Do you know that phosphorus is an essential element for life? You have heard of calcium, iron, Vitamin A, C, etc. However, nobody ever thinks of taking phosphorus in the morning. Well, phosphorus plays a key role in the process of the life of all living organisms. Human bodies will be unable to function properly if there is not adequate phosphorus in the body. All the essential activities of the body like that of the brain, heart, blood, kidney, etc. need phosphorus.
Phosphorus is an important chemical element with the symbol P and atomic number 15 (1). It is highly reactive, so it never found as a free element on earth. You will find phosphorus-containing minerals. Two kinds of phosphorus exist – one is red, and the other is white phosphorus. It is a unique non-renewable element.
Phosphorus is significant for life. Phosphates are a constituent of DNA, RNA, ATP, and the phospholipids, that form all cell membranes (2). Phosphorus is present in urine and body ash. This demonstrated the link between life and phosphorus. It is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. Phosphorus is absorbed into the blood from the intestine. Calcium and vitamin D are required for the absorption of phosphorus.
Phosphorus In Human Body:
- 85% of the total phosphorus in the body is present in the skeleton (3).
- 14% present in the soft tissues such as muscles.
- 1% is present in the blood and body fluids.
Uses Of Phosphorus:
- It is an essential element in many proteins.
- The structure of the teeth and the skeleton is made of phosphorus.
- Phosphorus is essential for the transfer of energy within the cells and important for all bodily functions.
- Phosphorus is a crucial element in the structure of DNA (4). DNA cannot form without it.
Benefits Of Phosphorus:
1. Strong Bones And Teeth:
Since the maximum amount of phosphorus is needed for the bones and teeth, one should make sure that you are getting enough phosphorus (5). It is not just calcium that is required by the bones; phosphorus is equally important. It helps in keeping the bones and teeth strong and healthy. The mineral is required the most in the puberty stages for the growth hormone. Women too require it crucially during the pregnancy and menopausal stages. Phosphorus helps promote the remineralization of the teeth and the bones and keep them healthy. An adequate amount of calcium and phosphorus is required to prevent osteoporosis – a disease of the bone (6). However, bone growth can be hampered if the ratio of calcium to phosphorus is too high (7). Phosphorus helps prevent tooth decay and gum problems.
Phosphorus helps facilitate proper digestion. It stimulates the digestion of riboflavin and niacin effectively. They help metabolise the energy and boost the emotional and neurological response system. It helps clear up indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, and, in general, tones up the digestive system for normal, healthy bowel movements. It improves the health of the digestive system.
3. Urination And Excretion:
The mineral phosphorus also helps in keeping the kidney healthy and its functions active (8). The mineral ensures the proper release of waste from the kidneys through the process of urination and excretion. Phosphorus helps to achieve a healthy balance of all fluids and materials that are removed from the body. It helps balance the level of uric acid in the body by increasing the quantity and frequency of urination. It helps in keeping the body toxin-free. It helps regulate the fluid levels in the body.
4. Brain Function:
Phosphorus is highly required for proper mental functions (9). Concentration, memory, and mental functioning can be improved by the consumption of this mineral. The adequate level of phosphorus ensures cognitive growth and development. Phosphorus deficiency can lead to an early onset of neurological diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. It can also increase the risk of cognitive malfunctions.
5. Hormone Balance:
Phosphorus helps in regulating the balance of hormones in the body. It helps achieve good reproductive health by ensuring that balanced amounts of hormones are present. Phosphorus interacts with the endocrine glands and helps control the production and release of hormones.
6. Creates Energy:
Phosphorus helps create energy that is used by the body every day. It helps in the flow of energy and ensures it is efficiently used by the different organs. The mineral helps in breaking down the nutrients by releasing the energy in the food one eats. It prevents you from feeling fatigued or tired. An adequate amount of phosphorus in the body helps to keep one alert and energetic. It helps treat minor problems like muscle weakness, numbness, sexual weakness, impotence, loss of libido, frigidity, sperm motility, etc. Phosphorus acts as a participant in all chemical reactions taking place in the body.
7. Absorbs Vitamins:
Phosphorus helps absorb the vitamins, especially vitamin B, in the body. The vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the body. The phosphorus helps to repair and maintain the various body cells that undergo daily wear and tear. It ensures that the cells are well-developed and are active.
8. Production Of Protein:
Phosphorus also helps create proteins. Our body grows and maintains itself with the metabolism of the protein. The mineral also helps in the process of reproduction. It also helps the body utilize the carbohydrates and fats present.
Thus, we see why phosphorus is very necessary for the body. The deficiency of the mineral can lead to various kinds of health problems like bone pain, breaking of bones, arthritis, anorexia, obesity, nervous disorders, tooth decay, rickets, irregular breathing, mental and physical exhaustion, pain in various parts of the body, etc. However, too much phosphorus in the body can affect the calcium levels. Junk food has too much phosphorus in it. Intake of too much junk food or sugary food can increase the level of phosphorus in the body. Phosphorus is found in various kinds of food like nuts, seeds like sunflower, melon, pumpkin seed, fish, meat, egg, etc.
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