrum phosphoricum). Phosphorus is also prescribed homeopathically.
  • 1mL of milk contains approximately 1mg of phosphorus [3].
  • The recommended dosages varies based on age and health status. To determine what your specific requirements are talk to your naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional


Drug Interactions

  • Drug Interactions include:[1]
  • Anabolic Steroids - Increases risk of edema.
  • Antacids with aluminum or magnesium - May prevent absorption of phosphates.
  • Calcium-containing Supplements and Antacids' - May decrease phophate absorption.
  • Captopril - Increases risk of too much potassium (hyperkalemia).
  • Corticosteroids - Decreases phosphate absorption.
  • Cortisone Drugs or ACTH - Increases serum sodium.
  • Digitalis Preparations - Increases risk of too much potassium (hyperkalemia).
  • Dilantin - May decrease phosphate absorption.
  • Enalapril - Increases risk of too much potassium (hyperkalemia).
  • Salicylates - May increase plasma concentration of salicylates.
  • Testosterone - Increases risk of edema.

Nutrient Interactions

  • Nutrient Interactions include: [1]
  • Iron - Separate intake by 1-2 hours of potassium phosphate as it may interfere with iron supplementation.
  • Vitamin D - Enhances phosphate absorption but may increase chance of too much phosphorus in the blood and body cells.
  • Alcohol - Decreases available phosphorus for vital body functions.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Griffith Winter (2000) Vitamins, Herbs, Minerals & Supplements: The Complete Guide, Revised Edition, MJF Books.
  2. Medlineplus [1]
  3. Hendler Sheldon S., Rorvik David (Editors) (2008) PDR for Nutritional Supplements, Medical Economics Company Inc.