Phosphorus

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Sources

  • Phosphorus is present in all body cells with the majority found in bones and teeth. 
  • It is found in many foods but the main sources are milk and milk products, bread and other cereal products, meat and meat products.
  • Phosphatesare added to a number of processed foods.  
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Functions

  • Phosphorus is essential for bone and tooth structure. Calcium phosphate provides the strength of bones and teeth.
  • It is needed for the release of energy from cells. When glucose is oxidized, the energy produced is stored in phosphate cmpounds that break down to give energy when required. 
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Symptoms of deficiency

  • Phosphorus is found in so many foods that it is unlikely to be in short in UK diets. 
  • Therefore dietary deficiency in unknown. 
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Symptoms of excess

  • Unmodified cow's milk should not be given to babies, as it contains more phosphorus and calcium than human milk. 
  • The high phosphurus content of cow's milk may reduce the absorption of calcium. This may lead to twitching of the face, hands and feet, a condition known as tetany.
  • Maintaining a balance between phosphorus and calcium is therefore important when feeding babies. 
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