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The Mineral Phosphorus

Uriia Underhill, B.Sc.

Minerals are essential inorganic elements that are needed by the body, however normally in small amounts (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky, 2011). Minerals are usually acquired through eating healthy mineral containing foods such as lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats or by supplementation. Minerals recommended doses are usually in the form of micrograms, or milligrams.

Phosphorus is a mineral that is vital for many functions of the body. Phosphorus works with calcium to help provide strength to bones and teeth (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky, 2011). Phosphorus binds with lipids and forms phospholipids, which helps to strengthen cell membranes. Phosphorus also has the ability to turn on and off enzymes through a process called phosphorylation.

Deficiencies of Phosphorus are rare in the United States because the food supply is rich in the mineral. Deficiencies from Phosphorus can include bone pain, bone malformation, and muscle weakness (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky, 2011). If you have ingested too much Phosphorus you may notice side effects such as compromised calcium metabolism and a higher risk of osteoporosis.

Foods high in Phosphorus are fish, meats, eggs, and nuts. Some specific food types include beef liver, sunflower seeds, ground beef, chicken, cooked oysters, almonds, and black beans.

Phosphorus is important for athletes because it may help prevent fatigue. Some studies have shown the effects of an increased VO2 max as well as an increase in ventilator anaerobic threshold. It is not recommended for athletes to take a supplement of Phosphorus because of the already adequate levels food in current food sources.


Fink, H., Burgoon, L., Mikesky, A., (2011) Practical Application in Sports Nutrition, (2nd edition, Chapter 7, Minerals) Jones & Bartlett Learning, Retrieved January 23, 2013

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