Phosphorus is an important component of all cell membranes. It is needed to produce and store energy and helps to regulate your body’s pH levels. It is especially essential for bone health, as more than 80 percent of all the phosphorus in your body resides in your bones. This mineral is found in almost all food, especially those that are rich in protein.
Phosphoric Acid and Soda
Phosphorus is often combined with sulfuric acid to create the chemically processed phosphoric acid. This, along with carbon dioxide, is added to soft drinks to enhance their fizz, flavor and syrupy consistency. Consumption of these beverages is associated with demineralization of bones, especially during childhood and adolescence [II]. This is likely because phosphorus, when consumed disproportionately to the amount of calcium in your diet, can lead to bone loss. When phosphate levels are high and calcium levels are low, calcium is pulled out of the bones.
Phosphoric acid is quite different from naturally occurring phosphorus and is commonly used for rust removal. Soft drinks have absolutely no nutritional value and if phosphoric acid can remove rust from nails, you can’t help but wonder what it does to your body! The caffeine in certain soft drinks can also play a role in bone demineralization by interfering with calcium absorption. If you’re addicted to soft drinks, the next time you pop open a can of your favorite sugary “treat,” let it remind you of the possibility of osteoporosis, kidney stones, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. You can also say goodbye to your sex drive if it is a diet soda containing aspartame (NutraSweet®), an artificial sweetener linked to impotence [I].
I don’t think it can be made any less blatant that phosphorus should only be consumed from whole foods, not processed foods containing unbalanced, unnatural substances. It’s quite astounding how a mineral that’s so beneficial for our bodies can become so dangerous when consumed improperly!
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
Adults 19 years and older, 700 mg/day
Upper level dosage (UL) 9 years and older, 4000 mg/day
Food Sources of Phosphorus
Grain is the All-Star food here because it contains phytic acid, which is the storage form of phosphorus. A good overnight soak will ensure that this nutrient is released from storage in order to be used by the body. When grains are not soaked, phytic acid will bind to minerals and prevent absorption.
Animal sources: liver, steak, sardines, salmon, chicken, and eggs
1 can sardines – 451 mg
5 ounce chicken livers – 442 mg
3 ounce Chinook salmon – 315 mg
Plant sources: grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes
1 cup uncooked amaranth – 1075 mg
1 cup uncooked quinoa – 779 mg
1 cup uncooked teff – 828 mg
1 cup lentils – 866 mg
1 cup great northern beans – 818 mg
1 cup yardlong beans – 933 mg
1 cup Brazil nuts – 964 mg
1 cup black walnuts – 641 mg
1 ounce pumpkin seeds – 329 mg
1 ounce sunflower seeds – 324 mg
½ cup sesame seeds – 453 mg
Try out this easy Kale and Quinoa Salad for a healthy and delicious dose of bone-building phosphorus!
[I] Bowen, James. “Male Sexual Dysfunction Triggered By Aspartame (NutraSweet)”. Web. May. 2016. <http://www.rense.com/health3/nutralimp.htm>.
[II] Tucker KL, Morita K, Qiao N, Hannan MT, Cupples LA, Kiel DP. “Colas, but not other carbonated beverages, are associated with low bone mineral density in older women: The Framingham osteoporosis study”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2006 Oct; 84(4):936-42. Web. May. 2016. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17023723>.