Phosphorus as Mineral – Rich Food Sources, Functions, Deficiency & Daily Requirements for Children, Men & Women


Total body phosphate weighs about 1 kg, 80% of which is present in bone and teeth while 10% is in muscles.


  • Cheese, milk, nuts, eggs, etc.

Daily requirement:

  • Adults : 500 mg
  • Pregnant women : 1 gm
  • Children: 400 –600 mg. Serum level 0.8-5.1mmol/L.


  • Absorption of phosphate is stimulated by parathormone (PTH) and vitamin D3. The absorption is mainly from jejunum.


  • Phosphate is an important constituent of bones and teeth.
  • It is needed for the production of high-energy phosphates such as ATP, CTP, GTP and creatinine phosphate.
  • DNA and RNA have phosphate diester linkages that form the backbone of the structure.
  • Certain enzymes are activated by phosphorylation
  • Phospholipids, phosphoproteins, lipoproteins, nucleotides contain phosphate as one of their components.

Regulation of calcium and phosphorus:

Regulation depends on:

  • Vitamin D. Intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus is increased by vitamin D. It promotes mineral deposition in bones and phosphate reabsorption in kidneys.
  • Calcitonin. It lowers serum calcium and phosphorus. It reduces mobilization from bones.
  • PTH increases serum calcium and lowers phosphorus.
  • Calcium: Phosphorus ratio is important. There is reciprocal relationship between serum calcium and phosphorus. Rise in calcium or phosphorus is accompanied by fall in the other ion.
  • Estrogens and testosterone promote retention and deposition of calcium in bones.
  • In women, osteoporosis in which, delayed recovery from fractures are observed after menopause.
  • Serum level of phosphate required by adults is 3-4 mg/day, while normal children require 5-6 mg/day.

Clinical manifestations:

  • Deficiency of phosphorus results in osteomalacia, renal rickets and cardiac arrhythmia.


It is observed in:

  • Diabetes mellitus, starvation
  • Renal insufficiency
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypervitaminosis D


It is seen in:

  • Rickets
  • Fanconi’s syndrome 
  • Intake of drugs such as antacids

Applied aspects:

  • The whole blood phosphate is about 40 mg / dl.
  • RBCs and WBCs contain a lot of phosphate.
  • Hemolysis should be prevented when blood is taken for phosphate estimation.       

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